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



       In this chapter I would suggest three opportunities. According the time you have and areas you love to explore, you can choose one of the variants:

 

Route A

     This route is the easiest and shortest one - the pedalling is in Thracian field:

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

Route B

      This route maybe is the most scenic 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 one, it includes pedalling in Rodopi Mountains:

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

 (Lets bicyclists having no time to research the routes below in details have in mind that the traffic in the Border Checkpoint in red is very intensive.)


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 only down the hill and   plane to Edirne. Further 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 part the route A into 4 sectors:

Sector I. D - 1: From Sofia to Pazardzhik

(distance 110 km.)

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

Sector VI. D - 1

      In this sector I will give five opportunities 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 known and the most popular road among the long distance bicyclists. The road is easy to be

 

pedaled in the direction west - east, I do recommend it in

the back direction too. Food, water, overnight accommodation along the route are not a problem.

      The next route I would recommend to more adventure 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 peddlers 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. It is a road with intensive traffic, so the next alternative is much saver.

 

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 bicyclists 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.

      Of first, the most important is to leave/ enter Sofia. Follow my next instruction !!!

      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 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 you have to head toward Musachevo and Elin Pelin (pic. 3 and 4 again to right). Just after entering Elin Pelin (not necessary to go to the center of it), turn to the right Doganovo (pic. 6) and go straight on as you will no more be following the signs towards Doganovo. Mountain Lozen will be in front of you, it is the south direction. 

     Be sure, it is the safest way to leave Sofia !!! I would recommend to use the same route entering in Sofia coming from Plovdiv.

   Crossing the railway from Sofia to Plovdiv in Elin Pelin Line Station, you will start climbing and reach Novi Han and Vakarel. The first 2 - 3 photos are the the Field of Sofia.

      When you are leaving the Sofia ring, look awaaaaay to east. If visibility is good, just on the horizon you will see a pylon. The pylon is just above Vakarel.

        That pylon will be at the highest point (alt. 860 m.) you have to climb between Sofia and Edirne. Let me mention that many years ago my farther was the engineer designed it .

     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 can not impress how beautiful is the entire area after Vakarel. The several three pictures are taken in the middle of April, when the visibility is much better than May. 
My camp place just after Ihtiman in the late August '21.

      Several kilometers of the road after Vakarel down toward Ihtiman are not reconstructed since many years and it is in a very very bad conditions, and drivers definitely avoid this road segment.

       Of course the spring weather is changeable and the view can be dark too. Usually it is May, when there is a lot of rain in this region.

     Next little town down the hill is Ihtiman:

 

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

 

      Overnight accommodation in it is possible, but as long as I have information, it would be better to avoid it. At least, 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.

      It can be said that this is one of the most pleasant road

  segments for bicycling, the road profile chart shows it. This part of route is not hard in the back direction, never mind it is many kilometers up the hill.

     And I would mention, that the area from Sofia down to Belovo is not very nice for camp in the wilderness. Either the local road is next to the motor road A 1, or no enough   place in the gorges. Down is my camp place 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 it and very nice spring of water. Only have in mind that half of the taps supply with thermal water of 80 deg C. I have unpleasant experience with this spring using it years ago for the first time.

      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

      If you need here for overnight accommodation, I would suggest you to visit either Dolna Banya or Kostenets Village placed 10 and 9 kilometers respectively away from   Kostenets - look the map above. Both places are little spa resorts having nice springs of thermal water, and places for relax you can stay for an afternoon, or a night.

      Just entering in the 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.

 

 

      More information about Dolna Banya can be seen here:

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

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

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

      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://kostenets-tourism.com/en/locations/item/id/5

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

      Pedaling down toward Belovo, near Gabrovnitsa you will find a nice restaurant. The road segment to Belovo is more than pleasant to be pedaled.

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

      Belovo is a little town, overnight accommodation is available in it.

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

      You easy will recognize you are in the town - a mountains of toilet paper are sailed in the town - the biggest in Bulgaria paper mill (BelanaPlc.) that produces

  toilet paper and other disposable paper products is in the town. I can not miss to mention the great story with the toilet paper in the spring of 2020  . . . still no reliable explanation of the world wide panic concerning the toilet paper .

      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, and the most important: the traffic in it also is not as intensive as in Plovdiv, it is easy to orientate in it, as well as it is easy to find very nice hotel / restaurant in it at an acceptable price. So, further, most of the routes I will describe will begin/end with Pazardjik.

      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 accommodation 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.

 

      According to me it would be nice to stay and relax here for a night, because:

       - It is very easy to find out this spot ;

-                - The place 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 place is clean, rooms are supplied by R-conditions, which is important in this town, where summer temperatures often are more than 40 deg C;

            - Opinions of the hotel guests concerning this place are very nice (bicyclists toured with me in BG some of them are on the photo below cooling with a glass of beer in the hotel restaurant - garden);

-                - The hotel restaurant offer nice dishes, the staff speak almost fluent English;

             - Wi Fi;

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

      I know that Plovdiv is much more popular tourist destination, but my opinion is that it would be better to stay for a night in Pazardzhik. It is easy next day to pedal toward Plovdiv, to walk in its touristy center for 2 - 3 hours and go further. In Pazardzhik you will find much

 

easier hotel, it is calm town, there are a lot of nice restaurants and gardens. Over more here is inexpensive comparing with Plovdiv.

 

      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, so a way to avoid the traffic along the 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 is no high hills here, pedaling 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 pic are between Belovo and Simeonovets with its church and bell tower.

 

 

 

 

Varvara (and Vetren Dol)

 

as a base points to explore Rodopi Mountain

 

 

 

     In Varvara there is a nice motel and swimming pool of mineral water. Have only in mind that weekends in the summer time (June - August) this spot is overcrowded by relaxing tourists and there will be not free beds (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 are another possibilities for overnight accommodation in Varvara or Vetren Dol as well.

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

    The left photo - a motel (" " : "Rodopsko Hanche") in Varvara (nice restaurant and small swimming pool are available here as well) - on the road coming from Septemvri (I recommend it);

      The right photo - a private home-hotel (" ": "Radovata Kasta") in Vetren Dol - on the road coming from Pazardjik.

In the end, several photos for the countryside toward Vetren Dol, Bratanitsa, Lyahovo and

Pazardzhikin showing the different seasons in the region.

 


1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1

Route b (road 803)

      Bicyclists, fans of the wilderness and mountain pedaling, 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 item I have given information for the route from Sofia to Ihtiman, so here I will describe only the distance from Ihtiman to Pazardzhik.         The entire this It area is beautiful for bicyclists loving the wilderness !!! I recommend it in the two direction.

       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 from 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 wilderness, it is another very good opportunity to avoid the traffic and elongate the route a little. 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 intensive between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik, 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 a little further (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.

 

       In Vakarel turn to the left, the road is signed well. Do not

  get excited when you see a sign for 10% slope, this distance is short, after the slope, there will be many kilometers of pleasant bicycling ahead of you.  Between Ihtiman and Panagyuriste there is very little, if any, traffic. I think here you will not see more than 5 cars.

      Away south-west from you is Rila Mountain, unfortunately my photos can not show this impressive

  view. Needless to say the entire area is more than perfect for camp in the wilderness.

      The road is in very nice conditions. It is a calm, no man's land, have in mind that in Belitsa there is not a food shop. Entering in Poibrene just next to the bridge on Topolnitsa River there is a thermal spring, from the other  

 

side of the square is the local food shop and coffee. In the back direction after Poibrene is a longer, almost 10 kms climbing.

      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 accommodation is 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, it is worth to be seen. 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 pedaled all these routes many times in the two directions, and I really can not say which one is the best. My choose would be not route c - 1, the traffic on it is more intensive, although it is not dangerous.

Route c - 1 (road 37)   

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

Road segment between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik is easy for pedaling, the traffic here is

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

 

 

Sector VI. D - 1. b - 1

     A nice opportunity nearby this route is Banya and the best swimming pool of thermal water there. I love to visit this place at least one time a year.

      I can not recommend the hotel next to the swimming pool, but if you need an overnight accommodation, in Banya center there is a better placer for it, as well as not bad 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 only thing I can say is that the entire area is more than beautiful for exploring, there is not any traffic

 

 here.

      Next 3 pics are taken between Tsar Asen and Popintsi.

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. Information for it:

 

http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Strelcha/207426/

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

 

      The overnight accommodation in it is not a problem, it is worth spending an afternoon near swimming pool of thermal water. I would recommend hotel Relax:

https://www.relaxstrelcha.eu/

      Several photos from Strelcha:

      The last beautiful road segment without any traffic is segment between Strelcha and Pazardzhik. As a rule,   each early spring (the end of March or beginning of April) my first bike tour is to Strelcha and back.

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

  above are in the the middle of April, down - beginning of August.

1. From Sofia to Pazardzhik

Sector VI. D - 1

Route d (road 6004)

      Again this route is for peddlers loving mountains and wilderness, it 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).

Again it is a route in the mountain area. The next road profile chart is from Sofia to Panagyuriste:

      The leaving of Sofia (road 871) is a little tedious, but this is a very pleasant road segment at all. Just after the   Sofia ring, the traffic disappears you are in the wilderness.

     Once leaving Sofia (after Sofia Ring) you have only to follow signs toward Burgas, the road is signed very well. And here is maybe the most tedious road segment

   - you are in the Field of Sofia - flat straight road. On the map above I have pointed restaurants: "R", which are available along the road. Several photos of this area.

      Entering  in 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, no any traffic here. The next several photos 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 the 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)

 

      The most important, if you decide to pedal toward Samokov, is to avoid road 82. It really is very scenic, along Iskar River Gorge and near Iskar Dam, but the traffic here is very intensive. Especially weekends the traffic is terrible, the road is not forbidden for heavy trucks.

 

      The route I recommend you is:

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

 

      It is a route I would recommend to bicyclists loving pedaling in the mountain area. Here you will climb Vitosha Mountain and Rila Mountain, of course their low parts.

 

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

      The advantage here is that the descending here also is much more :) . . .

      I will increase the scale a little, parting this route into two parts:

 

Sector VI. B - 1. a

 

     The leaving of Sofia (road 181) here is a little complicated and I can not give you an acceptable advice what to do, so, a decision here is to follow your GPS device looking for the road N181.

 

      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.

 

      Yes, there is a traffic here towards Bistritsa and Zheleznitsa, but I think the road is not dangerous - it is steep and narrow as well as there are a lot of turns, so car's velocity is very low here. Heavy trucks are not driving here, but busses of the public transport are available.

      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 there are  7 - 8 km. On the top there is

  again a restaurant, hotel and spring of fresh water.

      Once reaching the mountain divide, a very nice view toward Rila Mountain is revealed in front of you, but

  when I took the next photos. Usually 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 in 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 the road 62 is with an intensive traffic, my suggestion is from Belchinski Bani to head toward Relyovo, so you will avoid pedaling several more

  kilometers along road 62 (it was in very poor conditions, but the last time I pedaled there -May '20, it was in reconstruction).

      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. B - 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.

      Comparing both routes it is obvious that the second one include 300 meters less climbing, it is really easier. The disadvantage here is that the traffic several kilometers along road 822 is relatively more intensive, I do not thing this road is dangerous.

Route e - 1 (road 82):

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

 

      The next several photos illustrate the area after Camokov toward Borovets. The climbing is a little more than 10 kilometers, it is not hard at all. The road is nice, the traffic here is available in the winter, when tourists use Samokov as a overnight accommodation base of Borovets skiing resort. Summertime there is not any traffic, the road is forbidden for heavy trucks as well.   

      Borovets is a popular winter skiing resort, many tourists, most from GB visited it. 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. The lift is almost 5 kilometers, it overcome altitude of more than kilometer beginning from alt. of 1320 meters, reaching alt. of 2370 meters for approx. 20 minutes:

https://www.borovets-bg.com/en/page

/info/lifts-trails/prices/lift-passes-prices

      Some guys load bikes in the lift and after descend madly down to Borovets Resort along skiing tracks, but I do not believe it is a wise decision.

 

      It would be much better to do 2 2.30 hour walk to the pick. The walk is easy, a harder climbing is 30 minutes just before the peak. The scenery is amazing, you will not regret if you visit this place. If it is clear, the visibility in each direction is more than 200 kilometers.

      Have heavy factor skin cream and some cream for your lips because the sun high in the mountain is very strong.

 

      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 accommodation are available in Radyil and Maritsa.

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

 

      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.

 

 

      More information about Dolna Banya can be seen here:

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

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

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

      The next three photos are the area between Dolna Banya and Kostenets.

      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 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. I have mention that it is an easier route comparing with the previous one.

http://kostenets-tourism.com/en/locations/item/id/5

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

Route e - 2

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

 

       I do not remember if in Gutsal there was a food shop, but photos below remember me that there was a spring of water in it. The only time I pedaled this unnamed road was august 2009, when it was still a dirty road. Now is is in very nice condition.

       I drove the same road in the early spring of '21. The view toward Rila Mountain is quite impressive,

  unfortunately the photos can not show it.

      In the end I will only say, that in the back direction I would not choose this route from Pazardzhik to Sofia. The climbing from Kostenets to Borovets is

  considerable, more than 25 kilometers, surely the route is for stronger bicyclists 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.

      Here I will say several words for the two possible routes between Pazardzhik and Plovdiv (road 8).

Route a

      From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv (road 8).

     The road is just after reconstruction and the traffic here

 

is very very intensive. I do not think it is a dangerous road, but if you want to avoid it, my next suggestion is: this route is a little bit longer, but pedaling here according to me is much more pleasant and safe.

 

 

Route b

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


Route a

From Pazardzhik to Plovdiv (road 8).

    The distance from Pazardzhik to Plovdiv is 38 kms absolutely flat area. Six kilometers east from Pazardzhik the road cross Luda Yana River (the vertical photo below).   The river is  clean, the wild camps fan can use this place. At the crossroad toward Malo Koynare (9 km east from Pazardzhik) there is nice swimming pool & restaurant - an appropriate place to relax in the hot summer afternoons.
      Before entering in Plovdiv there are 2 motels next to the road - so called "The 9th kilometer".

     Entering in Plovdiv from west or east, you will see velo lanes - I have pointed in red in the map below. Unfortunately there is not an appropriate velo lane to cross the town center.

      There is a map for the velo lanes in Plovdiv, but it is

 

not nice, I will not show it here. If you reach the tunnel

under the hill with the Ancient Amphitheatre on it, walk in right - you will be in the walking zone of the City. In the tunnel there is a sidewalk, you can use it, but my suggestion is to visit City Center.


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

Route b

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

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

      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

      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, never mind the intensive traffic in the town, many times I have seen bicyclists visiting it.

      In Internet there is a lot of information concerning Plovdiv, so I will not write here about it.

      Detail information for Plovdiv can be seen here:

 

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

 

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

 

       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 !!!)

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 in the last road segment from Plovdiv to Popovitsa is relative intensive, but no alternative here; I do not think it is dangerous to pedal here.

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

      In Popovitsa you can find easy a nice spot near the road, I love to relax there for an afternoon. Usually there

  are no more than 5 - 6 children near the pool. Food and cool beer are available there.

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 the two 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 intensive before entering in 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.

     I know that bicyclists prefer to pedal just this route, but the only thing I will say about this route is that 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 surround Haskovo, it is relatively big town, overnight accommodation is possible in it. Information for it can be seen here:

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

      On the map above I point a spot Mineral Bath 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

      I have never pedalled the road from Haskovo toward Harmanli, because of the much more nice opportunities

  to reach it, as I will describe in the next items (routes b & c).

sector VI. D - 3. a

      As a way to avoid the intensive traffic along the road E 80 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.

Pictures are taken in the late June 2020.

      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 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 just after reconstruction and it is in very nice conditions, and taking into account that there is   not any traffic here, I would suggest you to ride just this route in both directions. 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 accommodation is possible in Chirpan. Information for it 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 to reach 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.

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


 

Sector VI. D - 3. b

      In this sector no any variants. The road from Dimitrovgrad to Simeonovgrad is along Maritsa River. The road is in very nice conditions and there is not traffic. The pedaling here is a pleasure at all.

      The road segment from Simeonovgrad to Harmanli (road 554) is with more intensive traffic. I would not say it is dangerous.

 

 

      Climbing no big hill after Dimitrovgrad, it follows a pleasant riding down the stream of Maritsa River to Simeonovgrad. Food is available in villages along the road.

 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 accommodation is available in it.

No much to say about 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 end of my description is the south east corner of the country, where borders of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey are joining. On the map in left I have shown all the available border checkpoints. Two of them I have shown in red rectangular meaning that the traffic there is terrible, it would be better to avoid them, over more 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

      I know that the overnight accommodation in Lyubimets is possible.

     The distance from Lyubimets to Svilengrad I have never pedaled, but the time is in front of me. If you follow the local road, you will see a road without any traffic.

      But another is my idea shown here. To avoid the overcrowded Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (directly to Edirne, it would be much better to use Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda to enter in

 

Greece, and after 50 km to enter in Turkey from Greece - here you will be the only checked people at both check points. I tried it several years ago.

       As a border town, the overnight accommodation in Svilengrad is not a problem. The distance from Lyubimets to Svilengrad I have never pedaled, but the time is in front of me. If you follow the local road, you will see a road without any 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

      According to bicyclists pedaled this route and shared their experience with me, the next alternative maybe is better to be used. Because of the traffic is always intense, going at Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (Bulgarian/Turkish border, it will be better to enter Greece first (route b) and after 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.

     August '17 I explored just this route I can say in this area, there was not traffic - I crossed the border checkpoints for minutes without any problems. 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 area 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:

Chapter VI. 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.

      Immediately I would say that this route must be avoided. The roads 55 & 7 are the ones with heavy traffic. The heavy traffic from Turkey toward North Europe, including heavy trucks, is just here.

 

 

 

      As 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 will mention that I did not traveled the road from Elhovo down to BG / Turkey Border.

 

 

     In Sliven look for signs toward Yambol. The left photo is the only one I took just on the highest point between Sliven and Yambol.

     

 

 

      Information for Yambol (Overnight accommodation is possible in it):

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

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

 

 

      Several pictures from Yambol and the town garden.

Very little information about Elhovo is available here:

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

The next several pictures are taken several kilometers south from Elhovo. The traffic here is intensive,

although it can not be seen from the photos.


 

 

 

 

 

Sector VI. D - 6. a

 

 

To describe route b & c I will increase the scale a little.

 

A better variant 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 accommodation is available in Tvarditsa - you will see labels attached on the poles near the road for guests houses. I can not find any English language information for this little town.

 

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.

Information for Nova Zagora is available here:

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

     Traveling 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 next several photos, taken in the beginning of September and beginning of June '20, show the   country side between Polski Gradets and Madrets.

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 work shop, you   can seal your flat tires, or ask for some tools or mechanical help if necessary.

      I have not photos from Radnevo - the last time I went through it was a very dark way, my cell tel can not take nice photos without much sun. You will guess it seeing

 

the big monument near the road. A little information for Radnevo:

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

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

 

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

      Three photos from Galabovo:

      The area between Radnevo and Galabovo is a zone of coal mining, three big steam electricity plants are

   in exploitation here giving more than 40% of the electricity in 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; in fact is not hard and easy to be pedaled. I remember, that in Pastrogor there is a food shop.

 

      The area is scenic, but have in mind it is very sunny, dry and hot in the summer, without any shade, so bring water with you.     

 

      July and August along the road there are a lot of wild plums and black berry

.

      I recommend this route, there is not any traffic here, the pedaling is save and pleasant.

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

chart above toward Svilengrad.

And again several words about the route c, although I post the same information above in the previous items.

Next several photos are the countryside from Galabovo toward Simeonovgrad.

      The next little town is Simeonovgrad, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it. No much to say about it, but it can be found a restaurant with

 

tasty meals 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


 

BACK TO:

Sector VI. D - 4

      The end of my description is the south east corner of the country, where borders of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey are joining. On the map in left I have shown the available border checkpoints. Two of them I have shown in red rectangular meaning that the traffic there is terrible, it would be better to avoid them, over more there are nice alternatives. So, your two opportunities hera 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

      I know that the overnight accommodation in Lyubimets is possible.

     The distance from Lyubimets to Svilengrad I have never pedaled, but the time is in front of me. If you follow the local road, you will see a road without any traffic.

      But another is my idea shown here. To avoid the overcrowded Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (directly to Edirne, it would be much better to use Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda to enter in

 

Greece, and after 50 km to enter in Turkey from Greece - here you will be the only checked people at both check points. I tried it several years ago.

       As a border town, the overnight accommodation in Svilengrad is not a problem. The distance from Lyubimets to svilengrad I have never pedaled, but the time is in front of me. If you follow the local road, you will see a road without any 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

      According to bicyclists pedaled this route and shared their experience with me, the next alternative maybe is better to be used. Because of the traffic is always intense, going at Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (Bulgarian/Turkish border, it will be better to enter Greece first (route b) and after enter Turkey: This route crposses Rodopi Mountain.

 

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

     August '17 I explored just this route I can say in this area, there was not traffic - I crossed the border checkpoints for minutes without any problems. 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 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



back to content