VI. Routes: D. From Sofia to Plovdiv (to Edirne in Turkey)



       For the routes from Sofia to Edire here I would suggest three opportunities. According the time you have and areas you love to explore:

Route A

     This route is the easiest and shortest one, the pedaling is in Thracian field:

       From Sofia to Belovo to Pazardzhik to Plovdiv to Haskovo to Harmanli to Svilengrad to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo to Edirne;

Route B

      This route could be one of the most scenic routes you

 

will explore area between Balkans and Sredna Gora Mountain from Sofia to Kazanlak:

      From Sofia to Sopot to Kazanluk to Nova Zagora to Svilengrad to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo;

 

Route C

This route is the longest. It is a wonderful place for bicyclists loving mountain areas -  Rodopi Mountains:

      From Sofia to Ihtiman to Belovo to Velingrad to Dospat to Smolyan to Kardzhali to Momchilgrad to Border Checkpoint Ivailovgrad to Edirne.

For bicyclists having no time to research the routes below in detail, have in mind be aware the traffic at the Border Checkpoint in red is very heavy.


From Sofia to Plovdiv to Edirne (in Turkey)

Route A

      The next route is the shortest distance from Sofia to Edirne:

      From Sofia to Elin Pelin to Vakarel to Ihtiman to 

 

Kostenets to Belovo to Pazardzhik to Plovdiv to Popovitsa to Haskovo to Harmanli to Svilengrad to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo to Edirne.

It is the easiest and shortest route from Sofia to Edirne. Once reaching Vakarel, you will be pedaling down the hill to Edirne. Later, I will give more detailed road profile charts

     The route from Sofia to the border checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo is a segment of the ancient General Roman military road Vindobona:

From Vienna to Singidumun (Belgrade) to Naissus (Nis)

 

to Remesiana (Bela Palanka) to Tures (Pirot) to Skretiska (Kostinbrod) to Serdica (Sofia) to Philippopolis (Plovdiv) to Adrianople (Edirne)  to Byzantium to Constantinople.


For more detail description I will devide Route A into 4 sectors:

Sector I. D - 1

From Sofia to Pazardzhik (distance 110 km.) to Plovdiv

Sector I. D - 2

From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv to Popovitsa (distance 65 km.)

 

Sector I. D - 3

From Popovitsa to Harmanli (distance 82 km.)

Sector I. D - 4

From Harmanli to Edirne (distance 66 km.)



1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik (to Plovdiv)

Sector VI. D - 1

      In this sector I will give five opportunities (routes a - e) to reach Pazardzhik from Sofia. You can choose the best of you according the time you have and area you would prefer to explore. 

Route a

From Sofia to Elin Pelin to Novi Han to Vakarel to Ihtiman to Kostenets to Belovo to Pazardzhik.

      It is the most most popular road among the long distance bicyclists. The road is easy to be pedaled in the direction west east. It is also just as popular a route

 

pedaling in the reverse direction, too. Food, water, overnight accommodations along the route are not a problem.

 

      The next route I would recommend to more adventurous peddlers loving to explore the mountain area as well as loving the wild camping:

Route b

From Sofia to Ihtiman to Muhovo to Lesichovo to Kalugerovo to Dragor to Pazardzhik.

     The next 2 routes I would recommend again to more adventure pedlers loving to explore the mountain area  (Sredna Gora Mountain) as well as loving the wild camping:

Route c

From Sofia to Elin Pelin to Vakarel to Poibrene to Oboriste

 

to Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Levski to Pazardzhik;

Route d

From Sofia to Gorna Malina to Bailovo to Petrich to Poibrene to Oboriste to Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Levski to Pazardzhik,

      And one more route including Samokov.  I know some bicyclists want to visit Samokov and Borovets Resort using road 82. Because road 82 has heavy traffic I suggest this alternative as a safer route.

 

Route e

From Sofia to Bistritsa to Zheleznitsa to Kovachevtsi to Relovo to Samokov to Dolna Banya to Kostenets to Belovo to Pazardzhik.



1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

routes a & b

Route a (road 8)       

      It it is the shortest route from Sofia to Plovdiv, and most of pedlers prefer to pedal it:

      From Sofia to Dolni Bogrov to Musachevo to Elin Pelin

 

to Elin Pelin Line Station to Novi Han to Vakarel to Ihtiman to Mirovo to Momin Prohod to Kostenets  to Belovo to Pazardzhik.

      Leaving Sofia safely by bicycle, look in:

      1. 1.  Leaving Sofia (see also the Chapter IX. 

How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle

 

The direct road to leave/enter Sofia towards/from Plovdiv

 

is so called Tsarigradsko shose Str. (N 7 on the map below), after the ring around Sofia it becomes the motorway Trakiya (A1). It is one of the most dangerous roads in Sofia and bicycling along it is forbidden. AVOID IT !

      It will be much better to head east along what is referred to as Botevgradsko shose Str. (N 8 on my map above (E 871) on the map above). Evan though in Sofia,    you will see this road is signed towards Vidin / Varna / Ruse / Burgas, take this road !!!

Sector VI. D - 1. a

1. 2.  From Sofia to Ihtiman (road 8) 

The road profile chart

      With "R" on the map above I point out restaurants available on the road. Just after crossing the ring around Sofia, follow the sign toward Burgas (to right - pic. 1). Move ahead to the next crossroad and again you have to follow the sign toward Burgas (to right again - pic. 2). So heading toward Burgas you will avoid Vitinia Pass and motor way A2.

 

      At the next crossroad head toward Musachevo and Elin Pelin (pic. 3 and 4 again to right). Just after entering Elin Pelin (it is not necessary to go to the center of the city), turn to the right Doganovo (pic. 6) and continue on. Mountain Lozen will be in front of you, it is the south direction. 

This is the safest way to leave Sofia !!! I would recommend using the same route entering in Sofia coming from Plovdiv.

At the highest point of the route Just before enter in Vakarell there was a pylon, now it is not there, I have a reason to leave photos with it below. The elevation here is 860 meters.

     Once Vakarel (altitude 860 m.) is reached, a quite impressive view is revealed toward Rila Mountain, especially in the spring, when the area here is green and Rila Mountain is still covered by snow.

 

      The photos do not do justice to the beauty of this entire area beyond Vakarel. These three pictures are taken in the middle of April. The visibility is much better than May. 

My camp place just after Ihtiman (east from it) in the late August '21.

On the next map is another nice camping place; coming from Sofia, just before entering Vakarel, head toward Selyanin. 2022 I camped there twice

Several kilometers of the road after Vakarel, down toward Ihtiman, the road is in very bad condition.

Drivers definitely avoid this road segment.

Next little town down the hill is Ihtiman:

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/sofia/ihtiman/ihtiman

 

Overnight accommodations here are possible although it would be best to avoid Ihtiman. On the other hand, there are coffee places and restaurants.

 


1. 3. Sector VI. D - 1. b

From Ihtiman to Pazardzhik

The route is:

From Ihtiman to Mirovo to Kostenets to Belovo to Lozen to Zvanichevo to Pazardzhik.

 

      This is one of the most pleasant road segments for bicycling and the road profile chart shows it. This part of route is not hard in the reverse direction either, even with the many kilometers of a grade.

The area from Sofia down to Belovo is not very nice for camping in the wilderness. Either the local road is next to

 

the motor road A1, or no enough place in the gorges. Below is where I camp, just after Ihtiman.

Toward Mirovo and Momina Klisura. Mirovo is very little village, there is a food shop in it.

      The next village is Momin Prohod, a place with nice thermal water, but still not developed as a resort place.

      There is a restaurant in Monin Prohod and very nice, but hot (80 deg C), spring of water.

 

      No much information concerning Momin Prohod:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/momin-prohod/

 

      Going further you will reach Kostenets, a little town, I do not like it as well.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/sofia/kostenets/kostenets

 

The next are the two opportunities next to Kostenets


 ٭Opportunities:                           1. Dolna Banya:

      If you need overnight accommodations, visit either Dolna Banya or Kostenets Village  placed 10 and 9 kilometer respectively away from Kostenets - look the map above. Both places are little spa resorts having nice springs of thermal water, and places for relaxing for an afternoon, or over night.

      Just entering in the Dolna Banya (road 82), you will see a hotel and a beautiful swimming pool of thermal water near it.  The hotels garden, restaurant, and especially the swimming pool are perfect. More information about Dolna Banya can be seen here:

http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/dolna_banya/dolna_banya.htm

      A little further is called Complex Europe (it is easy to be seen from the road, maybe it is the best place in Dolna Banya, and a little more expensive. There are three perfect swimming pools with thermal water of different temperatures. You can choose the best for you. Another advantage is that it is not crowded like the first I have mentioned above. 

      Another nice place up the road is hotel Nikol, I have not photos of it.

The road toward Dolna Banya and three photos of Dolna Banya in the winter.

      2. Kostenets Village: And the next place I want to mention is Kostenets Village (10 km south-west from Kostenets), a place with 2-3 nice hotels for relax and beautiful thermal water (the road toward it is not

 

numbered on the maps).

I like it much more than the little town Kostenets. There is a waterfall, really it is not Niagara, but still lovely to walk to it.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/sofia/kostenets/kostenets_v


      Pedalling toward Belovo, near Gabrovnitsa you will find a nice restaurant. The road segment to Belovo is really nice to be pedaled.

        The next several photos, I took in different seasons,  illustrate the countryside from Kostenets to Belovo.

Belovo is a little town, with overnight accommodations available.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/pazardjik/belovo/belovo

      East from Belovo (just near the road) there is very nice swimming pool of mineral water (26 deg C), a perfect place to have a beer while relaxing for an afternoon.

      East from Belovo already you are entering in Thracian Field. The next several photos illustrate the countryside of Thracian Field toward Pazardzhik.


Pazardzhik

(Pazardzhik or Pazardjik, the city is signed differently on maps.)

 

 

     

      It is not as big as Plovdiv. Most importantly, the traffic in it also is not as intensive as in Plovdiv. It is easy to orientate in it, nice hotels and restaurants in the area are at acceptable prices.

      In the link below more information concerning this town is available, I will not write about it here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pazardzhik

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/pazardjik/pazardjik/

pazardjik

 

      For accommodations in Pazardzhik, I would recommend Hotel Acropolis:

 http://acropolispz.com/index_eng.htm

Pazardjik, Boul. Hristo Botev 17, tel.: 034/45 10 45; cell tel: 0898 662 702,

e-mail: acropolispz@abv.bg     

     

      Everywhere in the city there are a lot of labels which will lead you to the hotel, you easy will recognize the place seeing the red bicycle lane in front of it.

 

      It would be nice to stay and relax here for a night, because:

       - It is very easy to find;

-                - The hotel can be recognized easily by the new red bicycle lane just in front of it the right side of the street going to North (the photos below);

-               - The hotel is clean, the rooms are air conditioned, which is important in this town, where summer temperatures often are more than 40 deg C;

            - Opinions of the hotel guests are very nice;

-                - The hotel restaurant offers nice dishes, the staff speak very good  English;

             - The hotel has good Wi Fi;

-                - There is easy access to a free room for bicycle and pannier storage.

      Plovdiv is much more popular tourist destination. But, it would be better to stay a night in Pazardzhik. In Pazardzhik  is less expensive and a calm town to end

 

your day. It is easy to find a hotel with nice restaurants and gardens.

      Several photos of Pazardzhik and its town garden.


Sector II. B - 1. b - 1

The traffic on road N8 after Belovo and especially after

  Zvanichevo is intensive. A way to avoid the traffic along road N8 is shown on the next map.

      Follow the route:

 

      From Belovo to Semchinovo to Simeonovets to Varvara to Vetren Dol to Patalenitsa to Lyahovo to Mokriste to Pazardzhik.

 

      There are no high hills here, pedalling is pleasant, you will be next to Rodopi Mountain. At your left side there will be a nice view toward Thracian Field.

      The several next pics are between Belovo, Semchinovo  and Simeonovets with its church and bell tower. 

Toward Varvara

 

 

 

Varvara (and Vetren Dol)

 

 

 

      In Varvara there is a nice motel and swimming pool of mineral water. On summer weekends (June - August) this area is very crowded with tourists and room reservations will be needed Friday & Saturday nights in the motel.

 

 

 

 

Some information for Varvara and Vetren Dol:

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/pazardjik/septemvri/varvara

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/pazardjik/septemvri/vetren_dol

There is another possibilitiy for overnight accommodation in Varvara or Vetren Dol as well.

      The motel on the left, " " (Rodopsko Hanche) in Varvara has a nice restaurant and small swimming pool. I recommend it.

      In the photo on the right is a private home-hotel, " " (Radovata Kasta) in Vetren Dol.

Below are several photos of the countryside  Vetren Dol, Patalenitsa, Lyahovo and Pazardzhikin, showing the different seasons in the region.

 

The same area - from Vetren Dol toward Patalenitsa and Lyahovo - photos were taken in the best November 2022.
February 2024

1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1

Route b (road 803)

      Bicyclists, fans of the wilderness and mountain pedaling, hopefully, would like my next route toward Pazardzhik. It is a route without any traffic.

      From (Sofia to) Ihtiman to Muhovo to Lesichkovo to Kalugerovo to Dinkata to Dragor to Pazardzhik.

 

      In the previous section I gave information on the route from Sofia to Ihtiman.  Here I will describe only the route from Ihtiman to Pazardzhik.

      This area is beautiful for bicyclists loving wilderness pedaling !!! I recommend it in the both directions.

      This area is perfect for bicycling, there is not any traffic, although 3 - 4 km after the crossroad toward Muhovo there is an additional hill 5 - 6 km long. Food is available in 

 

Lesichovo, Kalugerovo and Dinkata.

      The climbing after Muhovo in the back direction is a little bit longer and harder.

      Several kilometers east of Ihtiman is the crossroad toward Muhovo. The sign at the crossroad is not written in Latin, as it can be seen in the left photo, but it is easy to be recognized.

 

 

     Have in mind that from Ihtiman to Lesichovo there is not food and water.  

The road is on the wall of Topolnica Dam - the view there is quite impressive.

The entire area is beautiful for camp in the wilderness.

The last five pics above and the next ones are taken between Pazardzhik and

Lesichovo - one of my favourite routes for an afternoon.


1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1(routes c & d)

Route c (road 801)

      Again this route is for peddlers loving mountains and. The route is:

      From (Sofia to) Vakarel to Belitsa to Poibrene to Oboriste to Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Levski to Gelemenovo to Saraya to Pazardzhik.

        The traffic is relatively busy between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik, but, I do not think is  dangerous.  I have pedaled this route many times in both directions. To avoid this the distance from Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik, you can use another route including Strelcha, I show it later (sector VI. D - 1. b).

For more detail description I will part this route in two sectors:

sector VI. D - 1. a

      The route here is:

      From (Sofia to) Vakarel to Belitsa to Poibrene to Oboriste to Panagyuriste.

      Do not get excited when you see a sign for 10% grade,

 

as this distance is short. After the grade, you will experience many kilometers of pleasant bicycling and hardly any traffic. Between Ihtiman and Panagyuriste there is very little, if any, traffic.

Towards the southwest you can see Rila Mountain. Unfortunately, my photos do not show this impressive view,

a perfect location for wilderness camping.

      The road is in very nice conditionsThe area is a calm no man's land. You will not find a food shop in Belitsa. Entering in Poibrene just next to the bridge on Topolnitsa River there is a thermal spring.

 

From the other side of the square there is a local food shop and coffee.

      The next several photos illustrate the countryside from Poibrene to Oboriste to Panagyuriste.

      Panagyuriste is connected with the history of Bulgaria. Information about the area can be seen here:

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

 

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

      Overnight accommodations are possible in the town. Several photos:

      In the town center you can visit the Museum of History. It is divided into exhibitions dedicated to Archeology, Ethnography, Bulgaria from the 15th to

 

the 19th centuries, contemporary Bulgaria, and natural history.

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-panagyurishte-museum-of-history/

In a basement of the museum is exposed a Thracian Gold Treasure (9 pieces, almost 7 kg), estimated to be worth more than US $200,000,000. The exhibition is quite impressive and is worth seeing. Look here for

 

information:

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

      In Bulgaria are found out a lot of Thracian treasures, information about it is in the next link:

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

 

 

 

Sector VI. D - 1. b

 

 

 

      From Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik here I will give three opportunities:

Route c - 1

(road 37)

      From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Levski to Gelemenovo to Saraya to Pazardzhik,

 

Route c - 2

(unnamed road)

      From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Svoboda (unnamed road)  to Tsar Asen to Rosen to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik,

 

Route c - 3

(roads 801 & 8003)

      From Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Dyulevo to Smilets to Blatnitsa to Ovchepoltsi to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

 

 

 

      I have pedalled all these routes many times in the two directions. I really can not say which one is the best. My choice would be not route c - 1, the traffic on it is quite busy, although not dangerous.

Route c - 1 (road 37)   

From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Levski to Gelemengvo to Pazardzhik.

Road segment from Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik is easy for pedaling, the traffic here is

a little bit more intensive, but is not dangerous for pedaling at all.

The same area in the sunny November '22. Food shops are available in Popintsi and Gelemenovo.
 

 

Sector VI. D - 1. b - 1

 

     In Banya, you can find the best swimming pool of thermal water there. I visit this place at least once a year.

      I do not recommend the hotel next to the swimming pool. In the center of Banya center there is a better hotel which also has a nice restaurant.

 

Route c - 2

      To avoid the traffic between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik, you can use the next route:

        From Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Svoboda to Tsar Asen to Rosen to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

      The entire area is beautiful for exploring,  with very little traffic.

 

      Next pics are taken between Tsar Asen and Popintsi showing the area in August and November.

Route c - 3

      This route is a little bit longer, but it include Strelcha.

        From Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Dyulevo to Smilets to Blatnitsa to Ovchepoltsi to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

The next several photos are the countryside between Panagyuriste and Strelcha.

     

      Another small spa resort is in the next little town, Strelcha. Overnight accommodations are not a problem (except weekends). It is worth spending an afternoon by the swimming pool of thermal water:

 

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

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/pazardjik/strelcha/strelcha

 

Several photos from this beautiful spot.

 

 

A nice place to stay for a night is the Hotel Sredna Gora; shown on the map in left. For Fridays and Saturdays you would need  to booking in advance.

 August can be a busy month, too.

The hotel restaurant is very nice, I do recommend it.

If you increase the scale of Google Map, next to the hotel you can find a campground (presently under construction)

for caravans and campers. Hopefully, there will be tent spaces there, too. The swimming pool of thermal water is

more than perfect.

The last beautiful road segment without any traffic (really worth mentioning here) is the segment between

Strelcha and Pazardzhik. I pedal this section in early spring.

      In the end, several photos from Thracian Field just between Chernogorovo and Pazardzhik. The pictures

  above are in April. The pictures below, were taken in beginning of August.
The same area in the early June '22.

1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1

Route d (road 6004)

      Again this route is for peddlers loving mountains and wilderness. The road is another very good opportunity to avoid the traffic and elongate the route a little. The route is:     

       From Sofia to Gorna Malina to Belopoltsi to Bailovo to Smolsko to Petrich to Poibrene to Oboriste to Panagyuriste (to Pazardzhik).

Leaving Sofia (road 871) is a little tedious, but this is a very pleasant road segment. Just after the

Sofia ring, the traffic disappears you are in the wilderness.

      Once out of Sofia (after the Sofia Ring) follow signs toward Burgas. The road is signed very well. Here is maybe the most tedious road segment. You are in the

  Field of Sofia, a very flat straight road. On the map above I have pointed restaurants: "R", which are available along the road. Here are several photos of this area.

      Entering Gorna Malina, you will see a big tourist complex including swimming pool, restaurant.

  Unfortunately I do not remember if there was a hotel there, but there is a camping place.

      Leaving Gorna Malina, you will enter in the mountain area with hardly any traffic here. The photos below are from my tour along this route in May '20.

        Food shops are available in Belopoltsi, Bailovo and Smolsko. Water springs are also available along the road. 
Down stream of Topolnitsa River toward Petrich and Poibrene.
And several photos of the same area I explored for the first time April '09.

 

1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1

 

Route e

(roads 181 & 62 & 82)

 

     Important: If you decide to pedal toward Samokov, AVOID road 82. The route really is very scenic, along Iskar River Gorge and near Iskar Dam. But, the traffic here is very intensive. On weekends the traffic is terrible and used by heavy trucks.

      The route I recommend you use:

       From Sofia to Bistritsa to Zheleznitsa to Kovachevtsi to Belchinski Bani to Samokov to Borovets to Dolna Banya to Kostenets to Belovo to Pazardzhik.

 

      This is a for bicyclists loving pedaling in the mountain areas. Here you will climb Vitosha Mountain and Rila Mountain.

      The road profile chart shows that climbing of the route e is much longer than all the other routes from Sofia to Pazardzhik.

      The advantage here is the descent here also is long :) .

I will increase the scale a little, dividing this route into

two parts:

 

Sector VI. D - 1. a

 

      Leaving of Sofia on road 181 here is complicated. and I can not give you an acceptable advice what to do, so, a decision here is to. My advice: Follow your GPS device, looking for the road 181.

      The road profile chart shows that climbing starts immediately after Sofia ring (road 18).

      And very soon a nice panoramic view is revealed behind you.

 

      There is a traffic between Bistritsa and Zheleznitsa. I do not think the road dangerous. The road is steep and narrow as well as having numerous turns. Heavy trucks do not use this road. But tour buses do use this roadway.

 

      So, starting from Sofia Center towards the highest point there are more than 30 kilometers of climbing. Bistritsa and Zheleznitsa are like suburbs of Sofia,

  many people prefer to live there an travel to work in Sofia. Food shops, hotels are available there.

After Zheleznitsa the traffic disappears. To the top of the mountain is about  7 - 8 km. On the top can be found

a restaurant, hotel and spring of fresh water.

Reaching the mountain top, a very nice view toward Rila Mountain is revealed in front of you.

But, when I took the next photos. In May, the mountain is covered by clouds.

 

      In Belchinski Bani there is a nice swimming pool of thermal water just next to the road (the photo on the left). I think there is a place for overnight accommodation. Food shops are available in all the villages along the road. All that area is very nice to camp in the wilderness.

 

A little information for Belchindki Bani:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/belchinski-bani-belchin-baths/

Because road 62 has intensive traffic, my suggestion is from Belchinski Bani to head toward Relyovo,

so you will avoid pedaling several more kilometers along road 62.

      So, soon you will be in Samokov. The town has developed considerably the last years, because it is close to Borovets - a skiing resort in Rila Mountain.

 

      Overnight accommodation is available in Samokov. Several photos and information for it:

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


Sector VI. D - 1. b

Toward Kostenets here I will point 2 possible routes:

Route e - 1 (road 82)

From Samokov to Borovers Skiing Resort to Raduil to Maritsa to Dolna Banya to Kostenets

Route e - 2

From Samokov to Shipochane to Gutsal to Maritsa to Dolna Banya to Kostenets.

      For several kilometers along road 822, the traffic can be intense. But, I do not think the road is dangerous.

Route e - 1 (road 82):

From Samokov to Borovers Skiing Resort to Raduil to Maritsa to Dolna Banya to Kostenets.

 

       The photos below illustrate the area between Camokov and Borovets. The10 kilometer elevation gain is not hard at all. The road is nice. In the winter, tourists use Samokov as base camp for the Borovets skiing resort.The rest of the year, there is minimal traffic and heavy trucks are forbidden to use this road.   

      Borovets is a popular winter skiing resort, many tourists. Information for the resort is available here:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/borovets/

      From Borovets resort to the higher part of the mountain there is a gondola type lift, taking 20 minutes to reach the top, at an elevation of about 2370 meters high.

 https://myborovets.net/en/

 

      Leaving the lift, a 2.0-2.5 hour walk to the highest peak. The walk is easy, a harder climbing is 30 minutes just before the peak. The scenery is amazing with visibility in any direction is more than 200 kilometers.

      More information and photos of this area can be seen in the Chapter VII. Nice routes in mountains: RILA Mountains

      One reaching Borovets, many kilometers down the hill are in front of you.

Food and overnight accommodations are available in Radyil and Maritsa.

A nice place for overnight accommodation is the next little town Dolna Banya.

More information about Dolna Banya can be seen here:

http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/dolna_banya/dolna_banya.htm

     

      Leaving Dolna Banya (road 82), you will see a hotel and a beautiful swimming pool of thermal water are near it. Although the hotel is not the best place, its garden, restaurant and especially the swimming pool are perfect.

      I see that several new hotels will be ready very soon.

 

 

     

      In Dolna Banya there is a somewhat expensive hotel with: Complex Europe (it is easy to be seen from the road), maybe it is the best place in Dolna Banya (the photo in left), and well. Three nice swimming pools with thermal water of different temperatures.

      Another nice place up the road is hotel Nikol.

      The next three photos are the area down from Dolna Banya to Kostenets.

      On an easier route to pedal, you will find Kostenets Village, 10 km south-west from Kostenets has 2-3 nice hotels for relaxing and each has beautiful thermal water. I like Kostenets Village much more than the little town of

 

Kostenets. Close by there is a nice waterfall, a lovely to walk from the hotels.

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/kostenets-kostenets-villas/

Route e - 2

From Samokov to Shipochane to Gutsal to Maritsa to Dolna Banya to Kostenets.

      In Gutsal, there might not be a food shop, but there is spring water available. Next photos are we I pedaled this

  unnamed road August 2009, when it was still a dirty road. Now is is in very nice condition.

I do not recommend choosing this route in the reverse direction, unless you are a strong bicyclist

loving to explore mountain areas.



2. From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv to Popovitsa

Sector VI. D - 2

      All that area on the next map is Thracian Field, which is absolutely flat (please notice the altitudes of the map above and the road profile chart below).

 

The distance from Pazardzhik to Popovitsa is 65 km.

      I will suggest the two possible routes from Pazardzhik and Plovdiv (road 8):

Route a

      From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv (road 8).

 

      Although not a dangerous road to pedal, this resurfaced road has traffic which can be extremely heavy.

 

Route b

      From Pazardzhik to Dobrovnitsa to Pistigovo to Saedinenie to Voisil (road 805) to Benkovski to Plovdiv.

      This route is a little bit longer, but pedaling here according to me is much more pleasant and safe.


Route a

From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv (road 8).

      The route from Pazardzhik to Plovdiv is 38 kms and absolutely flat. Six kilometers east of Pazardzhik the road crosses Luda Yana River (the vertical photo below). The river is  clean and you can easily wild camp here.

        At the crossroad toward Malo Koynare (9 km east from Pazardzhik) there is nice swimming pool and restaurant, a nice place to relax in the hot summer afternoons.
      Before entering Plovdiv there are 2 motels next to the road.

 

 

 

 

 

      Entering Plovdiv from west or east, you will see velo lanes). Unfortunately, the velo lane does not cross through the town center.

 

 

      The next link is a map for the velo lanes in Plovdiv:

https://www.velo-plovdiv-tourist-map.truenorth.bg/

 

 


Route b

      To avoid the traffic from Pazardzhik to Plovdiv, much better idea is to follow the next route:

 

     From Pazardzhik (road 3073) to Dobrovnitsa to Pistigovo (road 6062) to Saedinenie (road 805) to Voisil to Benkovski to Plovdiv.

The area is flat, easy and pleasant to pedal here.

From Pistigovo toward Saedinenie - the late November '22

      When you reach Saedinenie, do not follow the first sign to Plovdiv (the first photo below). Enter in the town for a cup of coffee or lunch, and follow next

 

signs to Plovdiv. Information for Saedinenie:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.

com/SC/plovdiv/saedinenie/saedinenie

Toward Voysil and Benkovski

There is a nice camping spot in the countryside after Saedinenie, May '22.
      leaving Benkovski, you have to be careful to leave road N 805. The last time, summer '19 I travelled there I was   not and elongate my pedaling along roads with more traffic.

      Plovdiv is a popular tourist destination in Bulgaria. So you may find the city has heavy traffic.

        Detail information for Plovdiv can be seen here:

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

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/plovdiv-city/

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/plovdiv-city/

 

      On the map I have shown the way to cross the city of Plovdiv by the green dashed line in order to avoid the tunnel under the hill with the Ancient Amphitheatre on it, although it is not a problem to pedal it.

 

 

     I have pointed the walking area in the Plovdiv city (the next several pics.) beginning with the walking bridge on Maritsa River by the dashed green line use it. (DO NOT PEDAL THERE !!!,  - it is forbidden, only walk !!!)

 

 

 

 

 

      Entering Plovdiv from west or east, you will see velo lanes). Unfortunately, the velo lane does not cross through the town center.

 

 

      The next link is a map for the velo lanes in Plovdiv:

https://www.velo-plovdiv-tourist-map.truenorth.bg/

 

 

The History Hill of the Old Town and the Ancient Amphitheatre on it.
To leave Plovdiv to east it would be better if you find the velo lane I pointed in red on the map above.

      The traffic on the last road segment from Plovdiv to Popovitsa can be quite busy. Unfortunately, there is no alternative route.  I do not think it is dangerous

 

to pedal here.

      The next several pictures are the countryside of Thracian Field east from Plovdiv.

      Popovitsa is a nice place to relax for an afternoon. Food and cold beer are available near the swimming pool. 

  You will find the swimming pool in your left juat entering in Popovitsa.

Routes c & d

 From Panagyuriste to Plovdiv (road 606)

     

      I will finish routes form Sofia to Plovdiv with an extension of routes c&d. It is a beautiful opportunity to reach Plovdiv from Sofia exploring Sredna Gora Mountain and missing Pazardzhik. The route is:

      From Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Krastevich to Krasnovo to Belovitsa to Lyuben to Nedelevo to Golyam Chardak to Malak Cherdak to Stroevo to Trud to Plovdiv (road 606)

 

 

      The road profile chart shows that the distance is easy to be pedaled in both direction.

      Information an photos of Panagyuriste and Strelcha are shown in the previous items of this chapter, so I will not repeat it here.         The next several pictures are the countryside from Panagyuriste to Strelcha. Here is the only hill in this route. Needless to say, no any traffic here.

After Strelcha you will enter in Thracian Field. Food and water are available in all the small villages along the route.

 The entire area is nice to camp in the wilderness.

A nice camp place can be found in left just entering in Belovitsa next to a small clean river.
The countryside next to Pyasachnik Dam and toward Plovdiv.
The traffic is a little more busy before entering Plovdiv.

     On the map above I have pointed Starosel (road 6061). An interesting ancient archeology Thracian objects a available there - Thracian Temple Complex:

 

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/thracian-temple-complex-starosel/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX-NaunC8F0

So, I believe it is everything for the possible routes from Sofia to Pazardzhik to Plovdiv to Popovitsa.

3. From Popovitsa to Harmanli

Sector VI. D - 3

3. From Popovitsa to Harmanli

Sector VI. D - 3

For better description I will part this sector in two.

 


Sector VI. D - 3. a

Here I would suggest 3 routes:

Route a

      From Popovitsa to Debar to Byala Reka to Varbitsa to Gorski Izvor to Klokotnitsa to Haskovo to Podkrepa to Stoykovo to Harmanli (E 80).

 

     Because of the relatively intensive traffic along the road E 80 I would recommend the next route:

Route b

(I would recommend it only in direction from west to east; it is not signed well in the opposite direction):

 

      From Popovitsa to Debar to Parvomai to Karadzhalovo to Skobelevo to Stalevo to Yabalkovo to Krum to Dimitrovgrad to Brod (road 663) to Zlatopole to Simeonovgrad to Harmanli.

 

Route c

      Again, it is route without any traffic. The route is (roads N 66 and 663):

      From Popovitsa to Milevo to Mirovo to Plodovitovo to Chirpan to Zetyovo to Tselina to Dimitrovgrad to Simeonovgrad to Harmanli.


Route a

From Popovitsa to Debar to Byala Reka to Varbitsa to Gorski Izvor to Klokotnitsa to Haskovo to Podkrepa to Stoykovo to Harmanli.

      Bicyclists prefer to pedal this route, but I do not recommend you to pedal it. The traffic here is intensive.

        Food and water along the road are not a problem. At Debar (the crossroad toward Parvomai - road 667) there is a hotel. Several photos of E 80 toward Haskovo:

      E 80 surrounds Haskovo. Haskovo is a relatively big city with overnight accommodations. Information for it can be seen here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/haskovo/haskovo

      On the map above I point to a nice mineral water spot 10 - 12 kilometers west from Haskovo (roads N 506 - from Gorski Izvor, and road 806 - from Haskovo).

 

 It is a nice local spa resort with very nice thermal water:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/mineralni

_bani/mineralni_bani

https://bulgariatravel.org/haskovski-mineralni-bani-mineral-baths/

Several photos from Haskovo

I can not find photos illustrating the road from Haskovo to Harmanli.


sector VI. D - 3. a

      As a way to avoid the intensive traffic along the road E80 I would suggest to follow one of the next two routes:

Route b

(I would recommend it in direction from west to east: it is

 

not signed well in the opposite direction):

      From Popovitsa to Debar to Parvomai to Karadzhalovo to Skobelevo to Stalevo to Yabalkovo to Krum to Dimitrovgrad to Brod to Zlatopole to Simeonovgrad to Harmanli.

    The route is down the stream of Maritsa River, It is very pleasant to be pedaled - a calm country side without any traffic.

  

      Parvomai is little town appropriate to have a coffee relax in the hot summer days - the only photo I have of the town. Information for it:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/plovdiv/parvomay/parvomay

 

      After Parvomai look for Karadzhalovo, the road is not signed, but it is easy to be found out; it is very calm countryside away from the main roads, without any traffic.

The entire area is very nice to set up a tent; food and water is available in the villages along the road.

Next town is Dimitrovgrad. Information for it is available here:

 

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

       As an opportunity to avoid road 8 (E 80) my last suggestion concerning route b is as follows:

        In Popovitsa hit the road toward Burgas (road 66) to the first village Milevo.

      In Milevo turn right toward Vinitsa. The road is not signed, GPS device just here would be useful.

        From Milevo to Vinitsa you will pedal off road, anyway, it is not so bad and you definitely will avoid the traffic.

      The road from Milevo to Parvomai is much better, again no any traffic here. Seeing a sign without letters

 

 on it, it means you reached Parvomai in the end.


sector VI. D - 3. a

And my last suggestion in sector VI. D - 3. a is:

Route c

Again, it is route without any traffic. The route is (roads N 66 and 663):

       From Popovitsa (road 66) to Milevo to Mirovo to Plodovitovo to Chirpan to Zetyovo (road 663) to Tselina to Dimitrovgrad to Simeonovgrad to Harmanli.

As the road 663 from Chirpan to Dimitrovgrad to Simeonovgrad is in very nice conditions and with very little traffic, I would suggest you to ride just this route in

  either direction. The next several photos are the area from Popovitsa toward Chirpan.

The road from Plodovitovo toward Chirpan cross a little bit higher field, so back toward

Rodopi Mountais a very nice view is revealed.

And several more photos of the same area having emotional value for me from tours I have done in the years.

Overnight accommodations are possible in Chirpan. Information and several photos.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/stara_zagora/chirpan/chirpan

     Before to finish this route in Dimitrovgrad, I'd like to show here one more opportunity, which is intended

  to bicyclists wanting to avoid the heavy traffic from Plovdiv to Popovitsa.

The route is:

       From Plovdiv (road 56) to Skutare (road 565 )to Rogosh to Manole to Manolsko Konare to Shishmantsi to Belozem to Opalchenets to Orizovo to Cherna Gora to (road 664) Chirpan.

        Once finding the road 56 from Plovdiv to Skutare, you will have not any problems reaching Chirpan enjoying of the easy route without any traffic.  Food can be found in all the villages along the road. The next several photos illustrate this area.

It is worth t mention that approx a kilometer to Manole the road crosses Stryama River - very

clean and hot water, I do not miss to camp near it for a night.

Belozem is a bigger village along the route.
     The road segment from Chirpan toward Dimitrovgrad is very nice to be pedaled. The road 663 was renovated   2020, it is in very nice conditions and there is not any traffic along the road.

The next several photos illustrate this beautiful field.

Next to Zetyovo, early June '22
Zetyovo is a bigger village along the road, food shops are available in it.

Again we are in Dimitrovgrad.

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


From Popovitsa to Harmanli

Sector VI. D - 3


 I pedaled this road many times, the area is beautiful to camp in the wilderness.

The next little town is Simeonovgrad, I am not sure if overnight accommodations are available in it.

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/simeonovgrad/simeonovgrad

The countryside toward Harmanli. The traffic on the road 554 is more intensive, I think it is not dangerous.

Just before crossing the Motor Road A 4, near the road there is a hotel.

Harmanli It is a small town, night accommodation is available in it. Information for the town:

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


4. From Harmanli to Edirne

Sector VI. D - 4


 

 

Sector VI. D - 4

 

 

      The section is where the borders of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey meet. On the map on the left I have shown the available border checkpoints. The two I have shown with a red rectangular shows where the traffic  is terrible. There are nice alternatives. So, your two opportunities here are:

     

 

     From Lyubimets toward:

 

- Turkey Border (border checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo);

 

- Greece Border (border checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda.

Some information for Lyubimets is available here:

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

 

      The are overnight accommodations in Lyubimets is possible.

      If you follow the local road bertween Lyubimets and Svilengrad, you will be on a road without any traffic.

      Here is another suggestion. To avoid the overcrowded border checkpoint at Kapitan Andreevo

 

(directly to Edirne), it might be better to use the border checkpoint at Kapitan Petko Voyvoda to enter Greece, and after 50 km to enter Turkey.

       Overnight accommodations in Svilengrad are not a problem. If you follow the local road you will find the road free of traffic.

      Some information for Svilengrad  it is available here:

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

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/svilengrad/svilengrad

      Other cyclists have shared with me and alternative route which may be better. Because of the traffic is always intense going crossing at the border checkpoint at Kapitan Andreevo (Bulgarian/Turkish border it will be better to enter Greece first (route b) and then enter Turkey:

 

      From Lyubimets to border checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda (E85) to Ormeino (in Greece) to Kastanios to Greece/Turkey border to Karaagach to Edirne.

     Further on, you can pedal to Istanbul along the local roads (D 100) in Turkey, avoiding the motor road E80. 



From Sofia to Edirne (in Turkey)

Route B

      This route maybe is the most scenic you will explore between Balkans and Sredna Gora Mountain from Sofia to Kazanlak:  

        From Sofia (road 6, E 871) to Pirdop to Kazanluk to Nova Zagora (road 55) to Svilengrad to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (or Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda to Edirne.

Sector VI. D - 5

Comparing with the route A, Route B is 40 - 50 kilometers longer, anyway, it includes the very scenic area

between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountains.

Here I will not describe this part of the route A. A very detail information of it is given in:

VI. Crossing Bulgaria from west to east. Routes: A. From Sofia to Burgas


 

 

 

 

Sector VI. D - 6

 

 

 

      The second part of my description include the three possible routes crossing the Thracian field.

 

 

 

Route a

      From Tvarditsa to Sliven to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo.

      This route must be avoided. Roads 53 & 7 are the ones with heavy traffic. The heavy traffic from Turkey toward North Europe, including heavy trucks, is just here.

 

 

 

The description for the route to Sliven is given in:

VI. Crossing Bulgaria from west to east. Routes:

A. From Sofia to Burgas

 

 

      I will show only the road profile chart from Sliven to Border Checkpoint Lesovo.

 

 

     

      I have not traveled the road from Elhovo down to the BG / Turkey border.

 

 

In Sliven look for signs toward Yambol.

     

 

      Information for Yambol (Overnight accommodations are possible):

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

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

 

Several pictures from Yambol and the town garden.

The town has a very nice garden in its east end, next to the Tundzha River, a very nice spot to relax

for a few hours on hot summer afternoons.

Some information about Elhovo is available here:

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elhovo                                                                      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/yambol/elhovo/elhovo

The pictures below were taken several kilometers south of Elhovo. The traffic here is intensive,

although it can not seen from the photos.


 

 

 

 

 

Sector VI. D - 6. a

 

 

 

 

A better option according to me is

Route b

      From Tvarditsa to Banya (road 662) to Korten to Nova Zagora (road 55) to Radevo to Mlekarevo to Novoselets to Radetski to Polski Gradets to Madrets.

 

and

 

Route c

      From Tvarditsa to Banya (road 662) to Korten to Nova Zagora (road 554) to Dyadovo to Bogdanovo to Lyubenova Mahala to Radnevo to Bali Beyag to Lyubenovo to Galabovo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      The common part of the road (the road profile chart is down):

 

      From Tvarditsa to Banya (road 662) to Korten to Nova Zagora.

The route includes crossing of the not high east part of Sredna Gora Mountain.

      I do not remember if in Banya there was a food shop, in Korten it was available.

       Overnight accommodations are available in Tvarditsa - you will see information attached to poles near the road for guests houses.

 

Information for Tvarditsa is available here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/sliven/tvarditsa/tvarditsa     

http://www.bestbgproperties.com/bulgarian_districts/Tvarditsa.html

      The next several photos illustrate the countryside from Tvarditsa toward Nova Zagora. Here you will cross the valley of Tundzha River, after there is a little   climbing of the east low part of Sredna Gora Mountain, after, you will descend toward Nova Zagora and Thracian Field.
Down toward Tundzha River.
Three kilometers hill to the mountain divide.
Reaching the mountain divide, an exciting view is revealing in the both directions: to Balkan (nosth) and to Thracian Field (south)

Information for Nova Zagora can be found here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/sliven/nova_zagora/nova_zagora                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Zagora

     Travelling south from Nova Zagora  (road 55) you will enter in a region of mining - in the rectangular formed between Radnevo - Galabovo - Madrets - Novoselets. 

 

      Here are three huge steam power plants producing more than 40 % of the electricity in BG. you will pass next to "Maritsa East Power Plant 2 " next to Ovcharitsa Dam.

Route b

From Nova Zagora (road 55) to Radevo to Mlekarevo to Novoselets to Radetski to Polski Gradets to Madrets. 

The route after Nova Zagora starts with a not long and not steep hill after crossing of the motor road A1.

Reaching the top of the hill, very nice view is revealing down toward the second steam electricity plant.
The steam electricity plants in the region are supplied with filters, so the area is not dusty.
I think there are food shops in all the villages along the road, Madrets for sure.

The next photos illustrate the same area (between Polski Gradets and Madrets), taken in some of my many tours in this area - in the early September 2019 and the middle of July '17.

  Route c  

      From Nova Zagora (road 554) to Dyadovo to Bogdanovo to Lyubenova Mahala to Radnevo to Bali Beyag to Lyubenovo to Galabovo.

        I do not know why the Google map of the road profile chart is so rough, in fact it is very pleasant road segment.

      Starting from Nova Zagora down toward Galabovo the pedalling is pleasant and easy. There are a lot of villages along the road, food and water are available everywhere. The road is in nice conditions, it is wide enough.

        I can say it is not busy, although heavy trucks are available from time to time. All the area is very nice to camp in the wilderness.

The big tire next to the road entering in Lyubenova Mahala shows that there is a little shop where you repair a flat tire

you might have or ask for some tools or mechanical help if needed.

 Overnight accommodation in Radnevo is available. A little information for Radnevo:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/stara_zagora/radnevo/radnevo

Down toward Galabovo

Overnight accommodation in Galabovo is available. Very little information for Galabovo can be seen here:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/stara_zagora/galabovo

The area between Radnevo and Galabovo is a zone of coal mining. Three big steam electricity plants

operating here producing more than 40% of the electricity for the country.


 

 

Sector VI. D - 6. b

 

We will continue with the

 

Route b

      From Madrets ro Glavan to Dripchevo to Miladinovo to Pastrogor.

 

 

       Comparing with routes a & c, here you have to cross Sakar Mountain, which includes an additional climbing of  450 meters and easy to be pedalled. In Pastrogor there is a food shop.

 

      The area is scenic. In summer, it is very sunny, dry and hot, without any shade. Bring water with you.     

      In July and August, along the roadsides, there are a lot of wild plums and black berries to enjoy.

      I recommend this route. The traffic here is minimal, the pedaling is safe and pleasant.

The several next photos illustrate the countryside from the highest point of the road profile

chart above toward Svilengrad.

My camping place 11 kilometers after Madrets.
The next morning I had a breakfast in Glavan.
The next photos illustrate the road toward Mladinovo, Pastrogor and Svilengrad.
May and June are is the best months to explore this area. In June this dry area already is getting yellow.

      The next photos illustrate the same area (from Svilengrad toward Dripchevo),

I pedaled this road one hot morning early August.

Below is some repeat information.

Sector VI. D - 6. b

We will continue with the

Route c

Next several photos are the countryside from Galabovo toward Simeonovgrad. Food shops in Pyasachevo and Kalugerovo are not available.

The next little town is Simeonovgrad, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it. No much to say about it:   http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/simeonovgrad/simeonovgrad

      Although the traffic on the road 554 from Simeonovgrad to Harmanli is more intensive, I think it is not dangerous.

        Just before crossing the motor road A 4 there is a hotel.  The next photos are of the countryside toward Harmanli.

Harmanli is a small town with hotel accommodations. Information for the town:

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


 

BACK TO:

Sector VI. D - 4

      The section is where the borders of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey meet. On the map on the left I have shown the available border checkpoints. The two I have shown with a red rectangular shows where the traffic  is terrible. There are nice alternatives. So, your two opportunities here are:

      From Lyubimets toward:

 

      - Turkey Border (Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo);

 

      - Greece Border (Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda.

     

      Some information for Lyubimets is available here:

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

 

      The are overnight accommodations in Lyubimets is possible.

      If you follow the local road bertween Lyubimets and Svilengrad, you will be on a road without any traffic.

      Here is another suggestion. To avoid the overcrowded border checkpoint at Kapitan Andreevo

 

(directly to Edirne), it might be better to use the border checkpoint at Kapitan Petko Voyvoda to enter Greece, and after 50 km to enter Turkey.

       Overnight accommodations in Svilengrad are not a problem. If you follow the local road you will find the road free of traffic.

      Some information for Svilengrad  it is available here:

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

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/haskovo/svilengrad/svilengrad

      Other cyclists have shared with me and alternative route which may be better. Because of the traffic is always intense going crossing at the border checkpoint at Kapitan Andreevo (Bulgarian/Turkish border it will be better to enter Greece first (route b) and then enter Turkey:

 

      From Lyubimets to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda (E85) to Ormeino (in Greece) to Kastanios to Greece/Turkey border to Karaagach to Edirne.

     Further on, you can pedal to Istanbul along the local roads (D 100) in Turkey, avoiding the motor road E80.aaz



From Sofia to Edirne (in Turkey)

Route C

      This route crosses Rodopi Mountain. I recommend it to bicyclists having more time and loving to pedal and explore mountains. The route is appropriate from the middle of June to the middle of September.

 

       I will not write about it; a very detail information is given in the Chapter VII.

Nice roads in mountains RODOPE Mountains



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