IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ORPHEUS (RHODOPE)

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DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 525
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, 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. A visit 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 well 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 tab below the itinerary for details./

Day 1: Sofia – Devin
Sofia 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.
Day 2: Devin – Yagodina Cave – Yagodina – Trigrad Gorge – Trigrad (5,30-6hrs; 19km; +920m/-660m)
Your first hiking trek across the Rhodope follows a picturesque nature trail along the valley of the Devinska River. A short transfer takes you then to the entry of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest and prettiest caves, which you can opt to view. The afternoon brings a colorful kaleidoscope of landscapes that immerse you in the traditional lives of local people and the idyll of rolling crests, forests, and valleys. Three overnight stays at Trigrad.
Day 3: Trigrad – Vodni Pad – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18km; +730m/-730m)
Today, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the village of Vodni Pad right by the Greek border, until recently within a closely guarded strip proscribed even for those living down the road. A circular trail takes you up panoramic crests, through pine 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 4: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18,50km; +700m/-700m)
Magnetic sights follow each other on another 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. This is also the best option to visit the Dyavolskoto Gyrlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave, housing the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans – 42m high.
Day 5: Trigrad – Beden – Lyaskovo (6-6,30hrs; 21km; +825m/-860m)
With a 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.
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 11:00*), 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: 525 € 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: 90 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Solo travelers: 790 € (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: 15 €/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 in the itinerary; luggage transfers; detailed route descriptions in English; a Rhodope tourist map; GPS tracks; 24/7 emergency hotline, and 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 Day 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)

SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR


Dream

5.0 rating
June 27, 2010

Wonderful time, like a dream. So beautiful Bulgaria.

Josephine Laurente, Italy

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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 Cave -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +700m/2100ft, -450m/1350ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/- 700m/2150ft.)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-  700m/2150ft.)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 6. Liaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +950m/2900ft, -550m/1650ft.)
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 -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/- 700m/2150ft.)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 5. Liaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +950m/2900ft, -550m/1650ft.)
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 Cave -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +700m/2100ft, -450m/1350ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/- 700m/2150ft.)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 6. Liaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +950m/2900ft, -550m/1650ft.)
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 -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 4. Liaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +950m/2900ft, -550m/1650ft.)
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 -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 4. Liaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +950m/2900ft, -550m/1650ft.)
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/6miles, +650m/2100ft, -100m/330ft.)
Day 2. Trigrad -> Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km/11miles, +/-700m/2150ft.)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Liaskovo (6hrs; 21km/13miles, +800m/2400ft, -850m/2550ft.)
Day 5. Liaskovo -> 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 Devin, Trigrad, Liaskovo and Kossovo
– Luggage transfers
– Detailed route notes and maps
– GPS tracks
– 24/7 emergency hotline

Not included:
– Cave and museum entry fees
– Drinks and extra meals
– Guiding services

PRICELIST:
Per person in twin/dbl room / Single room supplement / Solo travelers:
Option 1: 590 Euro / 105 Euro / 960 Euro
Option 2: 495 Euro / 85 Euro / 795 Euro
Option 3: 510 Euro / 85 Euro / 815 Euro
Option 4: 475 Euro / 80 Euro / 775 Euro
Option 5: 445 Euro / 70 Euro / 720 Euro
Option 6: 420 Euro / 70 Euro / 670 Euro

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