RHODOPE MOUNTAINS (CENTRE-BASED TOUR)

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DURATION: 5 days
PRICE: € 490
DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: May-October
START/FINISH: Sofia
TOUR TYPE: Guided

If you had enough with the overcrowded popular trails, let us present you one remote part of Bulgaria, excellent for short escapes! The Rhodope mountain- home of the mythical singer Orpheus is located in the Southern part of the country. Due to its close proximity to the Greek border, it remains less-known even for Bulgarians for a very long time. Famous with numerous mineral springs, ancient forests, unique caves, outstanding architecture and mostly with the local hospitality of its inhabitants, the mountain has a lot of legends to be told and mysteries to be revealed. While trekking along the shady paths you may also spot traces of different animals among which is the brown bear. Because of the lack of interaction between humans and nature for a long time, the wildlife in Rhodope mountains is very rich as well as the flora, represented by rare and also endemic species. What more can anyone want to escape the routine of life in the city and take in the life-giving energy only nature can give?
Dive into the green timeless of Rhodope mountains accompanied by a local guide with whom you can reveal the extraordinary beauty of nature and enrich your knowledge in Bulgarian history and traditions.


Day 1: Sofia – Lyaskovo

You will touch to the famous hospitality of the local people from the very first overnight in a family guest house in the longest Rhodopean village of Lyaskovo. Our hosts will meet us with delicious food prepared from ingredients that grow in their own garden and will make us feel like home!
Day 2: Lyaskovo – Yagodina Cave – Trigrad Gorge – Trigrad (3hrs; 9,5km; +560m/-360m)
After a healthy breakfast, our hosts will help us with the transfer to the entrance of Yagodina cave (50 mins driving time). We will begin our day with a visit to the third-longest cave in Bulgaria – a jaw-dropping experience not only because of the typical for the caves formations that could be seen in most of the caves but also because of the rare draperies, flowstone and cave pearls. After the guided visit from authorized speleologist, we will start our walking trip just next from the entrance of the cave. The trail quickly gains elevation and soon we will reach the charming Yagodina village. There is an option to add one more activity to our daily hike and walk or take a 4WD vehicle to the panoramic stop Eagle’s eye.
From the village, we continue through green valleys and old forest paths. Open spaces and spruce forests will change the scenery every now and then until we reach the edge of the Trigrad Gorge. From the top, we will have a stunning view towards the deep canyon and the peacefully lying village of Trigrad which will be our base for the upcoming 3 overnights.
If time permits we may descend first to the scariest cave in Bulgaria – The Devil’s Throat. It is not a cave that will impress with stunning formations but with the creepy legends. Looked from outside, the entrance of the cave resembles a devil’s head and deep inside his gorge is roaring massive waterfall which is also the highest underground one at the Balkan Peninsula. Probably here the mythical singer Orpheus crosses the edge of the reality with the subterranean kingdom of Hades, to seek his lost love Eurydice.
Day 3: Trigrad – Zhrebevo – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 18km; +700m/-700m)
Another circular trek is planned for today, we will walk to the nearby village of Zhrebevo. Local legends tell stories about how it obtained this name but in a few words – it is named after a stallion horse. The village is not that small as Vodni pad and it still active in many fields such as agriculture, livestock and wood processing. Today as yesterday, our trail will pass not only through breezy forests but through green lush valleys where we can admire a heavenly picture – meekly grazing flocks, guarded by giant shepherd dogs.
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 from Trigrad to Sofia airport/city centre (approx. 3 hrs and 40 mins).

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.


Price:
> 750 € per person in twin/dbl room (in a group of 2-3 persons)
> 490 € per person in twin/dbl room (in a group of 4-8 persons)
Single room supplement:
75 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation in 3-star/family hotels (en-suite rooms); breakfast and supper; 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.
Best period: May-October
Joining the tour: The tour is organized on private basis only. There are no scheduled group departures, which you could potentially join individually.


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