III.  Crossing Bulgaria from north (Romanian border) to south

(Greece&Turkey borders)


 

PART II: From Balkan to BG/Greece Border



         When the bicyclists begin planning a tour including crossing Bulgaria north – south or south – north, my suggestion is to follow the next algorithm:

-             - Define the point of entering in the country.

-             - Define the point of leaving the country.

-             - Choose the pass, where to cross Balkan – I have given detailed information about Balkan passes in the chapter: I. Passes in Balkan.

 

             Bicyclists having no time to research my Home page to have in mind that border checkpoint I pointed in red are vith extremely intensive traffic. It is better if they avoid them.


Points where Romania – Bulgaria border can be crossed (from west to east) are:

        1. Kalafat – Vidin: bridge.

        2. Bechet – Oryahovo: ferry.

        3. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry.

        4. Zimnicea – Svistov: ferry.

        5. Giurgiu – Ruse: bridge.

        6. Oltenita - Tutrakan: ferry (still a project only).

        7. Calarashi – Silistra: ferry.

        7.Constanta – Silistra (Border Checkpoint Silistra).

-       - Kaynardzha: it is a new open border checkpoint I still do not know anything about it.

        8. Negru Voda – Kardam (Border Checkpoint Iovkovo).

        9. Mangalia – Durankulak (Border Checkpoint Durankulak).

Points where Bulgaria – Greece border can be crossed (from west to east) are:

10. Border Checkpoint Kulata (E79: from Sofia to Thessaloniki).

11. Border Checkpoint Ilinden (road N19: from Gotse Delchev to Drama).

12. Border Checkpoint Zlatograd.

13. Border Checkpoint Makaza (road N5: from Haskovo to Komotini).

14. Border Checkpoint Ivailovgrad.

15. Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voivoda (Svilengrad) - Ormenio (E85).

Points where Bulgaria – Turkey border can be crossed (from west to east) are:

16. Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (Svilengrad – Edirne, E80, A4).

17. Border Checkpoint Lesovo (road N7: Elhovo – Edirne).

18. Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo:

            - Road E87: Burgas - Malko Tarnovo - Kirklareli,  or 

            - Road N99: Burgas - Tsarevo – Malko Tarnovo - Kirklareli.


CONTENT of the Part II:

 

-              10. From Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata (E79: from Sofia to Thessaloniki).

-              11. From Pazardzhik (Varvara, Plovdiv) to Border Checkpoint Ilinden (road N84 and road N19: from Gotse Delchev to Alexandrupolis).

-              12. From Haskovo

                           to Border Checkpoint Zlatograd.

                           to Border Checkpoint Makaza (road N5: Momchilgrad – Komotini);

               13. Nova Zagora - Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo, or Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voivoda.

               14. Yambol - Border Checkpoint Lesovo (road N7: Yambol - Elhovo - Edirne).

               15. Burgas - Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo (road N 9) and Burgas - Tsarevo - Malko Tarnovo (road N 99).

 

         Next, I will connect Sofia, Pazardzhik (Varvara and Plovdiv), Haskovo, Nova Zagora, Yambol and Burgas  with the Border Checkpoints on the Romania/Bulgaria border (points 1 - 9 respectively).

 

         More about routes concerning  Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (at Bulgaria/Turkey border) can be seen in Chapter II. Crossing Bulgaria from west to east (from Serbia to Turkey & Greece)


10. From Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata

 

      The distance from Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata is approx 210 km. I will divide this route into 3 segments:

 

      10. 1      Sector III.10 - A: From Sofia to Simitli:

      Fortunately the motorway A3 from Sofia to Blagorvgrad (and the last 12 km to the BG/Greece border) is in exploitation, so it is possible to pedal from Sofia to Pernik to Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad (to Simitli) along the old road next to it - it was the old numbered road E79, now I see it is numbered as N1.

 

      10. 2      From Blagoevgrad to Simitli to Kresna:

      The road segment from Blagoevgrad to Simitli to Kresna is a spectacular gorge, but it is one of the most dangerous segments in Bulgaria, Almost each second day here there is a heavy accident. There is one very dangerous tunnel in the gorge – no any visibility in it, the road in it is narrow. DO NOT BICYCLE IN IT !!!

 

       If you explore this area, I would suggest you to take on the train in the segment Blagoevgrad (or Simitli) - Kresna. There are at least 4 trains a day in each directions (soon I will update it):

 

        Blagoevgrad                       Simitli                          Kresna

                10.07                               10.26                            10.57

                14.21                               14.39                            15.10

                17.57                               18.16                            18. 55

                19.25                               19.41                             20.07

  

              Kresna                            Simitli                     Blagoevgrad

                07.49                               08.20                             08.38 

                15.12                               15.42                             16.00

                18.02                               18.33                             18.51

                20.10                                20.41                            20.59

 

      10. 3      Sector III.10 - B: From Kresna to  Border Checkpoint Kulata.

 

 

 

      Some details about these 3 points now.


10. 1      Sector III.10 - A:

From Sofia to Simitli

      As I have mentioned above,  motorway A3 from Sofia to Blagorvgrad (and the last 12 km to the BG/Greece border) is in exploitation, so it is possible to pedal from Sofia to Pernik to Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad (to Simitli) along the old road next to it - it was the old numbered road E79, now I see it is numbered as N1.

 

      For the route from Sofia to Pernik I will not write here - details can be seen in:

Chapter IX.  How to leave Sofia by bicycle, Point 5.Toward/from Pernik (Border checkpoint Kulata).

      Only several wordss concerning the three opportunities to pedal this distance:

      As it can be seen from the map IX.5. there are three possible routes between Pernik and Sofia and on the next 3 charts you can see and compare the road profile of the 3 routes:

      - route A (Buchinski Pass):

       from Sofia to Malo Buchino to Golemo Buchino to Pernik.

My sugestion is to choose it; it is in very nice conditions and it is parallel to the motor road A3;

 

      - route B (Lyulin Mountain):

       fromSofia to Bankya to Lyulin to Pernik.

It is easy to be find out from Pernik to Sofia, there is an off-road segment;

 

 

      - route C (Vladaiski Pass):

       from Sofia to Vladaya to Dragichevo to Pernik.

The traffic here is intensive, I use this route when I enter in Sofia.

 

      Information for Pernik can be seen here:

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

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

      Several words for my native town Pernik - it is known with the mask festival. Each year in the end of January thousands of masked people rampage in the center of the town for 2 - 3 days. Last several years the festival is international, so the town is just as a loony bin.

      http://www.studyenglishtoday.net/kukeri-festival-pernik.html


      10. 1      Sector III.10 - A

 

     

      

 

        On the left map I have shown 3 possible routes between Radomir and Simitli.

 

 

      Route a:

      from Radomir to Dren to  Dupnitsa to  Blagoevgrad to  Simitli.

 

 

      Route b:

      from  Radomir to  Konyavo to  Nevestino to  Boboshevo to  Blagoevgrad to  Simitli.

 

 

      Route c:

      from  Radomir to  Bobovdol to  Dupnitsa to  Blagoevgrad to Simitli.

     

 

      Route a:

 

      from Radomir to Dren to  Dupnitsa to  Blagoevgrad to  Simitli.

 

      As it can be seen from the road profile chart below, here there is not a significant slopes, I can say it is the easiest way to pedal this distance. The longest hill is just after Dupnitsa toward Sofia.

      The traffic Pernik - Radomir is relatively intensive, but the road has 2 strips and pedaling there is not dangerous. The road in Radomir is signed well, no problem to find the road you choose to pedal.

      The next little town is Radomir information for it:  Information about Radomir:       

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radomir_(town)

      In the center of the town there is a hotel.

      Next road segment: Radomir - Dren - Dupnitsa is very pleasant for pedaling in both directions. Going to the south, before you is Rila Mountains, the area is especially scenery in the late spring, when the Mountain is still covered by snow. Here you will cross several times the motor road A3. A restaurant is available close to Dren.

     

      When you come to Dupnitsa it is important to leave road N1 which surround the town. The crossroad for leaving road 1 is a little complicated (the last photo above), but is is signed well. As I have pointed on the left map, there is a dangerous tunnel, it would be better to avoid it, never mind the road is wide enough.

      Entering in the town , you can enjoy of a coffee place or some restaurant.

      If you are pedaling in the back direction, follow signs to the town center.

 

 

 

      Information  about Dupnitsa:

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

      Several photos from Dupnitsa

      Further to Blagoevgrad the road is nice, the traffic is not so intensive along it, in each village along this road segment there is a little restaurant.


      Route b (sector III. 10 - A):

       from Radomir to Konyavo to Nevestino to Boboshevo to Blagoevgrad to Simitli.

      As an alternative of the route a, I can recommend another one : route b,  it is very scenery road, because it includes climbing of Konyvska Mountain, and a beautiful gorge of Struma River betwen Nevestino and Boboshevo.  

   

      The traffic between Radomir and Konyovo is not intensive, after Konyovo there is not any traffic. I would recommend it to stronger bicyclists, especially if they are pedaling the back direction - toward Sofia: beginning from Nevestino the hill on the southern side of the mountain is longer and especially after Konyovo it is steeper, as it can be seen on the road profile chart below. It is one of no many road segments in Bulgaria, where the slope is 12 - 13%. It would be better to avoid climbing here in the sunny summer afternoons.

 

       There is a lot of water springs along this route, I will mention only the best water spring, you will see it a mile to Konyavski Pass from the south mountain side. On the Pass there is a restaurant as well.

 

      Food and restaurants can be found out in each village between Izvor and Nevestino along the road.

 

      After Radomir the road is easy for pedaling, there is a restaurant and water near Izvor and 2 kilometers further. On the top of the Pass there is a restaurant as well (the 3rd photo below).

       Pedaling down the mountain, you have to be careful to turn left toward Konyovo. The slope here is big and your velocity will be 50 - 60 km/hour, it is easy to miss it. Unfortunately most of the signs to little villages are written in Cyrillic here, so simply DO NOT follow the road N6 toward Kyustendil (the last photo below). 

      Again the signs are written in Cyrillic - follow road N 621.  The most pleasant roast segment here is the one after Nevestino toward Boboshevo along Struma River. There you will see a little chapel - you can lit a candle in it and  pray to local Gods to give you an Angel to fly next to you and keep you to Bulgaria/Greece border.


       Route c (sector III. 10 - A):

 

      The last opportunity in this region is the route:

 

      from Radomir to Bobovdol to Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad to Simitli.

 

      Climbing here is not so much as in the previous route, no any traffic here, the road near Bobovdol was not in a nice conditions several years ago I toured this route.

 


10. 2      Blagoevgrad - Simitli - Kresna:

      The road segment Simitli – Kresna is a spectacular gorge (segment III. 10 - A), but it is one of the most dangerous segments, Almost each second day here there is a heavy accident. There is one very dangerous tunnel in the gorge – no any visibility in it, the road in it is narrow. DO NOT BICYCLE IN IT !!!

        So, entering in Blagoevgrad it is easy to find out the line station and take the train toward Simitli. Again I will give the train schedule:

        Blagoevgrad                       Simitli                          Kresna

                10.07                               10.26                            10.57

                14.21                               14.39                            15.10

                17.57                               18.16                            18. 55

                19.25                               19.41                             20.07

  

              Kresna                            Simitli                     Blagoevgrad

                07.49                               08.20                             08.38 

                15.12                               15.42                             16.00

                18.02                               18.33                             18.51

                20.10                                20.41                            20.59

      Usually in the trains (in both directions there are no more than 20 passengers, so you will have not any problems to load your bicycle.

      Blagoevgrad is the regional center of the south - west corner of the country. Information about Blagoevgrad and several photos:

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

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

Out of the town in direction toward rila Mountain is the town garden.

      Another opportunity is to take on the train in Simitli as well. Between Blagoevgrad and Simitli there is a local road next to the Road N 1, but in Blagoevgrad it would be a little hard to find it out.

      If you pedal South - North, this local road it easy to be find in Simitli, so in this direction you can take on the train in Kresna (the first photo in left) and take off the train in Simitly (the next one).

      I can not find English language information for Simitli but accommodation in it is possible:

      https://www.agoda.com/hotel-nice/hotel/simitli-bg.html?cid=-110


10. 3      Sector III. 10 - B

      It is the route from Kresna to Border Checkpoint Kulata:

      from Kresna to Gorna Krushitsa to Kamenitsa to Mikrevo to Drakata to Valkovo to Struma to Ribmik to Border to Checkpoint Kulata.

      Information about Kresna:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kresna

      The road segment Kresna - Ribnik It is very pleasant for pedaling in both directions. In each small village there are food shops, There are a lot of water springs between villages. Pedaling down Struma River, at your right is Ograjden Mountain, at your left - Pirin mountain. The view is very impressive.

      When you take off the train, you have to be a little back to find a bridge over Struma River - look for Gorna Krushitsa. After Gorna Krushitsa (the 4th pic below) the road is in not nice conditions, but it is only 1/4 mile (there will be no mud there if it is raining), after it will be again asphalt. Pedaling here down to Ribnik you will see no more than 10 cars.

      I remember that pedaling back to Kresna from the Line Station, you have to follow signs for a hotel (the first photo below) - they will lead you along the road you need - just behind the hotel is the bridge over Struma River.

      Never mind that between Slivnitsa and Gorna Krushovitsa there is an off road segment (is it nod muddy) it is the most beautiful road segment you will explore in this area. I pedaled here many times.

      Food and water sypply here is not a problem.

      Reaching Ribnik, you have to turn left (the last pic above where is the sign to Sofia) and go on the Motor road to the BG/Greece Border Checkpoint Kulata.

      There is a possibility to avoid it - pedaling to Petrich, but I am not sure if it would be a nice decision, because there is a traffic toward Petrich. Go there if you need an overnight accommodation before leaving/ after enter in Bulgaria.

      Some information for it and several photos.

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/blagoevgrad/petrich/petrich

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

      Next opportunity is purposed for more adventurer explorers.

      Close to Ribnik is a place named Rupite (signed well along the road), it is formed like a park, there is a church there. A part of her life there spent one well known and popular Bulgarian clairvoyant, in fact she built the church.

      According to the geologist the place itself presents remains of ancient volcano crater. The only thing remembering this volcano is a hot 75 deg of C thermal spring. It forms a lot of pools of water & mud and people (me too) love to wallow in it for hours.

      You can choose a pool having appropriate temperature for you - as further from the spring, as cooler. Have only in mind there are leeches in cooler pools - I saw several. I can say they did not pay any attention on me maybe because of too much food for them in the pools, or they are addicted to rhesus factor & blood group of natives.

      According other specialists the place is special, it is an energy place.  After wallowing in the pool I camped next to this place. Really in the morning I felt recharged, I only am not sure if it was because of the special place, or because of my little bottle of whiskey I took before sleeping.

      Information about Rupite:

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

      http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Rupite/202816/

      http://www.twoheads.info/rupite/

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/372

      But my idea is another. If you move a little further toward train line (just behind me next to the hill) you will see a line bridge. Cross the river below it - it is easy and go further along the off road next to the train line.

      After go up to the train line, there is the second bridge over Struma River. There is a track for walkers, use it to cross the river. After 1/4 mile along the railway, you will be in General Todorov. Pedaling ahead, you will be on the Motor road toward Border Checkpoint Kulata very soon.

      After General Todorov, you will see the sign, which will direct you toward Border Checkpoint Kulata. Well, that is all for this route. In the back direction my suggestion is to follow route a on the map in the beginning of this point.

Interesting places in this area

      If you are touring in this region it would be interesting to visit the next 3 places:

      10. 1 Rilski Monastery (the most popular touristy destination in BG among foreigners):  

Look in the Chapter: VII.  NICE ROUTES IN MOUNTAINS: RILA Mountains, point 5. Rilski Monastery and the Fish's Lakes;

      10. 2 Melnik (amazing place! DO NOT MISS IT !!!):  

Look in the Chapter: VII.  NICE ROUTES IN MOUNTAINS: Pirin Mountains, point 4. Melnik;

       10. 3 Sandanski (very nice spa center):  

Look in the Chapter: VII.  NICE ROUTES IN MOUTAINS: Pirin Mountains, point 3. Sandanski.


      11. From Pazardzhik (Pazardjik in another maps) to Border Checkpoint Ilinden (Road N 84 and Road N19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

      It can be said, the best way to leave Bulgaria toward Greece by bicycle is this route.  (the food, water and overnight accommodation along this route are not a problem) No intensive traffic here, the countryside is one of the best in BG. Comparing with the previous described route, here there is climbing in the mountains.

 

       For the route from Sofia to Pazardzhik see: Chapter II. Cross BG  west – east, Point 7. Sofia – Plovdiv – Edirne.

     

      It can be mentioned, Velingrad is very known spa center - a lot of hotels&swimming pools of thermal water are available there. A nice places to relax for an afternoon&night here are Bansko, Dobriniste and Ognyanovo as well (there will be details about these places). 

     

    


      The route is:

      from Pazardzhik to Leahovo to Vetren Dol to Varvara to Velingrad to Yundola to Avramovo to Yakoruda (road N84) – Eleshnitsa to Gotse Delchev to Border Checkpoint Ilinden (road N19).

 

      Some initial tips having in mind exploring of Rodopi mountains:

 

      A. Pazardjik (Pazardzhik) as a base point to enter in Rodopi Mountain toward Border Checkpoint Makaza.

      B. The narrow-gage train from Septemvri to Dobriniste

      C. Varvara as a base point to enter in Rodopi Mountain toward Border Checkpoint Makaza.


 

 A. Pazardjik (Pazardzhik) as a base point to enter in Rodopi Mountain toward Border Checkpoint Makaza.

 

      According to me, Pazardjik is very appropriate to be regarded as an initial/end point, when the question is about routes in Rodopi mountain. It is not as big as Plovdiv, and the most important: the traffic in it also is not as intensive as in Plovdiv, it is easy to orientate in it, as well as it is easy to find very nice hotel/restaurant in it at an acceptable price. So, further, most of the routes I will describe will begin/end with Pazardjik.

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

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

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

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

      For accommodation in Pazardjik, I would recommend Hotel Acropolis: http://acropolispz.com/index_eng.htm

 

Pazardjik

Boul. „Hristo Botev“ 17

tel: 034/45 10 45;

cell tel: 0898 662 702

e-mail: acropolispz@abv.bg

 

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

-                        - It is very easy to find out this spot – I have shown it on the map, over more along the roads approaching to the hotel there are a lot of signs (the green “o” on the map above), pointing how to reach it;

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

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

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

-               - Prices of Rooms (25 EURO/double room and 20 EURO/single room) are even low for the quality of the hotel;

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

             - Wi Fi;

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

      I know that Plovdiv is much more popular tourist destination, but my opinion is that it would be better to stay for a night in Pazardzhik. It is easy next day to pedal toward Plovdiv, to walk in its touristy center for 2 - 3 hours and go further. In Pazardzhik you will find much easier hotel, it is calm town, there are a lot of nice restaurants and gardens. Over more here is inexpensive comparing with Plovdiv.

      Several photos of Pazardzhik.

      The disadvantage I see if you pedal this route is, that traffic from Varvara to Velingrad is very intensive. The climbing this road segment definitely is not a pleasure. In the back direction is different - you will pedal with the velocity of the trucks.

      So, My suggestion is to use the narrow - gage train just for this road segment.


B. The narrow-gage train from Septemvri to Dobriniste

      As the traffic along the road N 84 is intensive,  an appropriate way to enter in Rodopi Mountain is the narrow - gage train serving the line Septemvri - Dobriniste.

      The red line on the map below shows places where the line is not next to the road.

      More information concerning this amazing train can be seen here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemvri-Dobrinishte_narrow_gauge_line

      The narrow gage train can be taken on in Septemvri (at 8. 30 am), but my suggestion is to take it in Varvara (at 8.46 am). This place can also be used as an initial point to explore Rodopi mountains. There are several reason to use this amazing train when you begin exploring Rodopi mountains:

-          - I think there are no many such trains in the world. Its velocity is 25 – 30 km/hours, the scenery of the area it is going is marvelous as it can be seen from the photos below; Each year I travel by it at least one time;

-          - It is not a problem to load your bicycle in it (if bicyclists are more than 4 – use different carts to load baggage (buy an additional ticket for the bike – 1 EURO);

-          -There is a traffic Varvara – Velingrad and never mind it is not so intensive it would be better  this road segment to be traveled by the train;

-          - Some climbing can be avoided: altitude of Varvara is 270 m., Velingrad – 750 m., the highest point Avramovo line station – almost 1300 m. My suggestion to tourists having a restricted time for touring is to take on the train and enter in the mountain. It will save some time which can be used later to visit more exciting places in the mountain;

-          - You can take off the train in Velingrad or Avramovo train station;

-          - In the opposite direction it would be unnecessary to travel by the train. The pedaling down the mountain along the line is very pleasant;

           - so, if you decide to use the train, it would be better to use Varvara as a base point to enter in Rodopi Mountain toward Border Checkpoint Makaza (the first photo below is Varvara Line Station).

The train station in Varvara. The train from Varvara to Velingrad is here at 8. 46 am. Inside the cart - no problem to load your bicycle in it. The diesel engine - there are such engines made in Romania and former East Germany. At work since 1963.
Avramovo Line Station.
Avramovo Line Station - the highest on Balkans - alt.1267. There are a lot of tunnels along the line. Inside the engine - some time I arrange tourists to travel inside it.
The visibility in the engine is much better than in the cart, but it is not easy to arrange to travel in it.
In the mountain there are several serpentines of the line.  Velingrad Line Station.
Old steam engines can be seen in Bansko Line Station. Rocks on the line after powering rain. Some time in the mountain it happens ...

      There is one original steam engine still at work, it is used only when there is a group of tourists  paying in advance for such a traveling; See the video - speaking in Germans:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JbJvinBQ8s

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N2FfKQjvtg


C. Varvara (or Vetren Dol) as a base point to explore Rodopi Mountain

     Varvara is even a better place to be used as a base point when enter in Rodopi mountains – there is a nice motel and swimming pool of mineral water there. Have only in mind that weekends in the summer time (June - August) this spot is overcrowded by relaxing tourists and there will be not free beds (Friday & Saturday nights) in the motel.

There are another possibilities for overnight accommodation in Varvara or Vetren Dol.

     

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

 

 

      The right photo - a private home-hotel (Πΰδξβΰςΰ κϊωΰ) in Vetren Dol - on the road coming from Pazardjik.


Details about the route toward Border Checkpoint Ilinden

      11. 1. Segment III. 11 - A:     

      Entering in Rodopi Mountain.

      Route b:

      From Pazardzhik to Mokriste to Leahovo to Bratanitsa to Vetren Dol to Varvara to Kostandovo Line Station to Velingrad to Yundola to Avramovo Line Station.

      Begining from Pazardzhik, follow the route I point on the map above - so you will avoid the traffic between Pazardzhik and Zvanichevo. Several photos for the area between Vetren Dol and Pazardzhik. From Varvara toward Velingrad you will climb one of the most scenic gorges in Bulgaria.

 

      The road segment Varvara - Kostandovo Line Station (next 3 photos) is a beautiful gorge, unfortunately traffic here is quite intensive, the climbing up the mountain is not pleasant definitely. If you tour the back route, this road segment is nice for bicycling. Your speed will be almost the same as the one of the trucks.

      Several words for Velingrad: is a place with a lot of thermal springs. Information for Velingrad:

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

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/30

      It is a known spa resort not only in Bulgaria. There are a lot of hotels of different quality; a nice place to stay for a night in is Hotel “Iv” (the 3 photos below). It can be found out easy, there is a nice small swimming pool of thermal water next to it, the place is clean, inexpensive, and the hotel restaurant offers nice meals. The staff is friendly, they have an experience with touring bicyclists.

       http://hotel-iv.com

      The climbing from Velingrad toward Yundola (approx 18 km.) is relatively hard, have in mind it is a sunny place. Water is available higher in the mountain near the crossroad toward Sveta Petka.

      Yundola is a little mountain resort placed just on the border between Rila and Rodopi Mountains, overnight accommodation is possible there:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/178

 

Three photos from Yundola toward Avramovo Line Station.

      Well, back now again to 11. 1. Segment III. 11 - A:  Entering in Rodopi Mountain. Another opportunity to enter in Rodopi Mountain is:

      Route a:

      The stronger bicyclists can climb:

      from Belovo to Goliamo Belovo  to Yundola rezort (E842) to Avramovo Line Station.

      The route is 26 km. permanent climbing, the traffic here is negligible. Bring some food with you. Beginning from Belovo, springs of drinkable water are available approximately after 4 km (just after leaving Golyamo Belovo), 9 km, 19 km and 23 km.

      This route is very nice in the back direction, I recommend it!

 

      The climbing begin from Belovo - a little town, where overnight accommodation is available. Unfortunately there is not English language Site for it.

      Fore kilometers further is Golyamo Belovo - the last place you can find food.

      Leaving Golyamo Belovo, you ill see a nice water spring. From the other side next to the river is maybe the only nice place for camp in the wilderness all along the road to Yundola.

      So, climbing hardly after it 20 kilometers turn after torn you will be in Yundola.


      Alternatives:

 

          - Route a: Bicyclists loving climbing can use also the next route:

      from Pazardjik to Glavinitsa to Debrastica  to St. Konstantin Resort to Batak Dam to Tsigov Chark Resort to Rakitovo  to Velingrad.

 

      The route is extremely spectacular (photos below), no any traffic, the climbing is hard;

 

      - Route b: It is also possible to pedal road N37:

      from Pazardjik to Glavinitsa to Radilovo to Pestera (road 37) to Batak to Tsigov Chark resort to Rakitovo (road 376) to Velingrad,

      but the traffic is more intensive, especially Pazardjik - Pestera and this route is not as spectacular as the previous one.

 

Another very nice opportunity (Iwill not speak about it here) to reach Border Checkpoint Ilinden from Pazardzhik is given in the Chapter VII. Nice routes in mountains, 1. Rodopi mountain: Pazardzhik - Batak - Dospat (road N37) - Satovcha - Gotse Delchev (road N19).

      Route a

      Three - fore km after Debrastitsa there is a nice spot - hotel and restaurant. Five km further again there is such a spot, but it is not so nice to stay for a night there Nice drinkable water is available at both places.

      St. Konstantin Resort is located at the highest point of this route. Overnight accommodation is possible in it, restaurant is available as well.  resort as well. Because of there only one hotel is available, in the weekends problems with the accommodation are possible (Friday and Saturday evenings).  If you need overnight accommodation, you can go further toward Tsigov Chark Resort  (see the next route b).

      Route b

      Here the climbing is not so hard as route a. The traffic from Pazardzhik to Pestera is relatively intensive, I would not say it is a dangerous road. Overnight accommodation is possible in Pestera .

       Next to Pestera are remains of an ancient fortress Peristera and small museum. Information about Pestera can be seen here:

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

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

      Further up in the mountain is Batak. The traffic here is much less, the road is going up in the mountain via scenic gorge. Information for Batak:

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

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

      The history of this little town was quite unhappy in connection with uprising April 1876. Information for it can be seen here, my suggestion to more sensitive persons is to miss this information.

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

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/336

      The only photo I have from this region is in right - relax near the beautiful river up the mountain.

      Seven kilometers up in the mountain is Batak Dam, Tsigov Chark resort is placed near the reservoir.  In the little Resort Tsigov Chark  (at Batak Dam) there is a restaurant, hotel, little shops, it is a place to relax. (Notice on the map above, it is not just on the road towards Dospat. Information for the little resort and several photos:   

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/358

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

11. 2. Segment III. 11 - B: Avramovo - Dobriniste

 

          The next segment is one of my favorite ones all over BG. Always I have a time, I pedal and camp here in both directions. A perfect area (photos below). No problem to supply with water and food here.

 

        The road is just after reconstruction and it is in very nice conditions.

 

       Sometime in the weekends (Sunday afternoon) the traffic is more intensive.

 

      Overnight accommodation in Yakoruda is available, my suggestion is to go toward Bansko or Dobriniste. Information about Yakoruda:

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

      Beginning from Avramovo Line Station, it follows very pleasant descending. The road is parallel to Mesta River, next to the road is the narrow gage line. The pedaling in the back direction is not hard and easy as well. The most scenic road segment is between Avramovo Line Station and Cherna Mesta. The road here is stepper.

From Cherna Mesta toward Yakoruda and further a great view toward Pirin Mountain is revealed.

      Sector III. 11 - B. a:

      Here I will increase the scale a little showing an opportunity in the region.

      If you have a time, my suggestion is to elongate the route a little to visit Bansko and Dobriniste (route a).

      From Dobriniste or Bansko walks in Pirin mountain can be done, I have mentioned it in the Capter VII.  Routes in Mountains, 2. Routes in Pirin mountain.

 

      Banya is a nice place for overnight accommodation, it is also a place with thermal water. You can easy find out an appropriate place to stay for a night there.

      But I would suggest you to go further towqard Bansko and Dobriniste.

      Information for Banya:

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SW/blagoevgrad/razlog/banya

      Pedaling from Banya toward Bansko you will enjoy of extremely exciting view of Pirin Mountain. You will see the highest part of it, the view is extremely impressive May - June, when the higher part of the mountain is still covered by snow.

      Bansko is a winter resort, each winter thousands of tourists (most of them are coming from GB) spend their vacancy in it. More information about Bansko can be seen here:

       http://www.bulgariaski.com/bansko/

       http://www.banskoski.com/en

      Summer time the resort is not over crowded by tourists (except of several days on August, when there is several day jazz festival, I think they change dates each year) there are a lot of hotels you can stay for a night, I can say that here people are masters of cooking of meat meals. Have in mind, that this place is more expensive than the next one I will describe further (Dobriniste: 7 – 8 kilometers east from Bansko).

      The view toward mountain in the night when the moon is thick is amazing, it must be seen. Next several photos are taken in the old part of Bansko.

      For the possibilities to explore Pirin Mountain from Bansko, please look in: Capter VII.  Routes in Mountains, 2. Routes in Pirin mountain.

      Dobriniste is 6 kilometers east from Bansko, again it is overcrowded by tourists winter time. My suggestion is to choose this place - comparing with Bansko it is much more inexpensive, especially restaurants, people here also are masters of preparing meal food.

      http://www.bulgariaski.com/otherresorts/dobrinishte.shtml

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/414

 

      I love this place. Several are the reasons for it: there is very nice swimming pool of thermal water (I have never missed to stay there for an afternoon), there is a chair type lift to the higher part of Pirin Mountain, there are very nice local type restaurants offering very tasty meet meals (look for "Makedonska Krachma" - its place is well labeled), the overnight accommodation is not a problem at acceptable price, so I do not miss to stay here for a day or two I am touring.

       All that I am spiking about can be recognized in the photos below.

      For the possibilities to explore Pirin Mountain from Dobriniste, please look in: Capter VII.  Routes in Mountains, 2. Routes in Pirin mountain.

      If you have not a time, you can miss all that and follow the route b (Sector III. 11 - B. a) heading toward Eleshnitsa.

      Several kilometers after the crossroad toward Eleshnitsa there is a spring of thermal water. The place is easy to be recognized seeing the rope bridge over Mesta River. A little chapel is there and nobody will stop you to set up your tent next to it. You can enjoy of a little pool of thermal water there, usually nobody there.

 

 

     A FB friend of my, Dogaru Armin,  followed my instructions and May 2018 spent a nice night just here - the photo in right:

      "And your site is also very helpful. With a lot of useful information to plan a trip. Boris, I wanted to thank you. I followed your advice and I spent a night at Eleshnitsa. As you say on your site, I put my tent near the small chapel. The water there is amazing. So hot. Thank you and have a nice day".

      Eleshnitsa is a little village, you can find in it again very nice swimming pool of thermal water. Never mind the facilities there are old and does not look nice, the place in fact is very clean, the water is beautiful. Overnight accommodation is available there too. The nature toward and after Eleshnithsa is very scenic.


 

      11.3 Sector III. 11 - C:  Dobriniste (Eleshnitsa) - Border Checkpoint Ilinden

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Here is the long Mesta River Gorge:

 

from Dobriniste (or Eleshnitsa) to Mesta to Gospodintsi to Gotse Delchev to Sadovo to Border Checkpoint Ilinden.

 

      On your right side is Pirin Mountain, your left - Rodopi Mountain. Never mind it is an international road, the traffic is not intensive, the road is after reconstruction, it is wide enough. The pedaling here is a pleasure in the both directions

 

      Almost in the middle of this road segment there is a little restaurant. Along the road there are a lot of water fountains.

 

 

 

OGNYANOVO

 

      Bicycling along road 19, my suggestion is to visit Ognyanovo in both cases - leaving BG or entering in BG from Greece. Because of the thermal springs in the region, it is very nice spa center perfect for relax, which is still not overcrowded by tourists.

 

 

 

       Down are 2 more detailed maps showing the approach toward Ognyanovo:

        - North - south (segment III. 11 - C. a): turn to the left immediately after Gospodintsi, a little more than 8 km is Ognyanovo (the road is well signed);

        - South - North (Greece border - segment III. 11 - C. b):  this spot is 26 km EASY BICYCLING from Border checkpoint Ilinden; a kilometer north after Sadovo head of first toward Hadzhidimovo.

      

      The next several several photos show the approach toward Ognyanovo from Gospodintsi - the beautiful June '17.

      Approaching to Garmen and Ognyanovo from Gotse Delchev can be seen remains of the ancient fortress Nikopolis ad Nestrum.

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

 

      As I have said above, a lot of places for overnight accommodation in Ognyanovo are available.

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/412

      I would recommend one very nice place to stay for a night here is hotel Elegance: the relation "price/quality" here is very nice. The hotel consists two buildings - a new and older one, both are in very good conditions (unfortunately the Site is in Bulgarian):

       http://www.comunicatorbg.com/elegance.html

      I will not write about it, fortunately the hotel Home page is written in English – you can see information concerning prices, rooms, restaurant, swimming pool, SPA procedures and so on.

 

      It is very easy to find out this spot. Simply look for signs on the street poles:

      - coming from North, the hotel is in the opposite end of the village;

      - coming from South, the hotel is to right, immediately after the bridge entering in Ognyanovo.

      I will mention only that it is a clean place having a nice restaurant and a swimming pool of beautiful thermal water. Guiding bicyclists, I always recommend them to stay here for a night, and they have never been disappointed.

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Gotse Delchev too. Information about Gotse Delchev:

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


      11.4   Border Checkpoint Ilinden: Approach from Greece

 

      For bicyclists coming from Greece:

 

      Reach of first Prosotsani - from Drama, or Serres, or Thessalonici.

 

 

 

      Just after Prosotsani (alt. 130 m.) it begins a long climbing (just after the crest you see on the photo) up to Granitis (alt. 790 m.). It is very sunny and dry place - the photos down illustrate it very well, so do not climb it in sunny afternoons and always have water with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Hotel, restaurant, water can be found out in Granitis.


      12. A. Haskovo - Border Checkpoint Makaza (road N5) – Komotini (road N23)

 

      12. B. Haskovo - Border Checkpoint Zlatograd - Xanthi

  

 

      What about point 12. A, I can say the road is in very nice conditions and all that area is very nice countryside.

from Haskovo to Kableshkovo to Kardzali to Border Checkpoint Makaza (road N5) to Komotini.

 

      Unfortunately the last several years the traffic on the road N5 has increased considerably especially vacancy months July and August, when tourists from Romania are visiting the Aegean. So, maybe next route Point 12. B is better for pedaling:

from Haskovo to Kableshkovo to Kardzali to Dzhebel to Zlatograd to Border Checkpoint Zlatograd to Xanthi.

 

      If you pedal the back direction, have in mind that immediately north after Kardzhali there is 7 - 8 kilometer long hill, the slope here is 12%, it is quite tough to pedal it in the hot summer afternoons.

For a comparison, next are the road profile charts for points 12. A and 12. B

Road profile from Haskovo to Border Checkpoint Makaza:

Road profile  from Border Checkpoint Makaza to Komotini (in Greece):

Road profile from Haskovo to Border Checkpoint Zlatograd:

Road profile  from Border Checkpoint Zlatograd to Xanthi (in Greece):


      Sector III. 12 - A

      For the distance from Haskovo to Kardzali I will suggest three routes:

      - route a: It is the main road (N5): the distance from Haskovo to Kardzali is approx 50 km:

      from Haskovo to Konush to Kozlets to Chernoochene to Kableshkovo to Kardzali.

 

      As the road N5 is intensive some days, you can follow some of the next two routes:

      - route b:

      from Haskovo to Konush to Kozlets to Zornitsa to Beli Plast to Stremtsi to Rani List to Skarbino to Kardzhali;

(for route 2 further I will show 2 alternatives)

 

      - route c:

      from Haskovo to Manastir  to Gorno Voevodino  to Maslinovo to Chernyovtsi  to Madrets to Zhinzifovo to Sedlovina to Kardzali.

      Haskovo is relatively big town, overnight accommodation is possible in it. Information for it can be seen here:

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

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

      On the map above I point a spot Mineralni Bani 10 - 12 kilometers west from Haskovo, it is a nice local spa resort with very nice thermal water:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/469

      Sector III. 12 - A,  route a:

      It is the main road (N5): from Haskovo to Kardzali: As a mountain area, the route includes a lot of ascending and descending.

      from Haskovo to Konush to Kozlets to Chernoochene to Kableshkovo to Kardzali.

      If you travel in the back direction - from south to north, after Kardzali you will pedal up 6 very difficult kilometers. Some days the traffic here is intensive, never mind the road is closed for trucks heavier than 3,5 metric tons.

      Sector III. 12 - A,  route b:

      To avoid the road N5 I will give two opportunities: 

      route b, 1:

      from Haskovo to Kozlets to Beli Plast to Stremtsi to Rani List to Skarbino to Kardzhali.

 

      After Kozlets you will pedal a road without any traffic. An interesting spot here On the highest point north from Beli Plast) is the place with the stone mushrooms near Beli Plast:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/401

      Next to Stremtsi is placed a little vacance village "Vili Perpereshka Reka"; water, restaurant and overnight accommodation are available there:

      http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/kardjali/villas/perpershka_river_villas.html

      route b, 2:

      A little longer, but much more scenery is the road:

     frrom Haskovo to Konush to Kozlets to Zornitsa to Beli Plast to Stremtsi to Gorna Krepost to Murgovo to Zhinzifovo to Sedlovina to Kardzhali.

 

      If you pedal in the back direction, I would recommen this route to avoid the hard climbing north from Kardzhali.

      A place you can visit here (if you love rock remains) is Perperikon. Information for it:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/311

      http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/perperikon

 

      Pictures from the megaliths in Perperikon:

      Sector III. 12 - A, route c:

      from Haskovo to Manastir  to Gorno Voevodino  to Maslinovo to Chernyovtsi  to Madrets to Zhinzifovo to Sedlovina to Kardzali.

      It is the last opportunity I would suggest in this sector.

      The distance here is almost the same as of the other routes, but here there is not any traffic. Never mind that just after Haskovo you will see a sign directing heavier tracks to follow this road, you will not see here such a tracks. Especially after Manastir, you will be alone on the road.

      Food and water supply here is not a problem. Several kilometers south from Manastir there are 2 restaurants near the road.

      A lot of information for Kardzhali can be seen here:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/361

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

      Several photos from Kardzali.

      

      The last opportunity in this region I will give here is the  route from Plovdiv to Kardzhali:

      from Plovdiv to Asenovgrad to Cerven to Topolovo  to Novakovo to Komuniga to Chernoochene to Kalinka to Kardzhali.

 

      It is almost 100 kilometers long route. It is not so easy and I am not sure if you will find here a place for overnight accommodation (except Asenovgrad).

 

 

 

 

      Have in mind the traffic near Plovdiv as well as Plovdiv – Asenovgrad is quite intensive, although the road is wide. After Asenovgrad there is not any traffic. the area is mountain, I like it, although I toured here only one time, August 2005.

 

      As I have given information for Plovdiv several times in my Home Page, here I will mention only Asenovgrad. Information about Asenovgrad:  It is the main route from Kardzali to Border checkpoint Makaza.

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

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/19

      Several photos from Asenovgrad and mediaeval fortress remains above the town


    

Sector III. 12 - B, route 12. A

Toward Border Checkpoint Makaza

      In the tourist season, July and especially August,  there are days when the road is very busy. On the Border itself there is a tunel as well, it is because I do not recommend this destination.

      It is a new built road in very nice condition. It is along Varbitsa River. I pedaled it only from Kardzali to the crossroad to Podkova. Never mind I did it August, this day the road was without traffic. There are water springs and blackberry along the road.

 

Sector III. 12 - B, route 12. B

Toward Border Checkpoint Zlatograd

      It is extremely pleasant for exploring route. Along the road there are springs of water, no any traffic here. In villages there are food shops. The blackberries are everywhere along the road.

      Dzhebel is a little town, Google tells me there is a possibility for overnight accommodation in it, I can not find a useful information to put it here.

      Leaving the little town you will cross very nice clean river - a perfect place to relax near it and charge with energy because further there are 2-3 nice hills. On the top of the first one there is beautiful cool fresh water.  to camp in the wilderness.

The entire area is very appropriate.

      . . . but of you do not love ants, beetles and ants you can go in Benkovski. Before it and after it there are 2 places to relax. The first one is next to the road, for the second one the re is a label.

An interesting rock formation of ancient volcanic rocks it follows further. There you can see so called "crocodile".
Further toward Zlatograd the road is easy for pedaling.

      Zlatograd is a touris place, but it is not overcrowded by tourists. There is a nice ethno complex in the town. Information about Zlatograd is available here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/56

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

      The Border Checkpoint is 5 kilometers up the mountain above the town.


      Border Checkpoint Ivailovgrad. This checkpoint would be appropriate to be used, if some one leave Bulgaria crossing Rodopi Mountain from west to east. I do not know anything about the region next to this border checkpoint.


      13. From Nova Zagora to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voivoda (Svilengrad) / Ormenio (E85).

 

 

 

 

      The route is:

      from Nova Zagora to Radnevo to Galabovo to Simeonovgrad to Lyubimets to Svilengrad to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda

      I recommend this route. As it can be seen from the road profile chart, the area is very flat and easy for pedaling. Overnight accommodation is possible in Nova Zagora, Radnevo, Galagovo and Svilengrad.

     

      Overnight accommodation in Nova Zagora is available. Information for Nova Zagora:

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

      The area near Galabovo is an industrial zone. Overnight accommodation in Radnevo and Galabovo is available, what about Simeonovgrad, I am not sure. Very little information for Galabovo can be seen here:

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

      There is not any traffic along this route. You will see there a lot of leaved fuel station, one of them I used as a hotel in August 2016 waiting for a night storm.

      Some information for Svilengrad  it is available here:

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

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


      Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo (Svilengrad – Edirne, E80, A4). Do not use this border checkpoint. The traffic here is terrible.


      14. A. Yambol - Border checkpoint Lesovo - toward Turkey (road N7):

 

      from Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo to Edirne.

 

       The Border Checkpoint Lesovo is a better place to cross from Bulgaria into Turkey rather than the Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo, although I do not recommend it as well, it is better to avoid it. The traffic increased considerably the last several years. The road from Yambol to Elhovo to Lesovo along Tundzha river is in very nice conditions. The area is almost flat (the photos below).

 

 

      14. B. Yambol - Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda - toward Greece (and Turkey as well):

      Towards Greece as well as Turkey, from Yambol can be used Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda (I recommend it instead the previous route, although it is longer and more climbing is available):

      from Yambol to Rozato to General Inzovo to Golyam Manastir to Topolovgrad to Balgarska Polyana to Izvorovo to Yerusalimovo to Lyubimets to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda.

 

      14. A. From Yambol to Border checkpoint Lesovo (toward Turkey (road N7):

      Information for Yambol and Elhovo (Overnight accommodation is possible in both towns):

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

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

Several pictures from Yambol

The next several pictures are taken between Yambol and Elhovo. The traffic here is intensive, although it can not be seen from the photos.

14. B. From Yambol to Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda (toward Greece and Turkey)

      Towards Greece as well as Turkey, from Yambol can be used Border Checkpoint Kapitan Petko Voyvoda. I recommend it instead the previous route, although it is longer and more climbing is available; the pedaling here is a pleasure. Next 3 photos are in the region near Golyam Manastir.

      The road toward Topolovgrad is pleasant and easy to pedal. Very little information for Topolovgrad is available here:

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

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

      I am not sure if overnight accommodation is possible in the little town, but there is a nice coffee place in the shade and free wi fi. Near it in Google can be seen several such places.

More detail map for the distance between Topolovgrad and Svilengrad
The area is sunny without any shade. July and August along the road there are a lot of wild plums and black berry. 

      15. Burgas - Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo (road E87: Burgas - Malko Tarnovo - Kirklareli)

 

       As mentioned previously, the border checkpoint at Malko Tarnovo  is a better place to cross Bulgaria-Turkey border rather than border checkpoint at Kapitan Andreevo, or Lesovo. I have pedaled only segments of this route, but I know that here the traffic is negligible.

 

      The route a:

      from Burgas to Marinka to Krushovets to Zvezdets to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

      The area around Strandzha Mountain is not a very popular area with locals so it can be rather quiet and isolated.

 

      The route b:

      A nice alternative route here is the road between Tsarevo and Malko Tarnovo - route b on the map (road 99):     

       from Burgas to Primorsko to Tsarevo to Balgari to Gramatikovo to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

 

      Make note: The traffic between Burgas and Primorsko in the touristy season can be very busy as can the road segment between Primorsko and  Sozopol. For details look also in:

- Chapter IV. Bicycling along Black sea.

- Chapter VI. Routes: A. Sofia - Burgas,  Sector V. 2 - B. 4 

Route a

      Burgas is the next big Bulgarian town at the sea coast. I love its Sea Garden. Information for Burgas:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/283

      West from Burgas is placed the Lake of Burgas:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/120

      And the last big lake west from Burgas - it is Mandra Dam and reserve "Poda":

      http://burgaslakes.org/en/Mandra_Poda_complex-c99     

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/177

      Most of this area is Strahdzha Nature Park. It is the largest protected area on the territory of Bulgaria that stretches over 1161 sq km. It was declared a protected area by virtue of Ordinance No. RD350 of 14 July 2000. It is located in the southeastern part of country, its southern border coincides with the Bulgarian sovereign border with Turkey, and it spreads as far as the Black Sea Coast to the east. The Nature Park lies on the territory of Strandzha Mountain which spreads in both Bulgaria and Turkey. More information for it can be seen here:

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

      Information for Malko Tarnovo:

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

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

 

      Information for Malko Tarnovo, Strandzha Mountain, saved zones, accommodation:

      http://www.strandja.bg/en/info/57-Malko-Tarnovo-en

      http://www.discoverstrandja.com/

      http://www.strandja.com/index.php?lg=en

 

      The next pictures are at the bridge over Veleka River (route a - toward Malko Tarnovo).


 

Route b

      I will not write about this route here, inly have in mind that the traffic between Burgas and Primorsko in the touristy season can be very busy as can the road segment between Primorsko and  Sozopol. For details look also in:

       - Chapter IV. Bicycling along Black sea.

       - Chapter VI. Routes: A. Sofia - Burgas,  Sector V. 2 - B. 4 

 

      Several more words I will give about Sector III. 14 - A

      And my last suggestion is the off-road segment between Sinemorets (point C) and road N99 (point A - the map below). Google Map does not show the off-road section between these 2 points. Here is the route:

      Point C can be found right just before the iron bridge over Veleka river (going to the south before Sinemorets). (Point C is not easy to be found).

      Point A - bicycling along the road N99 down the hill north - east from Malko Tarnovo and reaching Veleka river, just before it, turn to right. I remember it was easy to find the off-road. Food and drinks can be found in Kosti and Brodilovo.

      The off-road section is only along Veleka river.

      All this area is absolutely safe, but the road is in very poor conditions, especially east from Brodilovo. There are many rocky segments, there are places where the bushes are taking more of the road, especially closer to the sea. All the area is full of turtles, lizards, snakes, deer, foxes, jackals.  The river is full of fish and water lilies.

      Then, there are the flies! Hundreds of them permanently follow any biker and when the speed of bicycling is less than 10 m/hour.  Do not attempt to stop and rest in the shade, flies are terrible there, too. Often along this road it is not possible to avoid the flies by pedaling faster. Have in mind mosquitoes, also. I have never seen such numbers in other regions of the country.

      On the other hand, the scenic beauty of the nature on this road may help justify dealing with the flies and mosquitoes.  It is your choice . . .


      In review, I have described routes from Sofia, Pazardzhik (Plovdiv), Haskovo, Nova Zagora, Yambol and Burgas toward Greece/BG and Turkey/BG borders.



back to content