VI. Routes: A. Sofia - Burgas



 

      Many bicyclists visiting Bulgaria after landing in Sofia, or entering in BG, intend to visit the Black sea side. Two are the most popular destination: Sofia – Burgas and Sofia – Varna.

      Further in my description in this Chapter I will give routes toward Burgas which avoid the intensive traffic as much as possible. It is important because the traffic along the main roads is especially intensive in the touristic period June - August.

      Route 1

      One of the best routes Sofia – Burgas in the both directions is the road N6 (E773) placed between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountains. (a part of it: Sofia - the Pentacle can be used as the shortest route towards Varna as well  - see chapter VI. Routes: B. Sofia - Varna). From Sofia to Sliven the area is mountainous, but the terrain is relatively easy to be bicycled, the scenery is perfect, places for camp in the wilderness are available everywhere (near very nice mountain rivers). It is the shortest distance between Sofia and Burgas – 390 km. as well. More intensive traffic is available near Kazanlak and along the road segment Sliven – Burgas.

       The route is:

       Sofia - Pirdop - Karlovo - Kazanlak - Sliven - Karnobat - Aytos - Burgas;

 

      Route 2

      As an alternative I will give one more route Sofia - Burgas:

      Sofia - Ihtiman - Belovo - Pazardjik - Plovdiv - Popovitsa - Parvomai - Dimitrovgrad - Topolovgrad - Elhovo - Sredets - Burgas.

      This route is a little longer: 445 km and includes Plovdiv, I know many people would like to visit it. The traffic near Plovdiv is more intensive, bud east from it I will point alternatives to avoid the traffic. East from Belovo the area is plane.

 

      Please, look also the Chapter IX. How to enter/leave SofiaI by bicycle, in it I have shown the easiest and safest roads to leave/enter Sofia towards Burgas (for route 1) and Plovdiv (for route 2).


    Route 1.

 

      Sofia - Pirdop - Karlovo - Kazanlak - Sliven - Karnobat - Aytos - Burgas.

 

      Further I have parted this route into 5 sectors:

 

      Sector V. 1 - A: Sofia - Pirdop

      Sofia - Dolni Bogrov - Gorna Malina - Dolno Kamartsi - Galabets Pass - Chelopech - Zlatitsa - Pirdop.

      This is a very pleasant road segment. Just after the Sofia ring, the traffic disappears – you are in the wilderness. After Gorna Malina you will enter in the mountain area. There are 2 hills (no longer than 1 - 2 kilometers each) having slopes of 10%. A longer hill called Galabets Pass you will find out  east from Dolno Kamartsi. 

      Down are several photos of this area.

      Overnight accommodations is available in Zlatitsa  and Pirdop. No much information for Pirdop and Zlatitsa can be seen here:

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

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

 

      There is even a velo lane between Pirdop and Zlatitsa.


      Sector V. 1 - B: Pirdop - Kalofer

      Pirdop - Anton - Koznitsa Pass - Rozino - Karnare - Sopot - Karlovo - Vasil Levski - Kalofer.

      Again it is perfect for bicycling road segment – maybe it is the most scenery road segment. Here is the longest hill – a pass between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountain called Koznitsa Pass. Beginning from Pirdop up to Koznitsa Pass the altitude difference is 330 meters. Climbing west – east is much easier than east - west, where climbing is almost 18 kilometers long beginning just after Rozino, where more than 200 meters difference in the altitudes is added. The next hill is placed between Vasil Levski (alt. 400 m.) and Kalofer (alt. 640 m.). Again climbing west - east is easier than east – west.

      In the middle of the hill Rozino - Koznitsa Pass there is a nice motel, a kilometer down toward Klisura.

      A chair type lift is available in Sopot. The view from the upper lift station is remarkable. If you like paragliding – it is the place to exercise it – you can fly attending by an instructor. Unfortunately their Home page has not an English language version.Information about Sopot is available here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopot,_Plovdiv_Province

 

      Information about Karlovo is available here:

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

 

     Information about Kalofer is available here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/265

 

      More information about towns  in this road segment is available here:

      http://bgtourinfo.net/karlovo.html

 

       Banya is also appropriate for overnight accommodation - there is a nice hotel and pool of thermal water near it, I can not find photos of this place.

       http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/502

      Next six photos are toward Kozjnitsa Pass - from Pirdop and from Rozino.

      The countryside toward Sopot and Kalofer.

     

      Sector V. 1 - B. 1

      Near Anton there is a possibility for off road – you can enter in the village, after the off road will lead you again to the main road after 10 – 11 kilometers. I love this place!

      Sector V. 1 - B. 2

 

      If you have more time, my suggestion is to visit Koprivstitsa – to the left after Anton, just at the end of the off road I have shown above.

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

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/18

      The place is connected with our history, the architecture from XIX century can be seen, and there are many small private hotels and local type restaurants.


      Sector V. 1 - C: Kalofer - Gurkovo

      The valley between mountains here is wider, as it can be seen of the road profile scheme  below all the road segment is easy for pedaling.

      Kazanlak - Buzovgrad - Rozovo - Razhena - Yagoda - Vetren - Nikolaevo - Gurkovo.

      In the fields near Kazanlak there are rose plantations - it is known as the "Rose's field", in the end of May when roses are flowering the fields are amazing. Unfortunately I have never visit this area in the period rouses are flowering.

      There is an interesting Thracian tomb near Kazanlak, unique frescos can be seen in it, I think it is under UNESCO protection. It is not possible to visit it, but in the local history museum there is a copy of it.  Several times I have mention Thracian in my Home Page - they were the ancient population living in the east part of Balkans, most of all they loved the war, wine and women.

 

      Information about Kazanlak and the tomb can be seen here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/42

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/14

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

      About this segment it can be said that the traffic near Kazanlak town – between Koprinka and crossroad toward Stara Zagora (Yagoda - road N5 - east from Kazanlak) is relatively intensive. On the map above I have shown an alternative route between points Kazanlak and Vetren (Sector V. 1 - C. 1) - I recommend it !!! In Kazanlak town turn to right toward Buzovgrad.

      Kazanlak - Buzovgrad - Rozovo - Razhena - Yagoda - Vetren - Nikolaevo - Gurkovo.

 

      Sector V. 1 - C. 1

      It is possible to head toward Koprinka Dam wall, (the crossroad just before Koprinka) after toward Buzovgrad, but this road is not labeled, nobody to give you an information there; a short segment of the off road (a kilometer) immediately after the dam wall is in very poor condition (the middle photo below).

     

    

      It is worth to mention one more spot in the Sector V. 1 - C - Pavel Banya (2-3 kilometers south from Road E871: it is a SPA resort, nice hotels and swimming pools of thermal water are available there -  you can spend an afternoon and night there.


      Sector V. 1 - D: Gurkovo - Sliven

      Towards Sliven town my suggestion is to leave road N6 and follow the route:

      Nikolaevo - Gurkovo - Konare - Tvarditsa - Sboriste - Shivachevo - Binkos - Seliminovo - Chintulovo - Sliven.

      It is one of my favorite road segments in BG, the touring here is pleasant, there is no any traffic along the road N 662 - parallel to the road N6. For the direction east - west I am not sure if in Sliven this road is signed well, never mind it is not hard to be found out - leaving Sliven, the road is along the railway Sliven - Sofia.

     Overnight accommodation is available in Tvarditsa and Sliven. Here there is information about Sliven:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliven 

 

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/

article/details/1033

 

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

      Sector V. 1 - D. 1

     The Balkan above Sliven is a saved zone called “The Blue Rocks”:

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/313

 

      There is a chair lift up the mountain (if my memory serves, the direction to the initial lift station in Sliven is signed well - there are several hotels close to the initial lift station). The chair lift is almost 2 kilometers long, the altitude between lift stations is almost 600 meters, for 20 min you will be in the mountain. A marvelous view is revealed to the field.

     

      On the map here I have pointed a place for relax – so called “Sliven Thermal Bath” or something like it:

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/415

      There are 2 swimming pools of thermal water, a sign toward a better one of them you will see entering in the resort coming from Zlati Voevoda (to left).

      I have never miss the possibility to relax here for an afternoon when I am bicycling in this area, but the places for overnight accommodation there I know are not very nice.


      Sector V. 1 - E: Sliven - Burgas

      Two routes are possible between Sliven and Burgas:

      Route A. 1:

      Sliven - the Pentacle - Karnobat - Aytos - Burgas.

      The area here is flat, it is easy and pleasant for pedaling, although west from Aytos there is a hill almost 6-7 km. long.

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Karnobat and Aytos. 

 

      Information about Karnobat:

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

      A nice relax spot in Karnobat is hotel Mirage - there is a nice swiming pool there, the hotel restaurant is nice as well.

      Information about Aytos:

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

      For overnight accommodation here I would recommend Hotel Gender - It is a cool place in this hot area. It is placed in park area formed like a mini ethno - village. Unfortunately I have not photos of this place.

     

 

 

      Sector V. 1 - E. 1 

 

 

      Bicyclists intending to visit Nesebar and Sunny Beach resort is better to avoid visiting Burgas town; they can use the route:

 

      Aitos - Mirolyubovo - Izvoriste - Bryastovets - Kableshkovo - Aheloy.

 

      In the touristy season (July - August) traffic here also is relatively intensive.

      The traffic here is relatively intensive (Route A. 1, Sector V. 1 - E), so maybe the next route (Route A. 2, Sector V. 1 - E) is better.

      Route A. 2   (Sector V. 1 - E):

      The best way to avoid the traffic Sliven - Burgas is to use the route:

      Sliven - Yambol - Voynika - Sredets - Burgas.

 

      In Sliven look for signs toward Yambol, after toward Sredets.

      Information about Yambol:

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

 

      Information about Sredets:

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

 

      As the road segment Yambol – Sredets was not maintained well a long time, drivers definitely avoid it, which makes pedaling there very pleasant and save. No any traffic here. The area is almost flat with no high rolling hills as ones behind me on the second photo below, it is a dry area as well, so  bring water with you. I recommend this route instead the previous one. Overnight accommodation is possible in Yambol and Sredets (just before enter in Sredets coming from Yambol there is a motel).

      I love this area to the middle of June (the second photo above, next to it is the same place in the end of August, summer '16), after the sun dries everything and the picture is yellow - brown as it can be seen in the photos I took in exceptionally hot and dry August '12 exploring this area with a couple from Belgium.


     

      Route 2.

      As an alternative of the previous route, I will give router Sofia - Burgas including Plovdiv:

      Sofia - Ihtiman - Belovo - Pazardjik - Plovdiv - Popovitsa - Parvomai - Dimitrovgrad - Topolovgrad - Elhovo - Sredets - Burgas.

 

      As I have mention, his route is a little longer: 445 km and includes Plovdiv, I know many people would like to visit it. The traffic near Plovdiv is more intensive, but east from it I will give alternatives to avoid the traffic. East from Belovo the area is flat.

 

      Please, look also the Chapter IX. How to enter/leave SofiaI by bicycle, in it I have shown the easiest and safest roads to leave/enter Sofia towards Plovdiv (for the route 2).

 

     In the Chapter II. Crossing Bulgaria from west (Serbian border) to east (Turkey border - Edirne) and south (Greece border), Sector II. B, Point 6. Sofia – Plovdiv – Svilengrad – Edirne I have shown routes to Sofia – Popovitsa (sector V. 2 - A on the map above). So, further I will illustrate only routes Popovitsa - Burgas.


      Sector V. 2 - B

      Route 2.1 (Plovdiv - Chirpan – Sliven - Burgas)         (the map above)

      Plovdiv - Popovitsa - Chirpan - Yavorovo - Stara Zagora - Nova Zagora - Sliven - the Pantacle - Karnobat - Aytos - Burgas.

      Avoid the high way A1.  Bicyclists intending to visit towns along this route can use the road E773. Area is flat and pleasant for bicycling at all, although not high rolling hills are available between Chirpan and Stara Zagora. July and August here is quite hot. There is a traffic along this road, especially near Stara Zagora, I can say it is not so intensive (maybe next suggestion concerning the traffic is better - Route 2.2). Ovrnight accommodation in Chirpan, Nova Zagora and Stara Zagora is not a problem.

      Links with information about this towns is here:

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

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

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

      In the same Chapter: Route 1., Sector V. 1 - E: Sliven - Burgas I have shown details concerning route Sliven - Burgas, down are several photos of the area between Popovitsa and Sliven.


      Route 2.2 (Plovdiv - Simeonovgrad - Elhovo - Sredets - Burgas)

      The first thing I want to say about sectors V. 2 - B. 1 to B. 4 is that since October 2015 the Motorway A4 is in exploitation, which has change the traffic intensity in the region considerably, never mind the traffic along E 80 is relatively intensive, so it would be better to avoid it as much as possible, (it can not be avoided between Plovdiv - Sadovo -  Popovitsa.) Further I will not post the road profile charts, area here is almost flat and easy for pedaling.

       Sector V. 2 - B.1         (Popovitsa - Dimitrovgrad - Simeonovgrad)

      Along all the routes in this sector there are many small villages, so food and water here are not a problem. Overnight accommodation is possible in Chirpan, Parvomai and Dimitrovgrad. What about in  Simeonovgrad, I am not sure.                      

      Information about these little towns can be seen here:

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

      http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Chirpan/205999/

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

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

      The best signed route here is:

      Sadovo - Popovitsa - Debar - Byala Reka - Varbitsa - Gorski Izvor - Dobrich - Dimitrovgrad - Brod - Zlatopole - Raynovo - Simeonovgrad.

      The three photos I put here are taken between Dimitrovgrad and Simeonovgrad.

      To avoid road E 80 as much as possible, I will suggest here several possibilities:

      Sadovo - Popovitsa - Debar - Parvomai - Karadzhalovo - Skobelevo - Stalevo - Yabalkovo - Krum - Dimitrovgrad - Brod - Zlatopole - Raynovo - Simeonovgrad.

      After Parvomai look for Karadzhalovo, the road here is not signed, but it is easy to be found out. The only photo I have from this route is my camp place 10 kilometers west from Dimitrovgrad.

      Another nice opportunity is to pedal toward Chirpan and after to turn toward Dimitrovgrad:

      Sadovo - Popovitsa - Milevo - Plodovitovo - Chirpan - Tsenovo - Tselina - Merichleri - Dimitrovgrad - Brod - Zlatopole - Raynovo - Simeonovgrad.

      There is not any traffic along this route, entire area is best for pedaling. I am not sure, if the road in Chirpan is well signed toward Tsenovo.

      Another way to reach Parvomai is:

      Popovitsa - Milevo - Plodovitovo - Parvomai -  . . . - Simeonovgrad,

      or:

       Popovitsa - Milevo - Vinitsa - Parvomai - . . . - Simeonovgrad, - have in mind that there are 2-3 kilometers off road between Milevo and Vinitsa, and this road is not signed - next three photos are just here.

      For the back route:  Burgas - Plovdiv for this road sector I would suggest:

      Simeonovgrad - Dimitrovgrad - Gorski Izvor - Popovitsa - Sadovo - Plovdiv.


      Sector V. 2 - B. 2: Simeonovgrad - Elhovo

      Because several opportunities are available here, I will part this route in 2 sectors:

      - Simeonovgrad - Topolovgrad (Sector V. 2 - B. 2.1);

      - Topolovgrad -  Elhovo (Sector V. 2 - B. 2.2).

 

      Very little information about Topolovgrad, Galabovo and Elhovo is available here:

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

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

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

 

      Sector V. 2 - B. 2.1

      Next three road profile charts will show why I give all these opportunities. In the hot summer days climbing here is not so pleasant, never mind the hills are not steep and long.

 

      - Route 2.2.3:

      Simeonovgrad - Svirkovo - Bogomil - Cherepovo - Balgarska Polyana - Hlyabovo - Topolovgrad ( - Elhovo)

     

      - Route 2.2.4:

      Simeonovgrad - Galabovo - Obruchiste - Mednikarevo - Vladimirovo - Orlov Dol - Topolovgrad ( - Elhovo);

 

      The climbing in the Route 2.2.3 is more than the one in Route 2.2.3 - I would not recommend the Route 2.2.3 when the weather is hotter. Bring water with you.

 

      If you hate climbing, you can avoid it pedaling toward Polski Gradets and Skalitsa (surrounding Topolovgrad) and head directly toward Sredets - the next variant:

      - Route 2.2.5:

       Simeonovgrad - Galabovo - Obruchiste - Mednikarevo - Polski Gradets - Matsa - Ovchi Kladenets - Skalitsa ( - Sredets).

 

      The entire area north from Galabovo - Polski Gradets - Matsa - Skalitsa is an industrial zone (coal -  mine), there are 3 big thermo electric power plants as well. The area is not polluted because the plants are supplied by filters, never mind, early in the morning you can feel the specific smelt of burned coals, especially when there is not a wind.

      Route 2.2.3 is away from this industrial zone.

      Sector V. 2 - B. 2.2

      - Both Route 2.2.3 and Route 2.2.4  (from sector V. 2 - B. 1.1) further coincide in:

      Topolovgrad - Knyazhevo - Elhovo (- toward Sredets);

      It is pleasant downhill bicycling.

 

      - The  Route 2.2.5  (from sector V. 2 - B. 1.1) further is:

      Ovchi Kladenets - Skalitsa - Miladinovtsi - General Inzovo - Tenevo - Simeonovo - Saransko - Tamarino (- toward Sredets).

      (Details concerning this route further toward Burgas can be seen in the same Chapter: Route A. 2 - Sliven - Yambol - Sredets - Burgas).

 

      - Route 2.2.6:

      Ovchi Kladenets - Skalitsa - General Toshevo - Goluam Manastir - Malak Manastir - Izgrev - Elhovo (- toward Sredets);

     

      As it can be seen in the map above, the climbing in the Route 2.2.3 & Route 2.2.4 is more (Sakar Mountain) comparing with the Route 2.2.6 (Manastirski hills).

 

      For the back route Burgas - Sofia, I recommend just this Route 2.2.5 (Burgas - Sredets - Tamarino) - it is easy for bicycling and away from the traffic! (Burgas - Sredets - Tamarino - Simeonovo - Tenevo - General Inzovo - Miladinovtsi - Skalitsa - Ovchi Kladenets - Vladimirovo - Obruchiste - Galabovo - Simeonovgrad - Dimitrovgrad - Popovitsa - Plovdiv - . . . Sofia).


      Sector V. 2 - B. 3

      Elhovo - Dobrich - Zlatinitsa - Bolyarovo - Golyamo Krushevo - Sredets.

   The route Elhovo - Sredets includes Strandzha Mountain, I can say this route toward Burgas is not difficult, except in the hot summer days, when temperatures here often are 35 - 38 deg C. If you want to avoid it, use Route 2.2.5.

      It is very pleasant for pedaling road segment, after the fields, now the area is hilly, there is also a nice wood covering a segment of the road as well as the road is in very nice condition. After Bolyarovo you will enter in Strandhza Mountain. The climbing here is not so much, nature is saved, the scenery is perfect. On the map I have shown a spot with restaurant and water spring (the forth photo below). Strandzha Mpuntain is a saved area - a Natural park:

       http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/95


      Sector V. 2 - B. 4

      This last road segment is from the above mentioned restaurant (point A) - Sredets - Debelt - Burgas.

      On the map above I have shown possible routes to pedal to different points at the seaside.

      The restaurant (point A on the map) is placed at the crossroad. If you head to the right, after 40 kilometers you will be on the road E 87 (route A - D) . It is very nice road in the wood, nobody use it. Bring food and water with you. I toured it June 2001, I still had no digital camera.

       Point A - Point D - Krushovets - Marinka - Burgas.

      Point A - Point D - Krushovets - Yasna Polyaba - Primorsko.

       You can continue to east further: route D - E to road N99 toward Tsarevo at the seaside. I did not explore this road segment, but I have reasons to believe it is like the road segment A - D.

      Point A - Point D - Point E - Tsarevo.


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