European Long Distance Walking Paths in Bulgaria

This is a 3-day program in Rhodope Mountains, the area of Belintash Rock Formation. We follow only tourist trails and in general the terrain is not difficult, but we’ll do about 6 hours walks with a couple of relatively steep sections on the way. No previous hiking experience is required, but a decent physical condition is needed to enjoy the walks. The best period to do this trip is between April and November.

 

Highlights:

  • Full 2 days of walking in the beautiful and green Rhodope Mountains.
  • The old Trachian sanctuaries of Belintash and Karadzov Kamuk – impressive rock formations.
  • The Red Wall Reserve and the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria – Bachkovo Monastery.

 

The ridge of Karadzov Kamuk, Haidushki Kamuk and the Violet Meadow

The ridge of Karadzov Kamuk, Haidushki Kamuk and the Violet Meadow

 

Itinerary:

Day 1: We meet at the town of Assenovgrad, located about 20 km south of the second biggest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv, and about 2 hours away from Sofia (there is regular buses). This relatively small town was built in the foot of Rhodope Mountains and is famous with the ancient Asenova Fortress, also with its beautiful churches.

 

Asenova Fortress and the town of Assenovgrad

Asenova Fortress and the town of Assenovgrad

 

From here we take the only bus to the small settlement of Vrata in the afternoon. About 40 minutes drive will take us to the area of the ancient holy place, called Belintash. This is about 300 meters long rock formation, used by the Trachian tribes as a place to sacrifice gifts to their gods. Walk around Belintash. Accommodation in the area, in a guest house or hotel.

 

The rocks of Belintash on sunset

The rocks of Belintash on sunset

 

Day 2: Today we do a walk to Karadzov Kamuk, located on the ther side of the valley, opposite to Belintash. While Belintash is relatively easily accessible, we cannot say the same about Karadzov Kamuk – the other rocky plateau, used as a place for worship in the past.

We descend down to the Dry River and cross the small neighbourhood of Ryakata, linked to the rest of the world by a 4 km dirt road. Relatively steep trail takes us up the ridge. We pass near the rocks of Haidushki Kamuk and reach Karadzov Kamuk (1448 m). To climb to the top of it we need to use the steps in the rock, cut thousands of years ago by the Trachians. Although nowadays this section is secured by railings, reaching the top this way and where all the valley is in our foot, is still pretty exciting.

 

The small settlement of Ryakata

The small settlement of Ryakata

 

We continue our walk following the ridge of the mountain until we reach Krustova Gora Monastery. This holy place is not very old but quite popular among religious Bulgarians. From here we descend to the village of Mostovo. Accommodation in a guest house in the village. Total about 6 hours walk, +600/-750 meters.

 

The rocks of Karadzov Kamuk

 

Day 3: Today we’ll cross the Red Wall Reserve and descend to Bachkovo Monastery. First part of the walk is a gentle ascent to Martsiganitsa Hut, shortly after the hut we enter Chervenata Stena Reserve (The Red Wall Reserve) – an area reach of rare plant species. Its name comes from Red Wall Summit and its impressive west wall, which got all in red on sunset. Descent to the Bachkovo Monastery via a small and at couple of places narrow gorge. Visit to the monastery, the second biggest in the country after Rila Monastery. From here we can take a bus to Plovdiv or Sofia in the afternoon. Total 6 hours walk, +500/-900 m.

 

The gorge above Bachkovo Monastery

The gorge above Bachkovo Monastery, kingdom of the Rhodopean Silivryak flower

 

A shorter option for that day is to drive near the Backovo Monastery and than walk to the biggest waterfall in Rhodope Mountains – Slivovdolsko Padalo Waterfall. Total 2 hours of walking.

 

Required equipment: hiking boots, rucksack (35-45 l), trekking poles, water and windproof jacket, rain cover, sun hat, sun lotion, sunglasses, water bottle (1 liter), torch, personal first aid kit.

 

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.