Bike Explore of Velijski Rhodopi

A very panoramic 2-day trip starting from the town of Bansko. We offer not only a great natural and mountain biking experience, but also a cultural one as we visit one of the remotest areas of Rhodope Mountains, inhabited mainly by local Muslims. Many of the small neighborhoods in the area still lack asphalt road access and the lifestyle of the inhabitants didn’t significantly changed during the last century. They still wear their traditional clothes, organize their life around the life stock and crops breeding and use wooden and iron instruments to dig the farm lands. We’ll also use a unique type of transport to access the area – the famous narrow gauge train that connects Razlog Valley with the area of the second biggest Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, winding along the border of Rhodope and Rila Mountains.

 

The narrow gauge train near Avramovo station

The narrow gauge train near Avramovo station

 

Highlights:

  • Smooth and scenic route with great panoramas towards the surrounding alpine ranges
  • Explore the local culture and lifestyle of the farmers of Velijski Rhodopi
  • Ride on the unique for Bulgaria mountain narrow gauge train

 

Difficulty level: Easy. We may do 20 to 25 km on the bikes each day, following large dirt and quiet asphalt village roads with low inclination. The off road part of the actual route may vary between 50-90%, according to your preferences. The total positive elevation (ascent) is up to 500 m. We grade this trip as an easy one as no experience in mountain biking is required, but a decent physical shape will let you enjoy this trip to the maximum.

The best period for this trip is April to November.

 

The village of Ortsevo

The village of Ortsevo

 

Itinerary:

Day 1: We meet in Bansko at 9.30, get our bikes and head for the 10.30 narrow gauge train at Bansko train station. 2 hours ride will take us to the highest rail station on the Balkans – Avramovo at nearly 1300 m above the sea. Our route goes through Avramovo village which has great panoramas towards the southern slopes Rila Mountains. We continue biking south ascending the main ridge of Velijski Rhodopi and finally cross it to see the views towards south: the jagged peaks of Pirin Mountains. Descent to the villages of Bozevo and Zlataritsa and further to the village of Ortsevo.

Accommodation in a local house in Ortsevo – the only house that accepts guests in this village is the local teacher’s house. Accommodation in private rooms, but with common facilities. We’ll try some traditional homemade foods, popular in the region.

Day 2: We bike up to the main ridge and follow it before our final long descent via some small settlements to the town of Yakoruda. We get the train back to Bansko and return in early afternoon. Possible to extend the trip and return on a bike via the settlements of Belitsa, Dolno Draglishte and Banya.

 

Contact us for any questions and prices.

 

 

Author: Lyuben Grancharov

“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” (Augustine of Hippo). I enjoy filling up the page, called “Bulgaria”, both working as a guide and writing about the mountains of Bulgaria on this blog.