|DURATION: 5 days
PRICE: € 420
|DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: May-September
TOUR TYPE: Guided
The Rhodope are the most lyrical Bulgarian mountains, combining the relief of mild oval forms, the colorful “carpets” of nature, inspired the architecture of picturesque villages, the hospitality of the local people and the legendary songs of the mythical singer Orpheus. Along with the pleasant climate, the Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains are the perfect place for walking through the rolling landscapes dotted with sinister caves and deep gorges among other nature phenomena. This is probably the least know area of Bulgaria, which was closed for tourists and foreigners for decades due to its proximity to the border with Greece.
The day hikes in the mountains have difficulty complying with the physical condition of each client, but overall the features of the terrain will be of moderate difficulty.
Day 1: Sofia – Lyaskovo
Meeting at Sofia Airport and transfer to Lyaskovo village in Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains where we will spend the night in a welcoming local guesthouse, where we will try traditional local meals (3hrs drive).
Day 2: Lyaskovo – Yagodina Cave – Trigrad Gorge – Trigrad (3hrs; 9,5km; +560m/-360m)
After a hearty breakfast with our hosts we will drive to the entrance of Yagodina Cave – one of the longest and most beautiful caves in Bulgaria, housing unique cave formations. Here we will have a cave tour, before heading further on foot to the lovely village of Yagodina, where we can take a 4WD ride to the stunning viewpoint called the Eagle’s Eye (payable on spot in case you wish to opt for the ride). After that we will dip into small fields under cultivation, peculiar of these parts of the mountains and then following our trail through century old spruce woods we will reach the edge of the Trigrad Gorge. The stunning 300m high vertical cliffs hide The Devil’s Throat Cave, where the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans is located (42m high).
Day 3: Trigrad – Vodni Pad – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18km; +730m/-730m)
A very diverse circular walk expects us today as we walk through the motley landscapes to the remote village of Vodni Pad, which in the past was divided into two parts by the border line. Among the old stone houses in recent days are left to live only a few people. The colorful variety of woods, meadows, fields and rivers will accompany us on our return to Trigrad village.
Day 4: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18km; +700m/-700m)
Another loop-like hike today will reveal a different but again idyllic part of the Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains near the village of Trigrad. Target of the route is Zhrebevo – small mountain village which has a special charm owed to the hospitality of the local people, the unspoilt nature and the traditional livelihoods – agriculture, livestock and wood processing. Leisurely walk along a small river will bring us back to Trigrad.
Day 5: Trigrad – Sofia
Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure (4hrs drive).
Hiking time: hiking time only is mentioned on each day (not including stops for pictures, picnics, breaks etc.); these are based on an average hiker’s speed of 4-5km/hr on flat terrain, additional 30min for each 300m elevation gain, and a backpack weighing not more than 10-15% of your body weight. Still this varies a lot on the terrain and hiking experience of each client.
Price: 420 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 60 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation and catering as in the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; entrance fees for the caves and all local taxes.
Price does not include: other meals and drinks, mountain tourist map, medical insurance, tips, personal expenses.
Best period: May-September
Group size: Min. 4 persons
Accommodation: three-star/family hotels; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper.
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Full of legends
We have booked this trip last year and we want to share our opinion with anyone considering booking it! It’s totally worth it! The trails are from easy to moderate and walking them accompanied by a guide adds just more charm to the whole experience. Our leader Kamen was always smiling and gave us a lot of interesting information, told us spooky legends, and he was able to recognize the traces of the wild animals along the way. He was also a safe driver! The trail from Yagodina cave to Trigrad, which was our base, was shady, easy and offered some very nice panoramas, especially at its end – marvelous picture towards the river gorge near the village. Zhrebevo was a very nice village, we loved the spectacular hike. On this trail, we spotted fresh bear footprints, we saw also a ring ouzel and in the very very distant – a small herd of deers. Vodni Pad was like a ghost town, so sad that it was abandoned, the area is perfect for a peaceful life! We knew that there were only few people left and we had a constant feeling that someone was watching us from behind the walls of the forsaken houses. Every day was different and we felt like real Indiana Jones! It was so much nice to hike in this remote region of Bulgaria and avoid the big crowds!
A very interesting and mystic place to be. We are glad we chose this mainly because of the help of the staff. We wanted long but not difficult hikes, with more chances to observe rare birds and endemic flowers, sleep in small accommodations but not big hotels. And that’s exactly what we got! Thanks for the advice!
It was more than we expected
We booked this trip as we did not want to walk alone but with a guide. We heard about the rich wildlife of the Rhodope Mountains and we were very curious to spot the animals and birds. We were 100% lucky to spot hazel grouse which is an endangered bird in Bulgaria and the guide told us that its behavior is very furtive and it is rare chance for someone to see it! I think that’s enough to say that our trip was more than perfect! We were very excited, I still remember the happiness!
Ok, after these long long words for our treasure bird, let’s move on for the trails. They were very pleasant, far from the noises of the roads and deep into the dense forests. Actually, we had 2-3 kms walking on an asphalt road on days 3 and 4 but it wasn’t a big deal after the fascinating trails through the woods before that.
Special thanks to Roumen, our host for the first overnight. He and his wife welcomed us very warmly, we had dinner in a small wooden tavern in their own garden. He offered us a glass of rakija, he said it’s made from him and his son and he bet that we will need more than one glass. And he was right! We asked for a second one, haha! We learned something typical for Bulgarians – before the actual dinner, they start with this small glass of rakija with a salad from tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers. What a delicious appetizer! And the best part of this was that our vegetables were grown in the garden of Roumen!
We couldn’t ask for more! I am 100% sure that this is an experience that should be lived, thousands of reviews could not help you feel the atmosphere!
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