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 Plane.

      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       

(from Sofia to 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 (we name this typical crossroad the "Pentacle") can be seen in the Chapter VI. Routes: A. Sofia - Burgas, Route 1. 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:

      from Sofia to Karlovo to Kazanlak to Sliven to the Pentacle to Provadia to Devnya to Varna.


      Sector VI. 1     (from the Pentacle to 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 two routes toward Varna are shown:

      Route A:

      from the Pentacle to Sungurlare to Lozarevo to Prilep to Kamchia to Vishna to Asparuhovo to Dalgopol to Provadia to Devnya to Varna.

 

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

      Route B:

      from The Pentacle to Karnobat to Aytos to Vishna to Asparuhovo to Dalgopol to Provadia to Devnya to Varna.

      

      Route C is for bicyclists hating areas overcrowded by tourists, my suggestion is to miss Varna and visit Obzor:

      from Ruen to Goritsa to Dyulinski Pass to Dyulino to Obzor.


      Sector VI. 1 - A    (from the Pentacle to Vishna)

      Route A:

      from the Pentacle (photo 1 and 2 below) to Marashki Pass to Padarevo to Sungurlare to Lozarevo to Prilep to Kamchia to Lyulyakovo to 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:

 

      from Prilep to Vedrovo to Saedinenie

 

instead

 

      from Prilep to Kamchia to Saedinenie,

 

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

  Route B:

      from the Pentacle to Karnobat to Aytos to Vishna to Asparuhovo to Dalgopol to Provadia to Devnya to Varna.

      There is traffic along E 773, but I think that the pedaling here is not dangerous.

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Karnobat and Aytos. 

 

      Information about Karnobat:

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

      A nice relax spot in Karnobat is hotel Mirage - look for hotel Mirage (left when you head to the line station) there is a nice swimming pool there, the hotel restaurant is nice as well.

       Information about Aytos:

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

      For overnight accommodation here I would recommend Hotel Genger - It is a cool place in this hot area.  look for a spot named Genger right when you begin climbing Aytoski pass, road N 208. It is placed in park area formed like a mini ethno - village. Unfortunately I have not photos of this place. There is a trail up the ethno-village to a place with a restaurant and pool.

 

 

 

 

 

      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    

(from Vishna to Provadia)

 

 

     from Visha to Bilka to Dobromir to Asparuhovo to Komunari to Dalgopol to 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  (from Provadia to Varna)

      And the last road segment toward Varna town is:

       from Provadia to Dobrina to Manastir to Devnya to 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 east above Provadia toward Dobrina, Manastir and Varna.

      Devnya is an industry center, 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 suggested 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

(from Sofia to 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:

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

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

      Following this route, further I will give a lot of opportunities for exploring this part of the country.


Sector VI. 2 - A

from Sofia to Etropole


      Attention !!! For bicyclists using GPS devices: Please, notice that in sector VI. 2 - A there are two settlements named YABLANICA! The first of them is in sector VI. 2 - A. 3 - route c; the other one - along the road A2 (sector VI. 2 - A. 2)


      As the entire this region of the country is beautiful for exploring, next I will give 3 possible routes from Sofia to 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;

      from Sofia to Vitinia Pass to Botevgrad to Pravets to Etropole;

 

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

      from Sofia to Iskar River Gorge to Svoge to Mezdra to Roman to Svode to Kalugerovo to Dzhurovo to Laga to Etropole;

 

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

      from Sofia to Iskar River Gorge to Rebrovo to Batulia to Yablanitsa to Vrachesh to Botevgrad to Pravets to Etropole.


Sector VI. 2 - A. 1

Route a: via Vitinia Pass

     from Sofia to Dolni Bogrov to Yana to Vitinya Pass to Vrachesh to Botevgrad to Pravets to Etropole.

      It is the shortest distance from Sofia to 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, or N1) 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. I will not write here about Vitinya Pass, a detail information for it can be seen in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, point 3. Vitinia Pass.

 

      More detail description I will give for the distance from Botevgrad to Etropole; next, there are three possible routes between Botevgrad and Etropole shown in the Sector VI. 2 - A. 1:

      - route a. 1: It is the shortest distance between Botevgrad and Etropole;

      - route a. 2 and route a. 2: are purposed if you have more time to explore this beautiful area.

      - 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:

      from Botevgrad to Trudovets to Razliv to Pravets to Etropole.

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

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

      http://www.bulgarianpropertiesdb.com/Botevgrad.html

Information for Pravetsand Pravets:

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

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

      Next several photos are the lake near Pravets; there is a hotel there, it is nice for bicyclist loving more luxury places and the Pass between Pravets and Etropole .

      Etropole is a small town, a nice place to relax for a night before going further.  Overnight accommodations at the hotel is not a problem.  There is a small museum in Etrople, as well as a few restaurants.

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

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

      East from Etropole is a monastery, with a scenic waterfall just behind it:

      http://www.bulgariamonasteries.com/en/etropole_monastery.html   

      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:

      from Botevgrad to Trudovets to Razliv to Praceshka Lakavitsa to Osikova Lakavitsa (road N3) to Dzhurovo to  Malak Iskar to Laga to 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. :

      from Botevgrad to Trudovets to Razliv to Praveshka Lakavitsa to Kalugerovo to Vidrare to Dzhurovo to  Malak Iskar to Laga to 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.


Sector VI. 2 - A. 2

Route b - via Iskar River Gorge

 

    The route b shown in this sector is nice for bicycling in both directions.

 

 

      from Sofia to Svoge (Iskar River Gorge) to Mezdra to Roman to 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:

 

      from Sofia to Svoge to Mezdra to Roman,

 

and Malak Iskar River:

 

      from Roman to Svode to Vidrare to Dzhurovo

 

are very scenery places, no traffic, especially along the second one.

 

      For the route from Sofia to Roman, please look of first in:

Chapter IX.  How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle, point 10. Toward/from Iskar River Gorge.

 

      Very detail information concerning Iskar River Gorge can be found out in:

Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, point 2. Iskar River Gorge, I will not write here about it.

 

 

      I will say only this is one of my favorite routes in BG, I recommend you to explore this area if you have a time to do it.

Sector VI. 2 - A. 2. a        

      from Roman to Hubavene to Karash to Sredni rat to Svode to Kalugerovo.

      This route segment is exceptionally scenery area and the pedaling here is a great pleasure.

      There is 5 – 6 kilometer off road segment, unfortunately I can not remember if it was between Sredni Rat and Svode,  or Karash and Sredni Rat,  never mind I have toured this route many times. Next 2 photos illustrate this off road segment

      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.

      The entire area is extremely scenic, unluckily photos can not impress it. There is not a problem with water and food supply here.

Sector VI. 2 - A. 2. b

 

 

 

 

      Here I will suggest 2 routes:

 

      route b. 1: from Kalugerovo to Vidrare to Dzhurovo;

 

      route b. 2: from Kalugerovo to Praveshka Lakavitsa to Osikovska Lakavitsa to Osikovitsa to Dzhurovo.

 

 

 

      Road profile scheme for route b. 1: from Kalugerovo to Vidrare to Dzhurovo (Please do not ask me I use here a mirror-image - it is not easy for me to explane; it is dues to some features of the Google Map in the moment I am doing it).

      Road profile scheme for route b. 2: from Kalugerovo to Praveshka Lakavitsa to Osikovska Lakavitsa to Osikovitsa to Dzhurovo.

      I recommend the first route. 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. 

      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. Unfortunatelly I do not remember if food was available 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. c

      The last road segment toward Etropole is:

      Route b. 3: from Dzhurovo to Malak Iskar to Laga to Etropole.

      Needless to say, it is a road segment perfect for touring.  Etropole is just behind the hill of the right photo the only photo I have from this road segment.

      The next Route b. 4 is 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!


Sector VI. 2 - A. 3

Route c - crossing Balkan

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

 

      from Sofia to Novi Iskar (Iskar River Gorge) to Rebrovo to Batulia  to Bakyovo to Yablanitsa to Vrachesh to Botevgrad to Etropole.

      This variant is much more exciting comparing with the first one (the route a - described above). 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

      from Rebrovo to Batulia to Bakyovo to 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 photo above having a cup of coffee).

     Sector VI. 2 - A. 3. b

      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.

      Following further the off road you will reach the Balkan ridge (the photo - me). 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

From Etropole to Teteven

      The route from Etropole to Teteven again is the best road segment for bicycling (please have in mind that east from Teteven again there is a place named Ribaritsa):

      from Etropole to Ribaritsa to Yamna to Cherni Vit to Teteven.

      The road profile chart shows that the climbing in west - east direction is easier rather the opposite one.

      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. The next several photos illustrate this beautiful area from Etropole towards the highest point of the road segment.

  

      The route from the highest point to Teteven is extremely pleasant. Only HAVE a spray against dogs here.

As it can be seen from the photos in left, the road here is in very poor conditions, so, do not be surprise, if you are not able to trace it on Google Maps !!!

 

   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. 

 

 

      Food can be find  in both Yamna and Cherni Vit.

      Before saying several words about Teteven, let me mention, that 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, in my plans is to pedal this road segment soon.

      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:

      from Dzhurovo to Golyam Izvor to Polaten to Teteven

The next several photos are the area near Golyam Izvor.

      Teteven is placed in the deep valley of Vit River surrounded of spectacular rocks. The view is quite impressive. Overnight accommodation 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   

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/teteven/teteven

Several winter photos of this town I like so much.

      And several photos of the Balkan above Teteven - near a small mountain village called Babintsi.

Our camp places - just before and after Teteven  near Beli Vit River.

      My last suggestion is for bicyclists entering in Bulgaria at north-west country corner: Border Checkpoint Bregovo, or Vidin and heading toward Varna, avoiding Sofia and following the route 2

      The best route It is: For bicyclists intending to vizit Glozhene Monastery, I would suggest

      - route a:

      from Vidin to Mezdra to Roman to Batultsi to Zlatna Panega to Asen to Glozhene toTeteven.

 For bicyclists intending to visit Glozhene Monastery, I would suggest:

      - route b:

      from Vidin to Mezdra to Roman to Batultsi to Dobrevtsi to Yablanitsa to Malak Izvor to Glozhene Monastery and back to Glozhene and Teteven.

     

 

 

      Details for the route from the north west part of Bulgarian Border can be seen in In the Chapter 2 Crossing Bulgaria from west to east, sector II. A, Points:

      3. Border Checkpoint Bregovo (Vrashka Chuka, Vidin) – Sofia;

      4. Border checkpoint Vrashka Chuka  – Sofia; 

      5. Border Checkpoint Vidin: The bridge Kalafat – Vidin – Sofia.

      The entire area is the best for exploring. Next several photos are the area from Roman to Zlatna Panega with its huge cement plant. Fortunately there are filters, so no any dust and smoke in the region near Zlatna Panega, the place is known with its Karst springs:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/324 .

      On the map above I surround in a red circle a segment of road E772; the traffic here is intensive and this road segment it can not be avoide; fortunately it is no more than 2 kilometers.

      Soon just after crossing Vit River you will see the sign toward Teteven, although in the photos below I am in the opposite direction.

 

      Leaving Glozhene next to the road you will see a motel and restaurant with impressive waterfall behind it. I have heard the food there is testy. Information for Glozhene:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/lovech/teteven/glojene

 

      From Glozhene you can visit Glozhene Monastery, but following this route it will increase the distance consideranly, overmore the Monastery is in the mountain, as it is obvious from the road profile chart below.

 

      So bicyclists intending to visit Glozhene Monastery can follow the route b - I have shown on the map above.

      The Monastery is placed on a spectacular mountain ridge, unfortunately it is one of the not many places in Bulgaria I still have not visited yet. Overnight accommodation is possible in the Monastery, but food is not offered. Information for the monastery and several photos:

      http://www.bulgariamonasteries.com/en/glozhene_monastery.html

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/57

      Well . . . that is all for this sector . . . after Teteven toward Troyan follows a long valley of Beli Vit River named Ribaritsa, a vacancy place . . .


 

Sector VI. 2 - C

from Teteven to Troyan

 

      The distance from Teteven to Troyan is very pleasant for pedaling, never mind here is the longest and the highest hill all over the road from Sofia to Varna:

      from Teteven to Ribaritsa to Shipkovo to Terziisko to Beli Osam to Troyan.

The road profile chart slows that pedaling from west to east is easier in comparison with the opposite direction.

      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, so accommodation in it is nit a problem.

      Near the road along Ribaritsa there are several very nice local type restaurants offering exceptionally tasty local meals as well.

 

 

 

 

 

       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, and after Ribaritsa you will not see any cars.

      Leaving Ribaritsa the climbing to the highest point (almost in the middle of the road) is a little bit harder, especially reaching the first serpentines - a spring of water is available there. Up the mountain after Ribaritsa there are a lot of wood strawberries (June) and raspberries (July). It is very nice area to camp in the wilderness here.

When you reach the highest point (the next photos) you will enjoy of a perfect view in each direction.

       In the back direction from Troyan to Teteven the climbing id harder, the road is steeper, especially after Shipkovo (2-3 km after Shipkovo a tap of fresh water is available).

      Shipkovo is a resort village, overnight accommodation is not a problem in it; a pool of thermal water is available in it, although I do not like it very much.

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

The scenery after Shipkovo toward the pass.

      And several words for and photos from Troyan, where the overnight accommodation is not a problem. Information for Troyan:

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

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/388


 

Sector VI. 2 - D

From Troyan to Gabrovo (road N44)

 

 

     from Troyan to Oreshak to Drashkova Polyana to Velchevo to Skandaloto to Apriltsi to Ostrets to Kravenik to Seliste to Stokite to Karamanchevtsi to Batoshevo to Gorna Rositsa to Yavorets to (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, the entire area is very nice for camping in the wilderness.

 

      Overnight accommodation in Apriltsi is possible. Information for Apriltsi:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

      The next fore photos are from Apriltsi. The view is especially impressive April and  May, when the Balkan is still covered by snow.

      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 N44 (route a), never mind it is pointed as a main road on the map, the traffic along it is not so intensive:

      from Gorna Rositsa to Yavorets to Draganovtsi to Novakovtsi to Vranilovtsi to Yankovtsi to Kievtsi (or Gabrovo).

 

 

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

      from Gorna Rositsa to Muzga to Debeli Dyal to Tranito to Kievtsi (or Gabrovo).

 

 

    Have in mind that it is a mountain area, 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

From Gabrovo (Kievtsi) to 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:

      from Yavorets (Gabrovo) to Dolino to Dryanovo to Ganchovets to Yalovo to 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.

     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 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

      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 above).

      Here is an interesting cave "Bacho Kiro"- just behind my partner above:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/67

Sector VI. 2 - E. 2

      If my memory serves, the road in Dryanovo towards Kilifarevo is not signed well, 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.

      Information for Dryanovo and several photos:

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

      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 N55 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.

 

      So, if you intend to visit Veliko Tarnovo, my suggestion is to stay for accommodation in Dryanovski Monastery and visit Veliko Tarnovo using the public transport.

      Our camp place and entering in Veliko Tarnovo from sough.

      As a Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, Veliko Tarnovo is very popular destination among tourists. A lot of information including overnight accommodation about Veliko Tarnovo van be found here:

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

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

      http://wikitravel.org/en/Veliko_Turnovo

 

Information about the second Bulgarian Kingdom can be seen here:

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

 

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 photos of Veliko Tarnovo.

      Arbanasi (5-6 kilometers north from Veliko Tarnovo) is also a touristy area, it is connected with Bulgarian history.

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

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

      Several photos of Arbanasi. A great view is avaolable from Arbanasi toward Veliko Tarnovo and Balkan.


Sector VI. 2 - F

From Kilifarevo to Elena

 

 

      Beautiful area, away from the main roads. Here I will suggests 2 routes

       

 

     Route a:

      from Kilifarevo to Plakovo to Sredni Kolibi to Gardevtsi to Yakovtsi to 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 it (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.

        The only water tap approx 12 km from Kilifarevo - above.

 

 

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

 

     Elena is a small town which is a touristy spot, architecture of XIX century is saved. There are overnight accommodation and nice restaurants in the town. Information of Elena can be seen here:

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

      http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/41/Elena

      Several photos of this town:

      Route b (Sector VI. 2 - F. 1):

      Another very nice opportunity in this area is:

       from Kilifarevo to Velchevo to Plakovski Monastery to Kapinovski Monastery to  road N53 to Elena.

      The road from Kilifarevo to Velchevo to Kapinovski Monastery (from point A to point B) 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 (the two photos in left).

 

     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. I have 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.

      The last time I was there, just after washing my equipment I noticed there was a big bee garden and thousands of bees . Fortunately they were very busy with their busyness and did not pay any attention for me.

 

            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

From Elena to 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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