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

(Greece&Turkey borders)


PART I: From Romania/BG Border to Balkan



         When the bicyclists begin planning a tour including crossing Bulgaria from north to south or from south to 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 checkpoints I pointed in red are with 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).

 

      For the both next new open border checkpoints I do not know much:       

 - Border Checkpoint Kaynardzha - Lipnitsa - open 2017

 - Border Checkpoint Krushari - Dobromir - open 2018

 

        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: from Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Kirklareli,  or 

            - Road N99: from Burgas to Tsarevo to Malko Tarnovo to Kirklareli.

 

 

 



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)

 

     For the both next new open border checkpoints I do   not     know much:       

          - Border Checkpoint Kaynardzha - Lipnitsa - open 2017

          - Border Checkpoint Krushari - Dobromir - open 2018

 

8. Negru Voda – Kardam (Border Checkpoint Iovkovo)

9. Mangalia – Durankulak  (Border Checkpoint Durankulak)


1. Kalafat - Vidin: Bridge

     There is a newly built bridge between Kalafat and Vidin, which makes the crossing of Danube River here very convenient. Crossing of the bridge is free for bicyclists and walkers. There is a ferry between Kalafat and Vidin as well, I do not know why.

     The traffic here is extremely intensive, but the road is wide and not dangerous to be pedaled. Vidin played an important role in Bulgarian mediaeval history. Information about the town can be seen in:

      http://wikitravel.org/en/Vidin

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

      http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/vidin/vidi

      http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Vidin/202268/

      Have in mind that near Vidin Danube River flows to South - West, not to the East, as it is in the people's mind.  It is very easy to lose orientation in this town, do not be surprised, if you see the sun is rising from West :) . . . Next several photos are from Vidin.

      A detailed description of routes from Vidin to Sofia is given in:

      Chapter II.  Crossing Bulgaria from west (Serbian border) to east (Turkey border - Edirne) and south (Greece border),

- Point 3. From Border checkpoint Bregovo to Sofia;

- Point 4. From Border Checkpoint Vrashka Chuka  to Sofia;

- Point 5. From Border Checkpoint Vidin: The bridge Kalafat / Vidin to Sofia


2. Bechet – Oryahovo: ferry

Ferry schedule and prices are available on the link:

http://ferryboat.bg/en_US/

 

 

      My suggestion is to avoid road N15 from Oryahovo to Vratsa (look the next map). Most of the traffic from Oryahovo to Sofia, including heavy trucks, is along the road:

      from Oryahovo to Mizia to Borovan to Vratsa (road N15) to Mezdra to Botevgrad (E 79) to Sofia (A 2) .

      Depending on the border checkpoint  where bicyclists intend to leave Bulgaria, bicyclists entering by the Bechet to Oryahovo ferry, have 2 nice possibilities to cross the country:

2.1 Via Iskar River Gorge:

      It is an Extremely scenic Route:

      From Oryahovo to Knezha to Cherven Bryag to  Roman to Mezdra to Svoge (Iskar River Gorge) to Sofia to Border Checkpoint Kulata.

      Here I will not write about the route from Cherven Bryag to Roman to Mezdra to Sofia. Very detail information concerning this route is available here:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 2. Iskar River Gorge

- B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag

- A. From Sofia to Mezdra

 

 

2.2 Via Zlatishki Pass:

      This route I would recommend to bicyclists loving to explore mountains area as well as to avoid Sofia is:

      from Oryahovo to Knezha to Cherven Bryag to Roman to Etropole to Zlatishki Pass to Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik to Border Checkpoint Ilinden.

       Here I will not write about the next routes:

      - from Cherven Bryag to Roman: look in

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag

       - From Roman to Etropole (extremely scenic route) look in:

       Chapter VI.  Routes, B. From Sofia to Varna, Point 2. The route 2 (From Sofia to Varna: the route along the north side of Balkan):

      - Sector VI. 2 - A: From Sofia to Etropole;

      - Sector VI. 2 - A. 2;

      - Sectors VI. 2 - A. 2. b, c & d

       - From Etropole to Zlatitsa look in:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 4. Zlatishki Pass.

       - From Zlatitsa to Panaguyriste to Pazardzhik: look in

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,

      - Sector I. D - 18. From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik;

      - Sector I. D - 19. From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik

       Information for Oryahovo:

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

       http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NW/vratsa/oryahovo/oryahovo

      On some maps a narrow gage train line from Oryahovo to Cherven Briag is shown, have in mind that it is not true. It was an attractive narrow-gage train, but after 1993 it is not at work.

Sector III. 2 - A

 

      Optional routes, with far less traffic, and beautiful countryside, would be the following, never mind if you choose to head toward Sofia or Pazardzhik (the map in left):

      - route a: This route I would recommend to bicyclists loving to explore mountain areas (meaning to cross Balkan via Zlatishki Pass), as well as a way to avoid Sofia:

From Oryahovo to Selanovtsi to Knezha to Chomakovtsi to Cherven Bryag to Reselets to Kunino to Roman to Karash to Svode . . .  to Etropole to Zlatishki Pass . . .

 

or

 

      - route b: (if you choose to explore Iskar River Gorge)

From Oryahovo Saraevo to Mizia to Butan to Hayredin to Rogozen to Malorad to Borovan to Nivyanin to Tlachene to Gabare to Drashan to Kalen to Mezdra to Svoge (Iskar River Gorge)  . . . to Sofia . . .

      Information concerning the shortcut between Roman and Mezdra is available in:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES.

Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag

      The route really gets pretty between Cherven Briag to Mezdra (sector III. 2 - A. 2 - on the map in left).

Route a

      from Oryahovo to Selanovtsi to Knezha to Chomakovtsi to Cherven Bryag to Reselets to Kunino to Roman to Karash to Etropole and Zlatishki Pass

      The next road profile chart is for the distance from Oryahovo to Cherven Bryag. Except the steep hill just next to Oryahovo, all the other route is in the flat Danube Plane.

      The only 3 photos I have illustrate the area between Knezha and Cherven Bryag, I and my daughter Maya explored in extremely raining June 2009.

      Information for Knezha:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/kneja/kneja

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

      The left photo is the town center.

 

 

      Information for Cherven Bryag:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/cherven_bryag/cherven_bryag

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

      Down are three photos of the town center.

      A more detailed description for the route:

- From Cherven Bryag to Roman can be seen in:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag, Sector I. A - 2. d

 

- From Roman to Mezdra (The shortcut on the map above) can be seen in:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, B. Mezdra to Cherven Bryag, Sector I. A - 2. c

 

- From Roman to Etropole (extremely scenic route) is shown in:

      Chapter VI. Routes: B. From Sofia to Varna, Point 2. The route 2 (From Sofia to Varna: the route along the north side of Balkan):

- Sector VI. 2 - A: From Sofia to Etropole;

- Sector VI. 2 - A. 2;

- Sectors VI. 2 - A. 2. b, c & d

 

- From Etropole to Zlatitsa look in:

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 4. Zlatishki Pass.

 

- From Zlatitsa to Panaguyriste to Pazardzhik: look in

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,

- Sector I. D - 18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik

- Sector I. D - 19.  Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik


Route b

      As an opportunity I will give here the next route, it is a little longer, it is nice If you choose to explore Iskar River Gorge, follow the next route:

      From Oryahovo Saraevo to Mizia to Butan to Hayredin to Rogozen to Malorad to Borovan to Nivyanin to Tlachene to Gabare to Drashan to Kalen to Mezdra to Svoge (Iskar River Gorge)  . . . to Sofia . . .

      Starting from Oryahovo, Next little town is Mizia. I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available with it. Toward Mizia the countryside is beautiful again. Approximately in the middle of the distance from Oryahovo to Mizia  a motel and restaurant are available.

Next several photos are the countryside near Ogosta River at Manastiriste and toward Borovan.

Next photos are the area from Borovan to Gabare

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Oryahovo, Byala Slatina, Cherven Bryag, Knezha, Mezdra, as well as in Rogozen, where a friend of mine, Ferdy, have a guest house:

      https://www.facebook.com/rozenbedbreakfast/

      Once reaching Mezdra, you will enter in Iskar River Gorge, information for it is available here:

 Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES

- Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, A. Sofia - Mezdra


      Please read the next 2 points together - I will combine descriptions about routes from Nikopol & Svistov to BG/GR & BG/TU borders, I will avoid some repetitions.


3. Turnu Magurele – Nikopol: ferry

       Ferry schedule and prices are available on the link:

       http://www.brp.bg/services.html

      Unfortunately, the information concerning both ferry schedule and prices is not given in English. I will translate:

Никопол – тръгва (Nikopol – go)

Турну Магуреле – тръгва (T.Mag. - go)

08:00 часа  (h)

08:00 часа

12:00 часа

12:00 часа

16:00 часа
19:30 часа

16:00 часа
19:30 часа

Забележки:
1. Курсовете в 12:00 ч. и 16:00 ч. са допълнителни и се извършват само при наличие на желаещи да преминат.
2. При желание за преминаване извън разписанието се заплащат 60 евро.
3. ТИР-ове и автобуси с 20 и повече пътници преминават по всяко време между 09:00 ч. и 20:00 ч., за не повече от 30 минути.

Notes:

     1.   Courses at 12:00 and 16:00 are auxiliary – only if there are passangers;

     2.   For those who wish to cross the river out of the schedule – 60 EURO;

     3.   TIR and Busses (more than 20 passengers) cross the river at each time between 09:00 and 20:00

 

Ценова листа Никопол - Турну Магуреле

Терминал

Ферибот

Prices

Terminal

Ferry

 

EUR

EUR

ТИР (TIR)

7.00

60.00

Камион / Автобус (truck / buss)

4.00

35.00

Камион / Автобус с ремарке (truck / buss & trailer)

5.00

40.00

Микробус (van)

3.00

30.00

Микробус с ремарке (van & trailer)

3.00

35.00

Лек автомобил (car)

1.00

10.00

Лек автомобил с ремарке (car & trailer)

1.00

15.00

Мотоциклет    (motorcyclist)
Пътник
(walker)

1.00
0.50

1.00
1.00

        Hmmmmmmm … no price for bicyclists … hhahh ... !!!

      Well, it is not easy for me to recognize, where would like to go a bicyclists entering in BG by this ferry, so I will recommend several routes to reach BG/GR border, beginning from west to east.


      The approach toward the ferry is labeled well.

      Information for Nikopol:

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

Route a

 

from Nikopol to Sofia (via Iskar River Gorge)

 

      from Nikopol to Gulyantsi to Gigen to Bregare to Knezha to Mezdra to Svoge(Iskar River Gorge) to Sofia

 

      This route would be appropriate, if you decide to pedal toward Greece living Bulgaria at Border Checkpoint Kulata. It is very easy area for pedaling (as it can be seen from the road profile chart), there is not any traffic along the route.

 

      The best road segment here is Chervan Bryag to Sofia, it is Iskar River Gorge. Here I will not give information about it, you can find a lot of details for the Gorge in

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,

- Point  2. Iskar River Gorge, A. Sofia - Mezdra;

- Point 2. Iskar River Gorge, B. Mezdra - Cherven Bryag.

 

     Overnight accommodation is possible in Nikopol, Byala Slatina (several kilometers west from Knezha), Cherven Bryag, Mezdra, and Svoge.  More  detail

Sector III. 3 - A

Route a

 

      More  detail map for the route from Nikopol to Knezha.

 

      The forth photo below is a view toward Danube from the hill, 8 km west from Nikopol, just before go down to Somovit. The hill is not so long, but steep and unpleasant because nobody expect such a hill just here.

     

      Next pictures illustrate the area between Nikopol and Knezha. There are a lot of villages along the road here, so water and food suply is not  problem.

      For information about the route from Knezha  to Mezdra to Svoge to Sofia look in the previous point.

Sector III. 3 - A

Route b

From Nikopol to Yasen

      After Gylyantsi the road is up stream of Lom River. Just this road segment between Gulyantsi and Yasen I traveled only by a car.

      A visit in Pleven would be not bad if you explore this area.

      Pleven is known with a heavy battles between Russian and Turk armies 1877/78. A lot of information about the town is here:

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/pleven/pleven

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/en/article/details/294/Town%20of%20Pleven

      Several photos from Pleven

     It is worth to visit Pleven Epopee Panorama: http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/20

Sector III. 3 - B

Route b

 

From Yasen to Yablanitsa

 

      Dealing with this sector I will expand a little my description, I think it is useful, I like very much all this area and roads without any traffic.

 

      The entire area is perfect for camp in the wilderness.

 

      But of first our main direction. The route is:

      From Yasen to Krushovitsa to Sadovets to Aglen to Dermantsi to Toros to Pesterne to Brestovitsa to Yablanitsa.

      As it is obvious from the road profile chart, it is an extremely pleasant route to be pedaled in the two directions.

Photos of this really very nice area. There is not any traffic here. 

      Dermantsi is a bigger village, in its center there is a restaurant. If you need overnight accommodation, when you almost leave Dermantsi, you will see a sign (the third pic below) for a guest house, unfortunately written in Cyrillic: "къща за гости" and a cell tel number. I do not believe they understand English, but I am sure, you will have not a problem to stay there for a night.

More photos of this beautiful area.
The camp place next to Toros near Vit River.

      Toward Yablanitsa you have to pedal several kilometers along the main road E 772. Soon the traffic there will disappear, because the new motor road will be ready for exploitation, I think it will be not later of summer 2019.

      Yablanitsa is little town , I do not like it, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it, but Google shows that in the region there are places for it. Very little information for it is available here:

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


OPPORTUNITIES

in this area:

      If you decide to explore Iskar River Gorge, on the map above I show 2 opportunities to do it:

      - A      from Dermantsi to Todorichene to Petrovene to Belentsi to Stoyanovtsi to Roman

      Next several photos are taken in the best early April '18 in the area from Dermantsi to Roman. Unfortunately I do not remember is food shops were available in Stoyanovtsi and Belentsi. Petrovene is a bigger village, food is available in it. Photos of this area:

      Have in mind that overnight accommodation in Roman is not available, so, if somewhere here you need it, you can visit Lukovit, a little prosperity town, down the main road E83. Information for it:

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

 

      - B    from Pesterne to Zlatna Panega to Batultsi to Roman

      The road is signed well - the photo in left.

 

      The entire area is the best for exploring. Next several photos are the area from Zlatna Panega to Roman 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

      - C     toward Teteven

      A lot of information for this beautiful little town I have shown in the Chapter VI. B route Sofia - Varna, Sector VI. 2 - B From Etropole to Teteven, I will not repeat it here.

 

      - D     toward Lovech

      If you suddenly decide to change your plan for the Balkan Pass where to cross Balkan, next route is toward Lovech, south from it is the hard for pedaling Troyanski Pass.

      from Dermantsi to Ugarchin to okolovo to Izvorche to Lovech

      If my memory serves, food is availabe only in Ugarchin along this road. Next several photos are the area from Dermantsi to Ugarchin.

      Ugarchin is a little town away from main roads. A little information for it and 3 photos:

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

The road towards Lovech  is in very nice conditions, no any traffic there. No food in the villages along the road here.
Information about Lovech - in the same point for Route C: From Nikopol to Plovdiv (via Troyanski Pass)

Sector III - B

Route b

 

 

      - From Yablanitsa to Sofia,

      - From Yablanitsa to Etropole

 

      Here I will suggest two possible routes, depending on where would you prefer to head to.

      The first route is from Yablanitsa to Botevgrad to Sofia via Vitinya Pass. This route is nice if you decide to leave Bulgaria/Greece  border via Border Checkpoin Kulata.

      The second one is from Yablanitsa to Etropole to Pazardzhik via Zlatishki Pass. This route is nice if you decide to leave Bulgaria/Greece  border via Border Checkpoin Ilinden.

 

      Look the next map is more detail map.

 

      - The route from Yablanitsa to Botevgrad to Sofia, is a hilly area, I have pedaled this route many times only in the back direction in warm summer afternoons and always I was already very tired, maybe because of it I do not like it very much. But ... in fact it is a scenic area, especially in the road segment between Osikovitsa and Razliv.

      The next road profile chart shows clearly this hilly area.

      Food is available in the villages along the road. Information for Pravets:

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

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

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

      After Botevgrad toward Sofia are both Vitinya Pass and Botevgradski Passes. I will not write about it here, very detail information I have given in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, 3. Vitinia Pass (and Botevgradski Pass)

     

      The road profile chart from Yablanitsa to Etropole

The next three pics are the area between Dzhurovo and Etopole. An area very pleasant for pedaling.

      Etrople is a small town, a great place to relax for a night before climbing Zlatishki Pass.  Overnight accommodations at the hotel is not a problem. 

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

     There is a small museum in Etrople, as well as a few restaurants

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

      Several kilometers 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

      For the road segment from Etropole to Zlatitsa very detail information can be found in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 4. Zlatishki Pass

      For the road segment Zlatitsa to Pazardzhik please look in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Sector I. D, Point 18.  Zlatitsa - Panagyuriste - Pazardzhik


 

      Another two routes from Nikopol to south are:

 

      Route c: Nikopl Plovdiv (via Troyanski Pass)

      and

      Route d: from Nikopol to Haskovo (via Shipka Pass or Trevnenski Pass)      

 

 

 

The next three routes I describe below include ones via:

      - Troyanski Pass;

      - Shipka Pass;

      - Trevnenski Pass.

 

      You know, very detail information for Balkan Passes can be seen in:

 

Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,

      Point 5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto),

      Point 7. Shipka Pass,

      Point 8. Trevnenski Pass

 

      I do not recommend this routes; there are road segments, where the traffic is intensive (for example from Karlovo to Plovdiv - route c, or from Dryanovo to Gabrovo, from Kazanlak to Stara Zagora - Route d) as well as the climbing is considerable, especially the one including Troyanski Pass.

 

 

 

      Never mind, I know many bicyclists are interested to visit the places I will mention further, so I will give an information for this routes


Route c

form Nikopol to Plovdiv (via Troyanski Pass)

 

      The route from Nikopol to Plovdiv is shown on the map above, it is:

 

      Nikopol to Pleven to Lovech to Troyan to Karnare to Karlovo to Plovdiv.

 

      This  route I recommend to bicyclists loving hard climbing: they will enjoy to climb Troyanski Pass, a detail information about can be seen in Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto)

 

 

 

 

 

      Information & photos for both the route from Nikopol to Pleven & Pleven I have shown in the previous point above.

 

 

      Sector III. 3 - D

     

      I traveled the road Nikopol to Pleven to Lovech only by a car, the route is in my plans.

      The next chart is the road profile  between from Pleven to Lovech. The traffic here is relatively intensive, although the road is wide, I think it is not dangerous.        

       Here is very obvious that in fact Danube Plane is a hilly place.

      Again, nformation for the route from Lovech to Troyan and information for Troyan can be seen in Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto). Leaving Troyan, a hard climbing is in front of you: Troyanski Pass.

 

      The traffic from Karlovo to Plovdiv is very intensive too; information for this road segment can be seen in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 20.  from Karlovo to Plovdiv

Route d

from Nikopol to Haskovo (via Shipka Pass or Trevnenski Pass)

      The route via Shipka Pass is:

      from Nikopol to Levski to Pavlikeni to Gabrovo to Shipka Pass to Kazanlak to Stara Zagora to Dimitrovgrad to Haskovo

 

      The route via Trevnenski Pass is:

from Nikopol to Levski to Pavlikeni to Dryanovo to Tryavna to Trevnenski Pass to Stara Zagora to Dimitrovgrad to Haskovo

Sector III. 3 - E

      The road segment I would suggest you is the one having the least climbing, it is obvious from the next road profile chart.

      I still did not explore the road segment from Nikopol to Balgarene, the only photo I took is just before Debovo.

      Toward Levski (overnight accommodation in it is available). Again the road is without any traffic. Information for Municipalityt of Levski and Levski:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/levski

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/nw/pleven/levski/levski

Sector III. 3 - F

      It is the route:

      from Levski to Gradiste to Butovo to Pavikeni to Byala  Chrkva to Vishovgrad to Dobromirka

      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

      The next little town is Byala Cherkva. Very little information for it is here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/pavlikeni/byala_cherkva

      The last time I pedaled the route from Byala Cherkva to Dobromirka maybe 15 years ago, so I do not remember if food shops were available in villages there.

Sector III. 3 - G

 

 

 

      Here you have to decide which road you will ran. If you choose Shipka Pass, your route is:

 

      from Dobromirka to Burya to Yantra to Skalsko to Popari to Gabrovo to Shipka Pass

      Most off this road I did not travel by bike, but I know here you will have not any traffic.

 

      Have in mind that traffic via Shipka Pass is relatively intensive, but the road is fortified for heavy trucks. I think, it is not a problem to climb the mountain here. On the top there is a special for us monument, but a detail information for Gabrovo, region near it and Shipka Pass you can find out in:

 

      Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 7. Shipka Pass,

 

      I think,  that for bicyclists insisting to visit Plovdiv this route  is just fine.

 

 

     

 

      Road profile chart for the route from Dobromirka to Gabrovo: Next several

      The other option here is to cross Balkan via Trevnenski Pass. I love this route much more. The pass is not in use. After the mountain divide the road is dirty for several kilometers. I will not write about it here,  very detail information for the pass again you can find in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,  Point 8. Trevnenski Pass.

       The route is:

      from Dobromirka to Burya to Yantra to Skalsko to Gesha to Dryanovo to Tsareva Livada to Tryavna to Trevnenski Pass.

      Next several photos are taken in the area between Yantra and Dryanovo - a scenic and hilly area.

      Information for Dryanovo and several photos:

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

 

      A remarkable place in the region is Dryanovski Monastery (5 - 6 kilometers south from Dryanovo) 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 both restaurant & 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

      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 Dryanovo (it is not a problem) and visit Veliko Tarnovo using a taxi. For taxi you can ask in the hotel.

      More information and photos for Veliko Tarnovo I will show a little further in the next point.

      The road from Dryanovo to Tryavna  is pleasant, unfortunately I have not photos to illustrate it.

      Tryavna it a touristy spot, overnight accommodation here is not a problem there are several nice restaurants as well; for information about Tryavna:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/236

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/236

      The last I'd like to mention here is: The traffic along the road segment from Dryanovo to Gabrovo is intensive - I avoid it in my description here (E 85), the pedaling, especially, in this direction is not pleasant, because it is up the hill. I pedaled this route many times only in the opposite direction.

      For the last two sectors in left I put again the initial for this point map.    

      Crossind the Balkan via Shipka Pass, or Trevnenski Pass there is a possibility to head toward Plovdiv. In the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES,  Point 21. From Pavel Banya to Rakovski I have given information about this possibility (from Kazanlak to Plovdiv).

      Furter we will go to Haskovo, the firnal destination of this pint.

      All this road segment in in the Thracian Field - an easy, but a little tedious for pedaling area.

 

      Sector III. 3 - H

      Of first, please pay attention on Tulovo, I point it in the middle of map. It is a place, where train lines are crossing. Here you can take on trains for each direction - to Burgas, or Sofia, to north (Gorna Oryahovitsa) or to south (to Stara Zagora).

      In this sector is better to avoid road E871 (road N6), loval roads I point here are much better, meaning no any traffic there.

      Road N5 toward Stara Zagora is busy as well, but it is wide enough, I think it is not dangerous for5 pedaling.

      Although I pedaled all the roads in this sector, I have not photos of this area.

      Road profile charts from Kazanlak and Dabovo to Stara Zagora. Have in mind that summer afternoons in this area are hot, so climbing of the mountain in direction from Stara Zagora to Kazanlak can be very tough in the hot summer afternoons.

      In the fields near Kazanlak there are rose plantations - it is known as the "Rose's field", in the end of May when roses are flowering the fields are amazing. Unfortunately I have never visit this area in the period rouses are flowering.

      There is an interesting Thracian tomb near Kazanlak, unique frescos can be seen in it, I think it is under UNESCO protection. It is not possible to visit it, but in the local history museum there is a copy of it.  Several times I have mention Thracian in my Home Page - they were the ancient population living in the east part of Balkans, most of all they loved the war, wine and women.

      Information about Kazanlak and thy tomb can be seen here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/42

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/14

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

      Several photos from Kazanlak and pics from the Thracian tomb.

      Overnight accommodation in Stara Zagora is not a problem. Links with information about this towns is here:

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

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/1048

Sector III. 3 - I

      And in the end of this point, several words about distance from Stara Zagora to Dimitrovgrad to Haskovo. The area is easy for pedaling, be careful, as there is a little more traffic between Stara Zagora and the highway A1.

      Next are the only two photos I have from this area is my camp place and the sunset 15 kilometers north from Dimitrovgrad.

      All this road segment in in the Thracian Field - an easy, but a little tedious for pedaling area.

      Next little town is Dimitrovgrad. Overnight accommodation in it is not a problem.

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

      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


4. Zimnicea – Svistov: ferry

 

      Good information about this ferry can be found here:

       http://ferry.bg/ferry_en.php

      Good information can be gleaned from this site, too:

      Ro-Ro  ferry  across  river  Danube  between Svishtov /Bulgaria/ and Zimnicea /Romania/

     Svishtov - Zimnicea ferry is the shortest road in the route fromTurkey to Bulgaria - Romania - Central and Western Europe. Nearly 4 hours shorter and the weather - the route avoids the traffic in Bucharest. The ferry operates non-stop, around the clock. Svishtov - Zimnicea ferry served by two ships and crossed the river for 15 minutes.

      Conveniently, the map posted in the ferry site, shows the route used by  the transit traffic between Romania and Turkey, meaning it is exactly the route bicyclists MUST avoid !!! (be aware the section of the route between Hainboaz and Dimitrovdrad on the site map is not correct). There is an added traffic from Polski Trambesh to the bridge near the town of Ruse. 

      So, always avoid pedaling here, especially from Polski Trambesh to Veliko Tarnovo to Hainboaz (or Pass of the Republic - road E85) to Gurkovo to Nova Zagora !!!

      Information about Svistov:

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/svishtov/svishtov

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

      Leaving Svistov to east, of first you will see remains of the ancient Roman town NOVAE, at your right: 

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/25

further, at your left, is the memorial on the place Russian Army crossed Danube 1877, beginning the war against Ottoman Empire resulting in the establishment of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom.

      So, the logic of my next description further will be as follows:

      - route a (sector III. 4 - A): If you turn west back to Nikopol,  you can use all the routes I described in the previous point of this chapter;  I will not write here about it, a very detail description concerning this route I have shown in the Chapter V. Bicycling Along Danube River, Sector V - C. 1. The route from Nikopol to Vardim;

 

      - route b: it will be a new route to Lovech, and again un the previous point of this chapter you can see where to bedal south from Lovech;

 

      - route c: it is a route toward Veliko Tarnovo, tourists entering in Bulgaria by the ferry Turnu Magurele - Nikopol can use it as well;

 

      - route d (sector III. 4 - F): it is a route toward Ruse, I will not write here about it, a very detail description concerning this route I have shown in the Chapter V. Bicycling Along Danube River, Sector V - C. 3. The route from Byala to Ruse.

 

      In the next point of this chapter I will give one more nice route toward Veliko Tarnovo: from Byala to Veliko Tarnovo


 

Sector III. 4 - B

Route b

 

From Svistov to Levski

 

 

      The road from Svistov to Levski is along Osam River, it is very nice countryside, area is easy for pedaling in the both directions. No any traffic here. Swvwral years ago Ipedaled thi route, but I have not any memoriea about villages along the road, if food was available in, or not.

      Bulgarene is a bigger one, I belive the food there is not a problem.

      Next three photos illustrate the area between Stezherovo and Bulgarene, a place I and my daughter Maya spent a nice night beneath the fool moon.


 

Sector III. 4 - C

Route b

 

 

From Levski to Lovech

      It is a typical for Danube Plane area. The road is upstream of Osam River. In the villages along the road there are food shops, so supplying with food and water is not a problem.

 

      Letlnitsa is relatively bigger settlement, overnight accommodation is available in it. Information for Letnitsa municipality and Letnitsa:

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

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

      The road from Levski to Letnitsa to Aleksandrovo to Lovech is in very nice condition, there is not traffic there. The road is very pleaant to be pedaled in the two directions. 

Sector III. 4 - C. 1

 

      Now I will increase the scale in the road segment from Letnitsa to Alexandrovo. It is worth the effort to increase your mileage here and visit Krushuna and see waterfalls next to the village. 

      Further along the road is Devetashka Cave – I have pointed its location on the map, along the road N301, and you should see the sign for the cave.

      Overnight accommodation is available in Letnitsa as well as in Kroshuna.

      The next 3 photos are on so called Devetashko Plateau I and Maya bicycled August 2013. The last one is just over Devetashka Cave, a view to Danube Plane is great from this place.

      Devetashka cave is a magnificent one and the photos can not suggest its impressive effect as well. Scenes of some Hollywood movie were made in it several years ago.

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/en/article/details/355/Devetashka%20Cave

      And several photos for the waterfalls next to Krushuna.  Information about Falls and many photos of this amazing place can be seen here:

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


Sector III. 4 - D

Route c

 

From Svistov to Veliko Tarnovo

 

      I know that many tourist wish to visit Veliko Tarnovo. So, the next description is devoted to this destination. One more route toward Veloko Tarnovo I will give in the next point of this chapter a well (from Ruse).

      As a Capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom Veliko Tarnovo is a touristy destination, it is a popular among the tourists visiting Bulgaria. 

 

      To reach it from Nikopol, it is better to pedal of first to Svistov, the route further is:

      from (Nikopol) Svistov to Tsarevets to Kozlovets to Alekovo to Varzulitsa to Maslarevo to Obedinenie to Resen to Samovodene to Veliko Tarnovo.

 

     This road segment is in Danube Plane entirely. The area consists rolling hills of sunflowers and wheat. There are a lot of villages where food and water can be found out. Hills are not steep and no longer than 2 - 3 kilometers.

 

      For better and more detail description I will split this road segment is 2 sections.

 

 

 

 

      The road profile chart shows the typical lay of the Danube Plane.

 


Sector III. 4 - E

Route c

 

From Svistov to Veliko Tarnovo

      Here are the next 40 beautiful kilometers toward Veliko Tarnovo. There are road segment which are in not so nice conditions, but no any traffic here and pedaling is a real pleasure.

      Photos ate from the end of August 2014, I and my daughter spend several very nice days exploring this area.

      Here I will increase a little the scale. The most unpleasant road segment along this route  is the one between Samovodene and Veliko Tarnovo.

 

      Here is shown a way to avoid one of the most dangerous road segments in BG: In Samovodene turn a little back (E85) and find the road toward Gorna Oryahovitsa and Arbanasi. Yes, there will be a hill between Gorna Oryahovitsa and Veliko Tarnovo, yes, there will be a traffic there, but this road is forbidden for trucks and it is much more save than E 85.

 

      When you are in Arbanasi, a great view toward Veliko Tarnovo and Balkan will reveal in front of you.

 

      Arbanasi is also a touristy area, it is connected with Bulgarian history. There is a lot of hotels in it too.

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

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

      Several photos of Arbanasi.

      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.


Sector III. 4 - F

In Veliko Tarnovo you have to decide where to cross Balkan, and opportunities for it can be seen in the next Map: via Shipka Pass, Trevnenski Pass, Tvardishki Pass, or Vratnik Pass. Pedaling to south, leaving Veliko Tarnovo you will be on the road E85 to its crossroad with road N 55, unfortunately this extremely dangerous road segment of several kilometers can not be avoided. Be careful there!

      What about information for Passes in Balkan - you know the Chapter I. Passes in Balkan. All another information for routes in the region from Gabrovo to Valiko Tarnovo, or to Kilifarevo and Elena, can be seen in the Chapter VI. B. Sofia - Burfas, sectors Sector VI. 2 - E, F and G.

      The route via Trevnenski Pass

      I recommend this route. No any traffic here. Tryavna still keep the architecture from XIX Century, it is worth to be seen:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/236

      https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Tryavna

      A detailed information about Trevnenski Pass can be seen in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, point 8. Trevnenski Pass. The road profile chart from Veloko Tarnovo to Tryavna and several photos from Tryavna:

The routes via Tvardishki and Vratnik Passes

      I recommend both routes, information about Passes are given in Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 10. Tvardishki Pass, and Point 11. Vratnik Pass.

      Of first you have to reach Elena: this route is very nice, countryside beautiful, the pedaling will bring you a great pleasure.

      Here I will show only the road profile chart from Veliko Tarnovo to Elena (more details concerning this route can be seen in the next point: 5.2. Ruse - Greece&Turkey borders

      Elena 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 from Elena.


Sector III. 4 - F

  Route c     

       The last route I will mention here is the one toward Ruse;

     from Svistov to Vardim to Novgrad to Tsenovo to Byala to Borovo to Dve Mogili to Ivanovo to Besarbovo to Ruse.

      I will not write here about it, a very detail description concerning this route I have shown in the

      Chapter V. Bicycling along Danube River,     

- sector V - C. 1;

- sector V - C. 2;

- sector V - C. 3.

      Please do not try to find a road to Ruse along Danube River. Several times I was asked if there is a road just next from Novgrad to Ruse. No, there is not such a road (except for the most adventurous bicyclists). The route I point on the map in left is the best one.

      What about the road profile chart, I will only mention that from Byala to Borovo there is 7 - 8 kilometer hill, but the road is going up on the north hill side, there is a wool, so you will climb it on the shade.

      In the next point of this chapter I will write about the route from Ruse to Byala.



5. Giurgiu - Ruse: bridge

      I do not recommend to enter / leave Bulgaria just here. The bridge and the approach to it is narrow, the traffic is very intensive.

       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVfXG8QbfCU

      There is an idea a new bridge to be built 2 kilometers east from the old one, but God only knows when it will be a fact.

      As it can be seen on the next map, five are the  possibilities to leave/enter Ruse:

      1. Towards Sofia, Elena, Veliiko Tarnovo and BG/TU & BG/GR borders:

      - road N5, or E85 – an international road (1), which MUST be avoided because of the very intensive traffic along it. Bicycling along it is even dangerous; it is the one of 2-3 deadliest roads in Bulgaria.  The route from Ruse to Byala (road N5, or E85) is one of the roads in BG I have never bicycled, as a rule, the traffic here always is terrible.

      - so my suggestion is always to pedal the next route – road 501 (1) (in both directions). Road 501 can be used to leave Ruse in south direction, again towards Byala and Sofia, Elena, Veliko Tarnovo and BG/TU & BG/GR borders. Because it is not easy to find out this road in Ruse town, further I will pay more attention how it can be found out when leave Ruse;

 

      2. Road N202 toward Popovo, Omurtag, Varbitsa  and BG/TU & BG/GR borders;

 

      3. Road N2, or E70: toward Razgrad, Shumen, Provadia and and BG/TU, or Varna;

(the Black seaside);

      4. Road N23: toward Isperih to Dobrich to Balchik (the Black seaside);

 

      5. Road N21: toward Tutrakan and Silistra.

 

      These are the points of the content of my next description.

5. 1  From Ruse to Elena

(and Greece &Turkey borders)

 

      As it can be seen from the map in left, once choosing the Pass where you will cross the Balkan, you have to reach Elena (or Veliko Tarnovo), so it will be my next information. For more detailed description further I divide this route in 5 sectors.

 

      On the map in left I have shown the Passes in Balkan, where bicyclists can cross Balkan heading to the south toward Greece or Turkey borders. From west to east Passes are:

      - Shipka pass;

      -Trevnenski Pass;

      - Pass of the Republic (Hainboaz);

      - Tvardishki Pass;

      - Vratnik Pass.

      Very detail descriptions of all these Passes I have given in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES. Sector I. B

 

      So, if you cross Romania/Bulgarian border just here, please look of first in:

Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES:

      - Sector I. B, points:

7. Shipka Pass

8. Trevnenski Pass

9. Pass of the Republik (Hainboaz)

10. Tvardishki Pass

11. Vratnik Pass

      - Sector I. E

22.  Kazanlak to Stara Zagora;

23. Gurkovo to Nova Zagora;

24. Tvarditsa to Nova Zagora.

 

      Again here I will mention, that the road E85 from Ruse to Veliko Tarnovo town is very dangerous because of the very intensive traffic here. So, the route I would suggest will be away from it.

 

5. 1. 1    Leaving/entering in Ruse

 

Sector III. 5 - A

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Ruse town is the biggest BG town at Danube River. Because of the bridge Ruse - Giurgiu, it is easy here to cross Danube River, although I am not sure enough if it is save for bicyclists. The bridge is old and narrow, the traffic is extremely intensive.

 

      There is an idea a new bridge to be built next to this one, but nobody knows when it will happen.

 

       A lot of information is available in Internet concerning Ruse:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruse,_Bulgaria

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/88

      http://wikitravel.org/en/Ruse

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/rousse/rousse/rousse

 

 

 

 

 

 

     For more detail description I will split this sector.

 

sector III. 5 - A. 1

 

      Use this route when you head to south direction (toward Elena, Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia and BG/TU & BG/GR borders: road N501).

 

      Entering in Bulgaria from Romania via the bridge you will turn right and head toward Ruse. Here it the East Industrial zone of the town.

 

     Further I will post several maps, I think it is easy to find the road N501 looking all them one by one.

 

      Just after the bridge, you have to leave the transit road E85 (N2, E70) and enter into the town in its industrial zone.

     

      It will be very nice, if you find out and enter in the town garden.  You can use different park lanes, you can pedal closer to Danube River.

      In the park is locater the National Transport Museum, there are a lot of specimens of old steam engines in the park.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

      National_Transport_Museum,_Bulgaria

     

      Pedaling further, you will enter in the City center. It is a walking zone.

 

The walking zone of the Ruse City

     From the city center, you have to head to Danube River, it is easy, simply turn to right and you will see the place on the photo - just before Hotel Riga . . . Many years ago I lived for an year in Ruse, I used to stay just here seeing the sun going down . . . forgotten emotions are coming in my mind looking this place and writing about this town  . . .

 

 

      Soon you will leave Ruse. After a hill you will reach Basarbovo, pedaling up the next hill you will be high on the right riverside (Rusenski Lom River) X - on the map above).

      The entering in Ruse from south to north is not a problem. Simply do not go up on the bridge of road E85 (N5) when you see it.  Enter in the Industrial zone and follow my line, or take "Struma" Str.


Sector III. 5 - B

The route from Ruse to Borovo

 

      I can say that it is one of my favorite routes in this area. Never mind I pedaled it many times, it always brings me a great pleasure to be here again. The route here is away from Danube River:

 

       from Ruse to Basarbovo to Ivanovo  to Dve Mogili to Borovo.

       

      Again I will say, in this sector the most important is to avoid road E 85. It is one of the most dangerous roads in Bulgaria.

 

      As it can be seen from the road profile chart, the road from Ruse to Borovo is a not steep ascending. More steep is the hill from Basarbovo to Ivanovo.

 

      An interesting Rock Monastery can be seen near Besarbovo (the road toward it is signed well):

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/63

      The two photos here  are the hill toward Ivanovo.

      Next village along the road is Ivanovo. The last time I traveled there (August 2018) I was surprise to see 2 new hotels in it.

Needless to say, the entire area is very nice to camp.

      A remains of Cherven mediaeval fortress are located several kilometers north from Dve Mogili. The road to the place is signed well. The place is in Rusenski Lom River Canyon, a scenic place. The area along Rusenski Lom River is a National Reserve:     

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/93

      And links for the fortress near Cherven:  

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherven_(fortress

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/124

 

      Several kilometers further you will see a sign toward Orlova Chucka Cave. The cave is located just over the Canyon of Rusenski Lom River; It seems the cave is very attractive, next time I pedal this area I definitely will visit it.

      I have heard the place near it is nice to set up a tent, there is a water too.

      Orlova Chucka Cave:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/87

      The next little town along your road is Dve Mogili. Very little information for it can be seen here:

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/rousse/dve_mogili/dve_mogili

      Photos from Dve Mogili and the countryside after it.

      Very little information for Borovo can be seen here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/1036

      Next several photos are the countryside toward Dve Mogili.


Sector III. 5 - B

The route from  Borovo to Strazhitsa

 

      The route is:

from Borovo (to Byala) to Pet Kladentsi to Vinogradi to Lozen to Gorski Senovets to Tsarski Izvot to Strazhitsa

 

      As the overnight accommodation in Dve Mogili and Borovo is not available, if you need it, you have to visit Byala.

      Some information for Byala can be seen here:

 

http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/330

 

      Have in mind that Byala is placed in a low place near Yantra River, so visiting it, you will have an additional climbing. It is obvious from the next road profile charts below.

 

      If you decide to visit Byala, the only not so intensive traffic you will see is when you leave it along road N51, no more than 7 - 8 kilometers. This road is in very nice conditions. On the road profile chart below is obvious the low placement of Byala near Yantra River.

 

Photos from Byala.
The road profile chart from Borovo to Strazhitsa.

      The next several photos are the beautiful countryside from Borovo toward Pet Kladentsi and Bistrentsi. For Pet Kladentsi I do not remember, but in Bistrentsi there was a food shop, I think it did not work 2 - 5 pm. 

      A nice spring of fresh and cold water is available in the middle of the road 5-6 km south from Bistrenti. From the other side of the road, above the spring is available a nice shelter.
      Between Bistrantsi and Vinograd the road is not labeled - as it can be seen on the last photo above. It is my information from August '18, when was the last time I explored this beautiful countryside. Be careful there, I am afraid it is very easy a wrong  the direction to chosen here. Maybe a GPS would be useful here. Further there are not any problems.

      Again, just before Vinograd there is a nice springs of fresh cool water, unfortunately there is not a nice shade, where to relax for 2 - 3 hours.

      The area from Vinograd to Gorski Senovets to Tsarski Izvor is almost flat, it is unusual for Danube Plane consisting most of all from rolling hills.

      Strazhitsa is a little town, destroyed totally by an earthquake 1986. Overnight accommodation is available in it; some information for it:

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


Sector III. 5 - D

 

The routes:

- from  Strazhitsa to Elena

- including Veliko Tarnovo

 

 

 

 

      Here I will show two routes:

      route a:

for bicyclists heading to Elena:

      from Strazhitsa to Dzhulyunitsa to Gorsko Novo selo to Zlataritsa to Elena

and

      route b:

this route is purposed to bicyclists intending to visit Veliko Tarnovo:

      from Vinograd to Paisiy to Strelets to Draginovo to Dolna Oryahovitsa to Gorna Oryahovitsa to Arbanasi to Veliko Tarnovo

 

      Route a:

      from Strazhitsa to Dzhulyunitsa to Gorsko novo selo to Zlataritsa to Elena

      Again the route is very pleasant for pedaling. It is easy, after Zlataritsa toward Elena a not hard climbing is starting. No traffic along this route.

      Crossing road E 772 (your one is road 4005) you have to be careful to find the road toward Dzhulyunitsa, if my memory serves it was not signed well. The same is true for the back direction - from Dzhulyunitsa toward Strazhitsa.

      The road toward Gorsko Novo selo is without any traffic, area is pleasant and easy for pedaling. In left is a nice spring of drinkable water - a place where I forgot to take with me my nice bottle while I was enjoying of the scenery and taking photos . . . Down is my camp place just next to Gorsko novo selo.

      Zlataritsa is a little town, where overnight accommodation is not possible. Very little information for it is available here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/zlataritsa/zlataritsa

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

      https://www.bestbgproperties.com/bulgarian_districts/Zlataritsa.html

      After Zlataritsa toward Elena the climbing starts. The hill is not steep; in the middle of the road between Zlataritsa and Elena there is a tourist complex, I remember there is a restaurant there, but I am not sure if overnight accommodation was available there.

      Several kilometers before entering in Elena there is a spring of water - hot for drinking and cool for bathing . . . several times I used it to refresh, relax next to it and wash the equipment there. 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.

      Well ... in the end you are in Elena; this little town 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:

      In the end I will say again that to South from Elena you can use:

-Tvardishki Pass: toward Nova Zagora;

- Vratnik Pass: toward Yambol,

(Look in Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES: Sector I. B, points: 10. Tvardishki Pass and 11. Vratnik Pass respectively.)


      route b (look again sector III. 5 - D):

      This route is purposed to bicyclists intending to visit Veliko Tarnovo, :

from Vinograd to Paisiy to Strelets to Draginovo to Dolna Oryahovitsa to Gorna Oryahovitsa to Arbanasi to Veliko Tarnovo

      Although I would not suggest visiting this place. Veliko Tarnovo is a touristy place often overcrowded by tourists. The traffic along roads E 772 and E 85 is very intensive. I pedaled this route, but I have not photos from it.

      Gorna Oryahovitsa is a bog railway center, here the lines crossing Bulgaria from east to east and from north to south are crossing. Information for it is here:

     http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/veliko_turnovo/gorna_oryahovitsa/gorna_oryahovitsa

     Overnight accommodation is available in it.

      Between Gorna Oryahovitsa and Veliko Tarnovo there is a hill, the road is nice although there is a traffic there, comparing with the traffic with the one in another roads approaching Veliko Tarnovo, this road is the safest one. On the top of the hill is Arbanasi. It is also a touristy area, it is connected with Bulgarian history. There is a lot of hotels in it too.

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

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

      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/

      Photos of Arbanasi and Veliko Tarnovo are shown in the previous point of the same Chapter.

 

      In Veliko Tarnovo you have to decide where to cross Balkan, and opportunities for it can be seen in the next Map: via Shipka Pass, Trevnenski Pass, Pass of the Republic (AVOID IT !!!), Tvardishki Pass, Vratnik Pass or Kotlenski Pass. Again I will say that detail information about passes in Balkan can be seen in:

Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES:

      - Sector I. B, points: 7. Shipka Pass; 8. Trevnenski Pass; 9. Pass of the Republik (Hainboaz); 10. Tvardishki Pass; 11. Vratnik Pass

      - Sector I. C, point 12. Kotlenski Pass

      My suggestion is to avoid: 7. Shipka Pass and 9. Pass of the Republik (Hainboaz).

 

       Now I will increase the scale to show possibilities to reach Elena from Veliko Tarnovo.

Sector III. 5 - E. 1

Sector III. 5 - C. 1. a

 

   Pedaling to south, leaving Veliko Tarnovo toward Debelets you will be on the road E85 - extremely dangerous road segment of several kilometers which can not be avoided. Be careful there!

 

      One more time I will increase the scale, because next to Debelets the crossroad is complicated and I am afraid it is not signed well toward Prisovo or Plakovo and Velchevo.

 

 

      Route a

      My suggestion is to pedal toward Elena, following the route: I still did not pedaled it, but I know it is a road without traffic.

      from Veliko Tarnovo to Debelets to Prisovo to Pcheliste to Tserova  Koria to Kapinovo to Mindya to Elena.

      Route b

      For more adventurous peddlers I would recommend the next route:

      from Veliko Tarnovo to Debelets to Prisovski Monastery to Velchevo to Plakovski Monastery to Kapinovski Monastery to Elena.

      The road profile scheme shows that climbing here is more comparing with the roate a. Exploring this area, you can visit  3 monasteries:

 

      Prisovski Monastery: Unfortunately there is not English language Site for it. Ivernight accommodation is not possible there.

      The road from Debelets to Velchevo to Kapinovski Monastery is nice, the countryside is very nice, no any traffic. Leaving Velchevo toward Plakovski Monastery, you will see an ancient tractor.

      The next monastery is  Plakovski Monastery. Neither food nor overnight accommodation in Plakovski Monastery. Information for it can be seen here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/332

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

      The next monastery is Kapinovski Monastery: overnight accommodation is offered in it; information for it is available here:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/400

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

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

      Next to Kapinovski Monastery there is a camping place, caravans, restaurant (the last photo below.

      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.

      And the last route in this area is

      Route c:

      from Veliko Tarnovo to Debelets 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 is (just before Yakovtsi), summer time the water is perfect to refresh, place is perfect for camp in the wilderness. next to Yakovtsi there is a little hotel & restaurant.

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

      Now you have to choose a Pass to cross Balkan.  Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES:

      - Sector I. B, points: 10. Tvardishki Pass; 11. Vratnik Pass

      - Sector I. C, point 12. Kotlenski Pass


Sector III. 5 

Giurgiu - Ruse

 

5. 2  From Ruse to Popovo, Omurtag and Varbitsa

 

(Routes toward Yambol and Burgas,  Greece &Turkey borders)

 

 

 

 

      Next two routes toward BG/TU Borders Checkpoints Lesovo & Malko Tarnovo are given on the next map in left. Here is important to avoid the road E70, where the traffic is more intensive.

      - from Ruse to Yambol via Kotlenski Pass:

      from Ruse to Opaka to Popovo to Omurtag to Kotel to Pentacle to Yambol (to Border Checkpoint Lesovo).

 

      - from Ruse to Burgas via Varbishki Pass:

      Ruse to Opaka to Popovo to Omurtag to Varbitsa to Sungurlare to Karnobat to Aytos to Burgas (to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo). 

    For more detailed description I divide this route in 3 sectors:

   Sector III. 5 - F

 

      Of first I have to say that the distance from Ruse to Popovo is on e of the not many routes in Bulgaria I still did not bicycles, I have traveled it only by a car; the traffic here is not intensive, the countryside - scenic.

      On the road profile chart can be seen the flat area between Ruse and Straklevo, where is placer Ruse Airport.

      This route segment is the same for both routes:  toward Yambol and toward Burgas:

      from Ruse to Straklevo to Nisovo to Katselovo to Opaka to Popovo

Popovo is a bigger town, overnight accommodation is available in it.

 

      Very little information for Opaka can be seen here:

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

      I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in it.

 

      Information for Popovo:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/turgovishte/popovo/popovo

 

 Sector III. 5 - G

 

 

 

 

      On the road profile chart can be seen the ascending of almost 270 meters between Aprilovo and Omurtag. In the hot summer days it is not so pleasant.

 

    Next 3 photos are the countryside between Omurtag and Popovo. Unfortunately I can not point on the map water springs along this route.

 

 

 

      Information for Omurtag (where there is an aviation museum):

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/turgovishte/omurtag/omurtag

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

 

      Omurtag is named of the Khan Omurtag (the First Bulgarian Kingdom):

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

 

      Overnight accommodation is available in Omurtag as well places.

      The route further to the BG/Turkey border is: Have in mind, the traffic toward this border chedk point is more intensive than the one toward Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo

      from Omurtag to Kotel (via Kitlenski Pass) to  to Pentacle to Yambol (to Border Checkpoint Lesovo).

a detail information for it I have given in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Sector: I. C, Piont 12. Kotlenski Pass  (From Targoviste to Omurtag to Kotel to the Pentacle to Yambol)

      Have in mind, the traffic toward this border check point is more intensive than the one toward Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo. The next route via Varbishki Pass (toward Burgas) is much better.

     

Sector III. 5 - G. 1

 

      I will increase a little the scale here for the route from Omurtag to Varbitsa (as a part of the route from Ruse to Burgas via Varbishki Pass)

      From Omurtag to Ugledno to Ratlina to Plastina to Mangihevo Varbitsa.

      (On the map above, sector III. 5, I have shown several opportunities concerning this route).

      The Last time I pedaled this area was August '10, next are 3 photos of the camp place just before Ratlina (next to Paliska River) I and my daughter Maya spent a night.

      If you try to trace your route further via Varbishki Pass, Google map will not permit you to do it. It is because the Pass is closed for cars, but for bicyclists this route is perfect. Please for information for Varbishki Pass look in: Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 13. Varbishki Pass.


Sector III. 5 

Giurgiu - Ruse

 

5. 3  From Ruse to the seaside Varna and Balchik

      The both next routes I will give information here are Intended for bicyclists intending to vizit Black Seaside while they are crossing Bulgaria. I will say several words for 2 opportunities: from Ruse to Varna from Ruse to Balchik (both routes are approx 200 km).

 

      I'll start with the route Ruse to Varna. The route is:

      from Ruse to Tsar Kaloyan to Razgrad to Shumen to Kaspichan to Novi Pazar to Vetrino to Devnya to Varna.

      The road N2 (E70) is a main one and the traffic from Ruse to Shumen is relatively intensive. It is almost flat area very pleasant for bicycling including rolling hills as it is obvious from the next road profile chart.

      I love to pedal here especially in the end of May when wheat fields are still green, but I do not believe I will pedal this route again. Each next year the traffic is more and more intensive, so , there will be not new photos just from this area.

 

      Overnight accommodation is available in Razgrad and Shumen. Next links are the Information about Razgrad and several photos of the same area:

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

      http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Razgrad/201368/

      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 and the plateau (Shumen Fortress) next to it, the town and my afternoon relax place in the town garden:

Sector III. 5 - L

From Shumen to Varna

      After Shumen there is a motorway (A2), do not bicycle along it. The road segment from Devnya to Varna (road N2) is with relatively intensive traffic. You can pedal from Shumen to Varna directly:

      You can pedal from Shumen to Varna directly:

      from Shumen to Kaspichan to Novi Pazar to Stan to Vetrino to Devnya to Varna

     

      Overnight accommodation is possible in Devnya, for Novi Pazar and Kaspichan I am not sure. If you search for a hotel in Novi Pazar, be careful, there is a town named "Novi Pazar " in Serbia as well.

 

Sector III. 5 - L. 1

From Shumen to Vetrino

       I will increase a little the scale for the area from Sumen to Vetrino.

      An opportunity for the route from Vetrino to Provadia to Burgas can be seen in the Chapter I. BALKAN PASSES, Point 15. Aytoski Pass (I recommend this route).

      Next several photos are the countryside from Shumen to Kaspichan.

      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 Kaspichan.

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

      In Vetren can be find food, but overnight accommodation.

      In the same region (north - west from Novi Pazar) is placed Pliska - next to it are remains of the fortres - the Capital of the first Bulgarian Kingdom.

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

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

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

Sector III. 5 - L. 2

From Vetrino to Varna

      Two routes are possible here: The shortest distance to Varna is:

      Route a:

      from Vetrino to Devnya to Varna

 

      Route b:

      As the area near Provadia is quite scenery, you can elongate a little your route visiting this place.

      from Vetrino to Provadia to Dobrina to Manastir to Devnya to 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 b  is much better.

      Next three photos are the countryside from Vetrino to Provadia.

      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

      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.

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

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

       Varna is a nice town, we call it “the Sea Capital” of Bulgaria. Below are several photos of Varna; the City, its walking zone, the Cathedral, the City Garden, and the Sea Garden.

 

      In Internet there is a lot of information for Varna, here are the 2 best sites I like:

 

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

      https://www.britannica.com/place/Varna-Bulgaria     

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/205


Sector III. 5 

Giurgiu - Ruse

 

5. 3  From Ruse to the seaside Varna and Balchik

 

 

      If you have decided to bicycle the route from Ruse to the seaside, I would suggest you to head to Balchik, placed in one of the one of most scenery areas near the seaside.

      All the area is perfect for bicycling, no any traffic. The area is almost flat with rolling hills. Here you will cross many not deep valleys of dried rivers, as it can be seen from the next road profile chart. Bring water with you exploring this area. It is best to bicycle here May, June, up to 5 – 10 July, when the sunflowers make the field yellow.  

      from Ruse to Novo selo to Kubrat to Zavet to Isperih to Todor Ikonomovo to Karapelit  to Dobrich to Balchik.

      For the route profile chart I will part the distance in three: (1) from Ruse to Isperih and (2) from Isperih to Karapelit and 3) from Karapelit to Balchik.

Sector III. 5 - H 

From Ruse to Isperih

 

 

      I have not many photos from this area, I hope summer '19 to explore it again.

      I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available in Kubrat. Very little information for it can be seen here: 

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

 

 

      The town is named of Bulgarian Khan Kubrat:

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

      The next little town is Isperih, overnight accommodation is available in it. Very little information for it can be seen here: 

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

 

 

      The town is named of Bulgarian Khan Asparuh:

      http://www.wow.com/wiki/Asparuh

 

Next photos are the area next to Zavet and my camp place somewhere there.

Sector III. 5 - I 

From Isperih to Karapelit

 

 

 

      Many times I have explored this area and often I move further from village to village researching the map, often I have used shortcuts – off-roads in the field between villages.

Sector III. 5 - J 

From Karapelit to Balchik

 

The route profile chart from Karapelit to Balchik

      Dobrich is the main town of this district. Overnight accommodation in it is not a problem. Information for Dobrich:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/Dobrich/

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/ne/dobrich/dobrich-city/dobrich

     More opportunities for pedaling from Dobrich to the seaside I post in the point 7 of the same Chapter.

Next several photos are the area between Dobrich - Balchik (Photos and information for Balchik can be seen in Chapter IV. BLACK SEASIDE, Point 8. Balchik.

      Balchik is a small city located in tiers above the sea. It is a touristy place. Rooms for the night are easily found, along with more luxury hotels. I love to stay here for a day or two. Information for Balchik:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/307

      In the town there is a small residence of the Romanian queen with a lovely botanical garden. (This area was under Romanian control 1918 – 1938). Information for this spot:

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/4

      I like this garden and can not avoid to post more pictures :)


5.4 Ruse - Silistra

      A detail description of this route can be seen in the Chapter V. Bicycling along Danube river .


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


7. Calarashi – Silistra: ferry

&

7. Constanta – Silistra (border checkpoint Silistra)

Shedule & Fees

Тръгване от

българския бряг

From BG

Тръгване от румънския бряг

From Romania

01:30

04:15

07:30

10:15

13:30

16:15

19:30

22:15

 

Vehicle

Price (EURO)

Truck (more than 25 t.)

70,00

Truck 16 – 25 t.

60,00

Truck 16 – 5 t.

45,00

Bus (more than 44 passengers)

40,00

Bus (22 – 44 passengers)

35,00

Minivan

25,00

Trailer

15,00

Car

7,00

Motorbike

2,00

Passenger

0,50

Calarashi – Silistra: ferry.

      The available schedule for the ferry in English is not available, so I copy and paste it here.

      Obviously at this place nobody has ever seen bicyclists ... 

      The map shows that the ferry is only in Romanian area.

      Information for Silistra:

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

 

 http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Silistra/203776/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Another possibility to cross Danube river is the “water taxi”. If you enter in the town garden (next photo), pedal to Danube River, turn to right and bike until you see the private jetty label.

Schedule (each day)

from Silistra       from Calarashi

09.00                      10.00

11.00                      12.00

15.00                       16.00

17.00                       18.00

Traveling time in one direction - 15 minutes

Requests for traveling out of this schedule:

tel +359 86 812 200

or

e-mail: drusrtar@hoteldrustar.com

      Pointed routes on the map from/to Silistra are:

 

7.1 To/from west

           1. Toward Tutrakan and Ruse , road N 21 (I have mentioned several words about it in the Chapter V. Bicycling along Danube river);

 

 

7.2 To/from south

(BG/Turkey and BG/Greece Borders):

            2. Isperih, Razgrad, Targoviste road N23;

            3. Shumen, road N7;

            4. Povadia, road N207;

 

 

7.3 To/from Black sea side

            5. Dobrich, Balchik, road N71;

            6. Constanta, road N3 (in Romania).

      The altitude of Silistra is 20 m. and it is surrounding by a higher plateau.  So, to leave the town in the south direction you have to climb 5 – 6 kilometers.


7.2  Routes from/to south

(from/to Turkey and Greece borders)

      There are 3 routes to pedal towards Balkan from Silistra town:

 

      Route A: Via Kotlenski Pass:

      from Silistra to Dulovo to Isperih to Razgrad to Targoviste to Kotel to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo;

 

      Route B: Via Rishki Pass, or via Varbishki Pass:

      from Silistra to Shumen to Sungurlare to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo;

      I do not recommend the route via Rishki Pass. Last years the traffic is very intensive including heavy trucks. It is much better to pedal Varbishki Pass:

      from Silistra to Shumen to Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo;

 

      Route C:

      from Silistra to Tervel to Vetrino to Provadia to Aytos to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

      For all the routes (except a part of Varbishki Pass) I can say that roads are in very nice conditions, the area itself is flat with not high rolling hills, countryside is perfect. Wild camping is possible everywhere. Have in mind that July and August high temperatures in afternoons are possible. Bring water with you.

 

      Two more routes will be shown as well in the sector III. 7 - D from Silistra to the seaside (to Varna, Balchik abd Durankulak).

 

 

 

 

      My next description will be only for sector III. 7 - A.

      Information for sector III. 7 - B can be seen in the Chapter I:  Passes in Balkan, Sector I. C;

      Information for sector III. 7 - C is available in the Chapter III: Crossing Bulgaria from north to south (from Romania to Turkey & Greece): Part II From Balkan to BG/Greece & BG Turkey Borders.

 

 

 

 

 

Sector III. 7 - A

Kalarashi - Silistra

 

      Here I will increase the scale for more detailed description.

      Route A:

      Route A is purposed for bicyclists intending to cross Balkan via Kotlenki Pass, I RECOMMEND THIS ROUTE:

      from Silistra to Alfatar to Dulovo to Chernik to Isperih to Razgrad to Targoviste to Omurtag.

 

      This route is approx. 145 km., as if here there are more hills comparing with the others two routes I suggest here. Several kilometers of the road north from Razgrad are not so nice and narrow.

Sector III. 7 - A. 1

Route A

 

      There is not so much to say about the entire area. The entire area is very pleasant and easy for exploring, as it can be seen from the next photos; there is not traffic here at all.

 

      The road segment for the route a here is:

 

      from Silistra to Alfatar to Cherkovna to Dulovo to Chernik to Oven to Vokil to Okorsh.

 

      Bigger settlements here ar Alfatar and Dulovo. Very little information for Alfatar is available here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/silistra/alfatar/alfatar

 

      Very little information for Dulovo (the photo in left) is available here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/silistra/dulovo/dulovo

 

      What about the overnight accommodation, it is available in Dulovo, but Alfatar.

      Road profile chart for the route B from Silistra to Razdel does not defer much for the same for the route A.

And the road profile chart for the route C from Silistra to Tervel.

      Tervel is a little city, overnight accommodation is available in it. Information about it:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/dobrich/tervel

      The City is named of the Old Bulgarian Khan Tervel. His story can be seen here:

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

Sector III. 7 - A. 2

Route A

 

 

      The area  here  again is flat, but roling hills are available. The route is:

 

      from Okorsh to Todorovo to Kitanchevo to Isperih to Golyam Potovets to Ludogortsi to Yasnovets to Razgrad.

 

      Unfortunately I have not any memories about spring of water, food shops and restaurant in villages along the road. It means I have not any problems  there.

 

 

      The next little town is Isperih, overnight accommodation is available in it. Very little information for it can be seen here:        

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NC/razgrad/isperih/isperih

 

      The town is named of the Khan Asparuh established the First Bulgarian Kingdom in the second half of the VII century. A little history:

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

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

      Overnight accommodation is available in Razgrad. Next links are the Information about Razgrad and several photos of the same area:

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

      http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Razgrad/201368/

Sector III. 7 - A. 2

Route A

 

      The road segment between Razgrad and Targoviste is without any traffic. the entire area is very pleasant for pedaling.  The last time I pedaled this  area was August 2015  . . . I have to explore it again soon.

 

      The route is:

      from Razgrad to Manastirsko to Trapiste to Bistra to Taegoviste to Razboyna to Prolaz to Kozma Prezviter to Belomortsi to Omurtag.

      Information for Targoviste:

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/turgovishte/targovishte/targovishte

     Have in mind that in Romania there is a town with the same name, so take it into account when you are researching in GOOGLE for it.

      The most unpleasant road segment is between Targoviste and Omurtag, especially in the hot July and August days. Here the traffic is intense (this road is a segment of the road from Varna to Sofia), although the road is wide enough (below are 3 photos of this road segment). Bicycling here is not dangerous, but the noise of the heavy tracks is not so pleasant. There are several springs on the route.

      The traffic from Targoviste to Omurtag can be seen on the first photo below.

      Some information about Omurtag:

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

      The town is named on Khan Omurtag, a little history:

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


Sector III. 7 - A

Kalarashi - Silistra

 

 

Route B

 

 

      Two opportunities are available here, depending of the Pass you decide to cross Balkan:

 

      - Via Rishki Pass:

      from Silistra to Shumen to Smyadovo to Sungurlare to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo;

 

      I do not recommend the route via Rishki Pass. Last years the traffic is very intensive including heavy trucks.

 

 

 

 

      - Via Varbishki Pass:

      from Silistra to Shumen to Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa to Yambol to Elhovo to Border Checkpoint Lesovo;

 

      It is much better to pedal Varbishki Pass; have in mine the road along the Pass of its southern part is in very poor conditions, but it is forbidden for cars and there is not any traffic.

     

 

Sector III. 7 - A. 4, route B

Beautiful countryside!

      The route is:

      from Razdel to Branichevo to Pristoe to Kliment to Izgrev to Osenovets to Venets to Panayot Volovo to Shumen

      This road is approx 70 km, there 2 longer hills each of 7 - 8 kms just after Shumen to north. I do not recommend so much this route. Although the road is after reconstruction, last years the traffic here is intensive including heavy trucks. I am not sure if along this road there is a possibility for overnight accommodation, I explored it only bringing a tent with me.

      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 and the plateau (Shumen Fortress) next to it, the town and my afternoon relax place in the town garden:

Sector III. 7 - A. 5

Route B

 

      In Shumen you have to choose which Pass to pedal to cross Balkan. My suggestion is to pedal Varbishki Pass.

      The route is:

      from Shumen to Veliki Preslav to Ivanovo to Konevo to Mengishevo to Varbitsa.

      If you use Google Map, in the moment the route from Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa is shown as a closed one, I think it is because of a broken bridge in Ivanovo. Well, it is closed for cars, but I am absolutely sure bicyclists can travel there.

      So, I can not post here a road profile chard for this road segment.

 

 

 

      I will mention that road and countryside

      from Varbitsa to Nova Byala reka to Byala reka to Rish

is more than beautiful !!! (road N 7304)

       Next photos are the countryside between Veliki Preslav and Varbitsa.


 

 

      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

 


     

The next road profile chart is from Shumen to Veselinovo.

and several photos - the countryside from Shumen toward Veselinovo

My camp place next to Alexandrovo and up to Rishki Pass.

      Again I will say that Information for Balkan Passes in this region can be seen in:

      Chapter I:  Passes in Balkan, Sector I. C

Sector III. 7 - A

Kalarashi - Silistra

 

 

Route C

 

      The route C from Silistra to Burgas is 120 km, it is the shortest road from Silistra to Burgas. The area here is the flattest comparing with previous 2 routes. The longest climbing (not so hard if you pedal it early in the morning) is from Provadia to Vetrino. It is the route I recommend, comparing with already described routes A and B.

 

      Route C:

      from Silistra to Tervel to Vetrino to Provadia to Aytos to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Above I have mentioned several words for the route from Silistra to Tervel, now several words and photos about the next sector III. 7 - A. 6

sector III. 7 - A. 6

Route C

      The route is:

      from Tervel to Kochmar to Vekilski to Radan voyvoda to Stefan Karadzha to Kaloyan to Dobrotich to Momchilovo to Sredno selo to Vetrino to Provadia.

      The road profile chart shows the longest climbing (not so hard if you pedal it early in the morning) is from Provadia to Vetrino.

Vetren is a bigger settlement, in it can be find food, but overnight accommodation.
Down toward Provadia    

           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

      Next several photos of the plateau above Provadia and Ovech Fortres. What about

     What about the route from Provadia to Burgas, please look in the Chapter I. Passes in Balkan, Point 15. Aytoski Pass


Sector III. 7 - B

      Here I continue with the 3 routes from the previous item. For this sector I will suggest you two possibilities:

      - routes from Targoviste, Shumen and Provadia toward Yambol (and Border Checkpoint Lesvo).

 

      - routes from Targoviste, Shumen and Provadia toward Burgas (and Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo).

 

      In the next point I will suggest another nice routes toward Burgas.

      To reach BG/Turkey Border, please look: On the next map

- Chapter I:  Passes in Balkan, Sector I. C;

- Chapter III: Crossing Bulgaria from north to south (from Romania to Turkey & Greece): Part II From Balkan to BG/Greece & BG Turkey Borders.


Sector III. 7 - D

7.3 Routes to/from Black sea side

 

      On the next map I show routes from Silistra to the seaside:

      Route D: it is a route connecting Silistra and Varna. I will not write about it now, there is a lot of information in the precious items of the same chapter;

      Route E: it is a route connecting Silistra and Dobrich, after routes of different points of the seaside - I will give more information about these routes.

 

 

Sector III. 7 - D. 1

 

 

      The route from Silistra to Dobrich is:

 

      From Silistra to Bogorovo to Srediste to Kolartsi to Hitovo to Vodnyantsi to Karapelit to Malka Smolnitsa to Dobrich.

 

      In my younger years this route was one of my favorite, maybe I pedaled it more than 10 times.  My last touring here was the wet July '18.

 

      The  area is beautiful when the wheat are green or yellow, or when the sunflowers are flowering. Summertime here is quite hot.

 

      Along the road between Silistra and Karapelit there are lot of apricot trees, further to Dobrich - cherry trees, which maces pedaling in this area very pleasant from the end of May to the middle of July.

 

    

      As it can be seen from the road profile chart, leaving Silistra there is 5 - 6 km hill. I was surprised to see more than 80 TIR obviously waiting to leave Bulgaria via Border Checkpoint Silistra. Deep in me I was glad . . . borders still reduces the crazy traffic of heavy trucks - the most unpleasant for bicyclists. Soon all this climbing

Soon all this climbing appeared to be in vain - at Bogorovo you will be again in the altitude of Silistra.
      The hill after Bogorovo is very tedious, usually here is very hot in the summer time. Luckily 2 kilometers after it there is very nice restaurant, I was always wondering - a restaurant in the middle of nothing, but it is a beautiful spot to refresh with a tonic, or beer.

      Further toward Dobrich pedaling is extremely pleasant. As I have mentioned, along the road between Silistra and Karapelit there are lot of apricot trees, further to Dobrich - cherry trees, which maces pedaling in this area very pleasant from the end of May to the middle of July.

Dobrich is the main town of this district. Overnight accommodation in it is not a problem. Information for Dobrich:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/NE/Dobrich/

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/ne/dobrich/dobrich-city/dobrich


My next description will be for bicyclists intending to explore the seaside.

Sector III. 7 - D. 1

       I see here fore opportunities:

 

From Dobrich toward Varna.

 

      It is the only route here I still did not pedaled, and I do not believe i will. I think the traffic here is intensive.

      Varna is a nice town, we call it “the Sea Capital” of Bulgaria. Below are several photos of Varna; the City, its walking zone, the Cathedral, the City Garden, and the Sea Garden. In Internet there is a lot of information for Varna, here are the 2 best sites I like:

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

      https://www.britannica.com/place/Varna-Bulgaria     

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/205


- From Dobrich to Albena

I pedaled this route only once in the extremely hot and dry May '07 . . .

      Albena resort is a beautiful place:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/16

       There is an endless beach (south towards Kranevo) and the beach sand maybe is the finest all over beaches along BG Black seaside.

      There are fountains and showers on the beach, you can wash your equipment.  Because of the lack of facilities I stay here for an afternoon, and then move on. Here, I love to walk along the beach.

      The entrance road into the Albena Resort has no exit.  So, you will have to leave the resort the same way you came in.

 

- From Dobrich to Balchik

 I recommend you to visit Balchik. It is very scenic place.

It is a pleasant plane area.

      Balchik is a small city located in tiers above the sea. It is a touristy place. Rooms for the night are easily found, along with more luxury hotels. I love to stay here for a day or two.  Information for Balchik:

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

      http://www.bulgariatravel.org/article/details/307


- From Dobrich to Durankulak

I recommend this route for bicyclists intending to pedal down the seaside.

      No problem to find food in villages along the road, the area is nice for camp in the wilderness. Photos of this beautiful plane area.

      A very detail information about the seaside, routes, cities, resorts you can see in the Chapter IV Bicycling along the sea side.


 

In an exploitation are two relatively new open Border checkpoints on the  Bulgaria/Romanian border:

 

 

      - Border Checkpoint Kaynardzha - Lipnitsa - open 2017, works between 8 am and 8 pm;

      - Border Checkpoint Krushari - Dobromir - open 2018, having the same work time.

 

      On the map above I point this two new Border Checkpoints, I still do not know anything about it. I think you can use all the information above for the routes in this part of the country.

 

 


8. Negru Voda – Kardam: Border Checkpoint Iovkovo)

 

      I am not sure, if somebody would use this Border checkpoints, at least I have never seen any traffic bicycling in this region. The roads here a in nice conditions. Towards Burgas and BG/Turkey Border I can suggest the following route:

 

      Route A

      From Border Checkpoint Iovkovo to Kardam to Dobrich to Vetrino to Provadia to Dalgopol to Aytos to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

 

      Explores of my Home Page already know where is the information concerning this route.


 

 

9. Mangalia – Durankulak: Border Checkpoint Durankulak).

     

      Route B

      From Border Checkpoint Durankulak to Shabla to Kavarna to Balchik to Kavarna to Varna to Obzor to Nesebar  to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo.

 

      I realize that bicyclists entering in Bulgaria here would be glad to explore the seaside, so for detail information, please look in:

      Chapter IV. Bicycling along Black sea side.


 

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