IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ORPHEUS (RHODOPE)

0
DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 540
DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: May-October
START/FINISH: Sofia
TOUR TYPE: Self-guided

If your passion is to explore remote areas veiled in mystery, a hiking expedition to Rhodope mountains is the perfect self-guided program for your adventurous spirit!
Rhodope mountains are home to charming traditional villages, perched on lush green hills or nestled in deep valleys with roaring rivers looping around. Being close to the Greek border this region remains unknown for a very long time even for the Bulgarians. Now, it is open for hiking and cultural activities and here could be observed natural rock phenomena, wide caves with extraordinary formations, deep gorges, and all of the thеse picturesque landscapes inhabited by diverse wildlife among which brown bears. Your journey will be a colourful kaleidoscope of different trees and bushes, rare flowers, and the idyllic view of grazing herds of goats and sheep.
Surely your hike will be accompanied by legends about the mythical figure of Orpheus, you will hear the stunning sound from the traditional Rhodopean bagpipe and try local dishes that will satisfy your taste buds. Allow yourself a short break from reality and dive into the fairy-tale called Rhodope! As a part of the program you will have the option to visit the Trigrad Gorge, Yagodina Cave, The Devil’s Throat cave, the Wonderful Bridges, the Eagle’s Eye viewpoint, Bachkovo Monastery, Plovdiv, Sofia etc.

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. Check the tab below the itinerary for details./

Day 1: Sofia – Devin
Meeting at Sofia or Plovdiv airport (the latter against a small fee). Transfer to SPA city of Devin. Depending on where you land, the transfer could last 1 hr 30 mins from Plovdiv and around 3 hrs from Sofia. If you arrive early enough you can use the afternoon to visit the picturesque nature trail along Devinska River, or jump in the thermal pools near your accommodation.
Day 2: Devin – Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle’s Eye viewpoint – Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Today you can choose between two main treks (incl. options to extend them additionally):
Shorter (9,50km; +565m/-355m): A 40min transfer takes you to the entry of the Yagodina Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest caves, which you can opt to view. Once finished with the cave tour, proceed for Trigrad village through a colorful kaleidoscope of landscapes that immerse you in the idyll of rolling crests, forests, and valleys.
Longer (16km (+1070m/-750m) or 21km (+1385m/-1065m): A 30min transfer takes you to the trailhead where a moderate but nice ascent through gardens and woods brings you up at the crest of the mountain. Enjoy the breath-taking views from the famous Eagles’ Eye observation platform. Then you descend down to Yagodina village, from where you can make a detour to visit Yagodina Cave or head straight for Trigrad village.
*Those who chose the shorter option, can extend their hike with a visit to the Trigrad Gorge (with its 350m high vertical cliffs) and the The Devil’s Throat Cave (housing the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans, 42m high), both near Trigrad. Visiting these sights is a must, and can be done also in the afternoon of Day 3 or Day 4 by those, who opted for the longer treks on Day 2.
Day 3: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18,50km; +700m/-700m)
Magnetic sights follow each other on a 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 Trigrad Gorge and enjoy the wonderful panorama to surrounding parts.
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 – Beden – Lyaskovo (6-6,30hrs; 21km; +825m/-860m)
An early morning transfer will take you to the village of Beden (45 mins driving time) and while your luggage will continue the travel journey, you have to face another divine part of the beautiful Rhodope Mountain. The trek is full of impressive panoramic views, shady deciduous forest and reveals what’s left from the traditional way of life of local people.
Your final destination is the village of Lyaskovo – one of the most distinctive local communities. Your hosts will make you feel like home so much that you won’t want to leave. Enjoy the well-deserved rest with homemade dinner whose ingredients are freshly picked off from their garden.
* There is an option to extend the tour with extra night in Lyaskovo village, incl. a circular trek along the nearby mountain ridges.
Day 6: Lyaskovo – Wonderful Bridges – Kossovo (5,30hrs; 17,50km; +1160m/-780m)
Say goodbye to your hosts and leave your luggage ready to be collected later the day. With a light backpack, you continue your independent hiking exploration of this less-known area of the mountain. Most of the time you will spend under the shades of an ancient forest, where numerous paths and trails are crossing each other. Don’t get too overwhelmed by the tranquility of the atmosphere as you risk taking the wrong turn. In case you are walking in the right direction at the end of the hike, you will be impressed by the natural rock phenomenon Chudnite Mosotve (Wonderful Bridges). A jaw-dropping natural site that will make you feel so small when standing under the sheer walls. Here you will meet your driver who will take you for an overnight in the fairytale-like village of Kossovo. You will spend the night in a restored traditional stone house. The houses in the village are like embroidered on three hills and the scenery is simply fascinating.
Day 7: Kossovo – Bachkovo Monastery – Plovdiv – Sofia
The final day of your independent walking trip will be more culturally oriented. It’s time to learn more about the region, as well as for the traditions, religion, and history of Bulgaria. The first stop will be Bachkovo Monastery – the second-largest complex in the country. In the main temple is kept a 14th-century icon of Virgin Mary for which is believed that is miraculous. Your journey will proceed towards Plovdiv, the oldest inhabited city in Europe. Here could be found remains from different epochs among which Roman, Ottoman, and the Revival Period of Bulgaria. Depending on the month you take the trip, you may be able to join the Free Plovdiv tour or continue the exploration as self-guided. You will be given detailed instructions on where to go and what to visit. Just make sure that you will be on time for the appointment with your driver in the afternoon. When you finally reach Sofia, you could consider joining the Free tour here (starting at 18:00) or stroll around the downtown at your own pace.
*N.B.: Between October & April the free tour in Plovdiv runs at 14:00. If you booked a tour during this period of time you will have to explore the Old Town using our own navigation materials, and not as a part of the free guided walking tour.
Day 8: Sofia
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


Limited time offer:

Price: 540 € 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: 90 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Solo travelers: 810 € (incl. also sgl room supplement)
(Traveling solo? Ask us to join you to an existing reservation in order to reduce the above price)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person
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 described below; luggage transfers; detailed route descriptions in English; a Rhodope tourist map; GPS tracks; 24/7 emergency hotline, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: cave entry charges; extra food and drink; travel/medical insurance; SPA procedures.
Accommodation: three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin) and rural family pensions / guesthouses (Trigrad, Lyaskovo, Kossovo); en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper except days 1 and 7, when supper is not included.
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)

SCROLL DOWN FOR ALL DATES

Suggested versions of the original 8-day tour (mind the possibility to add extra days and hikes in other mountains of Bulgaria (Pirin, Rila, Vitosha). We are flexible on making any combination, which would suit your travel plans.
For full description of each day check the original 8-day tour or get in touch with our travel agent for details. Detailed route notes, maps and other documents will be provided to you on Day 1 by the driver who will be doing your transfer.

Option 1: 9 days/8 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 9)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Devin
Day 2. Devin -> Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle’s Eye viewpoint -> Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 6. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/ -550m)
Day 7. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv
Day 8. Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 9. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 2: 7 days/6 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 7)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 5. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 6. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 7. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 3: 7 days/6 nights (suitable if your flight is on Day 1 and you extend your stay in Bulgaria after the tour ends in Plovdiv)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Devin
Day 2. Devin -> Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle’s Eye viewpoint -> Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/-700m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 5. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 6. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km/, +950m/-550m)
Day 7. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv. Drop off at clients’ hotel in Plovdiv (own arrangements)

Option 4: 6 days/5 nights (suitable if your flights are on Day 1 and Day 6)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 17-18km; +670-800m/-700-760m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 4. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 5. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia
Day 6. Transfer to Sofia Airport.

Option 5: 5 days/4 nights (suitable if your flight is on Day 1 and you extend your stay in Bulgaria after the tour ends in Plovdiv)
Day 1. Sofia Airport -> Trigrad.
Day 2. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad or Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 17-18km; +670-800m/-700-760m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 4. Lyaskovo -> Wonderful Bridges -> Kossovo (5-6hrs; 18km, +950m/-550m)
Day 5. Kossovo -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv. Drop off at clients’ hotel in Plovdiv (own arrangements)

Option 6: 5 days/4 nights (suitable if you are already staying in Sofia before the tour starts and extend again your stay there after the tour ends on Day 5)

Day 1. Sofia (early morning pick up from your hotel) -> Yagodina Cave -> Trigrad (2,30hrs; 10km, +560m/-355m)
Day 2. Trigrad -> Zhrebevo -> Trigrad (5-6hrs; 18km, +/- 700m)
Day 3. Trigrad -> Kesten/Vodni Pad -> Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Day 4. Trigrad -> Beden -> Lyaskovo (6hrs; 21km, +800m/-850m)
Day 5. Lyaskovo -> Shiroka Laka -> Bachkovo Monastery -> Plovdiv -> Sofia (late afternoon drop off at clients’ hotel (own arrangements)

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.
Where hiking specifics are not mentioned for a certain day, only transportation services are included (with time allowing sightseeing on your own in Shiroka Laka, Bachkovo Monastery and Plovdiv – contact us for details).

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)

Included:
– Pick up at Sofia/Airport
– All ground transfers as per program
– Accommodation in twin/dbl rooms with en-suite facilities, incl. breakfast (three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin, Plovdiv) and rural family pensions / guesthouses (Trigrad, Liaskovo, Kossovo)
– Dinner included in Trigrad, Liaskovo and Kossovo
– Luggage transfers
– Detailed route notes and maps
– GPS tracks
– 24/7 emergency hotline

Not included:

– Cave and museum entry fees
– Drinks and other meals
– Guiding services

PRICELIST:

Per person in twin/dbl room / Single room supplement / Solo travelers:
Option 1: 610 Euro / 105 Euro / 980 Euro
Option 2: 510 Euro / 85 Euro / 815 Euro
Option 3: 530 Euro / 85 Euro / 825 Euro
Option 4: 495 Euro / 80 Euro / 790 Euro
Option 5: 465 Euro / 70 Euro / 740 Euro
Option 6: 440 Euro / 70 Euro / 690 Euro

Share.