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



    

In this chapter I will give information for the routes to reach Sofia, entering from the Border Checkpoint Strezimirovtsi (BG / Serbian Border), as well as how to leave Bulgaria toward Macedonia (Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo & Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo and toward Greece (Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon).

      The sightseeing in this region worth to visit and see are Rilski Monastery and the region near Malnik town, I do not show them on the map in left). Drawing the routes, my intention is to avoid roads with intensive traffic as well.

 

 

 

Content

 

ROUTE A:

From / to Serbia:

     1. From Border Checkpoint Strezimitovtsi to Breznik to Sofia (sector II. B - 1);

     2. From Sofia to Pernik to Radomir (sector II. B - 2);

     3. Border Checkpoint Oltomantsi.

     

ROUTE B:

From / to North Macedonia:

     4. From Radomir to Border Checkpoint  Gyueshevo (sector II. B - 3);

 

 

ROUTE C:

From / to Greece (and North Macedonia):

      5. From Radomir to Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon (Greece)  and Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo (North Macedonia)  

(sector II. B - 4.        


ROUTE A: From / to Serbia:

Sector II. B - 1

1. From Border Checkpoint Strezimirovtsi to Sofia

      The route I suggest next is the safest one:

 

      From Strezimirovtsi (road 63) to Tran to Breznik (road 638) to Bozhuriste to Sofia,

        I recommend it to bicyclists entering or leaving Bulgaria via Border Checkpoint Strezimirovtsi. But as usual I will show some opportunities as well. The entire area (except the one just near Sofia) is perfect for camp in the wilderness.

      This is a locally used road between Bulgaria and Serbia, so the only thing I can say about it is that there is not much traffic, the area is very scenic, and it is well signed. For more detailed description I will breakdown this area into 3 segments:

Sector II. B - 1. a

 

      From Border Checkpoint Strezimirovtsi (road 63) to Glavanovtsi to Tran to Filipovtsi to Paramun to Mraketintsi to Paramun to Breznik.

      This is an easy and pleasant area to bicycle. I did not travelled this area the last 15 years, so if my memory serves, food shop was available in Filipovtsi.

      The is beautiful area to explore by bicycle, with hardly any traffic along the road. Overnight accommodations are possible in Tran.

 

The next links are information about Tran and hotel in Tran:

http://bnr.bg/en/post/100122427/the-bulgarian-town-of-tran     

http://www.tranhotels.com/en/home

      The three photos in left are taken between Breznik and Tran.

 

 

 

 

      An interesting gorge can be seen pedaling 2-3 kilometers from Tran down along Erma River.

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-gorge-of-erma-river/

 

      A hotel is available there as well.


Sector II. B - 1. b

      In this sector I will show two routes from Breznik to Sofia.

      Route a:  (I do recommend it!)

      From Breznik to (road 63) Babitsa (road 638) to Delyan to Zlatusha to Rosoman to Pozharevo to Gurmazovo to Bozhuriste (road 8) to Sofia.

 

      Two kilometers east of Breznik is the road to Sofia, it is signed very well. At the crossroad there is water and a little restaurant. Look for a sign with the words "Bozhuriste" to the left.

     The longest climbing is just after Breznik (alt. 750 m.): from Breznik to Babitsa and 3 more km to the top of the pass in Viskyar Mountin (alt. 942 m). Except for 2 - 3 km east from Zlatusha, the road toward Bozhuriste and Sofia is an easy downhill with a bicycle. Bring a spray against dogs in this area.

 

      What about Breznik, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is possible in it. Very little information about Breznik Municipality and Breznik can be seen here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/pernik/breznik

The next several photos illustrate this beautiful area

      Once reaching the mountain divide, a beautiful view is revealed toward Vitosha Mountain - to east and Balkan and the Field of Sofia to North. The photos here were taken in the early April '17.

Route b:

      From Breznik (road 811) to Arzan to Gurgulyat to Galabovtsi to Slivnitsa (road 8) to Bozhuriste to Sofia.

    A reverse route, traveling from Sofia to Strezimirovtsi, is also nice, although the climb is much longer.

 

      I would recommend it when leaving Sofia and Bulgaria and heading toward Serbia.

      This opportunity is again in a very nice area, although the traffic from Slivnitsa to Sofia is more intensive.

The next several photos are taken in the area between Breznik and Slivnitsa.

      Gurgulyat is connected with the our new history:

      http://visit.guide-bulgaria.com/a/1008/pantheon_of_the_perished_in_the_battle_for_gurgulyat.htm


Sector II. B - 1. c

 

 

 

     For bicyclists intending to bicycle toward Greece missing Sofia (Border Checkpoint Kulata) here I will suggest two routes:

 

      Route a:

      From Breznik (road 811) to Bogdanov Dol (road 605) to Batanovtsi to Radomir to (road 627) . . . to Border Checkpoint Kulata.

 

      Route b:

      From Breznik (road 63) to Mestitsa to Pernik (road 871) to Radomir (road 627) to Border Checkpoint Kulata.

 

 

 

 

 

      The route b is for bicyclists needing overnight accommodation - in Pernik it is not a problem. The traffic on E871 is relatively intensive, but the road has 2 strips and pedalling there is not dangerous.

 

 

 

      Both routes a & b  are a very nice 50 kilometre loop in my region. I pedal it every time I have 3 free hours.

Route a:

            From Breznik (road 811) to Bogdanov Dol (road 605) to Batanovtsi to Radomir to (road 627) . . . to Border Checkpoint Kulata.

        It is very nice, almost plane area without any traffic to the road E871. DO NOT drink the water from the 2 water springs you will see along this route, it really is not nice.
     The next several photos are the area from Breznik to Batanovtsi.  I pedal regularly this area in the autumn,   winter and spring. I post more photos illustrating the countryside in the different seasons.

Route b:

 

      From Breznik (road 63) to Mestitsa to Pernik (road 871) to Radomir (road 627) to Border Checkpoint Kulata.

        As I have mentioned, route b is for bicyclists needing overnight accommodation - in Pernik it is not a problem. The traffic on E871 is relatively intensive, but the road has 2 strips and pedalling there is not dangerous.

      Information for Pernik can be seen here:

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

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

      Several words for my native town Pernik - it is known with the mask festival. Each year in the end of January thousands of masked people rampage in the 

 

center of the town for 2 - 3 days. Last several years the festival is international, so the town is just as a loony bin.

http://www.studyenglishtoday.net/kukeri-festival-pernik.html


 

 

Sector II. B - 2

 

      2. From Sofia to Pernik to Radomir

 

 

 

 

     As it can be seen from the map below there are three possible routes between Pernik and Sofia:

 

      - Route A (Buchinski Pass):

       From Sofia to Malo Buchino to Golemo Buchino to Pernik.

My suggestion is to choose it; it is in very nice conditions and it is parallel to the motor road A3;

 

 

      - Route B (Lyulin Mountain):

      From Sofia to Bankya to Lyulin to Pernik.

It is easy to be find out from Pernik to Sofia, there is an off-road segment;

 

 

      - Route C (Vladaiski Pass):

      From Sofia to Vladaya to Dragichevo to Pernik.

The traffic here is intensive, I use this route when I enter in Sofia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      The scale on the map here is increased, so the routes I mention above can be seen much better.

 

 

 

 

      (Look also Chapter X.    How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle ).

 

 

      On next charts you can see and compare the road profile of the 3 routes:

 

 

 


Route a:

      This road:

      From Sofia to Malo Buchino to Golemo Buchino to Pernik.

  (in very nice condition) is parallel to the motorway A3, unfortunately it is unnamed. It is very convenient to pedal from Sofia to Pernik (and back) and I recommend it, no any traffic along it. 

      It is not easy to find out this road in Sofia. No any signs, I think here GPS device would work. Ask and look for Malo Buchino.

       The next map is more detailed one: Pedal along Boul. Alexander Stamboliiski - it is easy to find it, after go only straight on Suhodolska Str.

Be careful to avoid the motor road A3!


Route b:

      Beginning from Sofia it is easy to find the road toward Bankya, but after - it is not signed. The off road is steep

  up to the mountain divide and it is muddy in the raining seasons as well. From Pernik to Sofia it is easy to find out this road. Avoid this route when it is raining.

Next map shows the easiest route from Sofia city to Bankya.

      I am not sure if it is easy to find the road after Bankya toward Pernik, again the road is unnamed. GPS device surely will help here. Next several photos illustrate this   area. Again I will say that from Bankya to the divide you will climb an off road. From Pernik it is not a problem to find out this road.

      And several photos from Pernik toward Golemo Buchino - a road segment the same for both routes a & b. From the Centre of Pernik City there is a velo lane.


Route c:

      The traffic along this is very intensive, especially mornings toward Sofia and late afternoons in the back direction, as well as Sunday afternoons, it would be

  better to be avoided, especially when leave Sofia. Too much exhaustive gasses up to Vladaiski Pass. In the opposite direction the situation is a little better.

    

 

 

 

 

      An advantage here is that there is very convenient velo lane in Sofia town between point A (so called “Russian" Monument  the first photo below) and point B (behind Sofia Ring).

Once leaving Sofia an ascending begins toward Vladaya. Maybe this is the most unpleasant road segment here.
      In the end I would say here, that to leave Sofia by a train to Vladaya would be a nice decision. Look Chapter IX. Roads and trains in Bulgaria. Healthcare in Bulgaria         We will continue toward Radomir now. Further, the traffic on E871 from Pernik to Radomir is relatively intensive, but the road has 2 strips and pedalling there is not dangerous.

      The next little town is Radomir information for it:  Information about Radomir:       

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radomir_(town) 

      In the center of the town there is a hotel.


3. Border Checkpoint Oltomantsi    

      It is a place I still have not visited. This border checkpoint is of a local importance, as long as i am informed, no many people use it, so I believe, it is very nice to enter / leave BG. Lets hope I will find a time to explore this area soon.


       ROUTE B: From / to North Macedonia:

 

Sector II. B - 3

 

 

 

     Well, here you will be in a mountain area, so pedalling will be a challenge.

      Two are available border checkpoint on the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia pointed on the map in left as:

 

      2. Border Checkpoint Oltomantsi;

      3. Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo.

 

 

       More detail information I will give for routes from Sofia to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo.

 

 

 

Sector II. B. 3

4.  From Sofia to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo

      There are three opportunities to reach Gyueshevo Border Checkpoint from Pernik:

 

Route a:

      From Pernik (E781) to Radomir to Izvor to Dragomirovo to Tsarvenyano to Kyustendil to Vratsa to Garlyano to Rapentsi to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo .

      The route is along the international road E871 from BG to Macedonia. I would not say the traffic here is very intensive, but yes, it is available. The road is in nice conditions, I would not say it is a dangerous road.

 

Route b:

      From Pernik to Batanovtsi (road 6032) to Leskovets (road 603) to Kovachevtsi (road 6033) to Lobosh (road 

 

623) to Zemen (road 6233) to Blateshnitsa to Baykalsko to

Tsarvenyano (E781) to Kyustendil to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo.

      This opportunity gives a possibility to avoid the traffic along E871. The route is a little longer than the previous one, but it is in a very scenic area, my suggestion is if you have more time to pedal it.

 

Route c:

      As Konyavska Mountain is very steep from its south-west side, I recommend this route for bicyclists hating long and steep hills in the back direction: The route is:

      From Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo (E 781) to Kyustendil (road 62) to Nevestino to Dupnitsa (road 1) to Dren  (road 627) to Radomir (E781) to Pernik.

Route a

      From Pernik (E781) to Radomir to Izvor to Dragomirovo to Tsarvenyano to Kyustendil to Vratsa to Garlyano to Rapentsi to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo .

      The route is along the international road E871 from BG to Macedonia. I would not say the traffic here is very intensive, but yes, it is available. The road is in nice

 

conditions, I would not say it is a dangerous road. In the previous item I have mention several words for Pernik, Radomir and the road from Pernik to Radomir.

      leaving Radomir the road enter in the field of Radomir, toward Izvor the pedalling is easy. Next to Izvor there is a restaurant, several kilometers further 2 restaurants more and a tap with drinkable water. 

      The climbing of Konyovska Mountain from this side is not steep and long. On the top of the pas there is a restaurant, a little further again a nice tap of fresh eater. An interesting street art was available in Tsarvenyano - a wood bicyclist, I think it was a real one, woodened while climbing this extremely steep and long south west side of Konyvska Mountain (I think it is the  harder pass in BG -

  the slope is 12 - 13 %). Anyway, if you decide to climb the mountain, my suggestion is to begin climbing the pass no later than 8 am in the hot summer days. . . . . . but in our direction it follows long and steep down the mountain bicycling. It it the road segment, where I got the highest speed with my bicycle - 62, 5 km/hour.

      Kyustendil is placed in a deep hollow, surround by mountains. The view toward it from both Osogovo Mountain and Konyovska Mountain is great. There are a lot of gardens of cherry and apple trees around the town.

 

     The town is known as a spa center as well because of the thermal springs in it. There are several nice places for overnight accommodation in it. Information for Kyustendil

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

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/sw/kyustendil/kyustendil/kyustendil

      Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo is located high in Osogovo Mountain, so  from Kyustendil toward it the climbing is long  and permanent. I would not say it is hard. unfortunately I do not remember if in the small villages along the road there were food shops and water. Gyueshevo is a bigger village just before the border, but is not on E871, to visit it, you have to leave E 871.

 

      In the back direction the route is most the perfect - the view from Gyueshevo down toward Kyustendil is great.

 

      Unfortunately I have not photos from this area.

      As I have mentioned above, the climbing of Konyvska Mountain from Kyustendil toward Radomir is not easy. It is maybe the only pass in BG, where the slope is permanent and heavy - 12 - 13% for all the distance of

 

approx 9 kilometres. My suggestion is to begin climbing the pass no later than 8 am in the hot summer days.

      But if you do not love to pedal long and steep mountains, look further for the route c.


Route b    

      To bicyclists who want to avoid road E 871 is my next suggestion and add 20 more kilometres I suggest the next route:

      From Pernik to Batanovtsi (road 6132) to Leskovets

  (road 603) to Kovachevtsi (road 6033) to Lobosh (road 623) to Zemen (road 6233) to Blateshnitsa to Baykalsko to Tsarvenyano (E781) to Kyustendil to Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo.

      In the previous item I have mention several words for Pernik and the road from Pernik toward Batanovtsi, so I will not repeat it here.

       The distance from  Batanovtsi to Zemen is very

  pleasant, it crosses of first not high Cherna Gora Mountain (Monte Negro), after it is along Pchelintsi Dam. There is not any traffic here. several photos illustrating this area:

       A little information for Zemen:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/pernik/zemen/zemen

 

      I know there is a hotel next to it, I am not sure if it is at work.  You can visit Zemenski Monastery built in X - XI century - one of the oldest in Bulgaria: I have heard that

 

people from France are interested from this monastery, I do not know why. There are some connections with the Templar and Crusades.

http://visit.guide-bulgaria.com/a/521/zemen_

monastery_of_st_joan_bogoslov.htm

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-zemen-monastery/

 

 

     From Zåmen starts climbing of Konyavska mountain up to road E 871.

 

      Next to Baykalsko - almost on the top of the Pass you can see "Choklyovsko Blato"- a unique swamp known with interesting botanic specimens. The zone is protected.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUITW9iIrOA

 


Route c   

      As I have mentioned above, the climbing of Konyvska Mountain from Kyustendil toward Radomir is not easy. It is maybe the only pass in BG, where the slope is permanent and heavy - 12 - 13% for all the distance of approx 9 km.

 

So for bicyclists entering in BG from Macedonia who hates hard climbing, I would suggest the next route: 

      From Border Checkpoint Gyueshevo (E 781) to Kyustendil (road 62) to Nevestino to Dupnitsa (road 1) to Dren  (road 627 )to Radomir (E781) to Pernik.

       I have never pedalled the distance from Kyustendil to Dupnitsa, but I know the road is nice and not dangerous

  for pedalling. In the next item there will be information for Dupnitsa and the road from Pernik toward this city.

ROUTE C:

 

      From / to Greece (Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon) and North Macedonia (Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo)

 

 

 

      Here I will give the routes:

 

      From  Radomir to Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad to the Border Checkpoints Kulata - Promahon (Greece) & Zlatarevo - Novo Selo (North Macedonia),

 

as well as some available opportunities.

 

 

5. From Radomir to Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon

 

Sector II. B - 4

 

     Three are available border checkpoint on the border between Bulgaria & Macedonia and BG &Greece pointed on the map in left as:

 

      - North Macedonia:

      4. Border Checkpoint Logodash:

      My suggestion is to avoid Border Checkpoint Logodash; it is used from trucks, the traffic is intensive.

      5. Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo: 

      The route toward Sofia is overlapped with the one from Sofia toward Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon.

 

      - Greece:

       6. Border Checkpoint Kulata - Promahon.

 

     The road segment from Blagoevgrad to Simitli to Kresna is a spectacular gorge, but it is one of the most dangerous road segments in Bulgaria, Almost each second day here there is a heavy accident. There is one very dangerous tunnel in the gorge – no any visibility in it, the road in it is narrow. DO NOT BICYCLE IN IT !!!

 

       If you explore this area, I would suggest you to take on the train in the segment Blagoevgrad (or Simitli) - Kresna. There are at least 4 trains a day in each directions, no any problem to load your baggage&bike on the train! :

        https://www.bdz.bg/en/


 

 

Sector II. B - 4. a

 

    

      The most important here is to avoid the Motor road A3 and E871 as well.

     

       On the left map I have shown 3 possible routes between Radomir and Blagoevgrad (Simitli). The shortest and easiest route is route a (I recommend it in the back direction), but the most scenic - route c.

 

 

      Route a:

      From Radomir (road 627) to Chervena Mogila to Drugan to Dolna Dikanya to Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad.

 

 

      Route b:

      From  Radomir (road 604) to Varba to Kosharite to Boboratsi to Zhedna (road 623) to Bobovdol to Mlamolovo to Malo Selo to Golemo Selo to Dzherman to Blagoevgrad.

 

 

      Route c:

      From  Radomir (road 604) to Varba to Kosharite to Boboratsi to Zhedna (road 623) to Bobovdol to (road 602) Babino to Gorna Koznitsa to (road 621) Tavalichevo to Katriste to Nevestino Boboshevo to Blagoevgrad.

 

 

 

Sector II. B - 4. a

 Route a

 

 

      From Radomir (road 627) to Drugan to Dren (road 1)  to Dupnitsa

 

 

 

      As it can be seen from the road profile chart below, here there is not a significant slopes, I can say it is the easiest way to pedal this distance. The longest hill in the back direction is the one just after Dupnitsa toward Sofia, it is almost 10 kilometers bur it is not hard to be pedalled.

 

      Restaurants are available at the crossroads toward Dolna Dikanya and Dren.

 

      Approaching toward Dypnitsa, a great view of Rila Mountain is just in from of you. The area is especially impressing in the spring time - to the end of May, when the field and trees are in flowers and Rila Mountain is still covered by snow.

 

      The next photos illustrate the country side in the field of Radomir and my camp place there in the middle of September '16.

Here you will cross several times the motor road A3.

     

      When you come to Dupnitsa it is important to leave road 1 which surround the town.

      The crossroad for leaving road 1 is a little complicated (the last photo above), but is is signed well. As I have pointed on the left map, there is a dangerous tunnel, it would be better to avoid it, never mind the road is wide enough.

      Entering in the town , you can enjoy of a coffee place or some restaurant.

      If you are pedaling in the back direction, follow signs to the town center.

 

 

      Dupnitsa is an appropriate place as an initial point to research Rila Mountain.

      Down are several photos from Dupnitsa.

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

 


Sector II. B - 4. a

 Route b

 

 

 

 

       It is one very nice route. The entire area is very spectacular, there is not absolutely any traffic. I travelled it only one time years ago, I remember that just before Bobovdol there were a road segment with not nice road cover. Soon after Breznik you have to leave road E871:

 

 

      From Radomir to Varba to (road 604) to Kosharite to Boboratsi to Zhedna (road 623) to Bobov dol to Mlamolovo to Malo Selo to Golemo Selo (road 62) to Dupnitsa.

 

      I do not remember if in the villages along the road food was available but Bobov Dol, it is a bigger settlement.

 

      The road profile segment shows that climbing of Konyavska Mountain here is not so much, as well as it is not so steep.

 

      I think in the back direction the route a is better.

 

 

      The next several photos are the area from Radomir to Bobov Dol. I do not remember if in the villages along that road there were food shops, but in Bobov Dol there is food.

      Several photos illustrating the countryside from Bobov Dol toward Dupnitsa are taken from a four day trip I and my daughter did in this area in the beautiful Eastern 2007.

 

Rearranging this Chapter in the 2022, I am sad seeing how fast the time is passing . . .

      Bobov Dol is a little city knowing with coal mining.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/kyustendil/bobov_dol/bobov_dol

      Toward Blagoevgrad both routes a & b coincide after Dupnitsa:

      From Dupnitea to Dzherman to Usoyka to Mursalevo to Blagoevgrad.

 

      It is road 1, which is parallel to the main road A3 (E 79). The traffic here is a little bit more intensive especially weekends, when people visit Rilski Monastery, I would not say it is a dangerous road. Along the road there are restaurants, food here is not a problem.

      The road is pleasant to be bicycled in both directions.


Sector II. B - 4. a

 Route c

 

 

       From Radomir (E871) to Izvor to Tsarvenyano to Konyavo (road 602) to Gorna Grastitsa (road 621) to Katriste to Nevestino (road 104) to Chetirtsi to Pastuh to Boboshevo.

 

      As an alternative of the routes a & b, I can recommend another one: route c.

Never mind it is longer than another 2 routes in this direction, when I am touring in this direction, I always prefer to hit this road: amazing countryside, no any traffic.

 

      Here I will give information for a part of this route: between Bobov Dol and Boboshevo, I will not repeat information given in the previous routes.      

 

 

      Food can be found out in Nevestino, I do not remember if food shops were available in the other villages along the road.

      leaving Bobov Dol,  the road toward Tavalichevo follow the south end of Konyavsta Mountain, there are hills, it is not hard for pedalling at all. The next pictures

 

are taken in the end of May, my favourite season: the green fields and Rila Mountain still covered by snow.

      Have in mind the road in Tavalichevo toward Katrishe is not signed.

      Nevestino is known with its thermal water and an old bridge built XVI, or XVII century. Unfortunately there is not a swimming pool of thermal water in it.

 

 

 

    Leaving Nevestino it follows a wonderful 25 km long Struma River Gorge. Road is in very nice condition, no any traffic.

      Further you will see a little ancient chapel (and a tap of water next to it) - you can lit a candle in it and pray to local Gods to appoint an Angel to fly over you and assists and guards you to Bulgaria/Greece border.

       Toward Boboshevo. There is not many places along the gorge nice for a wild camping.

      Boboshevo is a little city, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it.

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/kyustendil/boboshevo/boboshevo

      Leaving Boboshevo to road N1, you will cross Rilska River - very nice area to camp near it. grossing the motor road, you will find road N1.


      Before saying several words for Blagoevgrad, I'd like to mention, that a place which is worth to visit here is Rlski Monastery: information about it can be seen in the Chapter VII.  Nice routes in mountains: RILA Mountains, Point 4. Rilski Monastery.


      Blagoevgrad is one of the the regional centre of the south - west corner of the country. Information about Blagoevgrad:

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

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

      Several photos from Blagoevgrad.

Out of the town in direction toward Rila Mountain is the town garden.

      The road segment from Blagoevgrad to Simitli to Cherniche to Kresna is a spectacular gorge, but it is one of the most dangerous road segments in Bulgaria, Almost each second day here there is a heavy accident. There is one very dangerous tunnel in the gorge – no any visibility in it, the road in it is narrow. DO NOT BICYCLE IN IT !!!

       If you explore this area, I would suggest you to take on the train in the segment from:

     - Blagoevgrad,

     - or Simitli,

     - or Cherniche to Kresna.

      There are at least 4 trains a day in each directions, no any problem to load your baggage&bike on the train:      https://www.bdz.bg/en/

      I ALWAYS DO IT !!! The next photo is Blagoevgrad Line Station.

 

 

A road profile chart from Blagoevgrad to Simitli to Cherniche.

       My suggestion is to pedal the road from Blagoevgrad toward Simitli and Chernice, although it is a little hard to fond this road going through Blagoevgrad.

      As it can be seen from the map in below, there is a local road next to the road N 1, but in Blagoevgrad it would be a little hard to find it out, so here GPS device would be useful.

      Simitli is little town, accommodation in it is possible. Some information about it:

       http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/blagoevgrad/simitli/simitli

      If you pedal South - North, this local road it easy to be find in Cherniche or Simitli, so in this direction you can take on the train in Kresna (the first photo in left shows a hotel in Kresna) and take off the train in Cherniche, Simitly or Blagoecgrad.

 

      Overnight accommodation in Kresna is available. Information about Kresna:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/blagoevgrad/kresna/kresna

      Photos from Kresna, and its Line Station and my bike waiting for a train toward Cherniche.


Sector II. B - 4. a

 

      Here is the route from Kresna to Border Checkpoint Kulata (Greece):

      From Kresna to Gorna Krushitsa to Mikrevo to Drakata (roed 1082) to Valkovo to Struma to Lebnitsa to Ribmik (road 108) to (E 79) Border to Checkpoint Kulata,

      as well as the route from Kresna to Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo (Nortn Macedonia):

       From Kresna to Ribmik to (road 108) Petrich to (road 198) Parvomai to Strumeshnitsa to Border to Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo.

 

      The road segment from Kresna to Ribnik is very pleasant for pedalling in both directions. In each small village there are food shops, there are a lot of water springs between villages. Pedaling down Struma River, at your right is Ograzhden Mountain, at your left - Pirin Mountain. The view is very impressive.

      Bicyclists pedalling in the back direction MUST take a train from Kresna to Cherniche (or to Simitli or Blagoevgrad) The road segment from Kresna to Cherniche is extremely dangerous one with a crazy traffic. There are 4 trains a day in this direction.

      Here is very important to avoid E 79, the traffic along it is extremely intensive.

      When you take off the train at Kresna Line Station, you have to be a little back to find a bridge over Struma River: look for Gorna Krushitsa. I remember that pedaling back to Kresna from the Line Station, you have to follow signs for a hotel (the first photo below) - signs will lead you to the road you need - just behind the hotel is the bridge over Struma River.

      The road profile chart shows that the pedalling along Struma river would be very pleasant in both directions.

      Pedalling here down toward Ribnik you will see no more than 10 cars.

      After Gorna Krushitsa (the first picture below) the road is in not nice conditions, but it is only 1/4 mile (there will be no mud there if it is raining), after it will be again asphalt.

      Food and water supply here is not a problem.

      Reaching Ribnik, you have to turn left (the last pic below where is the sign to Sofia) and go on the Motor road E 79 to the BG/Greece Border Checkpoint Kulata.

 

 

Sector II. B - 4. a - 01

 

      Next opportunity is purposed for more adventurer explorers. It will give opportunities to visit an interesting place "Rupite", as well as to avoid the motor road E 79.

      Close to Ribnik is a place named Rupite (signed well along the road, as it can be seen from the photos below). It is formed like a park, there is a church there. A part of her life there spent one well known and popular Bulgarian clairvoyant, in fact she built the church.

 

      A lot of interesting information about Rupite can be found out in the next cites:

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

      http://www.twoheads.info/rupite/

      https://bulgariatravel.org/en/rupite/

      According to the geologist the place itself presents remains of ancient volcano crater. The only thing remembering this volcano is a hot 75 deg of C thermal spring. It forms a lot of pools of water & mud and people (me too) love to wallow in it for hours.

      You can choose a pool having appropriate temperature for you - as further from the spring, as cooler. Have only in mind there are leeches in cooler pools - I saw several. I can say they did not pay any

 

attention on me maybe because of too much food for them in the pools, or they are addicted to rhesus factor & blood group of natives.

      According other specialists the place is special, it is an energy place.  After wallowing in the pool I camped next to this place. Really in the morning I felt recharged, I only am not sure if it was because of the special place, or because of my little bottle of whiskey I took before sleeping.

      But my idea is another. If you move a little further toward train line (just behind me next to the hill) you will

  see a line bridge. Cross the river below it - it is easy and go further along the off road next to the train line.

      After go up to the train line, there is the second bridge over Struma River. There is a track for walkers, use it to

  cross the river. After 1/4 mile along the railway, you will be in General Todorov.
 
 Sector II. B - 4. b - 02

      After General Todorov, you will see the sign, which will direct you toward Border Checkpoint Kulata.

      On the map in left if you follow the route:

      From General Todorov to Marikostinovo to Marino Pole to Chocholigovo to Kulata, you will avoid  the motor road E79 as much as possible.

      Just this route I did not pedaled so far.


      In the end, Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo can be used as a point to leave, or enter in Bulgaria (Sector II. B - 4. a):

       From Border Checkpoint Zlatarevo - Novo Selo  (road 198) to Strumeshnitsa to Parvomai to Petrich to ribnik to Kresna.

      Again I did not pedalled this route except from Ribnovo to Petrich. Some information for Petrich and several photos.

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/blagoevgrad/petrich/petrich

 

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


Places to visit in this area:

      If you are touring in this region it would be interesting to visit the next places:

 

      Sandanski (very nice spa center):  

Look in the Chapter: VII.  NICE ROUTES IN MOUTAINS: PIRIN Mountains, point 6. Sandanski.

 

      Melnik (amazing place! DO NOT MISS IT !!!):  

Look in the Chapter: VII.  NICE ROUTES IN MOUNTAINS: PIRIN Mountains, point 7. Melnik;



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