In The Footsteps Of Orpheus
A memorable transit through some of the least-known and most authentic parts of the Rhodopes: Bulgaria’s most lyrical mountain famed as birthplace of the legendary musician Orpheus. Along with its wonderful climate, the mountain offers the perfect setting for gentle hiking amid pastoral landscapes, valleys dotted with picturesque villages, verdant meadows with grazing flocks of goats and sheep, ancient deciduous forests, Roman roads and bridges, and an enormous diversity of natural phenomena like the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge, the Yagodinska Peshtera and Dyavolsko Garlo (The Devil’s Throat) caves, and the Chudni Mostove rock bridges.
NEW for 2017: A visit to Bachkovo Monastery (the second largest in Bulgaria) and options to join free walking tours of Sofia and Plovdiv cities are also included in the program.
This hiking tour includes all transfers, including those to and from Sofia Airport (contact us for details in case you land on different airport). Walking treks are moderately arduous. Paths are well marked and in addition each client receives a map and route highlights in English.
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 to match your travel period/
Day 1: We meet you at Sofia Airport (or Sofia / Plovdiv city) and transfer you to overnight in Devin.
Day 2: Your first hiking trek across the Rhodopes follows a picturesque nature trail along the valley of the Devinska River. A short transfer takes you then to the entry of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest and prettiest caves, which you can opt to view. The afternoon brings a colourful kaleidoscope of landscapes that immerse you in the traditional lives of local people and the idyll of rolling crests, forests, and valleys. Three overnight stays at Trigrad. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing 700m/2100ft and descending 450m/1350ft.)
Day 3: Today, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the village of Vodni Pad right by the Greek border, until recently within a closely guarded strip proscribed even for those living down the road. A circular trail takes you up panoramic crests, through pine forests dotted with green meadows and smallholdings, sheltered valleys, and traditional stone houses. The valley of the Trigradska River takes you back to Trigrad. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing and descending 700m/2150ft.)
Day 4: Magnetic sights follow each other on another 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 Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge and enjoy the wonderful panorama to surrounding parts. This is also the best option to visit the Dyavolskoto Gyrlo (The Devil's Throat) Cave, housing the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans - 42m high. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing and descending 700m/2150ft.)
Day 5: With a transfer to the village of Beden begins today’s particularly panoramic trek. The views of the Rhodopes’ green crests change at each turn. The day ends at the village of Lyaskovo, one of the most distinctive local communities, with unforgettable charm and unique atmosphere. Your stay in the guesthouse of a local family will leave you wonderful memories of Rhodope hospitality. (6hrs of walking; 21km/13miles, climbing 800m/2400ft and descending 850m/2550ft.)
Day 6: A picturesque hiking route through one of the Rhodopes’ most beautiful forests (yet one little known among tourists) takes you to the amazing rock formations of the Chudni Mostove (The Wonderful Bridges): a natural rocky phenomenon that will impress you. From here, you are transferred to the village of Kosovo: a unique mountain community where you overnight in a restored traditional stone house. (5-6hrs of walking; 18km/11miles, climbing 950m/2900ft and descending 550m/1650ft.)
Day 7: After breakfast, you are transferred to Bulgaria’s second‐largest monastery at Bachkovo where you may view the miracle‐working icon of Virgin Marry. A transfer then takes you to Plovdiv to the starting point of the Free Plovdiv Tour (for 11:00), which will show you the main sites of interest of the Old Town, the center and the pedestrian area of the city. Time on your own until early afternoon in Plovdiv (time permitting) and transfer to Sofia in order to make it on time for the Free Sofia Tour, starting at 18:00 (similar service, meant to show you the most famous tourist attractions in the center of Sofia).
Day 8: 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
Notes: you may book additional nights in Sofia or Plovdiv before or after the tour, and/or day trips with us to heritage sites like Koprivshtitsa or Veliko Tarnovo, or a mountain day trip to the Musala summit in the Rila Mountains (the Balkans’ highest at 2925m/9596ft) and the Seven Rila Lakes.
Accommodation and luggage transfers: three-star hotels (Sofia, Devin) and rural family pensions / guesthoues (Trigrad, Lyaskovo, Kosovo); en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper except Day 7, when supper is not included. Luggage is transported between accommodations.
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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)
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; luggage transfers; detailed route descriptions in English; a Rhodopes tourist map; 24/7 emergency hotline, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: cave entry charges; extra food and drink; travel/medical insurance; SPA procedures.
Group size: Min. 2 persons (Traveling solo? Ask us to join you to an existing reservation in order to reduce costs.)
Limited time offer:
Price: 465 €
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Single room supplement: 85 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person