Balkan Legends"Ride" your own trail-legend
Best travel time: June-September
Location: Balkan Mountains
Distance: 220 km, ↑ 8200 m, ↓ 12200 m
Physical fitness: ★★★★☆
Riding skills: ★★★★☆
Duration: 9 Days
Services: 6 guided biking days, 8 nights in family hotels (4 B&B, 4 half board), 1 day in hot springs, shuttle and luggage
Price: on request
Arrival in Sofia, airport pick up and transfer to Buzludzha area, located right on the main mountain ridge. Check in, bike check, get-together, dinner and tour description.
35 km, ↑ 1000 m, ↓ 1800 m
We start our first ride on trails and small forest roads to the mountain pass of Shipka. It’s a significant historical place, where a big stone monument marks the last fights for independence against the Ottomans. From the top of the monument we have a view over the Balkan mountain ridge, Danubian plane and Kazanlak rose valley. We continue our ride on a mix of trails and dirt roads until we reach Uzana area, defined as the geographical centre of Bulgaria. After a short rest we head to Ispolin peak (1523 m). Great and diverse trails lead us down to Kazanlak valley, called ‘the valley of the Thracian rulers’ by archeologists. We visit a Thracian tomb and transfer to the hotel (optional 11 km and 700 m of climb).
38 km, ↑ 1000 m, ↓ 2300 m
A day of many trails and interesting sites. From south to north, from the remains of the biggest ever built socialist monument, by the peaceful and charming spirit of the Sokolski monastery, to the unique architectural-ethnographic complex of Etar. There we can see preserved old-time crafts and we enjoy traditional lunch. After two days on the best trails in the area we move to the small town of Kalofer, just below the highest peak of Botev (2376 m).
49 km, ↑ 2050 m, ↓ 2050 m
A day to remember, full of challenges – a long, but smooth climb, variable and teasing trails from the high rising dome of Botev peak. We are rewarded with a splendid panorama over the highest mountain peaks of Central Balkan. We spend the evening in the garden with barbecue, sharing emotions of the day.
A rest day offering few possible activities: Hot mineral water pools in the town of Pavel Banya, of course with the view over the mountain; a swim in the refreshing rock pools of the mountain rivers.
32 km, ↑ 1100 m, ↓ 2050 m
Transfer to the highest mountain pass – Beklemeto (1525 m). We ride on the main mountain ridge on panoramic routes and trails, to reach our lunch place – Dobrila hut. A tough hike and bike section brings us to another significant peak – Ambaritza (2166 m). Getting on the top we feel the effort paying off. We descend on a great 11 km trail all the way down to the valley. Our guesthouse is hidden in the woods of a picturesque hill above the third biggest monastery. These places are full of history and myths. We enjoy a delightful dinner of homemade local specialties.
34 km, ↑ 1400 m, ↓ 2400 m
And again we ride trails on the Southern and Northern slopes of the mountain, sometimes supported by our shuttle or just pedaling uphill. We ride through the panoramic hut of Kozya stena and descent to one of the famous mountain resorts in the region with hot springs and pools. We can stop for a break or shuttle to our next overnight in the beautiful village of Ribaritza.
40 km, ↑ 1650 m, ↓ 1650 m
A gravel road brings us to the mountain hut below the peak of Vezhen (2198 m). The last meters of climb we hike on the trail, just before we reach the main ridge and the peak. We experience an epic all-mountain ride full of breathtaking moments. At the end of the ride you can enjoy a 3 km long switchback trail.
Transfer to Sofia and departure.
In this packing list you will find what you should definitely have.
We recommend for this tour a 120-160 mm full suspension Bike and tires with good puncture protection.
We expect from each participant a solid preparation and a good workout as well as mastering the basics of mountain biking (central position, braking, turning, small obstacles, etc.).