IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ORPHEUS (RHODOPE)

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DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 630
DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: May-October
START/FINISH: Sofia
TOUR TYPE: Self-guided

A memorable transit through some of the least-known and most authentic parts of the Rhodope: Bulgaria’s most lyrical mountain famed as birthplace of the legendary musician Orpheus. Along with its wonderful climate, the mountain offers the perfect setting for gentle hiking amid pastoral landscapes, valleys dotted with picturesque villages on the border with Greece, verdant meadows with grazing flocks of goats and sheep, ancient deciduous forests, Roman roads and bridges, and an enormous diversity of natural phenomena like the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge, the Yagodinska Peshtera and Dyavolsko Garlo (The Devil’s Throat) caves, and the Chudni Mostove rock bridges (Wonderful Bridges). A visit to the famous Eagle’s Eye viewpoint, a detour to Bachkovo Monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria) and options to join free walking tours of Sofia and Plovdiv cities are also included in the program.

Walking treks are moderately arduous. Paths are marked and navigation materials are easy to follow.
You walk every day with just a daypack! The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.


/The tour program can be shortened or extended. Check the OPTIONS tab to find out more./

Day 1: Sofia – Devin
We meet you at Sofia Airport (or against a small fee we can pick you up from Plovdiv too) and transfer you to overnight in Devin (3hrs drive from Sofia). If you arrive early enough you can use the afternoon to visit the picturesque nature trail along Devinska River, or jump in the thermal pools near your accommodation.
Day 2: Devin – Yagodina – Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Today you can choose between two main treks (incl. options to extend them additionally):
Shorter (9,50km; +565m/-355m): A 40min transfer takes you to the entry of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest caves, which you can opt to view. Once finished with the cave tour, proceed for Trigrad village through a colorful kaleidoscope of landscapes that immerse you in the idyll of rolling crests, forests, and valleys.
Longer (16km (+1070m/-750m) or 21km (+1385m/-1065m): A 30min transfer takes you to the trailhead where a moderate but nice ascent through gardens and woods brings you up at the crest of the mountain. Enjoy the breath-taking views from the famous Eagles’ Eye observation platform. Then you descend down to Yagodina village, from where you can make a detour to visit Yagodinska Peshtera Cave or head straight for Trigrad village.
*Those who chose the shorter option, can extend their hike with a visit to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge (with its 350m high vertical cliffs) and the Dyavolskoto Gyrlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave (housing the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans, 42m high), both near Trigrad. Visiting these sights is a must, and can be done also in the afternoon of Day 3 or Day 4 by those, who opted for the longer treks on Day 2.
Day 3: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18,50km; +700m/-700m)
Magnetic sights follow each other on a circular hiking tour around Trigrad, with the authentic village of Zhrebevo at its distant end. Legend has it, the village was named after a stallion which shielded it from trouble and strife. Along the route, you observe the entry to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge and enjoy the wonderful panorama to surrounding parts.
Day 4: Trigrad – Kesten/Vodni Pad – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Today, starting with a 10min transfer to the trailhead, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the bordering with Greece villages of Kesten and Vodni Pad (until recently within a closely guarded strip proscribed even for those living down the road; you will see remains of the barbed wire border fences, meant to prevent people from escaping to Greece in the years during the 45yrs long communist rule in Bulgaria after WWII). A circular trail takes you up panoramic crests, through pine and beech forests dotted with green meadows and smallholdings, sheltered valleys, and traditional stone houses. The valley of the Trigradska River takes you back to Trigrad.
Day 5: Trigrad – Beden – Lyaskovo (6-6,30hrs; 21km; +825m/-860m)
With a 45min transfer to the village of Beden begins today’s particularly panoramic trek. The views of the Rhodopes’ green crests change at each turn. The day ends at the village of Lyaskovo, one of the most distinctive local communities, with unforgettable charm and unique atmosphere. Your stay in the guesthouse of a local family will leave you wonderful memories of Rhodope hospitality.
* There is an option to extend the tour with extra night in Lyaskovo village, incl. a circular trek along the nearby mountain ridges.
Day 6: Lyaskovo – Wonderful Bridges – Kossovo (5,30hrs; 17,50km; +1160m/-780m)
A picturesque hiking route through one of the Rhodopes’ most beautiful forests (yet one little known among tourists) takes you to the amazing rock formations of the Chudni Mostove (The Wonderful Bridges): a natural rocky phenomenon that will impress you. From here, you are transferred to the village of Kossovo: a unique mountain community where you overnight in a restored traditional stone house.
Day 7: Kossovo – Bachkovo Monastery – Plovdiv – Sofia
After breakfast, you are transferred to Bulgaria’s second-largest monastery at Bachkovo where you may view the miracle-working icon of Virgin Marry. A transfer then takes you to Plovdiv to the starting point of the Free Plovdiv Tour (for 11:00am*), which will show you the main sites of interest of the Old Town, the center and the pedestrian area of the city. Time on your own until early afternoon in Plovdiv (time permitting) and transfer to Sofia in order to make it on time for the Free Sofia Tour, starting at 18:00 (similar service, meant to show you the most famous tourist attractions in the center of Sofia).
*N.B.: Between October & April the free tour in Plovdiv runs at 14:00. If you booked a tour during this period of time you will have to explore the Old Town using our own navigation materials, and not as a part of the free guided walking tour.
Day 8: Sofia
Transfer to Sofia Airport.

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.

A DETAILED ROUTE BOOK AND MAP WILL BE PROVIDED UPON ARRIVAL


Limited time offer:

Price: 630 € per person in twin/dbl room
(Already saw a tour with similar program and price? Give us a chance to convince you why our offer is much better!)
Single room supplement: 100 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Solo travelers supplement: 420 € (incl. also sgl room supplement)
(Traveling solo? Ask us to join you to an existing reservation in order to reduce the above price)
Rent of hiking poles: 20 €/person
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 described below; luggage transfers; detailed route descriptions in English; a Rhodope tourist map; GPS tracks; emergency support; all local taxes.
Price does not include: cave entry charges; extra food and drink; travel/medical insurance; SPA procedures.
Accommodation: three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin) and rural family pensions / guesthouses (Trigrad, Lyaskovo, Kossovo); en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper except days 1 and 7, when supper is not included.
Best period: the tour can start every day during the period May – October (advance booking is required as some accommodations are small and get fully booked months in advance)

Suggested versions of the original 8-day tour (mind the possibility to add extra days and hikes in other mountains of Bulgaria (Pirin, Rila, Vitosha). We are flexible on making any combination, which would suit your travel plans.
For full description of each day check the original 8-day tour or get in touch with our travel agent for details. Detailed route notes, maps and other documents will be provided to you on Day 1 by the driver who will be doing your transfer.

Option 1: 9 days/8 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 9)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Devin
Day 2. Devin -> Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle’s Eye viewpoint -> Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 6. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/ -550m)
Day 7. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv
Day 8. Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 9. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 2: 7 days/6 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 7)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 5. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 6. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 7. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 3: 7 days/6 nights (suitable if your flight is on Day 1 and you extend your stay in Bulgaria after the tour ends in Plovdiv)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Devin
Day 2. Devin -> Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle’s Eye viewpoint -> Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/-700m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 6. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/, +950m/-550m)
Day 7. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv. Drop off at clients’ hotel in Plovdiv (own arrangements)

Option 4: 6 days/5 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 6)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 17-18km; +670-800m/-700-760m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 4. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 5. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 6. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 5: 5 days/4 nights (suitable if your flight is on Day 1 and you extend your stay in Bulgaria after the tour ends in Plovdiv)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 17-18km; +670-800m/-700-760m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 4. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 5. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv. Drop off at clients’ hotel in Plovdiv (own arrangements)

Option 6: 5 days/4 nights (suitable if you are already staying in Sofia before the tour starts and extend again your stay there after the tour ends on Day 5)

Day 1. Sofia (early morning pick up from your hotel) -> Yagodina Cave -> Trigrad (2,30hrs; 10km, +560m/-355m)
Day 2. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 5. Lyaskovo -> Shiroka Laka -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia (late afternoon drop off at clients’ hotel (own arrangements)

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.
Where hiking specifics are not mentioned for a certain day, only transportation services are included (with time allowing sightseeing on your own in Shiroka Laka, Bachkovo Monastery and Plovdiv – contact us for details).

Best period:
the tour can start every day during the period May – October (advance booking is required as some accommodations are small and get fully booked months in advance)

Included:
– Pick up at Sofia/Airport
– All ground transfers as per program
– Accommodation in twin/dbl rooms with en-suite facilities, incl. breakfast (three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin, Plovdiv) and rural family pensions / guesthouses (Trigrad, Liaskovo, Kossovo)
– Dinner included in Trigrad, Lyaskovo and Kossovo
– Luggage transfers
– Detailed route notes and maps
– GPS tracks
– 24/7 emergency hotline

Not included:

– Cave and museum entry fees
– Drinks and other meals
– Guiding services

PRICELIST:

Per person in twin/dbl room / Single room supplement / Solo travelers supplement (incl. also sgl. room supplement):
Option 1: 730 Euro / 115 Euro / 570 Euro
Option 2: 590 Euro / 90 Euro / 390 Euro
Option 3: 610 Euro / 90 Euro / 400 Euro
Option 4: 575 Euro / 85 Euro / 380 Euro
Option 5: 545 Euro / 75 Euro / 345 Euro
Option 6: 525 Euro / 75 Euro / 300 Euro

SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR


Awesome Rhodopi!

5.0 rating
October 1, 2022

A very well organized trip. The walks were long, but not difficult. The Rodopi mountain is adorable. So green and forestly! Luggage transfers were excellent as were all the accommodations. Trip thoroughly enjoyed.

Delfina Suarez, Argentina

Rodopi hike

5.0 rating
August 20, 2022

This hiking tour ticked all the boxes for us. Beautiful manageable walks. History, culture, nature, great scenery, delicious food and opportunities for rest and relaxation.

Lachlan Wilson, New Zeland

Rhodopes self guided walking holiday

5.0 rating
July 20, 2022

Read the original review on TripAdvisor HERE


My wife and I did an 8 day self guided (In the Footsteps of Orpheus) walking tour. We booked it before COVID so have waited more than 2 years, but it was more than worth the wait. Traventuria are so professional, everything before and during the holiday was so well planned and organised. The accommodation and food was excellent, and the drivers were all very helpful and friendly. We knew nothing of the Rhodopes mountain area in Bulgaria but when you arrive you are given notes, maps and GPS files that make navigation very straightforward. Each day averages about 6 hours / 20km walking and the walking is fairly straightforward (well marked trails). We wore fairly light weight walking boots which were more than adequate, and just had a small day pack – refilling water along the way was very easy. We have come home with very good memories of the landscape and the people of the Rhodopes mountain region. On our last day when we were in Sofia we chose to do a guided walk to Mount Vitosha and the Cherni Vrah summit and again the guide was very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Traventuria should be commended for being such positive ambassadors for Bulgaria.

Jonathan Phelan, United Kingdom

Beyond our expectations

5.0 rating
June 15, 2022

My husband and I have done a lot of traveling, and yet this trip was…special. Beyond our expectations. Gorgeous nature and charming villages. Infused with history and yet modern and clean. The accommodations were clean and nice. The luggage transfer worked without a hitch. We loved every moment of this cherished trip!

Emma Bogaert, Belgium

magical villages

5.0 rating
May 24, 2022

Exactly what we wanted. Small nice villages with hospitable hosts and great food. Especially Lyaskovo and Kossovo (yes, the same name as the country) villages were so charming. Very good organization. Worthy to visit the Rodopi mountain!

Noah Dubois, France

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