Self Drive In Pirin & Rodopi Mountains (drive & hike)
Explore Bulgaria on your own taking a self-driven tour! With prearranged hotel accommodations, hired car, a map and route notes you will be able to explore the country at your own pace. This itinerary gives you not only a good insight in some of the most charming regions and highlights of Bulgaria but also the possibility to hike following detailed route notes in Pirin and Rodopi mountains, combining pure alpine trekking with impressive and easier gentle walking.
As usual for this type of travelling you are most welcome to customize your trip changing the program and the type of accommodation as you please. Prices are tentative and relevant for this itinerary only. Downgrade of the accommodation is possible as well as the option to rent a car from another company and purchase the rest services only with us.
Let’s make your first visit to Bulgaria easier!
Day 1. Arrival at Sofia Airport. Pick up the rented car and drive to your centrally located hotel. Overnight.
Day 2. The day starts with sightseeing on foot of the capital Sofia comprising visits to some of the most interesting sites in the town incl. St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral, St Sofia Church, Sofia's oldest building - St George Rotunda (from the 3rd C), the Parliament and the Council of Ministry, the ruins of the ancient city of Serdika (dating from the 5th-6thC) etc. Around noon you board the car and head southwards to Rila Monastery (the biggest monastery and probably the most famous monument in the country), situated in the Rila Mountains. Behind the 20-metre high walls lie impressive monastery buildings, a church and a chapel with valuable murals. Continuing on to Pirin Mountains you can make stop at the amazing sand forms near Stob village – The Stob Pyramids, where a short can be made. You stay overnight in Bansko – the biggest and most prosperous ski resort in Bulgaria in recent days and the perfect location to explore the variety of alpine routes in Pirin Mountains.
Day 3. In the morning you transfer to Vihren hut (1950 m a.s.l.). From there you start exploring the picturesque circus of Bynderishki Lakes, visiting some of its most spectacular mountain pearls namely Muratovo, Ribnoto (The Fish), Dulgoto (The Long), Zhabeshkoto (The Frog) and Okoto (The Eye) lakes. The second highest peak in Bulgaria (Mount Vihren, 2914m) will be watching over you all the time as you explore the circus. Once finished with the trek you drive back and continue past Bansko to the small town of Belitsa – the sanctuary of former dancing bears that have been reclaimed from gypsies in Bulgaria and Serbia and left there to start a new life without suffering in the 120,000 sq.m enclosure. Once back in Bansko you will have some free time to ramble in the centre of Bansko among its stone houses, cobbled streets and tiny taverns.
Day 4. The next day of hiking starts with a short drive to Gotse Delchev hut above the town of Dobrinishte, where you take the chair lift to Bezbog hut (2236m a.s.l.). From there you head towards the biggest and deepest glacial lake in the mountains – Popovo Lake. After a circular walk eventually you get back to Bezbog hut and then down with the chair lift. In the afternoon you continue on to Devin (famous SPA centre, where you will spend the night and possibly have some swim in the mineral pools.). Alternatively if you wish to skip the walk you can reach Devin through the smallest town in Bulgaria – Melnik, famous for its sandy pyramids and local brands of red wine.
Day 5. In the morning you will take another delightful walk following the new eco-path along Devinska River, weaving along the valley of Devinska River over zigzagging charming bridges. The next highlight in the program is Yagodina Cave (with more than 10 km mapped so far and considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bulgaria). The cave tour takes some 45 min, during which you will be exposed to an inside temperature of 6oC. From the cave short ascent brings you steadily to a nice scented pinewood, followed by the traditional tranquility of Yagodina village. You can make a hike right after the village through potato fields, barns, old farms, grid of lands under cultivation, which delivers a thorough impression of the local agriculture. Walk back along the road to the cave. The rest of the day can be spent on relaxed swimming in the mineral pools of Devin.
Day 6. More charming landscapes await you today as you take a new circuit walk, exploring another magnificent area by Devin – the village of Trigrad and the famous Trigrad Gorge with its 250 high vertical cliffs. Once on top of the hill above the village you will have a great chance to enjoy vast meadows full with orchids in summer. Then a dirty road, heading upstearms of Livadnishka River will bring you to the ancient Chairski Lakes. From here you continue clockwise around the hill and through the village of Zhrebevo you end up back in Trigrad. The return hike is a real pleasure as you follow the riverbed of Trigradska River back to the village of Trigrad. After a visit to The Devil’s Throat Cave in the magnificent Trigrad Gorge you eventually arrive in your hotel in Devin.
Day 7. The last day is dedicated to relax and sightseeing with visits to a number of places of interest. Starting with Shiroka Lyka (declared an architectural reserve), you continue further to Bachkovo Monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria), where you can have lunch. Early in the afternoon you end up in Plovdiv, where you trace your steps in the picturesque old quarters of the city with houses from the Revival Period and enchanting paved streets, visiting also the Roman theatre and the main shopping street in town. The rest of the afternoon could be spent on shopping or at leisure in the cafés around the city park.
Day 8. Drive back to Sofia Airport. Drop off the car and departure.
Yes, summer holidays at the Black Sea
Do not miss a unique chance to prolong your stay in Bulgaria with one week more at anincredibly low price! We can offer a great variety of accommodations - from home stays (no meals) to 2, 3 and 4-star hotels (BB or HB) in the most famous summer resorts along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, namely Sunny Beach, Sozopol, Nessebar, Golden Sands etc. Please contact us for more details.
Accommodation: 3/4-star hotels (no swimming pools in 3-star hotels), en-suite double rooms on bed and breakfast basis. Details on where to eat during the days will be mentioned in the trip notes upon reservation.
Best period: June-September; alternative hikes in lower altitude could be done in May and October too
Driving & walking: between 1 and 4 hours per day; the treks are designed for tourists in normal physical condition and at least some previous experience in mountain hiking (inc. the ability to use maps and to follow route notes)
Price without rented car:
4-star hotels: 410 Euro per person;
Single supplement: 140 Euro
3-star hotels: 295 Euro per person;
Single supplement: 105 Euro
Price with rented car:
4-star hotels: 495 Euro per person in a group of 2; 465 Euro per person in a group of 4
Single supplement: 140 Euro
3-star hotels: 380 Euro per person in a group of 2; 350 Euro per person in a group of 4
Single supplement: 105 Euro
The price includes: rented car for 7 days (incl. AC, unlimited mileage; third party liability; road taxes for the territory of Bulgaria; 24hrs road assistance on the territory of Bulgaria; CDW – reduces the renter’s liability in case of damage of the vehicle up to the amount of the deposit (excess). CDW is valid only valid if a protocol from the Police Authorities is presented; TP – reduces the renter’s liability in case of theft of the vehicle up to the amount of the deposit (excess). TP is valid only if a protocol from the Police Authorities is presented and the car keys and documents are returned; airport surcharges; Minimum driver’s age – 23 year; full driving license for at least 3 years); trip notes in English, road map, hiking maps for Rila and Rodopi Mountains (1 piece per car); accommodation and boarding as mentioned;
The price does not include: entrance fees, lift tickets, parking fees, fuel, guidance in English inside caves, museums and monasteries, other meals, alcohol drinks, personal expenses