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Getting there & away

Most buses to/from Smolyan use the main bus station (63 104; bul Bulgaria) at Smolyan’s western end. Four daily buses serve Sofia (18 lv, 3½ hours) and hourly buses serve Plovdiv (11 lv, 2½ to three hours), via Chepelare (3 lv, one hour) and Pamporovo (2 lv, 30 minutes). From this station, buses also serve Shiroka Lûka and Devin (4.50 lv, 90 minutes, three to four daily), for Trigrad and Yagodina Caves.

From near the station, local buses 2 and 3 (0.60 lv, every 20 minutes) serve the centre/Hotel Smolyan. Walk left out of the station and turn left up a double set of stairs; after 50m, you’ll see the stop on the left. The taxi rank is further down the street. By taxi, it’s around 2.50 lv to the Hotel Smolyan/Tourist Information Center.

Alternatively, if you’re heading out on the Smolyan–PamporovoChepelarePlovdiv road, minibuses conveniently go from Hotel Smolyan’s car park – saving you the trip back to the bus station. They leave every hour on the hour between 8am and 5pm.

Some 10km east, the Ustovo bus station (64 585; ul Trakia) serves less-visited eastern villages such as Momchilovtsi (1.40 lv, 45 minutes), as well as Kardzhali (9 lv, four hours, two daily). Local buses 3, 8, 9, 11, 14 and 18 travel between the main bus station and Ustovo station, via the Hotel Smolyan. The ticket offices at both stations close for lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and, though kind, the workers don’t speak English.