This tour is specially designed for the adventure seekers who value the beauty of pristine nature. The area of Northwestern Stara planina (Balkan mountains) is known for its wild and preserved nature, traditional village life, old gold mines and the unique production of hand-made carpets and other crafts. It is a gem that has yet to be fully discovered and for years it has stayed away from the main tourist routes in Bulgaria. The remoteness of the area, the quiet villages, the century old forests and preserved traditions and crafts make this place so enchanting and special that you are definitely going to lose sense of time and open your mind to different perspectives. The riding itself is mainly on dirt and gravel roads rolling up and down the vast valley system of the mountain. En route you will enjoy rich and breathtaking panoramas to the main ridge of the mountain, see the small villages nestled down in the valleys, feel the freshness of the thick beech and green pine forests, and flavor your senses with delicious wild berries.
Apart from the bike rides you will have the opportunity to see unique and mesmerising natural sights such as waterfalls, rock formations and wildlife; visit monuments of local heroes and old Orthodox monasteries and churches; get familiar with the region’s rich cultural heritage and local crafts such as the famous Chiprovtsi carpet making; meet artists and craftsmen in their workshops and interact with the friendly and hospitable locals (called torlaks).
You will cover a distance of about 180 km through the green forests of the Northwestern Balkan mountains and finish in the extraordinary area of Belogradchishki rocks (nominee for the new Wonders of the world).
- Day 1
- Arrival at Sofia airport. Transfer (2.00hrs) to Varsets/Berkovitsa town in the Northern foothills of the Western Stara planina. Accommodation in a family hotel. Trip briefing and welcome dinner.
- Day 2
- First day we have 2 options: We start our first day of riding strong and explore the area of Kom peak above Berkovitsa town. A short 30 min transfer brings us up at around 1500m where our ride begins. We will traverse the mountain on a panoramic gravel road and start climbing towards one of highest and most famous peaks in Stara planina - Kom (2016m). This is the starting point of the famous international hiking route Kom-Emine, that follows the main ridge of the mountain all the way to the Black sea coast. In the last meters of our ascent to the peak we will have to push the bikes. The view from the top is breathtaking and offers spectacular 360 degree panoramas of the region’s vast mountain systems. It is said that in clear weather you can see Danube river to the North. The descent down the peak is thrilling and the views are still spectacular and varied. Somewhere en route we will stop for a picnic lunch and then continue with our descent. We follow a flowy dirt road all the way down to Dalgi del village. Before we get to the place of accommodation we can visit some interesting river pools and rock formations and even take a swim in the clean and refreshing river waters. For the night we stay in a small guesthouse in a restored clay house. For dinner we enjoy an open air barbecue meal and campfire - the best way to reflect on the day and discuss tomorrow’s route. Option for visiting the beautiful Lopushanski monastery and a woodcarving workshop in a village nearby. Option 2 After a short transfer we commence on a ride from Berkovitsa town to Dalgi del village. In the beginning, the route climbs gradually on an asphalt road through a small neighbourhood and then continues on a dirt forest road. We stop for a picnic halfway through and then enjoy a 12km descent down to the place of our accommodation.
- Day 3
- The second day of riding starts gently with a 3 km downhill ride on an asphalt road, followed by a 3 km gradual ascent up to another remote village. Later we ride on a dirt road which runs next to a small river stream in the shades of a beech forest. We climb up to a picturesque meadow and start a very scenic and pleasant 6 km descent down to Kopilovtsi village, where we stop for rest and lunch. The last 6 km of the route we ride uphill to Kopren area enjoying the splendid views to the wild rocky summits of Kopren peak and Trite chuki peaks. The area is famous for its numerous waterfalls, rock formations and eco trails leading to them. We can explore one of them on foot and get back to the hotel where our hosts will await us with special meals typical for the area.
- Day 4
- Today we ride our bikes to one of the notable towns in the area - Chiprovtsi, popular for its special handmade carpet production, gold mining in the past and a famous historic moment - the big uprising against the Ottoman domination. The ride itself is varied and starts with a rolling road which crosses the small river valleys of the region. Then we commence on a 8 km climb that takes us very close to the main ridge of the mountain and reveals great views down the valleys. The way down is on a beautiful and exciting forest single track which takes us to Yavor hut. We then continue down the trail, reach the remains of Gushovski monastery from 17c and go all the ways down to Chiprovtsi town. Todays ride offers an option to shorten the ride (in terms of uphill cycling) and go for a visit to the Chiprovtsi waterfall, Chiprovtsi monastery, and the history museum in town. We stay in a cosy family hotel and enjoy tasty dinner with local products. We can also take part in a carpet making demonstration in the special workshop which is run by the host's mother.
- Day 5
- Today we climb to a breathtaking panoramic spot - Gorno Yazovo (1580m) peak which offers superb views to the main ridge of the mountain and the lower parts of the rugged Belogradchik rocks. We start with a short transfer that brings us above Martinovo village and kick off the ride on an old mining road. It is a long gradual ascent in a forest that takes us above the tree line to picturesque open meadows. If the weather is appropriate we will climb the peak and enjoy a break with a view to remember. The descent is on a grassy road down to Kukino ravnishte area where we can stop for picnic lunch. The rest of the rout is only downhill on fast dirt roads to Dolni lom village. The van will await us and take us to a village where we visit a small factory for wild berry jams and a bakery. We stay in a pleasant family hotel with a big yard. Option for visiting a local winery.
- Day 6
- Today's ride is the longest one and will take us up to the biosphere reserve Chuprene famous for its old coniferous forests, preserved wildlife and ecosystems. We start with a short transfer to Replyana village and commence on a long and gradual climb to Gorski rai hut and the border of Chuprene reserve. Here we can take a rest and enjoy a tasty lunch admiring the green forests around. Next, we ride a 15 km descent on a dirt road with panoramic views down to Chuprene village. The last 13 km of the rout include a climb in a small river valley and a 7 km descent down to the remote Stakevtsi village, where we spend the night. If time allows we can visit the nearby Byalata voda waterfall (White water). We stay in a complex of beautiful renovated village houses with a beautiful garden. For dinner we enjoy tasty food and drinks prepared by our hosts.
- Day 7
- The last day of our tour takes to the magic world of Belogradchik rocks. We start with a 7 km warm up ride on an asphalt road, then do a short and easy uphill ride to a panoramic ridge and descend down to the remote Salash village - close to the border with Serbia. From here we descend on an asphalt road to another small village and then ride a dirt road up to the Belgradchik rocks. There we will see some of the most famous formations of the rocks such as Borich, Zbegovete, The Madonna, The School girl, The Bear and more. The terrain is rolling and very panoramic. We end up in Belogradchik where we spend our last night of the tour and have a farewell dinner and party.
- Day 8
- Transfer to Sofia for airport departure.
- Dates 18 September
- Included accommodation in family hotels on FullBoard, Mountain biking guidance, transportation, rent of a bike and helmet
- Single room supplement 80 euro
- Group size min. 4 pers
- Best period May - October
- Skill/fitness level medium