Balkan () or Old Mountains ( )

      In my personal experience it is important to plan ahead and know all routes & passes where it would be best to cross this or that mountain.
      Here are some names you should know: Balkan ():  Is the name of the entire region of South - East Europe.  Old Mountain ( ), (or Balkan) is a mountain ridge stretching from the western BG/Serbia border to the Black Sea to the east (please look the next map). This mountain crosses the country and divides it into two almost equal parts: Northern Bulgaria and Southern Bulgaria. 

      In Internet can be found a lot of information concerning Balkan:






      The Old Mountain: The name of this mountain is deceiving. Geologically it is a young folded mountain, formally consists 3 parts (almost as I have parted it in 3 sectors above):

      - West part (from Serbian border to Zlatishki Pass), Sector I. A.

      - Central part (Zlatishki Pass Vratnik Pass), Sector I. B - the highest part with its the highest pick Botev at an altitude of 2376 meters. Most of this area is a protected zone, so called "Central Balkan Park".

      - East part (Vratnik Pass Black sea), Sector I. C - It is a low and wider part of the mountain. I will list Balkan Passes in order, from west to east, giving a brief description of their features. I also will add photos I have taken on the tours I have done in the years.

      I will add two more sectors: sector I. D and sector I. E. This will illustrate how to cross Sredna Gora Mountain, which is parallel to Balkan, but not so high and long. This information will help bicyclists planning to cross the country in direction north - south or back.


      For easier handling, I split the Chapter I in 5 sections responding to the 5 map sectors - for detail information please follow the sector links below!


     Sector I. A       Sector I. C
1. Petrohan Pass 12. From Omurtag to Kotel to the Pentacle
2. Iskar River Gorge 13. Varbishki pass
3. Vitinia Pass (and Botevgradski Pass) 14. Rishki pass
4. Zlatishki Pass 15. Aitoski pass
5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto) 16. Dyulinski Pass
      17. Pomoriiski Pass
      Sector I. B       Sector I. D
6. Rusaliiski pass

18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuristet o Pazardzhik

7. Shipka Pass 19.  From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Pazardzhik
8. Trevnenski Pass 20.  From Karnare to Karlovo to Plovdiv
9. Pass of the Republic (Hainboaz)       Sector I. E
10. Tvardishki Pass 21. From (Kazanlak) Pavel Banya to Plovdiv (Chirpan)
11. Vratnik Pass 22.  From Kazanlak to Stara Zagora
  23. From Gurkovo to Nova Zagora
  24. From Tvarditsa to Nova Zagora


Sector I. A


      1. Petrohan Pass:                                                          From Montana to Sofia;

      2. Iskar River Gorge:                                                     From Sofia to Mezdra to Cherven Bryag;

      3. Vitinia Pass (and 3.A  Botevgradski Pass):        From Yablanitsa (and Roman) to Botevgrad to Sofia;

      4. Zlatishki Pass:                                                            From Yablantsa (from Roman to Etropole to Zlatitsa;

      5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto):                                 From Lovech to Troyan to Karnare.



Sector I. B


      6.  Rusaliiski pass:                                                       From Aptiltsi to Tazha;

      7.  Shipka Pass:                                                            From Gabtovo to Kazanlak;

      8.  Trevnenski Pass:                                                    From Trtavna to Dabovo;

      9.  Pass of the Republic (Hainboaz):                       From (Veliko Tarnovo to) Kilifarevo to Gurkovo;

      10. Tvardishki Pass:                                                    From Elena to Tvarditsa;

      11. Vratnik Pass:                                                          From Elena to Sliven



Sector I. C

       Sector I. C includes the east part of the Balkans. The mountain in its eastern part  is getting wide, it is not so high and the road profile include several shorter ascents and descents. This part of the mountain is easy to access, and easy for bicycling, riding either from the north or the south. I will give more detailed descriptions of the passes here - it would be helpful for bicyclists intending to cros the country from north to south or back.


      12. Kotlenski Pass:                     From Targoviste to Omurtag to Kotel to the Pentacle;

      13. Varbishki pass:                     From Varbitsa to the Pentaclr (to Sungutlare to Karnobat);

      14. Rishki pass:                           From Shumen to Smyadovo to Karnobat;

      15. Aitoski pass:                          From Provadia to Aytos (to Burgas);

      16. Dyulinski Pass:                     From Varna to Burgas;

      17. Pomoriiski Pass:                  From Varna to Burgas;


Sector I. D


      The next 2 sectors intend to describes routes crossing Sredna Gora Mountain, it is the a mountain parallel to  Balkans. It is not so high and not so long, here I will show appropriate roads to cross it on bicyclists planning to cross the country in the direction north - south, or back it will be useful.


      18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuristet o Pazardzhik;

      19. From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Pazardzhik;

      20.  From Karnare to Karlovo to Plovdiv


Sector I. E

      21. From (Kazanlak) Pavel Banya to Plovdiv (Chirpan);

      22.  From Kazanlak to Stara Zagora;

      23. From Gurkovo to Nova Zagora;

      24. From Tvarditsa to Nova Zagora


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