8 Days Nature tour itinerary for bulgaria: Cycling Across The Balkan Mountain Road
Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Tryavna
Bike along the north and central parts of the Balkan Mountains, famous for their unspoiled nature, green valleys with sheep peacefully grazing on lush grass, precipitous cliffs and gentle, rolling hills offering plenty of unique biking opportunities.
Arrival at Sofia/Plovdiv airport and transfer to Sofia/Plovdiv for accommodation.
Goliam Izvor - Glozhene monastery - Ribaritsa village
The early transfer brings us to Yablanitsa town where the cycling starts.
We pass through town and then continue to Malak Izvor village, which is a starting point for a challenging 5 km uphill ride to Glozhene Monastery.
Having visited the monastery you go downhill the same way and continue further to the scenic Teteven town. Here you can have a short stop for a walk and visit of the local history museum and church and a short bike and hike to a nearby eco trail with 2 beautiful waterfalls.
Then you continue cycling to Ribaritsa village where we stay for the night.
Cycling distance: 70 km
Ribaritsa village - Troyan monastery - Apriltsi
Ascent from Ribaritsa village to the highest point for the day - Bogoi pass (1185m).
From this pass, the road goes all the way down to the town of Troyan passing through the village of Shipkovo where you can take a refreshing bath in the mineral water swimming pools.
After lunch in Troyan town centre, we visit The Pottery and Craft Exhibition "Oreshaka" nearby and the famous Troyan monastery. We spend the night in Apriltsii village.
Cycling distance: 74 km
Apriltsi - Gabrovo - Sokolsky monastery - Etura
Cycling on isolated village roads from Apriltsi to Gabrovo.
En route you pass by numerous small villages set in green landscapes and river valleys, visit Batoshevo monastery and have lunch in a local village pub.
Nunnery and possible visit of Batoshevo monastery.
After an ascent followed by a nice downhill ride, you reach Gabrovo town and continue to the "Etura"- an open-air ethnographic museum, as well as the beautiful Sokolski Monastery.
We stay overnight nearby Etura.
Cycling distance: 55 km
Gabrovo - Tryavna - Bozhentsi
You get on the supporting vehicle and start cycling from Gabrovo.
After an ascent followed by a descent, you arrive in Tryavna. There you can spend some time on sightseeing and lunch in the center of this beautiful National Revival town.
Ups and downs through open terrain will lead you to the final stop for today - Bozhentsi architectural reserve.
Cycling distance: 52 km
Bozhentsi - Dryanovo monastery - Elena
Having visited by car the Dryanovo monastery in the morning, you start cycling from the turning for Yalovo village.
Kilifarevo Monastery is very close.
We make a short stop here and continue to the town of Elena passing by the blue waters of Iovkovtsi dam.
Cycling distance: 48 km
Elena - Arbanassi - Veliko Turnovo
From Elena, we continue cycling to the last point of the trip – Arbanasi architectural reserve.
The landscape includes meadows, pastures, cultivation lands, shrubby hills and finally a beautiful plateau over Veliko Tarnovo.
After some free time for rest and walks among the old houses of Arbanasi, we go for a lunch and sightseeing tour in Veliko Turnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to Sofia or Plovdiv for overnight.
Cycling distance: 43 km
Transfer to airport.
7 Nights at family run hotels and guest houses.
Rooms with private facilities (except on day 3).
Half board (breakfasts & dinners included, except dinner on day 1 and 7).
Supporting vehicle and English-speaking guide/driver.
Map and road book.
Technical bike support.
Group transfers from/to Sofia or Plovdiv airport (09.00 - 19.00).
All local transfers.
Bike rental - Category 1: 60 EUR, Category 2: 40 EUR.
Dinner on day 7.
Private transfers: Sofia APT - Sofia center: 15 EUR (per vehicle); Plovdiv APT - Plovdiv center: 15 EUR (per vehicle); Sofia-Plovdiv 60 EUR (per vehicle).
Alcohol drinks and other personal expenses.
Other expenses, like single room supplement: 80 euro or rent of a rear saddlebag: 10 euro/week.
Bikes: hardtail mountain bike or hybrid bike
Roads: we use mainly isolated village asphalt roads with little traffic, road conditions are relatively good with some exceptions (bumpy sections, potholes, rough asphalt), we do not go off road
Guide/driver: The guide with the supporting vehicle and the luggage inside checks several times a day if everything is OK with the group, waiting by Crossroads, accompanying them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and giving them talks by the most interesting sites en-route
Dress code in monasteries and churches - men are not allowed to enter in shorts and women should not expose their legs and shoulders.
Extension at the Black Sea coast - relax at the seaside - more information upon request
Glozhene Monastery - built in the 13th century by the Ukrainian prince Glozh, housing an icon at the age of about 1000 years.
Bozhentsi village - an architectural reserve consisting of some 100 houses from The Bulgarian National Revival Period.
Etura Open-air Ethnographic Museum - Master craftsmen fashion beautiful gold, silver, copper, leather and wooden articles right before your eyes from early morning until late at the night.
Troyan Monastery “Assumption of Virgin Mary”, being the 3rd largest in Bulgaria, is built in the style of the Bulgarian Renaissance.
Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Tryavna
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