The Rhodopes are the most lyrical Bulgarian mountains, combining the relief of mild oval forms, the colorful “carpets” of nature, inspired the architecture of picturesque villages, the hospitality of the local people and the legendary songs of the mythical singer Orpheus. Along with the pleasant climate, the Rhodopes (Rodopi) Mountains are the perfect place for walking through the rolling landscapes dotted with sinister caves and deep gorges among other nature phenomena. This is probably the least know area of Bulgaria, which was closed for tourists and foreigners for decades due to its proximity to the border with Greece.
The day hikes in the mountains have difficulty complying with the physical condition of each client, but overall the features of the terrain will be of moderate difficulty.
Day 1: Sofia – Lyaskovo
Meeting at Sofia Airport and transfer to Lyaskovo village in Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains where we will spend the night in a welcoming local guesthouse, where we will try traditional local meals.
Day 2: Lyaskovo – Yagodina Cave – Trigrad Gorge – Trigrad (3hrs; 9,5km; +560m/-360m)
After a hearty breakfast with our hosts they will drive us to the entrance of Yagodina Cave – one of the longest and most beautiful caves in Bulgaria, housing unique cave formations. Here we will have a cave tour, before heading further on foot to the lovely village of Yagodina, where we can take a 4WD ride to the stunning viewpoint called the Eagle’s Eye (not included; payable on spot). After that we will dip into small fields under cultivation, peculiar of these parts of the mountains and then following our trail through century old spruce woods we will reach the edge of the Trigrad Gorge. The stunning 300m high vertical cliffs hide The Devil’s Throat Cave, where the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans is located (42m high).
Day 3: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18km; +700m/-700m)
Another loop-like hike today will reveal a different but again idyllic part of the Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains near the village of Trigrad. Target of the route is Zhrebevo – small mountain village which has a special charm owed to the hospitality of the local people, the unspoilt nature and the traditional livelihoods – agriculture, livestock and wood processing. Leisurely walk along a small river will bring us back to Trigrad.
Day 4: Trigrad – Kesten/Vodni Pad – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Today, starting with a 10min transfer to the trailhead, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the bordering with Greece villages of Kesten and Vodni Pad (until recently within a closely guarded strip proscribed even for those living down the road; you will see remains of the barbed wire border fences, meant to prevent people from escaping to Greece in the years during the 45yrs long communist rule in Bulgaria after WWII). A circular trail takes you up panoramic crests, through pine and beech 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 5: Trigrad – Sofia
Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.
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.
Notes: all hiking treks are tailored in terms of difficulty to each individual groups; overall, the terrain means they are moderate. The itinerary offers opportunities for extensions involving additional overnight stays at Trigrad, Plovdiv or Sofia to allow day trips to the Rila Monastery, Koprivshtitsa etc.
Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper.
> 750 € per person in twin/dbl room (in a group of 2-3 pers.)
> 490 € per person in twin/dbl room (in a group of 4-8 pers.)
Single room supplement: 60 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Best period: May-September
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; English-speaking mountain guide; entrance fees for the caves and all local taxes.
Price does not include: other meals and drinks, mountain tourist map, medical insurance, tips, personal expenses.
Joining the tour: The tour is organized on private basis only. There are no scheduled group departures, which you could potentially join individually.