Balkan Mountains Cycle

tours / Cycling

Balkan Mountains Cycle information and booking

from
$920
  • Duration
    8 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    moderate - challenging
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 7 nights family run hotels and guesthouses
Equipment Required
Bike helmet, wet weather gear, sunscreen, jogging shoes and sun hat. (A detailed packing list is provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Cycling through the green landscapes of the Forebalkan and the Central Balkan National Park
  • Typical countryside scenery, villages and local everyday life of the Balkan mountains region
  • Visiting 7 of the most beautiful Bulgarian monasteries dating from 13-15th century
  • Spending time in the old capital of the Second Bulgarian kingdom, Veliko Tarnovo
  • Visiting 2 unique architectural reserves with traditional old style houses and beautifully decorated churches
  • Time at the open air ethnographic museum, Etura

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The Balkan Mountains are famous for lush green valleys, sheer cliffs and gentle rolling hills with sheep grazing peacefully in their pastures. Starting from the tiny village of Goliam Izvor there is enormous opportunity for unique cycling. Passing through the Central Balkan National Park, the narrow roads meander through valleys, forests and quaint villages that have not changed for centuries. Wooden carts pulled by horse or donkey are the norm and farmers still make hay with a pitchfork. Along the route you will visit several of the country's most significant and historic Orthodox monasteries. Many churches with ancient icons and colourful murals are scattered throughout the region. The final cycling stage ends in Veliko Tarnovo - one of the most charming Balkan towns and the former Bulgarian capital.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts - continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices
  • 5 dinners – these usually consist of 2-3 courses using local ingredients. the meals may be taken at a local restaurant or in the hotel/guesthouse dining room
  • 7 nights accommodation in family run hotels and guesthouses on a twinshare basis with private facilities (except day 3)
  • English speaking tour leader who also drives support vehicle
  • Rental of 24 speed road touring or mountain bike and helmet
  • Transfers described in the itinerary including from/to sofia airport
  • Detailed maps and route descriptions (per room booked)

Itinerary

Day 1 Transfer from Sofia Airport to Sofia or Plovdiv
There will be an arranged meeting at Sofia Airport followed by a transfer to Plovdiv or Sofia where we stay overnight. Arrival briefing and dinner.
Day 2 Cycle to Ribaritsa village via Glozhene Monastery (70km)
Today's cycling starts from Yablanitsa town, famous for producing different kinds of khalva. We begin cycling to Malak Izvor village, which is the start of a challenging 5km uphill ride to the Glozhene Monastery. Having visited the monastery, you go downhill the same way and continue through Glozhene village, cycling along the Beli Vit river via scenic Teteven to Ribaritsa village. There are many places along the road where you can find a restaurant/café or grocery store, however the best place is Teteven. We stay overnight in Ribaritsa village. Cycling distance: 70km; uphill/downhill cycling: 850/800m
Day 3 Via Bogoi Pass to Shipkovo with mineral springs and Troyan Monastery (74km)
Today starts with a fairly challenging ascent from Ribaritsa village (630m) to the highest point for the day, Bogoi pass (1185m). From here the road leads you through the village of Shipkovo, where you can relax in the mineral water swimming pools, and on to the town of Troyan. After lunch in the town centre, visit the Oreshaka Pottery and Craft Exhibition nearby and the famous Troyan monastery, the third largest in Bulgaria and built in the Bulgarian Renaissance style. The road then weaves among the hills of the Central Fore-Balkan region to reach our accommodation for the night in Apriltsi village. Cycling distance: 74km; uphill/downhill cycling: 900/1000m.
Day 4 Cycle to Etura ethnographic museum (55km)
This morning you cycle from Apriltsi, past numerous small villages to Batoshevo Nunnery, where you can enjoy lunch in a local village pub. Nearby is Batoshevo monastery, which is reached via a 4km steep climb. The road passes through some hilly areas, flat cultivated terrain, along the river bed of Rositsa River and amid lush green mixed forest. The next milestone is the town of Gabrovo. There you will meet your guide who will take you by car to Etura, an open-air ethnographic museum. We stay overnight in Etura. Cycling distance: 55km; uphill/downhill cycling: 750/800m
Day 5 Short transfer then cycle to Bozhentsi architectural reserve via Tryavna (52km)
Today's cycling begins after a short transfer to Gabrovo. After an ascent followed by a descent, you arrive in the beautiful town of Tryavna, where you can have lunch and spend some time sightseeing. Ups and downs through open terrain will lead you to the final stop for today, Bozhentsi, an architectural reserve of some 100 houses from the Bulgarian National Revival period. Cycling distance: 52km; uphill/downhill cycling: 950/1000m
Day 6 Visit Dryanovo monastery then cycle via Kilifarevo monastery to Elena (48km)
Today starts with a visit to the Dryanovo monastery in the morning. You then start cycling from the Yalovo village turn-off. Kilifarevo Monastery is nearby so you make a short stop here before continuing alongside the Iovkovtsi dam to the town of Elena, the final destination for today. The road today mostly passes through pastures, cultivated fields and shrubs on low-lying hills, typical of this part of the Fore-Balkan. Cycling distance: 48km; uphill/downhill cycling: 700/600m
Day 7 Cycle to Arbanasi, visit Veliko Turnovo and transfer to Plovdiv/Sofia (43km)
From Elena we continue cycling to the last point of the trip – Arbanasi architectural reserve. The landscape includes meadows, pastures, cultivated lands, shrubby hills and finally a beautiful plateau over Veliko Tarnovo. After some free rest time and walks among the old houses of Arbanasi, we have lunch and a sightseeing tour in Veliko Turnovo, one of the old capitals of Bulgaria. In the afternoon you will be transferred to Sofia or Plovdiv for overnight. Cycling distance: 43km; uphill/downhill cycling: 600/600m
Day 8 Trip ends with transfer to airport
Transfer to Plovdiv or Sofia airport (20mins to Plovdiv or 2hrs to Sofia). Trip concludes.