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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights 3 star hotels and guesthouses
Meals
  • 5 Dinners
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$960USD

Walk and cycle Europe with confidence

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Overview

Trip Code: UBX

Trip highlights


  • Cycling through the green landscapes of the Forebalkan and the Central Balkan National Park
  • Typical countryside scenery, villages and local everyday life of the Balkan mountains region
  • Visiting some of the most beautiful Bulgarian monasteries dating from 13-15th century
  • Spending time in the old capital of the Second Bulgarian kingdom, Veliko Tarnovo
  • Visiting 2 unique architectural reserves with traditional old style houses and beautifully decorated churches
  • Time at the open air ethnographic museum, Etura

The Balkan Mountains are famous for lush green valleys, sheer cliffs and gentle rolling hills with sheep grazing peacefully in their pastures. Starting from the tiny village of Goliam Izvor there is enormous opportunity for unique cycling. Passing through the Central Balkan National Park, the narrow roads meander through valleys, forests and quaint villages that have not changed for centuries. Wooden carts pulled by horse or donkey are the norm and farmers still make hay with a pitchfork. Along the route you will visit several of the country's most significant and historic Orthodox monasteries. Many churches with ancient icons and colourful murals are scattered throughout the region. The final cycling stage ends in Veliko Tarnovo - one of the most charming Balkan towns and the former Bulgarian capital.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

There will be an arranged meeting at Sofia Airport followed by a transfer to Plovdiv or Sofia where we stay overnight. Arrival briefing and dinner.

Meals:  Nil

An early transfer brings us to Golyam Izvor village where we commence cycling. We start cycling towards the town of Teteven and take an optional detour to visit the Glozhene monastery. As we reach Teteven we can have a short stop for a walk and visit the local historic museum and church, or go for a short bike and hike to a nearby eco trail with 2 beautiful waterfalls. Later we continue cycling to Ribaritsa village where we stay for the night. Cycling distance: 48km/30mi; Ascent: 620m; Descent: 510m. Detour to Glozhen monastery - Distance: 16km/10mi; Ascent: 430m; Descent: 430m.

Meals:  B,D

Today starts with a fairly challenging ascent from Ribaritsa village (630m / 2067ft) to the highest point for the day, Bogoi pass (1185m / 3888ft). From here the road leads you through the village of Shipkovo, where you can relax in the mineral water swimming pools, and on to the town of Troyan. After lunch in the town centre, visit the Oreshaka Pottery and Craft Exhibition nearby and the famous Troyan monastery, the third largest in Bulgaria and built in the Bulgarian Renaissance style. The road then weaves among the hills of the Central Fore-Balkan region to reach our accommodation for the night in Apriltsii village. Cycling: Ascent: 970m; Descent: 1060m

Meals:  B,D

This morning you cycle from Apriltsi to Gabrovo. Enroute you will pass by numerous small villages set in green landscapes and river valleys. After an ascent followed by a pleasant downhill ride you will reach the town of Gabrovo and continue on to 'Etura', an open air ethnographic museum to Etura. We stay overnight in Etura. Cycling: Ascent: 700m; Descent: 800m.

Meals:  B,D

Today you start cycling from Gabrovo. After an ascent followed by a descent, you arrive in the beautiful town of Tryavna, where you can have lunch and spend some time sightseeing. Ups and downs through open terrain will lead you to the final stop for today, Bozhentsi, an architectural reserve of some 100 houses from the Bulgarian National Revival period. Cycling: Ascent: 1010m; Descent: 1000m

Meals:  B,D

Today starts with a transfer to the Dryanovo monastery in the morning. You then start cycling from the Yalovo village turn-off. Kilifarevo Monastery is nearby so you make a short stop here before continuing alongside the Iovkovtsi dam to the town of Elena, the final destination for today. The road today mostly passes through pastures, cultivated fields and shrubs on low-lying hills, typical of this part of the Fore-Balkan. Cycling: Ascent: 800m; Descent: 800m.

Meals:  B,D

From Elena we continue cycling to the last point of the trip – Arbanasi architectural reserve. The landscape includes meadows, pastures, cultivated lands, shrubby hills and finally a beautiful plateau over Veliko Turnovo. After some free time for rest and walks among the old houses of Arbanasi we have a lunch break and do a sightseeing tour in Veliko Turnovo - the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, drive to Sofia for overnight. Cycling: Ascent: 600m; Descent: 730m.

Meals:  B

Group transfer to Sofia airport where the trip concludes.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts - continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices
  • 5 dinners – these usually consist of 2-3 courses using local ingredients. The meals may be taken at a local restaurant or in the hotel/guesthouse dining room
  • 7 nights accommodation in family run hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with private facilities (possible shared facilities on day 3)
  • English speaking tour leader who also drives support vehicle
  • Rental of 24 speed mountain bike or 21 speed road touring bike with helmets & panniers (e-bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Transfers described in the itinerary including from/to Sofia airport
  • Detailed maps and route descriptions (per room booked)

  • Travel to and from Sofia
  • All lunches, beverages and dinner on days 1 & 7
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees and guided tours of monasteries and monuments enroute
  • Travel insurance

Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  

MODERATE TO CHALLENGING – GRADE 4 The cycling distances range from 43 to 78km/27 to 48.5mi over undulating to mountainous terrain. We use mostly two-way roads (one band per direction) with an asphalt covering (the latter usually not brand new!). The country roads are quite peaceful, sometimes without any cars. The road surface in these areas may be not very smooth at some stages. The traffic might be a little bit heavier at some sections but only for a short while. It is considered suitable for cyclists with a good to excellent level of fitness. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with road cycling in light traffic in order to participate comfortably. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets are worn whilst cycling.


Departure dates


Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$960USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Premium Bike SupplementUSD$60
  • Electric Bike SupplementUSD$100
  • Single SupplementUSD$140
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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