VI. Routes: B. Sofia - Varna



      The routes Sofia - Varna I will suggest are:

      1. The Route 1: Sofia - Varna: the route between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountain;

      2. The Route 2: Sofia - Varna: the route along the north side of Balkan;

      3. The Route 3: Sofia - Varna: The route along Danube River Valley.

      Of course other routes are possible as well, for example, if bicyclists are entering in Bulgaria via Border Checkpoint Bregovo, or Vrashka Chuka (Bulgaria/Serbia border), they can pedal along Danube River to the seaside, or they can miss Sofia, heading toward the seaside after reaching Vratsa (route 3).

      Next I will give detailed descriptions of the routes.


      1. The Route 1        (Sofia - Varna: the route between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountain);

      The shortest route between Sofia and Varna (475 km.) is the one between Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountain to Sliven, where the lower eastern part of Balkan can be crossed to north - east direction heading towards Varna.

      A detailed description of the road segment Sofia - the Pentacle can be seen in the Chapter VI. Routes: A. Sofia - Burgas, Route1. Here I will mention again, that it is a scenery route, it is the shortest distance between Sofia and Varna as well as it is the easiest for bicycling variant:

      Sofia - Karlovo - Kazanlak - Sliven - the Pentacle - Provadia - Devnya - Varna.


      Sector VI. 1     (The Pentacle - Varna )

      Of first, I will say that entire this area is not heavy traveled (except road N 73), the countryside here is beautiful, and places for camp in the wilderness are perfect. Have in mind that there is a train line between Devnya to Provadia to Dalgopol to Asparuhovo to Vishna to Lozarevo to Karnobat, if necessary, you can use it. Bicycling in this area always brings me a great pleasure. No any problems here with the food and water.

      On the map above 2 routes toward Varna are shown:

      Route A:

      The Pentacle - Sungurlare - Lozarevo - Prilep - Kamchia - Vishna -  Asparuhovo - Dalgopol - Provadia - Devnya - Varna.

 

      More intensive traffic here is available from Lozarevo to Kamchia. To avoid it, ytou can pedal next route:

      Route B:

      The Pentacle - Karnobat - Aytos - Vishna -  Asparuhovo - Dalgopol - Provadia - Devnya - Varna.

      

      Route C is for bicyclists hating areas overcrowded by tourists:

      Ruen - Dyulinski Pass - Dyulino - Obzor.


      Sector VI. 1 - A    (The Pentacle - Vishna)

      Route A:

      The Pentacle (photo 1 and 2 below) - Marashki Pass - Padarevo - Sungurlare - Lozarevo - Prilep - Kamchia - Lyuyakovo - Vishna.

      Once leaving Marashki Pass toward Sungurlare (photo 3 down) you will pedal along a nice road without any traffic. Between Lozarevo  and Prilep  again you will be on a segment of the main road N73 - the traffic here is intensive, the road is in a very nice condition. After, toward Kamchia and Lyulyakovo, there will be no more traffic. The route I have given here has minimum climbing in the both directions.

Sector VI. 1 - A. 1

      In this sector is shown how to avoid a part of road N 73. If you choose:

      Prilep - Vedrovo - Saedinenie

instead

      Prilep - Kamchia -  Saedinenie,

you will avoid the additional climbing of 70 meters after Prilep.

      Route B:

      The Pentacle - Karnobat - Aytos - Vishna -  Asparuhovo - Dalgopol - Provadia - Devnya - Varna.

      There is traffic along E 773, but I think that the pedaling here is not dangerous. Overnight accommodation is possible in Karnobat: look for hotel Mirage (left when you head to the line station) and Aytos: look for a spot named Genger right when you begin climbing Aytoski pass, road N 208 . Both places are available in Google Map. Information for Karnobat and Aytos:

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

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

      The next pictures are: the hill west from Aytos toward Karnobat, my camp place there and the top of Aytoski Pass, the third photo.


Sector VI. 1 - B     (Vishna - Provadia)

     Visha - Bilka - Dobromir - Asparuhovo - Komunari - Dalgopol - Provadia.

       It is very pleasant route for pedaling in the both directions. Have in mind that the overnight accommodations in Provadia may be very limited in the tourist season. It is much easier to find accommodations in Asparuhovo, where several hotels are available.

      Crossing Tsonevo Dam you will see a very pretty place – “The Wonderful Rocks”:

 

 http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/128

      Provadia is a scenic place, it is placed in a not deep canyon along Provadiiska River. Overnight accommodation in Provadia is available, although in the touristy season some problems can appear. Information for Provadia and its fortress "Ovech" on the plateau over the town:

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

      http://trakia-tours.com/provadia-guide-94.html

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/340


      Sector VI. 1 - C  (Provadia - Varna)

      And the last road segment toward Varna town is:

       Provadia - Dobrina - Manastir - Devnya - Varna.

      Information for Devnya and its interesting museum of mosaics:

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

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Mosaics,_Devnya

 

      Next several photos are taken along the road just behind Provadia toward Dobrina, Manastir and Varna.

      Between Devnya and Varna is placed an interesting place, so called "Stone forest":

      http://varna-bg.com/museums/pobitikamani/st_f_uk.html

     The road (N2008) along the Lake of Varna is available also, but have in mind that it is an industrial zone, so the traffic there is quite intensive. The route I have shown here is much better.


      Route C

      As an opportunity here I would suggest a route from Aytos toward Obzor via Duylinski Pass. Obzor is a tourist place, I love it for a place for my summer vacancy, each summer I have in it 10 - 12 days of leisure. Information for Obzor:

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

      http://www.beachbulgaria.com/obzor/

      More Information for both Aytoski & Dyulinski Passes (next 3 photos) is available in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, points 15. Aytoski Pass and 16. Dyulinski Pass.


      2. The route 2         (Sofia - Varna: the route along the north side of Balkan)

      The next route toward Varna town is the one along the north side of Balkan. According to me it is the most scenery route toward Varna town. Almost to Shumen the area is a mountain type area, although there are not exceptionally hard for climbing hills. This area is especially nice for pedaling on the hot summer months – July and August, here temperatures are not as high as in the plane area of the country. The route to Veliki Preslav is along rivers, there are woody areas also. There are many possibilities for overnight accommodation; area is perfect for camping in the wilderness as well. Further I will part this route in several segments and will give more detailed information concerning the route and some alternatives.

      The route is:

      Sofia - Vitinia Pass - Botevgrad - Etropole - Teteven - Troyan - Apriltsi - Gabrovo - Kilifarevo - Elena - Veliki Preslav - Shumen - Novi Pazar - Devnya - Varna

      The distance Sofia – Varna here is 570 km, which is 180 km longer than the one of the Route 1.


      Sector VI. 2 - A: Sofia - Etropole

      As the entire this region of the country is beautiful for exploring, next I will give 3 possible routes Sofia - Etropole and you can choose a route for you depending on the time you have to explore BG:

Routes:

      Route a It is the shortest distance between Sofia and Etropole, the route is along Vitinia Pass;

      Sofia – Vitinia Pass – Botevgrad - Pravets - Etropole;

 

      Route b It is the logiest and the most beautiful route including Gorges of Iskar River and Malak Iskar River:

      Sofia – Iskar River Gorge -  Svoge - Mezdra – Roman – Kalugerovo - Dzhurovo - Laga - Etropole;

 

      Route c It is in the Balkan, the route includes off-road:

Sofia – Iskar River Gorge – Rebrovo -  Batulia - Yablanitsa - Vrachesh – Botevgrad – Etropole.


      Route a  - via Vitinia Pass (sector VI. 2 - A. 1):

     Sofia - Dolni Bogrov - Yana  - Vitinya Pass - Vrachesh - Botevgrad - Pravets - Etropole.

      It is the shortest route Sofia - Etropole. Look of first in Chapter: IX.  How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle, point 10. Toward/from Vitinia Pass.

      In other to avoid the motor road A2, after Sofia ring pedal the road N6 (E871) signed as a road toward Burgas, after turn left toward Gorni Bogrov after follow the sign toward Yana; after Yana you will begin climbing Vitinia Pass, information for it can be seen in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, point 3. Vitinia Pass.

 

      Next, there are 3 possible routes between Botevgrad and Etropole shown in the Sector VI. 2 - A. 1:

      Route a. 1:

     It is the shortest one between Botevgrad and Etropole - 26 km. There is an elevation of 260 meters is between Pravets and Etropole. No intensive traffic here:

      Botevgrad - Trudovets - Razliv - Pravets - Etropole;

      Overnight accommodation is available in Botevgrad, just before Pravets, and Etropole. Information for Botevgrad and Pravets:

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

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

      Next several photos are taken in Botevgrad, the lake near Pravets and the Pass betwee Pravets and Etropole (where a motel is available).

      Information for Etropole, Etropole Monastery, and the beautiful water fall just behind it (3-4 kilometers east from Etropole):

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/168

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

      Route a. 2:

      This route is a little longer than previous one: 47 km. All that area is a mountain one and it is very nice and easy for exploring because roads are along river gorges. I would suggest you to elongate your tour in this beautiful region if have a time:

      Botevgrad - Trudovets - Razliv - Praceshka Lakavitsa - Osikova Lakavitsa (road N3) - Dzhurovo -  Malak Iskar - Laga - Etropole (road 37);

      Next three photos are taken in the area between Laga and Etropole.

      Route a. 3:

      The distance along this route is approx 60 km. :

      Botevgrad - Trudovets - Razliv - Praveshka Lakavitsa - Kalugerovo - Vidrare - Dzhurovo -  Malak Iskar - Laga - Etropole (road 37);

   

      Needless to say that the countryside here is beautiful. There is not ant traffic here. Overnight accommodation is possible in Chekotinski Monastery "St. Archangel Mihail" next to Kalugerovo, several words about it you can find in the next item. Next several photos are along Malak Iskar River Gorge between Kalugerovo and Vidrare.

      If you choose the  route a. 3 there is a possibility to miss Etropole and pedal toward Teteven: from Malak Iskar toward Lopyan, more information about it I will give further for route b.


     Route b - via Iskar River Gorge (sector VI. 2 - A. 2):

      Sofia – Iskar River Gorge -  Mezdra – Roman – Etropole;

      This route will elongate the distance Sofia – Varna approx 160 - 180 kilometers, but if you have a time it would be worth to do it. Both gorges – of Iskar River: Sofia - Mezdra - Roman, and Malak Iskar River: Roman - Svode - Vidrare are very scenery places, no traffic, especially along the second one.

 

      For the route from Sofia to Mezdra, please look in the chapter: IX.  How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle, point 10. Toward/from Iskar River Gorge. Information concerning Iskar River Gorge can be found out in Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, point 2. Iskar River Gorge.

      I can say this is one of my favorite routes in BG, I recommend you to explore this area if you have a time to do it. The route is nice for bicycling in both directions.

 

      Sector VI. 2 - A. 2 (route b)

      For a part of the route in this sector I point here 2 possiblities: via Vidrare, or via Praveshka Lakavitsa. I recommend the first one.

      The distance Mezdra - Etropole is approx 90 kilometers.

      Sector VI. 2 - A. 2. a

      Two are the possible routes Mezdra - Roman:

Route b. 1: Mezdra - Dolna Kremena - Gorna Kremena - Kalen - Gorna Beshovitsa - Dolna Beshovitsa - Roman.

Route b. 2: Mezdra - Brusen - Tsarevets - Strupets - Roman.

      Both variants are very nice because the entire area is very scenic and not hard for pedaling, no any traffic along these local roads. The climbing for both routes is almost the same, in the route b. 2 it consists 2 hills.

      Next three photos are the area between Mezdra and Gorna Kremena.

      Our camp place next to the bridge over Iskar River and rocks above Iskar River.

      Our camp place above Roman (the last photo above) . . . next, we are coming from Strupets toward Roman.

      Here I give more detailed scheme of Mezdra, never mind it is a small town, roads toward Brusen and Dolna & Gorna  Kremena are not signed well.

 

     Overnight accommodation is available in Mezdra - just before entering in it from Iskar River Gorge there is a nice motel. Information for Mezdra:

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

 


      Sector VI. 2 - A. 2. b        

      

      Roman  - Hubavene - Karash - Sredni rat - Svode - Kalugerovo.

      This route segment is exceptionally scenery area and the pedaling here is a great pleasure. As it can be seen on the map, elevation of the road is 100 meters for all the distance between Roman and Kalugerovo - 25 km. Here you will see no more than 3 – 4 cars. There is 5 – 6 kilometer off road segment, if my memory serves it was between Hubavene and Sredni Rat, but I do not remember where it was exactly never mind I have toured this route many times. You can see this off road  on the last 2 photos below; it is not in bad conditions even when it is raining.

   Between Kalugerovo and Svode3, or between Svode and Sredni rat the road is in very poor condition - off road, but there you will not see any cars. It is extremely nice countryside.


      Sector VI. 2 - A. 2. c

 

      Here I will suggest 2 routes:

 

      route b. 3: Kalugerovo - Vidrare - Dzhurovo;

 

      route b. 4: Kalugerovo - Praveshka Lakavitsa - Osikovska Lakavitsa - Osikovitsa  - Dzhurovo.

 

      The first one is better - it is along Malak Iskar River.

      Again it is exceptionally beautiful for pedaling road segment. The road is next to Malak Iskar River and it is in very nice conditions, last time I explored this area they put on the road here asphalt. 

      In the previous item there is a road profile chart for this road segment.

      Next to Kalugerovo is placed Chekotinski Monastery "St. Archangel Mihail".  I want to mention this place - here is maybe the only appropriate place for overnight accommodation between Roman and Etropole; there is a nice hotel in the monastery.

 

      Information for the Monastery and several photos from this spot:

      http://visit.guide-bulgaria.com/a/687/chekotinski_monastery_st._archangel_michail.htm

      http://www.bulgarianmonastery.com/en/monastery/chekotin_monastery.html

   Sector VI. 2 - A. 2.

      The last road segment toward Etropole is:

      Route b. 5: Dzhurovo - Malak Iskar - Laga - Etropole.

      Needless to say, it is a road segment perfect for touring.  Etropole is just behind the hill of the right photo. Several more photos and several words about this road segment can be seen in the previous item.

      Route b. 6: toward Teteven (missing Etropole), I will say several words and put several photos about it it in the next road sector: Sector VI. 2 - B  (Etropole - Teteven).

      As a conclusion, It is one of the best routes in Bulgaria, my suggestion is to pedal it if you have a time. You definitely will not regret!

 


      Route c - crossing Balcan    (sector VI. 2 - A. 3)

      This route is appropriate for bicyclists loving off road pedaling in the mountain

      Sofia – Novi Iskar - Iskar River Gorge – Rebrovo - Batulia  - Bakyovo - Yablanitsa - Vrachesh – Botevgrad – Etropole.

      This variant is much more exciting comparing with the first one. Leaving Sofia to north along Iskar River Gorge, when reach Rebrovo turn to the right and enter in Balkan along Batuliiska River.     

     Sector VI. 2 - A. 3. a

      Rebrovo - Batulia - Bakyovo - Yablanitsa.

     

      As it can be seen from the road profile chart, the climbing in the mountain is not hard; for a distance of 30 kilometers between Rebrovo and the point named "house" on the map above, the climbing is 330 meters; the road to this point is in very nice conditions, needles to say there is not any traffic here.

      There is a hotel on the 25th kilometer, but I can not say anything of it. The last time I explored this area I still did not know I will do such a site.

      Leaving Yablanitsa you will see a little shop – coffee place, food can be found out there as well (My daughter Maya is sitting just in front of it on the first photo having a cup of coffee).

           Unfortunately the road further is not signed. Three kilometers after the hotel, I have mentioned above, you have to leave the asphalt road and take the off-road to the left. This crossroad can be recognized easy – there is a building just there, unfortunately I have not a photo of this place. If you go straight on the asphalt road, soon you will see a hotel - you have to be sure you are wrong.

      Sector VI. 2 - A. 3. b

      Following further the off road you will reach the Balkan ridge (the photo in the middle below). Just on the highest point of the pass there is a crossroad - go ahead down the mountain and you will reach Vrachesh and Botevgrad. No way to be wrong in the mountain.

      The opposite direction would be not nice for bicycling – the road west from Vrachesh up the mountain is very steep and rocky.

      Unfortunately I can not point the distance between Yablanitsa and Vrachesh - there is a segment in the mountain Google map does not show the off road. Obviously I must find a time to explore this area again.

      Next to Batulia and just before entering in Vrachesh there are Monasteries: Batyliiski and Vrachesh Monastery.

      http://www.bulgarianmonastery.com/en/monastery/batulia_monastery.html

      http://visit.guide-bulgaria.com/a/823/vrachesh_monastery_st._40_martyrs.htm

      Have in mind that neither food nor accommodation are offered in both places.


     Sector VI. 2 - B: Etropole - Teteven

      The route Etropole – Teteven again is the best road segment for bicycling:

      Etropole - Ribaritsa - Yamna - Cherni Vit - Teteven.

 

      Teteven is placed in the deep valley of Vit River surrounded of spectacular rocks. The view is quite impresive. Overnight accomodation in it is not a problem. Information for Teteven can be seen here:

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

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

 

 

      The road from Etropole to the point D on the map above is relatively nice, but before and after Yamna is in very poor conditions, so drivers definitely avoid this road.

      Cherni Vit is a village (the photos with the church) along Cherni Vit River, maybe the village is long 10 kilometers. The back route is nice for pedaling as well.

      Our camp places - just before and after Teteven.

      Coming from Dzhurovo (the previous  sector VI. 2 - A. 2.) there is is possible to head directly toward Yamna - it is the road segment C - D as I have pointed on the map above. The next several photos are taken in this area. There is a little shop and coffee place in Lopyan, after it you will pedal on off-road along beautiful river toward point D. Since several years this road is in very nice conditions - covered by asphalt.

      Next to Lopyan there is a nice spot appropriate for overnight accommodation:

      http://www.hotel-in-bulgaria.com/en/lopyan.html

      In this beautiful region there are another nice alternatives for routes toward Teteven - route a or route b on the next map, next several photos are in the area of Golyam Izvor.


       Sector VI. 2 - C: Teteven - Troyan

      Teteven - Ribaritsa - Shipkovo - Terziisko - Balabanski - Gabarska - Troyan.

      This route segment is the longest and the highest hill all over the road Sofia – Varna.

      Three - four kilometers after Teteven you will enter in a resort zone along Beli Vit River called Ribaritsa – at least 15 kilometers long area of small private homes – hotels. Information for Ribaritsa:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/186

      Never mind that the area here is a touristy place, the traffic along the road is not intensive.

      The climbing to the highest point (almost in the middle of the road) is not hard. Up the mountain after Ribaritsa there are a lot of wood strawberies (June) and raspberries (July).

      When you reach the highest point (the next three photos) you will enjoy of a perfect view in each direction. In the back direction Troyan – Teteven the hill is steeper, especially after Shipkovo, which is again a resort village:

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

      Overnight accommodation in Troyan is not a problem. Information for Troyan:

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

      http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/388/troyan


      Sector VI. 2 - D: Troyan - Gabrovo (road N44)

     Troyan - Oreshak - Drashkova Polyana - Velchevo - Skandaloto - Apriltsi - Ostrets - Kravenik - Seliste - Stokite - Karamanchevtsi - Batoshevo - Gorna Rositsa -  Yavorets -  (Road 44 - toward Gabrovo).

       Unbelievable pleasant for exploring region. Pedaling to east, from your right side is the highest part of Balkan.

      Entering in Oreshak (overnight accommodation is available in it), you will see a sign toward Troyanski Monastery (the photos below), if you have a time, you can visit it, overnight accommodation is possible in the hotel part of the monastery, or a little further in Cherni Osam. Information for Troyanski monastery:

      http://www.bulgarianmonastery.com/en/monastery/troyan_monastery.html

      http://www.wikivisually.com/wiki/Troyan_Monastery

      The road toward Apriltsi is easy for pedaling, no any traffic there. Overnight accommodation in Apriltsi is possible. Information for Apriltsi:

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

      The highest point of this road segment is 2 - 3 kilometers after Ostrets; after to Yavorets  the road is down the mountain. Near Batoshevo is placed Batoshevski Monastery, I did not visit it.

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/375

      Sector VI. 2 - D. 1

       Now I will increase the resolution a little.

    

      To reach Gabrovo my suggestion is to pedal along road N 44 (route a), never mind it is pointed as a main road on the map, the traffic along it is not so intensive:

      Gorna Rositsa - Yavorets - Draganovtsi - Novakovtsi - Vranilovtsi - Yankovtsi - Kievtsi (Gabrovo).

 

 

      On the map you will see shortcuts toward Gabrovo from Batoshevo or Gorna Rositsa (route b):

      Gorna Rositsa - Muzga - Debeli Dyal - Tranito - Kievtsi (Gabrovo).

 

      Have in mind that it is a mountain area (the first 4 photos below), roads in this area are not signed well, some of the villages are leaved – nobody there, so you will not see anybody to ask about the road. Several years ago I and Maya had such problems in this area. The compensation exploring this area is the best scenery, no any traffic as well. I remember we lost a lot of time to eat blackberry here.

      You can choose to visit or surround Gabrovo (the last 2 photos above); information for it:

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

      http://wikitravel.org/en/Gabrovo

 

     Several kilometers south from Gabrovo is placed Etara which is an interesting architectural ethnographic complex - a museum at work. It is worth seeing:

      http://etar.org/index-en.htm

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etar_Architectural-Ethnographic_Complex

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv40JmKEPJU

      http://go-lets.com/index.php/gabrovo-etara/

 

      (I visited it several times, but next photos are not mine)


      Sector VI. 2 - E: Gabrovo (Kievtsi) - Kilifarevo

      If you do not want to enter in Gabrovo, you can bike along the sound ring just before entering in it (turn to left in Kievtsi):

      Yavorets (Gabrovo) - Dolino - Dryanovo - Ganchovets - Yalovo - Kilifarevo.

      Have in mind that the traffic on the roar E85 is relatively intensive, but most of the pedaling here (after Dolino) is down the hill and the distance is pedaling fast. The pedaling of the back direction (Dryanovo - Gabrovo) would not be so pleasant - it is up the mountain.

      The tunnel just before entering in Dryanovo Municipality (the last photo below) is not long and not dangerous. Information fot Dryanovo:

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

      Sector VI. 2 - E. 1

 

      A remarkable place in the region is Dryanovski Monastery and the area near it. The Monastery is located in a deep Karst valley where 2 rivers are joining. The rocks of the Karsts chains over the monastery are very impressive; there is a labeled track from the monastery to the hills above it (just behind the tower on the second photo below).

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

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

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

 

 

 

      Sector VI. 2 - E. 2

 

      If my memory serves, the road in Dryanovo towards Kilifarevo is not signed, so enter in Dryanovo and go down to the railway and industrial zone; pedaling along the railway you will cross it and head toward Ganchovets, after pedal on toward Kilifarevo. It is very nice route without any traffic, unfortunately I can not find photos of that area.

      Sector VI. 2 - E. 3

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

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

      This touristy place is advertised in the guiding books, so I know that foreigners would like to visit it. Have in mind, this town is a cross road, so the traffic around it is quite intensive especially after Debelets, where roads N5 (E85) and road N 55 are joining. Be careful if you bicycle there. It is really very dangerous road segment.

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

 

      Our camp place and entering in Veliko Tarnovo from sough.

      A lot of information including overnight accommodation about Veliko Tarnovo can be found here:

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

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

      http://wikitravel.org/en/Veliko_Turnovo

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

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

      http://triciatct.blogspot.bg/p/monastries-of-veliko-tarnovo-region.html

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

      Several kilometers to North is another place connected with Bulgarian history - Arbanasi. There is a lot of hotels in it too.

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/17

       In the next item I will describe how to leave Veliko Tarnovo and head towards Elena.


      Sector VI. 2 - F: Kilifarevo - Elena

       

     Route a:

      Kilifarevo - Plakovo - Sredni Kolibi - Gardevtsi - Yakovtsi - Elena.

      It is a extreme beautiful area. There is not many villages, no any traffic. The best place here is the area near Iovkovtsi dam. There is an easy access to is (just before Yakovtsi), summer time the water is perfect to refresh, place is perfect for camp in the wilderness. next to Yakovtsi there is a little hotel & restaurant.

        Near Iovkovtsi dam: it is a perfect area for relax, swimming in the dam and camp next to it.

      Elena is a tourist place, overnight accommodation in it is not a problem. Information for Elena:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/41

      Route b (Sector VI. 2 - F. 1):

      Another very nice opportunity in this area is:

       Kilifarevo  - Velchevo - Plakovski Monastery - Kapinovski Monastery -  road N53 - Elena.

      The road from Kilifarevo to Velchevo to Kapinovski Monastery is nice. Leaving Velchevo toward Plakovski Monastery, you will see an ancient tractor.

      There are 2 old monastery along this road: Plakovski monastery and Kapinovski Monastery: information for them is available here:

      http://bulgariamonasteries.com/en/plakovski_monastery.html

      http://bulgariamonasteries.com/en/kapinovo_monastery.html

      http://visit.elena.bg/en/temples-monasteries/kapinovski-and-plakovski-monasteries

      Neither food nor overnight accommodation in Plakovski Monastery, and next to Kapinovski Monastery there is a camping place, caravans, restaurant.

     After the second monastery the road enter in a nice wood, it is almost flat area. The road a dirty one although in many maps it is pointed like a nice one. Ihave not information if it was reconstructed.

      Unfortunately all the night before we pedaled along it there was a powering rain, the road was only mud and pools, we were in a hard situation more than 10 kilometers.  Luckily just before entering in Elena we found out a water spring where I washed the equipment.

            If you decide to visit Veliko Tarnovo, toward Elena you can use the next routes:

      Route a: Veliko Tarnovo - E 85 - Debelets - Plakovo - . . . - Elena (as it was described above).

(you can pedal Route b (Sector VI. 2 - F. 1) and visit Plakovski and Kapinovski monasteries as well);

 

      Route b: Veliko Tarnovo - E 85 - Prisovo - Pcheliste - Yserova Koria - Kapinovo  - road N53 - Elena;

(You have to be careful just before Debelets, you can miss easy the road toward Prisovo);

 

      Route c: Veliko Tarnovo - E 772 - Sheremetya - Dragizhevo - Merdanya - road N53 - Elena.

 

      I am not sure which variant is the best. Distances of all the routes are almost the same. The traffic of both roads:  E772 and E85 is terrible, maybe E 85 is more dangerous.

      On the maps you will see a train line from Gorna Oryahovitsa to Elena. Have in mind that is not in exploitation.


Sector VI. 2 - G: Elena - Ticha

      The exploring of this area is a real pleasure. Ho any traffic, no steep hills, the scenery is perfect. Exploring this area has always brought me a great pleasure.

      Elena - Maryan - Petkovtsi - Konstantin - Maysko - Kipilovo - Ticha .

      The last time I bicycled this road, after Maysko there was a sign toward Kipilovo (there is a water spring just on the crossroad) and road N 484 was asphalted.

      Sector VI. 2 - G. 1

      Because after Kipilovo the road is not signed well, I give below more detail map. If you explore this area, be careful and look your mile counter.

      I and Maya somewhere between Kipilovo and point 484 on the map above;

    

 

      Next 3 photos are between points 484 and the bridge over Golyama Kamchia River

      Further you will be not wrong. At the bridge over Golyama Kamchia River turn to right and bike down toward Ticha - route a.

 

      Two photos at the place where is the bridge over Golyama Kamchia river.

      Summer 2007 I and Maya lost somewhere in this area (after the first hill on the road profile chart above) - next three photos. Fortunately we met woodcutters, they showed us the road.

      You will be not wrong if you pedal only along the road N 484 (route b), you will reach Kotlenski Pass (the next three photos) - you will see a spring of water there; on the Pass turn to left and you will be in Ticha directly.

      All these roads are in very nice wood. But ... according to me the route a is better.

      Let I mention, that between Elena and Veliki Preslav (the next item) there is not places for overnight accommodation, so Kotel can be used for this purpose (look again sector VI. 2 - G 1). Information for Kotel:

      http://www.bulgarianproperties.com/Bulgaria/Kotel.html


     Sector VI. 2 - H: Ticha - Shumen

      After Ticha already you are leaving the mountain area.

      Ticha - Filaretovo - Malko selo - Yablanovo - Zvezditsa - Velichka - Konevo - Ivanovo - Veliki Preslav - Shumen

       Have in mind, that the region near Ticha dam is forbidden for camp – it is a closed zone because it is for  water supply of the town in the region.

      Bicycling here in this direction is pleasant and easy. Overnight accommodation is possible in Veliki Preslav and Shumen.

      In the moment I am updating this item, the google map does not permit me to connect Ticha and Shumen. Maybe the road from the bridge over Kamchia River to Veliki Preslav in the moment is in reconstruction and it is closed for cars. But I am sure that it is possible for pedaling. So, next are:

- road profile charts from Ticha to the Bridge over Kamchia River:

- and from Veliki Preslav to Shumen:

      The fans of the wild camping have to know, that the last river you can refresh in is just before Yablanovo - a perfect place to relax for an afternoon.

       Next photos are the countryside between Yablanovo and Ticha Dam.

     

      Three - fore kilometers before Veliki Preslav are remains of Preslav – the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom IX – X century. A little information for the First Bulgarian Kingdom:

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

      Veliki Preslav and our relax place in the town garden.

 

 

 

 

      Relatively intensive traffic here is available from Shumen to Veliki Preslav (overnight accommodation is available in it).

       Information for Veliki Preslav:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/40

 

      Next links are the Information about Shumen:

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

      https://travelro.wordpress.com/category/shumen-bulgaria/

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/75

as well as several photos of the same area - approach to Shumen (from North) and the plateau (Shumen Fortress) next to it, the town and my afternoon relax place in the town garden:


      Sector VI. 2 - I : Shumen - Vetrino

 

      The area here Shumen -  Vetrino is almost plane.

      Shumen - Kaspichan - Novi Pazar - Vetrino.

       Here is important to avoid the main road A2; along road N7 there is not any traffic.

      Very little information for Novi Pazar and Kaspichan is available here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novi_Pazar,_Shumen_Province

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

      If you research Google for information, have in mind that in Serbia there is Novi Pazar as well. Overnight accommodation is available in Kazpichan.

      Next several picture are the countryside from Shumen to Vetrino. Summer time (July and August) temperatures often are very high.

      In the same region is placed Pliska - the first Bulgarian capital:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/39

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


      Sector VI. 2 - J: Vetren - Varna

      A detail information for this area can be seen in the beginning of this Chapter: Sector VI. 1 (The Pentacle - Varna ) . It is not necessary to repeat it here.

      Route a:

      The shortest distance from Vetrino to Varna is:

      Vetrino - Devnya - Varna

 

 

      Route b:

      As the area near Provadia is quite scenery, you can elongate a little your route visiting this place. For details and photos look in the beginning of this Chapter: Sector VI. 1 (The Pentacle - Varna ).

      Vetrino - Provadia - Dobrina - Manastir - Devnya - Varna

            (A road (N2008 - east from Devnya) along the Lake of Varna is available also, but have in mind that it is an industrial zone, so the traffic there is quite intensive. The route I have shown on the map below is much better)

 

      Route c:

      If you decide to pedal toward Balchik (I recommend it) - use the route:

      Vetrino - Suvorovo - Levski - Izgrev - Kichevo - Kranevo - Albena - Balchik.

      (I did not explore this route east from Suvorovo, I know that more intensive traffic between Kichevo and Albena is availabl).

 

      Information for Varna and Balchik is posted in the Chapter IV. Bicycling along Black Sea side


      3. The route 3   (Sofia - Varna: The route along Danube River Valley)

      The route toward Varna along Danube River Valley is in much more plain area comparing with the one described in the previous point: The route 2, and a little bit shorter than it.

       The route is:

      Sofia - Iskar River Gorge - Mezdra - Roman - Cherven Bryag - Iskar - Pleven - Pavlikeni - Polski Tranbesh - Popovo - Targoviste - Shumen - Novi Pazar - Devnya - Varna.

 

      So, I recommend this route to bicyclists who do not love climbing so much. Have in mind, that summer time (July - August) here temperatures in the afternoons often exceed 35 deg C, so, this area is very appropriate to be explored spring time (April - middle of the June) and in the autumn time (September – October). The spring is coming here earlier than the other regions of the country.

      This route is very appropriate also for bicyclists entering in Bulgaria in its north - west corner and intending to visit the Black seaside missing Sofia. I would recommend them to look in the Chapter II.  Crossing Bulgaria from west (Serbian border) to east (Turkey border - Edirne) and south (Greece border), Sector II. A, point 3. Border Checkpoint Bregovo (Vrashka Chuka, Vidin) – Sofia.

 

      Further I will begin my description from Roman to Shumen only, as the descriptions of the routes:

      - from Shumen to Varna is given in  the same chapter The route 2, Sector VI. 2 - I: Shumen - Vetrino & Sector VI. 2 - J: Vetrino - Varna.

 

      - from Sofia to Roman see:  I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 2. Iskar River Gorge (A. Sofia - Mezdra), and Point 2. Iskar River Gorge (B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag)


      Sector VI. 3 - A: Roman - Pleven

 

 

      The route is:

      Roman - Kunino - Reselets - Cherven Bryag - Chomakovtsi - Koynare - Glava - Iskar - Dolni Dabnik - Yasen - Pleven.

      Between Roman and Cherven Bryag is the last road segment along Iskar River Gorge. The view here is impressive, especially between Kunino and Reselets - I post down more photos of this area.

      After Cherven Bryag you already are in the valley of Danube River, the area is almost flat. No traffic along this road. Information for Cherven Bryag:

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

 

      More adventurous bicyclists can look in (area near Karlukovo - amazing place) I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 2. Iskar River Gorge (B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag), Sector I. A - 2. d .

 

      The route from Cherven Bryag to Iskar to Dolen Dabnik to Pleven is easy for pedaling - next several photos illustrate it.

      Information for Pleven:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/294

 

      And a little history:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/20


      Sector VI. 3 - B: Pleven - Pavlikeni

      Here is important to avoid road N 3 (E83), where the traffic is intensive.

      Pleven - Grivitsa - Zgalevo - Zgalevo - Pordim - Odarne - Kamenets - Letnitsa - Asenovtsi - Levski - Gradiste - Butovo - Pavlikeni.

 

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

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

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

      Down is more detailed map showing how to avoid E83. You have to enter in Pleven, after head up toward Grivitsa and Zgalevo. Here is the longest hill in this sector.

Sector VI. 3 - B. 3

 

      In the region of Letnitsa there are two nice places, if you have a time you can visit them:

 

     - Devetashka Cave;

 

     - Waterfalls near Kroshuna.

 

 

 

      Devetashka Cave is magnificent and impressive one. Scenes of some Hollywood movie were made in it several years ago. Information for the cave and many expressive photos of that spot can be seen here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/355

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

      Overnight accommodation in Kroshuna is available. Information for it:

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


      Sector VI. 3 - C: Pavlikeni - E51

      Pavlikeni - Patresh - Gorna Lipnitsa - Obedinenie - Klimentovo - Polski Trambesh - Karantsi - Orlovets - Vinograd - Lozen - Kamen - E51.

        Pavlikeni – Polski Trambesh is a plane area easy and pleasant for bicycling. The right side of Yantra river (just after Polski Trambesh) is higher and the road is steeper - it is obvious from the road profile chart; after Orlovets again the area is almost flat (photos below). I remember this wet and raining morning in the late May '07. . .

      Overnight accommodation is available in Polski Trambesh, unfortunately the hotel site has no version in English - look for Hotel Esperanto. In the small town they have a nice swimming pool of thermal water. Very little information for Polski Trambesh is available here:

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


      Sector VI. 3 - D: E51 - Shumen

 

      E 51 - Voditsa  - Popovo - Svetlen - Zavetno - Drafta - Zdravets - Targoviste

      Bicycling along road N51 is pleasant; the traffic here is not intensive to Targoviste.

      For more detail description of first I post the road profile chart to Dralfa.

      Next three variants are possible:

 

route a:   1) Dralfa - Loznitsa - Presyak - Belokopitovo - Shumen.

 

route b:   1) Dralfa - Zdravets -Targoviste - Probuda - Belokopitovo - Shumen;

 

route c:    2) TDralfa - Zdravets - Targoviste - Baychevo - Veliki Preslav - Shumen.

 

      All the variants are nice. Maybe the least traffic will be along route b.

      Next photos are just befor entering in Popovo and my camp place there. Several kilometers before entering in Targoviste even there is a velo lane, it was not in a nice conditions I explored this area several years ago.

      Very little information for Popovo can be seen here:

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

      Entering in Shumen from north to south.

      Information for Veliki Preslav and Shumen is available in the previous items of the same chapter.

 

      For the route Shumen - Varna see: The route 2: 

      - Sector VI. 2 - I : Shumen - Vetrino;

      - Sector VI. 2 - J: Vetren - Varna.


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