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In the footsteps of Orpheus (8 days)

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A memorable transit through some of the least-known and most authentic parts of the Rhodopes: 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.
NEW!!!: 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.

This hiking tour includes all transfers, including those to and from Sofia Airport (contact us for details in case you land on different airport). Walking treks are moderately arduous. Paths are well marked and in addition each client receives a map and route highlights in English.

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 to match your travel period/

Day 1:
We meet you at Sofia Airport (or Sofia / Plovdiv city) and transfer you to overnight in Devin.
Day 2: Your first hiking trek across the Rhodopes 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 colourful 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. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing 700m/2100ft and descending 450m/1350ft.)
Day 3: 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. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing and descending 700m/2150ft.)
Day 4: 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. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing and descending 700m/2150ft.)
Day 5: 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. (6hrs of walking; 21km/13miles, climbing 800m/2400ft and descending 850m/2550ft.)
Day 6: 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 Kosovo: a unique mountain community where you overnight in a restored traditional stone house. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing 950m/2900ft and descending 550m/1650ft.)
Day 7: 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).
Day 8: 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

Notes: you may book additional nights in Sofia or Plovdiv before or after the tour, and/or day trips with us to heritage sites like Koprivshtitsa or Veliko Tarnovo, or a mountain day trip to the Musala summit in the Rila Mountains (the Balkans’ highest at 2925m/9596ft) and the Seven Rila Lakes.

Accommodation and luggage transfers: three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin) and rural family pensions / guesthoues (Trigrad, Lyaskovo, Kosovo); en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper except Day 7, when supper is not included. Luggage is transported between accommodations.

Limited time offer:
Price: 475 € 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: 85 € (obligatory for all individual clients)

Group size
: Min. 2 persons
(Traveling solo? Ask us to join you to an existing reservation in order to reduce costs.)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person
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)
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 Rhodopes tourist map; 24/7 emergency hotline, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: cave entry charges; extra food and drink; travel/medical insurance; SPA procedures.

“In the footsteps of Orpheus - lovely holiday”

We were very impressed with the organisation of this self-guided holiday. A Traventuria driver was waiting for us at Sofia airport to take us to our first hotel in Devin and he gave us a very professional pack containing maps, route notes, hotel vouchers, etc. All accommodation was of a good standard with free wifi, meals were fine and all transfers took place at the specified time. The walking itself was not difficult: most of it was on vehicle-width tracks (of various surfaces) rather than narrow footpaths, and there were few really steep or difficult sections. We found the route notes easy to follow but were glad to have a mapping app on our phone to confirm where we were. This definitely helped at the point at which the notes say many people have trouble finding the route: we didn’t find the correct route but found a short cut! The countryside itself was very attractive with wild flowers in bloom and lots of butterflies in flight, and the local people we met were very friendly. We added an extra day to the trip by staying a night in Plovdiv after visiting Bachkovo monastery and enjoyed exploring the old town. The free city tours both there and in Sofia (Traventuria provide details) were excellent. In conclusion, this was a great holiday which we would highly recommend.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“Wonderful walking in the Rhodope Mountains”

From our first contact to the final drop off at our hotel in Sofia we were impressed by the organisation of this self guided tour. Routes were well thought out and the notes and maps clear – inevitably, in an area of active forestry, there were a couple of updates but we never had any concerns following the routes. The hotels / guest houses were all hospitable and the food plentiful with enormous breakfasts! We had great fun communicating with our hosts via Google translate with some wonderful mistranslations on both sides!
The Rhodope mountains are glorious for walking and the tour gives a fascinating insight into the contrast between village life and the rapidly developing urban life of Sofia and the other big towns.
Definitely one to book sooner rather than later!

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“Self-guided tour in the Rhodope Mountains”

My girlfriend and I booked the self-guided tour in the Rhodopes and it proved to be a great experience, thanks to the quality of the services provided by Traventuria.
– Booking: We booked via bulgariawalking.com and communication with the agency was very easy, they answered our emails quickly. They were also very flexible with the organization, as we requested/were offered some additional transfers.
– Walking: The information and the maps provided were very accurate and up to date, and with a minimum of common sense it was not difficult to find our way. We were quite impressed. The timing of the hikes is also very sound, as we always managed to arrive by mid/late afternoon, even when there were transfers and/or visits during the day.
– Accomodation was excellent as well, they did a good job finding such good hotels and guest houses in the remote locations
In conclusion we highly recommend these guys!

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“RHODOPE MOUNTAIN SELF GUIDED TREKS”

We thought it appropriate to write to you as soon as we got back from our wonderful week in Rhodope mountains.
The organisation was 100%, the places we stayed at were one better than the other as well as the amazing hospitality, the treks were out of this world and the maps and notes excellent. Above most though, it is the incredible friendly and helpful staff on the ground, who tirelessly were at hand punctually to assist, from day one with Jojo the Legend to Carlos to Valentin and the last guy who took us to the airport, Boris(?), please extend our gratitude for making an extremely enjoyable week, which was far too short and we will surely be coming back to and recommending to our friends.
We wish you every success for the future, and using your services again in the near future.
All the best
Theo & Nayla

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“Wonderful walking in the Rhodope mountains”

From our first contact to the final drop off at our hotel in Sofia we were impressed by the organisation of this self guided tour. Routes were well thought out and the notes and maps clear – inevitably, in an area of active forestry, there were a couple of updates but we never had any concerns following the routes. The hotels / guest houses were all hospitable and the food plentiful with enormous breakfasts! We had great fun communicating with our hosts via Google translate with some wonderful mistranslations on both sides!
The Rhodope mountains are glorious for walking and the tour gives a fascinating insight into the contrast between village life and the rapidly developing urban life of Sofia and the other big towns.
Definitely one to book sooner rather than later!

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“Hiking in Rhodope”

Very well organized and a lovely tour in the mountains and to the villages. An extra plus that transfer from and to the airport was included.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“In The Footsteps Of Orpheus (Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains"

Whenever one books through a new web site there is always a slight doubt that what you booked will be what you get. With Traventuria we were reassured as soon as we walked through the airport terminal, where we were met by Roman who gave us a great drive to Devin. He also passed to us our “Guide Book” and a for each of us drink bottles, neck scarves and money belts, which were unexpected surprises.
The first morning’s walk out of Devin was, indeed, an inspiring introduction to the area, it’s scenery, fauna, flora and geology. The efforts that have been made to build the suspended eco-path walkway over the river, were very impressive. (Is this part of a long-distance path?) we managed to see the waterfalls and, possibly, the ruin of the castle/fort/look-out, though we are not convinced about that! Well worth the haul up to it anyway for the fantastic views from the ridge! On returning to the car park the mini bus was waiting for us and we were greeted by our, second, cheerful and professional driver for a fantastically scenic drive to Yagodina.
After a brief lunch stop we escaped from the tourist trap and headed off for Trigrad. This was really our first opportunity to come to terms with our “book of instructions” and to interpret the directions to the countryside. After the morning’s exertions we were now walking in rain and it is a fair walk to Trigrad from Yagadina, very enjoyable woodland walking with some splendid views from the rare partings between the trees. Part of the route will form a section of a new Long Distance path, The Walk of the Sultan (2000k from Vienna to Istanbul). Once up on the pastures and around the village of Yagodina we had the chance to see a wider variety of flora and broader views. We had been curious about the navigation landmarks but the “alcoves” were welcome shelters and the fountains provided fresh, sweet drinking water throughout. And so to Trigrad and the welcome sight of Hotel Triibia. The text in the “book of instructions”, combined with the Google Earth maps and the printed map had provided perfectly adequate directions and proved to be reliable throughout the week. our smiling driver had delivered our bags and we were greeted cheerily by the Lady of the House, who proved to be an amicable host. After a shower we headed back to the village to find a beer at the bar we had passed on the way to the hotel. It is worth noting that the young lady who seemed to be running the bar spoke good English and was able to help us out. Returning to the hotel we had a substantial meal to end our first, thoroughly enjoyable, day.
Breakfast at the Triibia is an experience! We were served with so much food that more than half of it was wrapped-up for lunch! The walk up through the forest to Vodni Pad provided limited views but Vadni Pad and the return down the valley were a delight. We arrived at the “horse base” at about 13.30, much too early to return to the hotel. So we stopped for a cask beer or two, which made a nice change from the usual bottles. As well as being a well-equipped stables and riding school, offering treks to Vadni Pad and along other local trails, also hires out mountain bikes. We all agreed that today’s walk would have been great fun on a bike! And so after a few beers, back to the Triibia via the fish farm, for a shower and then up to Trgrad to explore the village, returning in time for another excellent evening meal.
The third day’s walk via Zhrebevo started after another substantial breakfast. The start of the walk, after the initial ramp up from the road, gave some inspiring views of the Trigrad Gorge before taking one of the ancient Mycenaean pathways up to some beautiful pastures with masses of wild flowers, even this late in the season. We managed to lose our way twice today but following the advice to retrace our steps and try again, we soon found where we had gone wrong. Wild strawberries and sweet wild plums provided diversions as we walked and the Bulgarian Pyramid provided some interesting photos! Again we completed the walk, as far as the stables bar at about 14.00. walking on through Trigrad we ended our day at “The Hut” for a few beers and a game of “General” with a couple of lads from Sofia. One of our group did go down to the entrance to the Devil’s Throat so that he could get some photos of the Gorge. Back to the hotel to shower and have another fine evening meal.
After breakfast we were again greeted by our smiling driver and his green mini bus for our transfer to Beden. So, well fed again and loaded up we had a spectacular drive down the Trigrad Gorge and along the river before climbing up to Beden. Today’s walk was certainly the least forested and probably the most scenic day of the week. Walking in fine sunshine we were amongst butterflies nearly all day! on one of the, briefer, forest stretches we had a close encounter with a capercaillie who was quite unbothered by our presence as he stomped about his territory. Only one short navigational error today and we were all well in to our stride so we arrived in Liaskovo in “record time” according to (another) Roman, our host for the night, who met us as we turned up from the village square.
If we were to pick out a highlight of the week it would be the walk here and the evening spent with Roman and his wife. They are tremendous hosts and, whilst his wife was running the house, Roman joined us on the veranda and gave his time willingly to talk with us and share his “museum”. The evening meal was without doubt the best of the week! the Rosenovi was comfortable and so friendly that I will certainly put it in my list of places to return to.
After another good breakfast and loaded up with a substantial packed lunch, Roman led us to the start of the last walk. Bidding him a fond farewell we headed up through the woods towards Miraculous Bridges. Where-ever you walk it is a truism that ancient paths are at an angle up and down hill that you can walk all day without becoming breathless. Get on to a “new” linking path and the angle steepens and becomes much less enjoyable. This was particularly true today as we headed up along the old forestry tracks and then dived up between the trees on the stepper trail shortcut. A good day’s exercise certainly but short on scenery until the gorge at the end, which despite the constant rain, we reached in “record time” again according to Roman. Still that gave us plenty of time to explore the sights and get a coffee at the caf? at the top of the visitors centre.
Roman arrived and drove us to Kosovo for our last night in the Rhodopes. A beautiful village and the perfect spot to end a good week of walking. Again the hospitality was first class and it was very interesting to hear of the history of the village and the issues that are now faced in its conservation and re-development. Sitting on the veranda with a beer watching the cloud slowly rise up the forested valley to reveal the hill tops was a fitting end to a well organised week. an excellent evening meal followed by a well-earned sleep restored us, with the help of a fine breakfast.
We had plenty of time in the morning to follow little used paths across to the far side of the villages and circle back round to have our bags ready to load in to the car when it arrives. Our driver was, once again brilliant. As well as going to the monastery he was able to take us to a ruined fort which protected the route to the Aegean and we managed to see where the amphitheater is in Plovdiv on our way through. He delivered us safely to our hotel in Sofia in plenty of time for us to join the free tour of the sights at 18.00, which is well worth doing. We ended our day at a restaurant just down the road from our hotel (I have no idea of its name but there was a cart suspended over the entrance-way).
Our final taxi took us to the airport in good time for our return flight.
Would I use Traventuria again, YES most certainly. I am hoping that a group of us will be able to book through them for their Pirin and Rila self-guided walking tour next year.
Did this trip represent good value for money, YES without doubt.
Was the walking good, YES as good as it could be in such forested country. It was certainly a pleasure to walk all day and see virtually no one.
Was the accommodation satisfactory, YES better than satisfactory it was VERY GOOD.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“In the Footsteps of Orpheus self-guided hiking tour”

Self guided tours are an excellent way to soak up the scenery and the social, cultural, natural environments experienced along the way – at your own pace. While the majority of the hiking routes were clearly marked and very easy to follow, one or two needed either some way markers better positioned on the trail or better indications given on the guide notes provided. A small glitch in an otherwise extremely well designed hiking holiday. Drivers were always on time to collect our luggage and drop it to the next night stop. All were very polite, friendly, great ambassadors for Bulgaria! Rumen our driver from Sofia to Devin and from Kosovo back to Sofia (via Plovdiv), Carlo who collected us from the Miraculous Bridges and drove us to Kosovo, George our driver in Sofia, and of course our wonderful guesthouse hosts – Rumen and Zakarena in Lyaskovo and Svetlana in Kosovo village: simply superb hospitality!!
I was a last minute addition to an already organised group and with only a week’s notice, Ivailo (Traventuria manager) was able to make all my arrangements – some of which fell outside the usual tour package – without a hiccup.
Very easy online payment, all boxes ticked, nothing left to chance. A very sharp operation – can whole-heartedly recommend Traventuria and will be happy to have them arrange my next trip to Bulgaria.

Click here to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“In The Footsteps Of Orpheus - self-guided walking trek in Rodopi Mountains, BULGARIA””

I and two other ladies did this 1 week hike last week. The trek itself was really excellent, not difficult at all, though there are a few steep climbs. The scenery was spectacular, and having strawberries, currents, raspberries growing on the roadside to eat was wonderful.
Traventuria does a ‘first class plus’ job of organising the trip, with being met and the airport, organising DBB accom, baggage carrying, maps etc. All their drivers arrived early and were happy to accommodate our needs, and our hosts at the accom were so friendly.
Also we had a few problems that meant many last minute changes, Traventuria’s manager Ivailo was always happy to accommodate, and all correspondence with him was very efficient.
Totally recommended!

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“In The Footsteps Of Orpheus - self-guided walking trek in Rodopi Mountains, BULGARIA”

Amazing 6 days hikes in bulgaria mountains with great scenaries and tracks.. Each of these six days had different tracks allowing you to explore the inner villages of bulgaria. Ee certainly enjoyed the entire hiking program which was very well arranged.

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“Impeccable”

I have just come back from a walking holiday in Bulgaria. With Traventuria I have made the self-guided Tour in the Rhodope Mountains called “In The Steps Of Orpheus”. It was a wonderful experience walking in this Pomak region in the south-east of Bulgaria. The organization by Traventuria was really impeccable! The walks were nice, the documentation very good, the hotels very well chosen and the assistance of Simona was excellent and very professional.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

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