The Villages of the Rhodopes Hiking Tour
This four day program will take you hiking in Bulgaria's Western Rhodope mountains. The Rhodopes have the greatest extent of any mountain range in the country, located in Southern Bulgaria and partially in Greece. Exploring the Rhodopes always involves taking in the beautiful landscapes and getting immersed in the local culture. The terrain is not difficult, but a couple of the hikes are a good 6-7 hours long and require decent physical condition.
• 4 days of hiking in Bulgaria through the green pastures and forests of the Western Rhodopes
• Visit the Trigrad Gorge, Devil’s Throat and Yagodina caves, the architectural reserve of Shiroka Luka
• Trek up to the highest ridge of Rhodope Mountains – Perelik Ridge
• Homestay in local villages where we can explore the culture, traditions and cuisine of the region
We meet-up in the morning of the first day in the town of Sofia where out transfer to Devin begins.
Famous for its hot springs and mineral water pools, Devin is best appreciated on its own – visitors are advised to arrive the day before the trip and spend the night in the town. It is located in the Western Rhodopes and is reachable by bus from Plovdiv (2 hours) or from Sofia (3.5 hours). The trip begins with a 30-minute transfer to Yagodina Cave, accessible by crossing the Yagodina Gorge. After a visit to the cave, we reach the village of Yagodina on foot, which takes about an hour, and stop for lunch at a restaurant or with a local family. A 2-hour-long hike takes us to the area of Trigrad, where we will visit the famous Trigrad Gorge and, at its bottom – the Devil’s Throat Cave. Overnight at the village of Trigrad, where you may choose between several guest houses and small hotels. The total amount of walking throughout the day is 3 hours.
This day takes us through one of the most beautiful areas in the Western Rhodopes – the path from Trigrad village, through the lush meadows and forests near the Chairite Lakes, to the Perelik mountain ridge. Overnight in the rustic guest houses of the village of Mugla. A total of 6 hours of walking, +600/-500 m denivelation.
This day is dedicated to climbing the highest ridge in the Rhodope mountains – Perelik ridge. The highest summit of this mountain is the site of a military station and is inaccessible to tourists.
We will be climbing Mount Karluk, also known as Mount Orpheus - the second highest peak, 2188 m above sea level. After that we will finish our treck with a descent to the village of Gela, located 1500 meters on the other side of the mountain, where we will be staying in a hotel overnight. Aprroximately 6.5 hours of walking throughout the day, devivelation +700/-700 m.
The last day of hiking in Bulgaria is shorter and takes us through the village of Gela, a 2 and a half-hour descent to Shiroka Laka – an architectural and folklore reserve notable for its stone houses typical of the Rhodope ethnographic region, and the beautiful church complex “Assumption of Our Lady”. We will also pass by the Gela monastery along the way. From then on, we have two options – to take a bus either to Devin, with its mineral pools; or to Smolyan, the largest city in the Rhodopes, with links to Sofia and Plovdiv. End of program. A second route is available for this last day.
We may visit the famous Miraculous Bridges and hike up to the Slivodolsko Padalo Waterfall – the biggest waterfall in the Rhodopes – followed by 2-hour treck to the Bachkovo Monastery and finish the day off in Sofia.
The price includes
• The services of a qualified and experienced mountain guide
• Three overnights at hotels, guest houses or in local houses along the way
This itinerary for hiking in Bulgaria is suitable for groups of 6-12 people.
Single room - +15€ per night
In order to fit international flights into this itinerary, please look up the Raynair flights from London to Plovdiv (the second largest city in Bulgaria, and a major cultural centre). This airline provides cheap flights that are convenient for your itinerary and save you the trip from Sofia to the Rhodopes. They also give you the chance to visit Plovdiv before or after your programme.
Required equipment: hiking boots, trekking poles, water- and windproof jacket, rain cover, rucksack (35-45 l), flashlight, sun hat, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, water bottle (1 liter), personal first aid kit.
Photo credit: Albena Lyutzkanova
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