The Northwestern part of Bulgaria is an area with a great mountain landscape variety, preserved nature and many historical and cultural sites that has stayed for years away from main tourist paths. This trip will show you the beauties and secrets of the area and get you familiar with the past and present of the local communities, people and crafts. The area that we going to explore – main part and foothills of Western Balkan mountains is very close to the border with Serbia and human presence have been scarce for years which has helped the preservation of natural ecosystems. We are going to explore the vast network of river valleys and cycle from village to village stopping at natural sites like waterfalls, eco trails, rock formation and also learn fascinating stories from the past visiting old monasteries and churches, get acquainted with local crafts like carpet producing and woodcarving and learn about the past glory of gold mining that still fascinates local people. Traditions, crafts, pristine nature, remote villages, local hospitality, rich history and great panoramic cycling routes are the best ingredients of a great recipe of a perfect active holiday on a bike.
The route includes cycling on paved roads with short sections of off road and covers a distance of around 260km up and down the mountains. It starts from Iskar river gorges goes through the mountains of Western Stara planina and finishes in the far Northwest and the amazing area of the unique Belogradchik rocks. There will be a supporting van escorting the group so you can always skip some of the uphill sections or just take a rest and ride in the van.
- Day 1
- Arrival at Sofia airport. Accommodation in a hotel in Sofia. Free time for sightseeing. Trip briefing and welcome dinner.
- Day 2
- Transfer to Milanovo village above Iskar river valley. The drive itself is very scenic and follows the longest river in Bulgaria Iskar that has cut through the mounatins and created a big valley with fantastic rock formations and meanders. We start with a short panoramic uphill ride just to warm up and then commence on a long and exciting downhill ride down to another river valley. Shortly we reach the spa town of Varshets where we stop for lunch and have a quick swim in the open air mineral water swimming pool. Later we get on the bikes and keep on riding on a rolling road to the 4th biggest monastery in Bulgaria - Klisurski monastery. We stop for a visit and then carry on cycling all the way to Berkovitsa town located right down at the foothills of the imposing Kom peak . Accommodation in a family hotel. Dinner in local traditional restaurant - "mehana". Enroute we can visit a local diery farm for special goat cheese and learn about the production process and farming in the area. Ride: 41км, ascend:450m/descend: 850m
- Day 3
- After a hearty breakfast we start our second day of riding. We start with a short transfer to Kom hut at 1500m and here we start a thrilling and beautiful descend with a vertical drop of 1100m. The road goes down to Berkovitsa town passing through beautiful century old beech forests. Afterwards we get on an old narrow isolated road that climbs a small hill above Berkovista and gets down in another river valley and a small village. We stop for a picnic lunch and then continue to our final destination for the day - Lopushanksi monastery. We stay in a hotel with a swimming pool and large garden just next to the monastery for the next two nights. Ride: 49км, ascend:350m/descend: 1500m
- Day 4
- We start with a short visit of the newly restored Lopushanski monastery dating back from 19 century. Afterwards we get on the bikes and start our trip to the remote nature paradise of Kopren. It is a place with several eco trails that lead to numerous waterfalls and beautiful rock formation in a very preserved natural area. It is the longest and most challenging climb of the tour. We will cover a distance of aboy 20 km and do a 700m ascend. The route is very panoramic and follows the stream of Dalgodelska Ogosta river and goes through three small villages. Once we reach Kopren area we will have a delicious lunch in a local guesthouse and then do a hike on one of the eco trail to see some of the beautiful waterfalls in the area. Later we get on the bikes and ride downhill the same route we did uphill. On the way back to our hotel we will stop in a local artist woodcarving art shop where we will learn more about the craft and history of the area. Ride: 40км, ascend:700m/descend: 700m
- Day 5
- Today is the shortest ride of the tour as we are going to ride only about 25km, most of which will be uphill to Chiprovtsi town, our place for the night. En route we will stop for a visit of the picturesque Chiprovski monastery from 10 c. Lunch is planned in Chiprovsti town. Here we can visit the local history museum and learn about the glorious history of town. In the past the town was a very prosperous one due to the numerous mines for copper, silver, gold and iron, the big production of carpets and well established trading connections with the Ottoman and Central European markets. In the afternoon we will visit the carpet's workshop of our host's mother where she will show us how the famous Chiprovtsi carpets are produced and what is the meaning behind the different symbols depicted. We have an option to do a trip to two local attractions - remains of the Gushovski monastrey from 17 c perched on a panoramic hill top and Chiprovski waterfall (18m high). For dinner we will enjoy local food and drinks prepared by our hospitable hosts. Ride: 25км, ascend:350m/descend: 100m
- Day 6
- Today's ride is one of the most scenic one as we bike on roads with splendid mountain panoramas. We will explore the lower parts of the mountains and will go through many small villages. En route we will stop at a local craft shop for special wild berry jams and a bakery for old traditional bread. Here we will have our lunch and continue on a rolling route on recently restored paved roads with superb panoramic views. At the end of the day we will flavor our senses with some tasty wines in a local winery. We spend the night in a family hotel with a big lovely garden and special food for dinner. Ride: 55км, ascend:550m/descend: 850m
- Day 7
- Last day of the tour is probably the most versatile and fascinating because we will visit a beutiful show cave Veneca and then explore the natural wonder world of the red Belogradchik rocks and Kaleto fortress. We have an option to extend the ride and bike to one of the biggest natural lakes in the country - Rabishko lake. We stay in a family hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. Ride: 25km, ascend:500m/descend: 300m or 47км, ascend:750m/descend: 500m
- Day 8
- Transfer to Sofia for airport departure.
- Included accommodation in family hotels on FullBoard, bike rental, English speaking guide, transportation
- Single room supplement 100 euro
- Group size min. 4 persons
- Best period April - November
- Skill/fitness level easy-moderate