III. A     North - Central  Region




      When the bicyclists begin planning a tour including crossing Bulgaria from north to south or from south to north, my suggestion is to follow the next algorithm:

      - Define the point of entering in the country;

 

     - Define the point of leaving the country;

    - Choose the pass, where to cross Balkan: I have given detailed information about Balkan passes in the Chapter I.  Passes in Balkan


      The points, where Romania – Bulgaria border can be crossed in the North - Central Region (from west to east) are:

            1. Bechet – Oryahovo: ferry;

            2. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry;

            3. Zimnicea – Svistov: ferry.

 

      It will be the content of this Chapter. I will connect this points with the Passes in Balkan along roads avoiding the

traffic as much as possible; I will give here some

 

opportunities as well.

      Bicyclists crossing the country from north to south toward Bulgaria - Greece Border have to look further in Chapters:

      II. Routes B. Routes in the South - West Region of the Country,

      III. Crossing Bulgaria from north to south

(from Romania to Turkey & Greece):

      C. South - Central Region

      D. South - East Region



1. Bechet – Oryahovo: ferry

      Oryahovo is a point where Danube river can be crossed by ferry: Bechet - Oryahovo: information about it can be seen here: 

http://ferryboat.bg/

Unfortunately the site has no English language variant. The ferry is working 24 hours, its schedule is:

      - from Oryahovo to Bechet: each second hour starting from 12;

 

     - from Bechet to Oryahovo: each second hour starting from 13.

      No price for a bicycle, but a walker is charged by 1 EURO :)

     Oryahovo is a little town, overnight accommodation is available in it; information for Oryahovo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oryahovo

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NW/vratsa/oryahovo/oryahovo

 

      IMPORTANT:

      My suggestion is to avoid road N15 from Oryahovo to Vratsa (look the next map). Most of the traffic from Oryahovo to Sofia, including heavy trucks, is along the road:

      From Oryahovo to Mizia to Borovan to Vratsa (road N15) to Mezdra to Botevgrad (E 79) to Sofia (A 2).

 

 

     Bicyclists entering by the Bechet to Oryahovo ferry, have the next two possibilities (meaning the shortest routes) to cross the country toward Bulgaria / Greece Border:

 

      1. From Oryahovo to Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata/Promahon via:

 

      - Iskar River Gorge;

      - Vitinya Pass;

      - Botevgradski Pass.

 

      2. From Oryahovo to Knezha to Cherven Bryag to Yablanitsa to Etropole to Zlatishki Pass to Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik to Border Checkpoint Ilinden Exohi.

 

 

 

      Next I will describe these two routes:

      - route a:  via Iskar River Gorge toward Sofia;

 

      - route b:

                    - via Vitinya Pass and Botevgradski Pass toward Sofia;

                      -  via Zlatishki Pass - responding to point two above.

 

For Balkan Passes look in the

 Chapter I.  Passes in Balkan Sector I. A)

 

Sector III. A - 1

 

 

Route a

Via Iskar River Gorge

 

      It is an extremely scenic route, I do recommend it to bicyclists deciding to cross Bulgaria / Greece Border at Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon.

 

      Here I will illustrate the route from Oruahovo to Mezdra only. Very detail information concerning Iskar River Gorge can be seen in:

 

 

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan Sector I. A Point 2. Iskar River Gorge

      - B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag;

      - A. From Sofia to Mezdra,

 

and the route from Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata/Promahon can be seen in:

 

Chapter II.

B. Routes in the South - West Region of the Country

 

 

       The route I describe here is:

      From Oryahovo (road 15) to Mizya (road 11) to Glozhene (road 101) to  Butan to Kriva Bara to Hayredin to Manastiriste (road 133) to Rogozen (unnamed road) to Malorad to Borovan to Nivyanin to Bukovets to Tlachene tp Gabare (road 134) to  Drashan to Kameno Pole to Gorna Beshovitsa (road 103) to Kalen to Gorna Ktemena to Mezdra.

      For more detail description I will part it into two sectors.

 

 

Sector III. A - 1. a

 

      In this sector is important to avoid road 11. Really the traffic along it is not very intensive, but route I give here is much more save, although is 15 kilometers longer, I think it is not a problem for bicyclists.

      The route I suggest is:

      From Oryahovo (road 15) to Mizya (road 11) to Glozhene (road 101) to Kriva Bara to Hayredin to Manastiriste to Barzina to Rogozen to Malorad to Borovan.

      The pedalling in this road sector is in a pleasant, as it is obvious from the road profile chart - the entire area is easy for pedalling as well as it is  appropriate for a wild vamping.

     Toward Mizya: you have to pedal road 15, there is a traffic here but is is not so intensive - you will see no more than 10 trucks toward and from the ferry. 

      The countryside is beautiful, the area is flat, I prefer

 

it rather than road 11, where an additional hill is available. I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in Mizia. Maybe. But approximately in the middle of the distance Mizia - Oryahovo a motel and restaurant are available.

Next little town is Mizia, a little information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/vratsa/mizia/mizia

      After Mizya you will leave road 15 and traffic will disappear. Bigger villages here are Glozgene and Hayredin, food shops are available there.

 

A little information for Hayredin:      

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/vratsa/hayredin/hayredin

      After Hayredin you have to take road 133 and cross Ogosta River. Crossing it (the first photo below), you will head toward Manastiriste. Next to the bridge there is very

  nice spring of cool water. Next photos illustrate the countryside toward Rogozen, it is my tour in the early July, 2020.

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Rogozen, where a friend of mine, Ferdy, has a guest house (everyone in the village knows him):

https://www.facebook.com/rozenbedbreakfast/

         Wandering in this area I have never missed the chance to spent a night in his garden (appropriate for meditation), as well as to have a bottle of gin with him.

Rogozen is popular with the Thracian treasures found near it '80 last century:

https://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Rogozen_Treasure/200385/

http://www.omda.bg/public/engl/history/rogozen_treasure.htm

    The Rogozen collection is the richest Thracian treasure found so far. Unearthed in the period 1985 - 1986, it consists of as many as 108 phialae, 54 small jugs and 3 cups. The objects are mostly made of silver with gilt coating. They were collected during a period exceeding a century - from the beginning of the 5th century to the mid-4th century BC. Part of it can be seen in the History Museums in Vratsa and Sofia.

The countryside toward Borovan.

A little information for Borovan;

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/vratsa/borovan/borovan


 

Sector III. A - 1. b

 

     As I have mentioned in the beginning of the item, this route connect Oryahovo and Sofia via Iskar River Gorge. So in this sector is shown how to reach the Gorge from Borovan.

 

      The initial point of the Gorge is Cherven Bryag. According to the time you have, you can choose to reach the Gorge at Cherven Bryag, Kunino, Roman or Mezdra. (have in mind overnight accommodation is available only in Cherven Bryag and Mezdra).

 

      All this area is extremely nice to be explored by bicycle, no any traffic here, I really can not give an advice which variant is best.

 

 

      Very detail information concerning all this area including route from:

      From Mezdra to Roman to Kunino

can be seen in:

 

Chapter IPasses in Balkan Sector I. A

Point 2. Iskar River Gorge

Sector I. A - 2. e: From Mezdra to Roman to Kunino.

The shortest route toward Mezdra is:

From Borovan to Nivyanin to Bukovets to Tlachene to Gabare to Drashan to Kameno Pole to Gorna Beshovitsa to Kalen to Gorna Kremena to Dolna Kremena to Mezdra.

 Starting from Borovan toward Tlachene the route is still in Danube Plain.

Nivyanin and our breakfast in it. We spent a night just at the bed of Skat River flowing through the village.

The road from Tlachene toward Gabare was not maintained many years, so pedalling here is not so pleasant, at least there is not ant traffic. A food shop is available in Gabare.

Leaving Gabare, the road is in more hilly area, the Danube Plain already is behind you.

 

     

      Kameno Pole was a big village, but now it is almost left. Never mind, there is shops and food there. Next to it is a small river formed very scenic canyon.

 

      Find the church in the village, then turn left and leave the village.

 

      A nice clip for the Rocky Field:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=dcDdWVNrmpA

Then you will be on the plateau next to the canyon. The area is called "the rocky field", it is easy to understand this name.

Pedalling along the blue dashed line on the map above you will be next to the canyon. The view is amazing, photos below can not represent how impressive it is.

      There are three groups of rock formations down the river, 2 - 3 kilometers further. There is a rocky track down the river as well. Unfortunately the two times  I was

  there in the end of my day, I was tired, so I did not explored the entire area. I am sure, one day I'll be back there.


      ٭An opportunity.     

      From Kameno Pole there is an asphalt road down toward Kunino (the only road I did not pedal in this area) and explore the Gorge starting from Kununo (toward Roman and Mezdra).

        Another opportunity is to head toward Dolna Beshovitsa along a rocky road (photos below), after to Roman - this road is nice and to start exploring the Gorge from Roman (toward Mezdra).


Next several photos illustrate the road from Kameno Pole to Mezdra. Again a road without any traffic. I remember that in Gorna Kremena there is a food shop.

      Soon you will be in Mezdra. Overnight accommodation is available in it. Information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/vratsa/mezdra/mezdra

      A kilometer after leaving Mezdra toward Sofia near road there is a hotel & swimming pool - the photo in left. (unfortunately the water in it is not thermal, never mind, the place is nice).

      Mezdra is a line crossroad, trains toward Vidin, Sofia and Varna are stopping there.



٭An opportunity.

       Cherven Bryag can be regarded as an initial point of Iskar River Gorge, so if you decide to explore the entire Gorge, you can head toward Cherven Bryag. And several words about the route toward Cherven Bryag:

 

Wanderers exploringthis route may find a shorter road from Gabare to Cherven Bryag, but the one I suggest here is much more easier, meaning no additional climbing here.

      From Borovan to Nivyanin to Bukovets to Tlachene to Gabare to Sushane to Cherven Bryag.

Overnight accommodation is possible in  Cherven Bryag:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/cherven_bryag/cherven_bryag

     Again I will say, that very detail information for the route:From Cherven Bryag toward Roman to Mezdra to Svoge to Sofia can be seen in:

Chapter I.  Passes in Balkan  Sector I. A

Point 2. Iskar River Gorge

 

       For bicyclists entering in Bulgaria through its North-West corner and intending to pedal to east to Black sea (Varna), I would recommend to look in:

Chapter VI. Routes:

B. From Sofia to Varna



Sector III. A - 1

Route b

 

      This route I would recommend to bicyclists loving to explore mountains area as well as to avoid Sofia heading to Border Checkpoint Ilinden - Exohi (BG / Greece Border:

 

      From Oryahovo (road 306) to Selanovtsi to Knezha to Enitsa to Chomakovtsi to Cherven Bryag to Lukovit to Dermantsi to Toros to Yablanitsa.

 

       What about the route from Yablanitsa to Zlatitsa (Zlatishki Pass) look in:

      Chapter I. Passes in Balkan  Sector I. A

Point 4. Zlatishki Pass

 

       What about the route from Zlatitsa to Panaguyriste to Pazardzhik look in:

      Chapter I. Passes in Balkan  Sector I. D

      - Sector I. D - 18. From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik;

      - Sector I. D - 19. From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik

 

      In the

 Chapter III. Crossing Bulgaria from north to south (from Romania to Turkey & Greece):

      C. South - Central Region

can be seen the route toward  Border Checkpoint Ilinden - Exohi.

        The route can be used to reach Sofia as well either via Vitinia Pass or Botevgradski Pass - for these passe again look in

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan  Sector I. A

For more detail information I will part the Sector III. A - 1 in two:

Sector III. A - 1. c

 

      The route from Oryahovo to Knezha I traveled only by a car, it is a nice road without any traffic.

      Information for Knezha and a photo of the city center:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/kneja/kneja

 

 

     And the only 3 photos (in right) illustrating the area between Knezha and Cherven Bryag, I took in the extremely raining June 2009 when I and my daughter Maya explored this area.

      The next road profile chart is for the distance from Oryahovo to Cherven Bryag. Except the steep hill just next to Oryahovo, all the other route is in the flat Danube Plane.


 

 

Sector III. A - 1. d

      The route here is:

      From Cherven Bryag (road 306) to Lukovit to Dermantsi (road 305) to Toros (roads 4 & 3) to Brestnitsa Yablanitsa,

although I show a little expanded map in left.

      It can be seen that there is a shortcut from Todorichene to Brastovitsa, but this route is more hilly than the one I suggest.

 

      This region is interesting, offering several nice opportunities, I will write about it in the next item.

      Leaving Cherven Bryag already we are in more hilly area called Pre Balkan - a hilly area north from Balkan.

The countryside toward Lukovit. No any traffic along this route

 

      Lukovit is a little prosperity town, down the main road E83. Overnight accommodation is available in it. Information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/lukovit/lukovit

 

Next three photos are taken in the best early April '18 in the area from Todorishene to Dermantsi. Todorichene is a bigger village, food is available in it. Photos of this area:

      Dermantsi is a bigger village, in its center there is a restaurant. If you need overnight accommodation, after seeing the village square turn right (to south - toward Teteven). When you almost leave Dermantsi, you will see a sign (the third pic below) for a guest house, unfortunately

 

 written in Cyrillic:"къща за гости" and a cell tel. number. I do not believe they understand English, but I am sure, you will have not a problem to stay there for a night. I know peddlers finding this guest house consulting with my Home Page.

More photos of this beautiful area.
The camp place next to Toros near Vit River. I love this area, I camped here several times.

Toward Yablanitsa you have to pedal several kilometers along the main road E 772. There is not traffic there , because the new motor road is ready for exploitation.

      Food can be found out in Brestnica, next to it is located an interesting cave Saeva Dupka - 2km south of it. The cave was formed more than 1 million years ago from  tectonic limestone. Its five halls and 400 metres of corridors offer some of the most beautiful cave

 

formations in the Bulgaria. The calcium carbonate content in the rocks had contributed the formation of the various natural shapes in different colors.

https://sofiaadventures.com/saeva-dupka-cave/

      Yablanitsa is little town , I do not like it, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it, but Google shows that in the region there are places for it. Very little information for it is available here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/yablanitsa/yablanitsa

 

      After Yablanitsa you can decide to head toward Botevgrad and Sofia (Botevgradski Pass or Vitinya Pass), or Etropole an Zlatishki Pass. Look in:

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan Sector I. A , Points:

3. Vitinia Pass (and Botevgradski Pass), 4. Zlatishki Pass.


Please read the next 2 points together - I will combine descriptions about routes from Nikopol & Svistov to BG/GR & BG/TU borders, I will avoid some repetitions.


2. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry

 

      Next point where is possible to cross Danube is Nikopol: Turnu Magurele - Nikopol.

      Ferry schedule and prices are available on the link:

 http://www.brp.bg/en/services.html

Unfortunately, the information concerning both ferry

 

schedules and prices is not given in English. I will translate: I am not enough sure if this schedule is correct, because the ferry is only one, it is not possible to go simultaneously from both river sides, but who does it know . . .

Никопол – тръгва (Nikopol – go)

Турну Магуреле – тръгва (Turnu Magurele - go)

08:00 часа  (h)

08:00 часа

12:00 часа

12:00 часа

16:00 часа
19:30 часа

16:00 часа
20:00 часа

      Забележки:
1. Курсовете в 12:00 ч. и 16:00 ч. са допълнителни и се извършват само при наличие на желаещи да преминат.
2. При желание за преминаване извън разписанието се заплащат 60 евро.
3. ТИР-ове и автобуси с 20 и повече пътници преминават по всяко време между 09:00 ч. и 20:00 ч., за не повече от 30 минути.

      Notes:

     1.   Courses at 12:00 and 16:00 are auxiliary – only if there are passengers

     2.   For those who wish to cross the river out of the schedule – 60 EURO;

     3.   TIR and Busses (more than 20 passengers) cross the river at each time between 09:00 and 20:00

 

Ценова листа Никопол - Турну Магуреле

Терминал

Ферибот

Prices

Terminal

Ferry

 

EUR

EUR

ТИР (TIR)

7.00

50.00

Камион / Автобус (truck / buss)

4.00

35.00

Камион / Автобус с ремарке (truck / buss & trailer)

5.00

40.00

Микробус (van)

3.00

30.00

Микробус с ремарке (van & trailer)

3.00

35.00

Лек автомобил (car)

1.00

10.00

Лек автомобил с ремарке (car & trailer)

1.00

15.00

Мотоциклет    (motorcyclist)
Пътник
(walker)

1.00
0.50

1.00
1.00

Hmmmmmmm … no price for bicyclists … hhahh ... !!!

The approach toward the ferry is labeled well.

Information for Nikopol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikopol,_Bulgaria

 

2. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry

routes a & b

 

      Well, it is not easy for me to recognize, where would like to go a bicyclists entering in BG by this ferry, so I will recommend several routes to reach BG/GR border, beginning from west to east

 

       Again, the first two routes a & b as in the previous item, are:

 

      - toward Knezha, Cherven Bryag, Sofia via Iskar River Gorge, Vitinya Pass or Botevfradski Pass - for bicyclists heading toward Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon (BG/Greece border)

 

 

      - toward Etropole, Zlatitsa and Pazardzhik via Zlatishki Pass - for bicyclists heading toward Border Vheckpoint Ilinden - Exohi (BG/Greece border).

 

      Because a lot of the information here is overlapped with the one in the previous item, I will give only the differences.


Sector III. A - 2. a

Route a

From Nikopol to Sofia (via Iskar River Gorge)

      The route is:

     From Nikopol (road 11) to Cherkovitsa to Somovit to Dolni Vit to Milkiovitsa to Gulyantsi to Brest to Gigen to Krushovene  (road 137) to Bregare to Knezha to Stavertsi tp Gostulya to Knezha (to Cherben Bryag to Mezdra to Svoge to Sofia).

     As I have mention, this route would be appropriate, if you decide to pedal toward Greece living Bulgaria at

  Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon. The route from Nikopol to Knezha is very pleasant for pedalling (as it can be seen from the road profile chart), there is not any traffic along the route. And yes, there is one not so pleasant hill between Nikopoi and Somovit, nobody expects such a hill just next to Danube here, al least I was surprised very much I explored this area for the first time.

      Next pictures illustrate the countryside between Nikopol and Gulyantsi. There are a lot of villages along the road here, so water and food supply is not  problem.

        Overnight accommodation is available in Knezha, I am not sure if in Gulyantsi it can be found out. 
The hill between Nikopol and Somovit. A nice view toward Danube River is revealed here.

     A bigger settlement here is Gulyantsi, I do not believe there is an overnight accommodation in it. A little information for Gulyantsi Municipality and Gulyantsi.

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/gulyantsi

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/gulyantsi/gulyantsi

      Toward Gigen and Krushovene. A food shop is available in the villages.

Toward Gigen and Krushovene. A food shop is available in the villages.
     Krushovene is in the valley of Iskar River - already a low place. Food is available in it. The next photos are   taken in the raining June '21, when several road sectors were covered by water and mud.
       The road from Krushovene to Knezha road without traffic. I travelled this road in the extremely raining June   '21, when parts of the road were covered by sediments from the field.

In the left is the only photo I took in Knezha. Information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/kneja/kneja

 

I will not write here about the route from Knezha to Cnerven Bryag - it is available in the previous item. information for Iskar River Gorge can be seen in:

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan Sector I. A

- Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, A. Sofia - Mezdra;

- Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, B. Mezdra - Cherven Bryag


Sector III. A - 2. a

Route b

From Nikopol to  Dolna Mitropoliya

      From Nikopol (road 11) to Cherkovitsa to Somovit to Dolni Vit to Milkiovitsa to Gulyantsi (road 118) to Komatevo to Podem to pobeda to Dolna Mitropoliya.

 

      After Gylyantsi the road is up the stream of Lom River. Just this road segment between Gulyantsi and Yasen I traveled only by a car.

A little information for Dolna Mitropoliya:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/

pleven/dolna_mitropolia/dolna_mitropolia

      Overnight accommodation is available in Dolna Mitopoliya, but my suggestion is to visit Pleven; it would be not bad if you explore this area.

 

       Pleven is known with a heavy battles between Russian and Turk armies 1877/78. A lot of information about the town is here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleven     

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/pleven/pleven

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/town-of-pleven/

 Several photos from Pleven.

It is worth to visit Pleven Epopee Panorama:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/pleven-epopee-1877-panorama-pleven/

 

 

Sector III. A - 2. b

Route b

 

      I can say it is one of my favourite routes in Bulgaria:

 

 

     From Dolna Mitropoliya to Krushovitsa to Sadovets to Aglen to Toros to Brestovitsa toYablanitsa.

 

 

      The road 305 is up the stream of Vit River. There is any traffic here, except  a kilometer or two just after Dolna Mitropoliya and just before Yablanitsa, where the route includes E 83. Two kilometers along road 4 (E772) between Toros and Brestnitsa also are with more intensive traffic, soon it will be redirected after finishing of the motor road A2.

      Food and water is available in the villages along the road, the entire area is perfect for camp in the wilderness.

 

 

      As it is obvious from the road profile chart, it is an extremely pleasant route to be pedaled in the two directions.

Photos of this really very nice area, one of my favourite road segment. There is not any traffic here. 

      Dermantsi is a bigger village, in its center there is a restaurant. If you need overnight accommodation, after seeing the village square turn right (to south - toward Teteven). When you almost leave Dermantsi, you will see a sign (the third pic below) for a guest house,

 

unfortunately written in Cyrillic:"къща за гости" and a cell tel. number. I do not believe they understand English, but I am sure, you will have not a problem to stay there for a night. I know peddlers finding this guest house consulting with my Home Page.

More photos of this beautiful area.
Our camp place next to Toros near Vit River. I love this area, I camped here several times.

       Leaving road 305 after Toros, there are two kilometers pedalling along road 4 (E772) with more intensive traffic, soon it will be redirected after finishing of the motor road A2.

      Food can be found out in Brestnica, next to it is located an interesting cave Saeva Dupka - 2km south of it. The cave was formed more than 1 million years ago from  tectonic limestone. Its five halls and 400 metres of corridors offer some of the most beautiful cave

 

formations in the Bulgaria. The calcium carbonate content in the rocks had contributed the formation of the various natural shapes in different colours.

 

https://sofiaadventures.com/saeva-dupka-cave/

      Yablanitsa is little town , I do not like it, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it, but Google shows that in the region there are places for it. Very little information for it is available here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/yablanitsa/yablanitsa

 

      After Yablanitsa you can decide to head toward Botevgrad and Sofia (Botevgradski Pass or Vitinya Pass) , or Etropole an Zlatishki Pass - for these passes again look in:

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan Sector I. A , Points:

3. Vitinia Pass (and Botevgradski Pass), 4. Zlatishki Pass.



 

 

 

٭Opportunities in this sector.

 

 

 

 

      If you decide to explore Iskar River Gorge, on the map above I show two opportunities to do it:

     

 ٭A.      From Dermantsi to Todorichene to Petrovene (road 3008) to Belentsi to Stoyanovtsi to Roman.

 

 

 

 

      Unfortunately this road is unnamed on the map, but the road, directions, villages are signed very well; the road is in very nice conditions, no any traffic here.

      Next several photos are taken in the best early April '18 in the area from Dermantsi to Roman. Unfortunately I do not remember is food shops were available in Belentsi;

        Petrovene is a bigger village, food is available in it. Photos of this area:

Have in mind that overnight accommodation in Roman is not available, so, if somewhere here you need it, you can visit Lukovit, a little prosperity town, down the main road E83. Information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/lukovit/lukovit


٭B.    Road 103 toward to Zlatna Panega to Batultsi to Roman.

      Leaving road 305 and pedalling a kilometer or two along road E 772, you have to take road 103 toward Roman, the crossroad is signed well - the photo in left.

 

      The entire area is the best for exploring. Next several photos are the area from Zlatna Panega to Roman with its huge cement plant. Fortunately there are filters, so no any dust and smoke in the region near Zlatna Panega, the place is known with its Karsts springs:

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/324


      The next two routes (C & D) are intended for bicyclists intended to climb Troyanski Pass heading toward Plovdiv. Both routes are extremely exciting.

      ٭C.     Toward Teteven (to Troyan to Troyanski Pass).

 

      Teteven is very scenic place, a lot of information for this beautiful little town I have shown in the:

 

Chapter VI.  B. From Sofia to Varna, Sector VI. 2 - B From Etropole to Teteven, I will not repeat it here. 


     ٭D.     Toward Lovech (to Troyan to Troyanski Pass).

      If you suddenly decide to change your plan for the Balkan Pass where to cross Balkan, next route is toward

 

Lovech, south from it is the hard for pedaling Troyanski Pass.

      From Dermantsi (unnamed road) to Ugarchin to Skolovo (road 401) to Izvorche to Lovech.

If my memory serves, food is available only in Ugarchin along this road. Next several photos are the area from Dermantsi to Ugarchin.

Ugarchin is a little town away from main roads. A little information for it and 3 photos:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/ugarchin

The road towards Lovech  is in very nice conditions, no any traffic there. No food in the villages along the road here.

Information about Lovech - in the same point for Route C: From Nikopol to Plovdiv (via Troyanski Pass)

2. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry

Routes c & d

 

      Another two routes from Nikopol to south I will mention here are:

 

Route c

      From Nikopol to Levski to Lovech to Troyan to Plovdiv (via Troyanski Pass).

      This route I recommend to bicyclists loving long climbing up the mountain (Troyanski Pass);

      and

Route d

      From Nikopol to Levski to Pavlikeni to:

-  Gabrovo to Kazanlak to Haskovo (via Shipka Pass) or,

- to Tryavna to Stara Zagora to Haskovo (via Trevnenski Pass).

 

      You know, very detail information for Balkan Passes can be seen in:

 

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan

Sector I. A  Point 5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto),

      Point 7. Shipka Pass,

      Point 8. Trevnenski Pass.

 

      Again, my goal is to recommend routes with minimum of traffic.

      A special attention I will give for tourists wanting to visit Veliko Tarnovo as well, I know it is popular as a tourist destination.


 Sector III. A - 2. c

 

      The common part of the both routes here is:

      From Nikopol to Zhernov to Muselievo to Debovo to Novachene to Batsova Mahala to Tranchovitsa to Izgrev to Balgarene to Malchika to Asparuhovo to Levski.

 

      I still did not explore the road segment from Nikopol to Balgarene, the only photo I took in this area is just before Malchika. I and my daughter spent a night in the field beneath the fool moon.

 

 

      The road segment I would suggest you is the one having the least climbing, it is obvious from the next road profile chart. All the distance is up the stream of Osam River.

      Toward Levski (overnight accommodation in it is available). Again the road is without any traffic.

 

Information for Municipality of Levski and Levski:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/levski

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/levski/levski


 

Sector III. A - 2. d

Route c

 

 

      From Levski to Asenovtsi to Letnitsa to Aleksandrovo to Yoglav to Umarevtsi to Lovech.

      It is a typical for Danube Plane area, easy and pleasant for pedalling the two directions. The road is in a very nice conditions, no intensive traffic Again the road is upstream of Osam River.

      In the villages along the road there are food shops, so supplying with food and water is not a problem.

 

 All the next photos were taken in the end of the beautiful end of March '22m I had the best chance to tour 9 - 10 sunny days.

      Letlnitsa is relatively bigger settlement, overnight accommodation is available in it. Information for Letnitsa

 

municipality and Letnitsa:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/letnitsa

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/letnitsa/letnitsa

The countryside toward Alexandrovo and Lovech.


٭Opportunities in this sector

Sector III. A - 2. d - 1

      Now I will increase the scale in the road segment from Letnitsa to Alexandrovo. It is worth the effort to increase a little your mileage here and visit Krushuna and see waterfalls next to the village. 

      Further along the road is Devetashka Cave – I have pointed its location on the map, along the road N301, and you should see the sign for the cave.

      Overnight accommodation is available in Letnitsa as well as in Kroshuna.

    The next 3 photos are on so called Devetashko Plateau I and Maya bicycled in the late August 2013. The last one is just over Devetashka Cave, a view to Danube Plane is great from this place.

       ٭A. Kroshuna Waterfalls

      And several photos for the waterfalls next to Krushuna. 

 

Information about Falls and many photos of this amazing place can be seen here:

http://waterfallsbg.info/en/krushunski-waterfalls


      ٭B. Devetashka Cave

        Is a magnificent one and the photos can not suggest its impressive effect as well. Scenes of some

 

Hollywood movie were made in it several years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devetashka_cave

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/devetashka-cave/



Photos from Lovech and information about it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovech             http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/lovech/lovech

A walk to the old town "Varosha" and the mediaeval fortress remains is worth.

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/hisarya-fortress-lovech/


 

 

Sector III. A - 2. d

 

 

      It is the route:

 

      From Levski to Gradiste to Butovo to Pavikeni to Byala Chrkva to Vishovgrad to Dobromirka to Yantra to Skalsko:

      - to Gesha to Dryanovo to tryavna snd Trevnenski Pass;

      - to Velkovtsi to Gabrovo and Shipka Pass.

 

 

      My suggestion is to choose Trevnenski Pass, as the traffic via Sipka Pass is relatively intensive although I think it is not dangerous. Thervnenski Pass is absolutely free from traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A detail Information for both Passes is available in:

Chapter I. Passes in Balkan

Sector I. B

- Point 7 for Shipka Pass starting from Gabrovo, and

- Point 8 for Thervnenski Pass starting from Dryanovo.

 

The road profile chart from Levski to Dryanovo

The road profile chart from Levski to Gabrovo.

 

The next several photos illustrate the countryside from Levski to Pavlikeni - the easy part of the route in Danube Plain.

Overnight accommodation is available in Pavlikeni. Here is information for it: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlikeni                 http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/pavlikeni/pavlikeni.html

      The next little town is Byala Cherkva. Very little information for it is here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/pavlikeni/byala_cherkva

      The last time I pedalled the route from Byala Cherkva to Dobromirka maybe 15 years ago, so I do not remember if food shops were available in villages there. Unfortunately I can not find photos from this area.

      Next several photos are taken in the area between Yantra and Dryanovo - a scenic and hilly area.

Information for Dryanovo and several photos:

http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Dryanovo/207076/



٭Opportunities in this sector.

 

 Dryanovski Monastery

 

     A remarkable place in the region is Dryanovski Monastery (5 - 6 kilometers south from Dryanovo) and the area near it. The Monastery is located in a deep Karst valley where 2 rivers are joining.

 

      The place is appropriate for overnight accommodation - there are both restaurant & hotel near the monastery. Information for the Monastery:

 

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/26

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsZ_F5AqlcY

 

The rocks of the Karsts chains over the monastery are very impressive; there is a labeled track from the monastery to the hills above it (just behind the tower on the second photo above).

Here is an interesting cave "Bacho Kiro"- just behind my partner above:

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/67

       Close to Dryanovo is located Veliko Tarnovo. As a Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, it is interesting to visit it. A little history information for the Second Bulgarian Kingdom:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bulgarian_Empire

      This touristy place is advertised in the guiding books, so I know that foreigners would like to visit it. Have in mind, this town is a cross road, so the traffic around it is quite intensive especially after Debelets, where roads N5 (E85) and road N55 are joining. Be careful if you bicycle there. It is really very dangerous road segment.

     Road N4 (E772) also must be avoided - it is the road between Sofia and Varna town, the traffic on it is terrible as well.

 

      So, if you intend to visit Veliko Tarnovo, my suggestion is to stay for overnight accommodation in Dryanovo (it is not a problem) and visit Veliko Tarnovo using a taxi. For taxi you can ask in the hotel.

      More information and photos for Veliko Tarnovo I will show a little further in the next item (from Nikopol to Veliko Tarnovo).

 

      To reach it from Nikopol, it is better to pedal of first to Svistov, the route further is:

      From (Nikopol) Svistov to Tsarevets to Kozlovets to Alekovo to Varzulitsa to Maslarevo to Obedinenie to Resen to Samovodene to Veliko Tarnovo.

      Again I will say - look the next item.



      And several words for Gabrovo for bicyclists deciding to climb Shipka Pass: Gabrovo is a bigger city, it is a regional center. Overnight accommodation is not a

 

problem in it. For information about Gabrovo:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Gabrovo

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/gabrovo/gabrovo/gabrovo



3. Zimnicea – Svistov: ferry

      Good information about this ferry can be found here:

http://ferry.bg/ferry_en.php

      Conveniently, the map posted in the ferry site, shows the route used by  the transit traffic between Romania and Turkey, meaning it is exactly the route bicyclists MUST avoid !!! (be aware the section of the route between Hainboaz and Dimitrovdrad on the site map is not correct). There is an added traffic from Polski Trambesh to the bridge near the town of Ruse. 

      So, always avoid pedaling here, especially from Polski Trambesh to Veliko Tarnovo to Hainboaz (or Pass of the Republic - road E85) !!!

 

Information and photos for Svistov:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svishtov  

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/svishtov/svishtov

http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/svishtov/svishtov.html

      Leaving Svistov to east, of first you will see remains of the ancient Roman town NOVAE, at your right:

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/antique-

military-camp-nove-town-of-svishtov

      Further, at your left, is the memorial on the place Russian Army crossed Danube 1877, beginning the war

 

against Ottoman Empire resulting in the establishment of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom.


Sector III. A - 3

The first before all here is: AVOID  E85 !!!

      So, the logic of my next description further will be as follows:

Route a

      If you turn west to Nikopol, you can use all the routes I described in the previous point of this chapter;  For the route from Svistov to Nikopol a very detail description I have shown in Chapter V. Bicycling along Danube river Sector V. E:The route from Nikopol to Svistov;

 

Route b

      It will be a new route to Lovech, for bicyclists loving hard climbing,  intending to cross Balkan via Troyanski Pass;

 

Route c

      It is a route toward Veliko Tarnovo, tourists entering in Bulgaria by the ferry Turnu Magurele - Nikopol can use it as well; (In the next point of this chapter I will give one more nice route toward Veliko Tarnovo: from Byala to Veliko Tarnovo);

Route d

      It is a route toward Ruse, I will not write here about it, a very detail description concerning this route I have shown in: Chapter V. Bicycling along Danube river Sector V. F: The route from Svistov to Ruse.


 

 

 

 

 

Sector III. A - 3

Route b

 

 

 

      Here I would suggest 2 possible routes:

 

route b - 1:

      From Svistov (road 52) to Oresh to Bozhurluk (road 3002) to Stezherovo to Balgarene (road 303) to Malchika to Asparuhovo to Levski .

 

route b - 2:

      From Svistov (road 52 & 405) to Tsarevets to (road 302) to Dragomirovo to morava to Kozar Belene (road 301) to Levski.

Route b - 1

      The road from Svistov to Levski is along Osam River, it is very nice countryside, area is easy for pedaling in the both directions. No any traffic here. Several years ago I pedaled this route, but I have not any memories

 

about villages along the road, if food was available in, or not.

      Balgarene is a bigger village, I believe the food there is not a problem.

On the map above I point Oresh: next to the road is a Line Station - a nice place to relax; there is a water tap, very nice option for the hot summer days.

Next three photos illustrate the area between Stezherovo and Balgarene, a place I and my daughter Maya spent a nice night beneath the fool moon.

Route b - 2

      Comparing with the route b - 1, this one is in a more hilly area. I pedalled it early august '22, I can say, it was a pleasant experience. Food is available in all the villages along the road.

 

      A little disadvantage would be a pedalling no more than kilometers on the road E 83 next to Kozar Belene, but in this direction it is only a minute on this road. There is a train from Svistov to Levski as well.  

Photos from this area - I put in order from Levski to Svistov. 

The next photo in the middle is a typical view from Danube Plain.

The route from Levsti toward Lovech is given in the previous item.


Sector III. A - 3

 

Route c

From Svistov to Veliko Tarnovo

 

 

      I know that many tourist wish to visit Veliko Tarnovo. So, the next description is devoted to this destination. One more route toward Veloko Tarnovo I will give in the next point of this chapter as well (from Ruse).

 

      As a Capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom Veliko Tarnovo is a touristy destination, it is a popular among the tourists visiting Bulgaria. 

 

      The route is:

      From Svistov to Tsarevets to Kozlovets to Alekovo to Maslarevo to Obedinenie to stefan Stambolovo to Resen to Samovodene to Parvomaitsi to Gorna Oryahoviysa to Veliko Tarnovo.

 

 

     This road segment is in Danube Plane entirely. The area consists rolling hills of sunflowers and wheat. There are a lot of villages where food and water can be found out. Hills are not steep and no longer than 2 - 3 kilometers.  August 2015 I pedaled this route together with my daughter in the back direction, we spent a great time together.

 

      For better and more detail description I will split this road segment in three sections.

Sector III. A - 3. a

From Svistov to Obedinenie

The road profile chart shows the typical lay of the Danube Plane.


 

Sector III. A - 3. b

 

 

From Obedinenie to Samovodene

 

    Here are the next 40 beautiful kilometers toward Veliko Tarnovo. There are road segments which are in not so nice conditions, but no any traffic here and pedalling is a real pleasure.

      Photos ate from the end of August 2015, I and my daughter spend several very nice days exploring this area.

 

 

      The road profile chart shows again the typical lay of the Danube Plane.

More photos of this beautiful countryside.

 

 

 

 

Sector III. A - 3. c

 

 

 

 

      This Map is important; here is shown a way to avoid one of the most dangerous roads in BG E 85 and E 772: In Samovodene turn a little back (E85) and find the road toward Gorna Oryahovitsa and Arbanasi.

 

Yes, there will be a hill between Gorna Oryahovitsa and Veliko Tarnovo, yes, there will be a traffic there, but this road is forbidden for trucks and it is much more save than E 85.

 

      When you are in Arbanasi, a great view toward Veliko Tarnovo and Balkan will reveal in front of you.

      Arbanasi (5-6 kilometers north from Veliko Tarnovo) is also a touristy area, it is connected with Bulgarian history.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbanasi,_Bulgaria              https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-arbanasi-archeological-reserve/

      Several photos of Arbanasi. A great view is avaolable from Arbanasi toward Veliko Tarnovo and Balkan.

      As a Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, Veliko Tarnovo is very popular destination among tourists. A lot of information including overnight accommodation about Veliko Tarnovo can be found here:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veliko_Tarnovo

http://www.velikoturnovo.info/en/

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/veliko-tarnovo/

 

      Information about the second Bulgarian Kingdom can be seen here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bulgarian_Empire

There are a lot of monasteries in the region near Veliko Tarnovo. Here are several links supplying information about them:

http://www.bulgarianmonastery.com/en/region/

veliko_tarnovo_monasteries.html

http://www.velikoturnovo.info/en/monasteries/


If you choose to cross Balkan via Shipka Pass or Trevnenski Pass follow the road toward Dryanovo:

From Veliko Tarnovo to Shemshevo to Kereka to Dryanovo.

      The next map shows ways to cross Balkan starting from Veliko Tarnovo:

      - Shipka Pass (alt. 1200 m.): follow the toad I trace on the map above to avoid as much as possible road E 85;

      - Trevnenski Pass (alt. 960 m.), road 609: I do recommend it, very pleasant and scenic route;

 

      - Pass of the Republik (Hainboaz - road 55): definitely avoid it, extremely dangerous road;

      - Tvardishki Pass (alt. 1050 m.), roads 551 and 662, I do recommend it, very pleasant and scenic route;

      - Vratnik Pass (alt. 1100 m.), roads 551 and 53, I do recommend it, very pleasant and scenic route;


 

 

The route from Veliko Tarnovo to Elena (road 551)

 

      I will finish this Chapter with the route from:

      From Veliko Tarnovo to Debelets to Plakovo to Sredni Kolibi to Gardevtsi to Donkovtsi to Yakovtsi to Elena (road 551).

 

      I do recommend this route; the road is in very nice conditions, no any traffic here. HAVE IN MIND TO AVOID ROAD E85 - it is too busy road !!!

 

      It is a extreme beautiful area. The road is after reconstruction and never mind it is only one bed, the pedaling here is save - no any traffic.

        I did not pedaled the road segment from Debelets to Plakovo; the first three photos below are from Kilifarevo to Plakovo.

      Food is available in Plakovo. Supply with water here, the next water spring is not so close, and almost 10 km up the hill are to it.

 

The water from the spring is not very nice.

      Fortunately all the distance up the mountains is in very nice wood, you will pedal in the shade.

      On the highest point of the route is located Sredni Kolibi, and I do not remember food and coffee place are available in it, as well as in the next villages along the

   road. If my memory serves, a guest house was available somewhere in the region too. 

      The best place here is the area near Iovkovtsi Dam. There is an easy access to it (just before Yakovtsi), summer time the water is perfect to refresh, the place is

 

perfect for camp in the wilderness. Next to Yakovtsi there is a little hotel & restaurant.

      Elena is a touristy spot, architecture of XIX century is saved. There are overnight accommodation and nice restaurants in the town.  

       Information of Elena can be seen here:

https://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/elena/elena.html

 https://bulgariatravel.org/en/town-of-elena/

      Several photos from Elena:



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