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.


     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 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

      Petrohan Pass is the west most pass in the Balkan mountains. Here is the road connecting Montana (alt. 150 m.) and Sofia (alt. 550 m.), it is approx. 110 km. The road is marked on the map as the N81, in the moment it is in very nice condition.

      Petrohan Pass is one of the highest Balkan passes; the highest pass point has altitude of 1410 meters (although other maps shows it is 1440 m.) and it is approximately in the middle of the road Sofia - Montana (45 km. south from Montana). The water is not a problem in the mountain, there are a lot of springs of nice drinkable water in both Pass sides.

       What about the traffic, I would say it is not so intensive (except the late Sunday's afternoons when people go back in Sofia after their weekend). The Pass is forbidden for tracks heavier than 12 metric tons.


      Petrohan Pass MUST BE AVOIDED winter time. A nice time to explore  this area is May through the middle of October. I suggest you always check the weather forecast before exploring this area. It would be nice to have a winter equipment crossing the Mountain here as well. 


      The route is much easier pedaling  south to north (from Sofia to Montana), rather than in the opposite direction. Many times I have pedaled this Pass.  My personal experience usually was 6 hours  from Sofia to Montana and 10 - 12 hours  from Montana to Sofia. 





      Look also the chapter:

      IX.  How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle

A. From Montana:

Overnight accommodation in Montana is not a problem; information for Montana and several photos:



Sector I. A - 1.a

Route a


Starting from Montana (altitude 150 meters) to the south it follows Berkovitsa and Barzia.


Just after Barzia the actual ascent of the Pass is coming. The distance Barzia to the highest Pass point (where a little restaurant can be found out) is approx. 18 km. The slope is permanent and constant which is very obvious from the pic below, it is approx 9 - 10%. There are fountains with nice cool mountain water along the road. Seven - eight kilometers after Barzia there is a spring of water and little restaurant.


Never mind the nice beech forest and shade between Barzia and the Pass top, the climbing from north to south is relatively hard the vertical displacement (beginning from Montana town) is almost 1300 meters (to this climbing it must be added an additional climbing in the south Pass side as it can be seen from the south side path profile pic - the map below (sector I. A - 1. b). The road here is wide enough and comfortable for bicycling.

      Only strong and fit bicyclists, who love to climb long distances, should attempt to climbing this Pass from north to south. The north side of the Pass (in the mountain after Barzia) is not convenient for wild camping. But, the ride is very picturesque with its cool old beech forest.

      Overnight accommodation in Berkovitsa is possible, entering in it you will see a lot of signs pointing small hotels and guest houses; information for Berkovitsa and several photos:


      You can miss Berkovitsa, pedaling up toward Barzia and the Pass.

      On the top you will see a little reservoir - equalizer collecting water driving 3 water power plants down to north; there is very nice little restaurant offering very tasty meals as well. A hotel on the Pass is available, there is a sign toward it (next I will point its location on the map: Sector I. A - 1.b, Route b).

Sector I. A - 1. a

Route b

      If you decide to avoid the traffic, an opportunity is to follow the route b: from Bercovitsa toward huts in Balkan just below Kom pick.

      Several words concerning this place can be seen here:


      There are 2 huts - and old and a new one. In the early April 2017 I tried to explore this route in the back direction. Just on the Pass and a little further the road is signed well.

      Unfortunately further the road is not signed, so I lost it and after several hours walking down the mountain tightening bike brakes along very broken and steep off road used by wood cutters and spending a night in my tent in the mountain, next morning I was down in Barzia The bike was with a flat tire and 2 broken spokes. Never mind, I spent very nice time in the mountain. My intension is to repeat this attempt, let we see when it will happen.

      I believe in the back direction there will be not any problem to be on the right road.

      Bicyclists having time can visit the Klisyrski Monastery (the road toward it either from Berkovitsa or Barzia is signed well), overnight  accommodation is possible there, there is a restaurant as well.  information for the Monastery:



B. From Sofia (Kostinbrod):


Sector I. A - 1. b




      Route a:     

      Climbing of the mountain from its south side begins immediately after Kostinbrod. There are several narrow road segments as well as 2 - 3 very short road segments having a slope of 12%, but climbing the Pass from Sofia (alt. 550 m.) is relatively easy. The south mountain side exposes excellent views of the Sofia field and Vitosha Mountain.

      There are nice wild camping places out on the southern slope of the mountain.  There are springs of fresh water as well.



      As a conclusion I would say that bicyclists loving mountain bicycling will be satisfied exploring this area. There are nice place to camp in the wilderness from this side of the Pass.





      On the road profile chart below I have shown the altitudes of some specific points showing the road profile.


      (The South Pass side has more complicated road profile which makes it harder Pass pedaling in the direction Montana - Sofia).

      The several next photos are taken from the south side of Petrohan Pass.

      Restaurants can be found in Kostinbrod, Buchin Pass (the crossroad toward Godech - road 164), Gintsi, and on the top of the Pass.

      Wonderful opportunities in this area are both routes: 

      - from Buchin Pass to Iskrets to Svidnya to Svoge to down to Iskar River Gorge (to right on the map - road N164);

      - from Buchin Pass to Godech to Dragoman to  Sofia (to left) on the map above - road N 813).

      The next several pictures are in the region of Buchin Pass

      The road after Gintsi to the highest point of the Pass (9 - 10 km) is a little bit steeper.


Sector I. A - 1. b       

Route b

      To bicyclists climbing the Pass from Sofia to north who are wishing to avoid the traffic and loving the off road bicycling, I can recommend the route b, along so called "History Road". Have in mind, the first 2 - 3 km pedaling is not possible - the road is steeper and rocky.

      Taking the road toward Brakyovtsi, in your left you will see a nice spring of fresh water, just after it take the road in left. It is pointed by a brown sign. After you can not be wrong. The road will take you on the highest point of the Pass. Once reaching the open area high in the mountain, you will enjoy of a beautiful view in each direction.

      Have a spray against dogs in this area.

2. Iskar River Gorge

      The Iskar River Gorge is one of my favorite destinations for bicycling I love to pedal it at least once a summer, so I will give for it a little more detail information. On the map the road connecting Sofia and Mezdra is signed as the N16 (it is just after renovation, it is in very nice condition). I will expand my description from Mezdra to Cherven Bryag, where river is leaving Balkan and its canyon is not so deep, but this area is very scenic, there are a lot of places worth to be seen as well.

      The Iskar River Gorge is a marvelous place and is easy bicycling in both directions; the hills here are not long and not hard to climb, sightseeing are excellent. Any time the opportunity exists, always explore Iskar River Gorge. You definitely will not be disappointed. Again, along the road there is a train line, if a reason appear, you can use it to move further.


      Iskar River is the longest one in Bulgaria. Information for it can be seen here:



A lot of information concerning Iskar River Gorge is available in the Net:





      For a better convenience I will part the Gorge into six sectors:

- sector I. A - 2. a: from Sofia to Svoge;

- sector I. A - 2. b: from Svoge to Lakatnik;

- sector I. A - 2. c: from Lakatnik to Mezdra;

- sector I. A - 2. d: from Vratsa to Lyutibrod (as well as from Vratsa to Lakatnik);

- sector I. A - 2. e: from Mezdra to Roman to Kunino;

- sector I. A - 2. f: from Kunino to Cherven Bryag;

Sector I. A - 2. a

From Sofia to Svoge



      The distance between Sofia and Svoge is approx 40 kilometers.


      The leaving / entering in Sofia is a tedious work, for detail information please look into Chapter IX.  How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle).


      As it can be seen from the road profile chart the area is not hard for pedaling in both direction.


      Have in mind that the traffic here can be more intensive in the weekend ends when people are going back to Sofia, I would not say it is dangerous, the road here is with many sharp turns and car's velocity is not high.


      Never mind that I even do not know how many times I pedaled this distance, I have not photos of this road segment ... AMAZING ... I hope I will correct it very soon.


      Leaving Novi Iskar, you will enter in the Gorge. All this route is not nice for camp on the wilderness.

      There are a lot of small villages along the river, with small food shops, and restaurants. Hotels are available in Svoge. Information for Svoge and 3 photos from the town:


     On the map above I have shown a route from Rebrovo to Batulia to Baylovo toward Botevgrad. More information for this opportunity can be seen in the Chapter VI. Routes: B. Sofia - Varna, Route c - crossing Balkan,  Sector VI. 2 - A. 3 and Sector VI. 2 - A. 3. a;

      Another opportunity here is west from Svoge: the road connecting Iskar River Gorge (road N164) and Petrohan Pass (road N81)  - very pretty scenery and a nice bicycling route. A circle from Sofia to Svoge to Svidnya to Iskrets to Buchin Pass and back to Kostinbrod and Sofia (or in the back direction) would be very nice for bike maniacs visiting Sofia for several days and having nothing to do. The train to Svoge can be used if the distance seems too long. Many people do this circle in the weekends. A little restaurant and water is available on the Buchin Pass.

The next several photos are taken between Svoge and Buchin Pass.

      Information and photos for the distance from Buchin Pass to Kostinbrod to Sofia can be seen in the same chapter, Point 1. Petrohan Pass,  B. From Sofia (Kostinbrod)

Sector I. A - 2. b

From Svoge to Lakatnik

      According to me it is the most scenic road segment. The distance here is almost 20 kilometers, after Svoge there is almost no any traffic. The canyon here is getting narrow and deep. Approaching Tserovo, you will enjoy of the first magic sightseeing, unfortunately abilities of both my camera and me can not represents it. Here can be found nice places to set up a tent near the river.

      Especially impressive are rocks near Lakatnik:



       Next to the road just below the rocks you will see a nice little renovated restaurant next to a river coming from a cave above the restaurant - a perfect place for relax.

      As an opportunity here I will give the route toward Milanovo (and to Montana) -  an especially scenic area is. While bicycling down the mountain, between Milanovo and Iskar River Gorge, 9 kilometers you will enjoy a great view.

      If you choose to pedal toward Montana using this route, please look in the Chapter II.  Crossing Bulgaria from west (Serbian & Macedonian border) to east (Turkey border - Edirne) and south (Greece border)

Sector I. A - 2. c

From Lakatnik to Mezdra

      Again, it is very impressive road segment. Have only in mind that  the road segment between Mezdra and Rebarkovo: two - three kilometers (the crossroad with E79) has very intensive traffic.  Be careful riding in this area.

      Next several photos are area from Lakatnik to Eliseyna, just before it is the first tunnel you will see. The tunnel is not dangerous, it is not long and bright.

      An opportunity here is to visit a Monastery "Sedemte Prestola" ("The  Seven  Altars" - an ancient monastery - X - XI century) - approx 11 km. from Eliseyna, the road is well signed (the entire area is very scenic, the pedaling up to the Monastery is not hard):



      (Photos of the area near Lakatnik can be seen in the link above as well).

Road toward the Monastery

      Overnight accommodation for unpretentious bicyclists is available in the Monastery "Sedemte Prestola", but you must bring food with you. Restaurant and shop are not available there.  You may supply food in Eliseyna, if you decide to stay there for a night.

      OK, we go further. Next several photos are area between Eliseina and Zverino.

      Very little information for Zverino is available here:



Next to the road there is a little hotel; in the village there is a big vacancy complex:


I think it is at work from the middle of June to the beginning of September.


      Next several kilometers are the next amazing place in Iskar River Gorge: Cherepishki Monastery and rocks near it. Information for the monastery:


      The Monastery is not visible from the road, but the place is labeled very well.

      Soon you will enter in the zone of the Cherepish Rocks. There are 3 or 4 short tunnels, it is not dangerous to pedal in it. The place is magical.



Interesting rock formation are available above Lyutibrod as well.

      As I have pointed on the map above, at Rebarkovo you will be on the main road E79. If you pedal toward Vratsa, you can avoid it heading toward Chelopek, more details - in the next point.

      Just before enter in Mezdra near road there is a hotel & swimming pool - I will point in in the next map (unfortunately the water in it is not thermal, never mind, the place is nice).




      Soon you will be in Mezdra. Overnight accommodation is available in it. Information for it:


Sector I. A - 2. d:

      from Vratsa to Lyutibrod (as well as from Vratsa to Lakatnik)

      As I have mentioned above, the road segment from Mezdra to Rebarkovo (to the crossroad of roads E79 & road N16 - almost 3 km) is narrow and very dangerous with intensive traffic. Here is a good alternative route:

      from Vratsa to Chelopek to Lyutibrod.

      The climb is a little more, but the road is without any traffic and the scenery is beautiful as it can be seen from the 3 photos below the road profile chart.

      Another opportunity for fans of mountain & off-road bicycling I would recommend:

      from Vratsa to "Vratcata" Gorge  to Zgorigrad to Ledenika Cave to Parshevitsa Hut (placed on the mountain ridge) to Milanovo to Iskar River Gorge (Lakatnik).

      The route is in an area of the National Reserve Vratsa Balkan:


the most scenic place here is the gorge named "Vratsata" (the first pic. below)  between Vratsa and Zgorigrad.

      I have never bicycled this route in the opposite direction (from Milanovo to Vratsa), I am not sure, if it is easy to find the road after Milanovo going up the mountain.

      In the mountain the off road section is not signed, but I believe it is easy to maintain your orientation in the area as it is an open area; no forest, the visibility is nice in each direction (the last two photos below show the highest place in the mountain, faraway down is Iskar River Gorge). On the highest point you can find Parshevitsa Hut, information for it:


      Approx 15 km after Zgorigrad there is a remarkable cave "Ledenika", maybe the most popular cave destination in Bulgaria, it is worth to be visited.                  


      Overnight accommodation is possible in Vratsa, Zgorigrad, near Ledenika Cave, Parshevitsa Hut.

      Information about Vratsa can be seen here:


      The town is placed just below the Balkans, is a scenic place, the History Museum in the town is worth seeing, and overnight accommodation in the town is easy to find. Information on the History Museum in the town can be found here:


      There are a lot of Thracian gold treasures in it: Valchedram Gold treasure:

      and more than 200 peaces of Rogosen gold - silver treasure:

      Mezdra can be regarded as a/the point of the Iskar River Gorge.  But, I would expand a little my description further of the area along Iskar River. The ride from Mezdra to Cherven Bryag follows inside an incredibly scenic canyon. All that area is a rocky place away from the main roads, so it is almost unknown among Bulgarian. Roads here are not maintained very well, so needles to say there is not any traffic.

      I believe bicyclists, planning routes in Bulgaria, can use this information to plan a route in this wild area. To give more detail information, I will part this distance in two sectors: from Mezdra to Roman to Kunino and from Kunino to Cherven Bryag, and especially for the first one I will give more opportunities. I like this area.

      Have in mind that overnight accommodation in all this region is available only in Mezdra.

Sector I. A - 2. e

From Mezdra to Roman to Kunino

Map of Mezdra: It is not a big town. Be aware, the roads toward Dolna Kremena and Brusen are not signed well.

      Route a

      There is not a road along Iskar River between Mezdra and Roman. You have to climb not high hills here. The shortest distance between Mezdra and Kunino (approx 35 km) is:

       from Mezdra to Brusen to Tsarevets to Staro selo to Strupets to Roman to Radovene to Kunino.

      Going up the hills you will see a scenic view toward Iskar River Gorge. I am not sure if food is available in villages between Mezdra and Roman except Strupets.

      The area is perfect for camping, The best period to visit this area is to 15 - 20 of June. After the sun dries everything and the landscape is yellow or even colorless.

       There are beautiful views near Iskar River, Strupets, just before enter Roman.

      Crossing Iskar River between Staro selo and Strupets (the middle photo above) you will see a sign toward Strupetski Monastery.



Overnight accommodation is possible in it, but you have to bring food with you. The last 5-600 meters of the road toward the Monastery is a dirty one.

      Roman is one of the places in Bulgaria I have nothing to say:


      Have a cup of coffee in it and go toward Kunino, it is located just below an huge rock, you will see it leaving Roman. There is a nice spring of cool water in Kunino.

      Route b & Route b - 1

from Mezdra to Gorna Kremena to Kalen to Gorna Beshovitsa to Dolna Beshovitsa to Roman.

      As if the climbing here is a little more, but in fact it is not. There is only one hill here, it seems it is a hill of marble - you will see several marble quarries.   

      Climbing from Mezdra toward Gorna Kremena, a beautiful view is revealed toward Vratsa Balkan, which is a National Reserve.

      Route b & Route b - 2

      But exploring this route, it would be better to visit a village called Kameno pole and area near it. Next several photos are the area between Gorna Beshovitsa and Kameno pole.

      from Mezdra to Gorna Kremena to Kalen to Gorna Beshovitsa to Kameno pole to Kunino.


      Next several photos are the area between Gorna Beshovitsa and Kameno pole. Kameno pole was a big village, but now it is almost leaved. Never mind, there is shops and food there.

      Kameno pole was a big village, but now it is almost leaved. Never mind, there is shops and food there. Next to it is a small river formed very scenic canyon. Find the church in the village, then turn left and leave the village.

      Then you will be on the plateau next to the canyon. The area is called "the rocky field", it is easy to understand this name.

      Pedaling along the blue dashed line on the map above you will be next to the canyon. The view is amazing, photos below can not represent how impressive it is.

      There are three groups of rock formations down the river, 2 - 3 kilometers further. There is a rocky track down the river as well. Unfortunately I was there in the end of my day, I was tired, so I did not explored the entire area. I am sure, one day I'll be back there.

      From Kameno pole there is an asphalt road toward Kunino (I did not pedal it) as well as a rocky off road toward Dolna Beshovitsa. As a fun of the wilderness, I used the second variant - next photos.

      Again I will say that this area is nice to be visited no later than 10th of June, after there will be not any green spot here, only rocks, just like in a desert. Maybe it is because I like this area - it is not typical for Bulgaria.

Sector I. A - 2. f

 From Kunino to Cherven Bryag

      From Kunino Toward Cherven Bryag here two routes are possible:

      Route a:

      If you do not want to pedal dirt roads:

      from Kunino to Reselets to Cherven Bryag (road N 1031)

      Several photos of the road from Kunino to Reselets - I explored this area in April '12 just after the chilly and snowing February and March.  It was a beautiful ride. Just after Kunino there is a hill you have to climb - soon you will be on the rock hanging over Kunino.

      What about Reselets, I do not remember if food was available there . . .

      Route b:

      from Roman to Kunino to Karlukovo Rail Station to Cherven Bryag.

      I recommend this route only to cyclists loving off road bicycling. After Kunino, the ride along route b turns to off road conditions with very rocky sections, some sections are over the old rail way, and some sections contain big dirty puddles. Mosquitoes and flies can be a problem in this area. Because of the road conditions, you can not pedal fast enough to escape their bite. In August '16 my partner and I explored this road, she was not so happy at all at the end of this section.

      Heavy loaded bikers and recumbent should avoid this section. In the raining season it is better to avoid this area as well.

      But ... the reward, if you follow the dirt road, is experienced at a place near Karlukovo: The Lord Eyes Cave, you will truly enjoy a visit to this remarkable place.



      Be careful in Kunino to find the road, it is not so easy, if GPS device does not help, ask for "Karlukovo" if necessary.

      Near a school further and dogs in his yard. They are not dangerous, but they are very noisy and love to attack bicyclists. In such cases, I have never hesitated to use my spray against dogs. It works perfectly!

      I know someone who uses a portable klaxon horn on dogs. He prefers short blasts from the klaxton, aimed at the dog/s, and verifies that it really works at 'frightening' dogs.

      Next several photos are taken from  Kunino to Karlukovo Rail Station. As I have mentioned above, it is rocky, there are a lot of pool, mosquitoes and flies will bite you, having in mind the dogs I have mentioned above, I think this route is only for experienced vagabonds.

      Approximately 18 km. past Kunino, on the rocks (your right) you will see a building (see picture). It is a hotel. The road toward the Hotel is not signed well, but I think the next scheme works, over more it is visible form the gorge.


      If you have the time, stay there for a night and walk in the region. The scenery is the best, a cave (named the Lord Eyes, or "Prohodna Cave") is a 20 minute walk from the hotel - there is a signed track to  the cave entrance (the 4th photo below). Below are several photos of this area, photos and information about the cave can be seen in the link:




      When I pedaled this region in August '16, I wandered in this area on a very hot and strenuous day of pedaling. I chose to stay at the hotel that evening.  At the hotel balcony, I enjoyed having a gin and tonic and ice and lemon before me ...  Maybe it will be not repeated, but who knows.

      Next several photos are the road from Karlukovo Rail Station to Cherven Bryag. Again off road toward the road from/to Reselets.

      To find this road in the opposite direction would be not easy - no any signs; after crossing the rail, turn left before crossing Iskar River and follow the off road.

      Overnight accommodation is possible in  Cherven Bryag:


3. Vitinya Pass


3. A.  Botevgradski Pass ( known as well as Arabakonak Pass)


      Vitinya Pass connects Botevgrad and Sofia (64 km). The road is marked on the map as N1. As it can be seen from the map, it follows the motorway A2 from Sofia to the top of Pass. The old road (N1) parallel to the motor road (A2), is the designated bicycle road. The highest point of the pass has an altitude of 950 meters.


      Botevgradski Pass connects Botevgrad and Sofia (70 km) This Pass is better route for bicyclists crossing Bulgaria from north to south who would like to miss Sofia.

      Sector I. A - 3. a

      Here I will expand my description elongating the routes from Roman to Sofia and Yablanitsa to Sofia. It will be more comfortable for bicyclists crossing Bulgaria from north to south (or back), and Roman and Yablanitsa are connected with ferries at Danube River (Chapter III.  Crossing Bulgaria from north to south (from Romania toTurkey & Greece), Part 1).

      One of the very nice routes in this part of the country is from Roman to Botevgrad:

      from Rman to Hubavene to Karash to Sredni rat to Kalugerovo to Praveshka Lakavitsa to Svode to Razliv to Trudovets to Botevgrad.

      No any traffic here; there is 5 6 kilometer off road segment, and never mind I have toured this route many times, unfortunately I can not remember if it was between Sredni Rat and Svode,  or Karash and Sredni Rat.

Several photos of this beautiful area.

      Next to Kalugerovo is placed Chekotinski Monastery "St. Archangel Mihail".  I want to mention this place - here is maybe the only appropriate place for overnight accommodation between Roman and Pravets; there is a nice hotel in the monastery. Unfortunatelly I do not remember if food was available in the monastery. 


      Information for the Monastery and several photos from this spot:



      The road from Pravets to Botevgrad is easy for pedaling. Food is available in the villages along the road. Information for Pravets:



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

      Overnight accommodation is available in Botevgrad. Information and photos for Botevgrad: 



      Several photos from Botevgrad:

      The approach from Yablanica to Botevgrad include more hilly area, as it is obvious from the road profile chart below:

      The route is:

      from Yablanitsa to Dzhurovo to Osikovitsa to Osikovska Lakavitsa to Razliv to Trudovets to Botevgrad

      Never mind I pedaled this route many times, I have not photos from the road from Yablanitsa to Pravets.

Sector I. A - 3. a

Vitinya Pass

A. From Botevgrad

The climbing of Vitinya Pass starting from Botevgrad is harder, here the slope of the road is bigger.

      Most of the next photos posted here I took in the beautiful 3rd April '18. Beginning from Borevgrad, climbing toward Bebresh Dam is not hard.

      There are convenient places for camp in the wilderness. Have only in mind in the region there are a lot of caws and water buffalos graze free across the valley in the bright part of the day, so, no later than 7.30 am it would be better if you be off the place.


Bebresh Dam

Just after the Dam, the hard climbing to the top of Pass is beginning - you will see the viaducts of the motor road.

      On the Pass there was fuel station, water, a little restaurant, unfortunately everything here is left now, but in the moment there is a tourist hut (just behind the leaved fuel station, it is a little primitive, but in some situation you can use it - there is a roof and bed in it.

      Have in mind, from Botevgrad to the top there is not food and water. Just there you will see a sign toward Sofia and Gorno Kamartsi, follow the road toward Sofia, although you will be not wrong if follow the other road as well.

B. From Sofia:

      Leaving Sofia, (for detail information please look also: IX. How to enter/leave Sofia by bicycle), just after the ring around Sofia take the road toward Dolni Bogrov to Gorni Bogrov to Yana.

      The climb from Sofia to the mountain is longer, but a much easier. Camping places are available here, but the motorway is very close and the noise level can be high due to the intensive of the traffic.

      Be careful for the sign toward "" (Yana), otherwise you will jump on the motor road. Very nice view is if you look back toward the Field of Sofia and Vitosha Mountain.

      Entering in the mountain, you will find 3 - 4 kms road of very poor condition, fortunately there will be not any traffic here.

      Up the mountain three small villages are available: Eleshnitsa, Potop and Churek; food you can find in Churek, just before it there is a spring of fresh water as well (it is the only spring along this road segment), but I am not sure if in the hot summer days there will be water there.

3. A.  Botevgradski Pass

(known as well as Arabakonak Pass)

      Very often the motor road A2 is in a reconstruction and the traffic is directed along the old road crossing Vitinya (road N1). It happen also when there is a heavy accident as well. It is because here I show an alternative from Sofia to Botevgrad via Botevgradski Pass, known as well as Arabakonak Pass (Please look again the map above):

      from Sofia to Dolni Bogrov to Sarantsi to Gorno Kamartsi to Botevgrad.

      Never mind that this road is not maintained well between Gorno Kamartsi and Bebresh Dam, it is perfect for pedaling in the both direction as well as here there is not any traffic.

      I would recommend this route to bicyclists deciding to avoid Sofia when crossing Bulgaria from north to south, or from south to north.

      The road profile chart below is from Dolni Bogrov to Botevgrad only; from Sofia to Dolni Bogrov the area is flat.

      The road profile chart shows that this Pass is little higher than Vitinya Pass. The climbing from Botevgrad is shorter but steeper.

      To leave Sofia, you have to follow Boul. "Botevgradsko Shose". Never mind the traffic along it is intensive, the boulevard is not dangerous for pedaling, I do recommend to leave Sofia just here in east direction.

      Once leaving Sofia (after Sofia Ring) you have only to follow signs toward Burgas, the road is signed very well. And here is maybe the most tedious road segment - you are in the Field of Sofia - flat straight road, here the traffic is relatively intensive. On the map above I have pointed restaurants: "R ",  which are available along the road. Several photos of this area:

      After the crossroad toward Gorna Malina you will enter in the mountain area. There are 2 hills (no longer than 1 - 2 kilometers each) having slopes of 10%, although the last time I explored this area the signs were not available.

      Soon after the second hill you will see the sign toward Gorno Kamartsi and Botevgrad. Just taking this local road, I spend a night setting up my tend in the field.

      The road toward Botevgrad in Gorno Kamartsi is signed well, but the next crossroad, is not. Turn left. The right road is toward Stargel. Bring water with you, because up the mountain there are not taps of drinkable water in both direction. The next climbing up the mountain is not hard.

      Once reaching the top, there will be very pleasant descending to Botevgrad ... but in the back direction is a little hard climbing.

      Unfortunately from the other side (from Botevgrad, just after Bebresh Dam), the road is not signed - the lettering toward Gorno Kamartsi or Sarantsi is painted in yellow. but the crossroad toward Botevgradski Pass is just after the huge bridge.


4. Zlatishki Pass


      Again, I will elongate a little routes here, giving routes connecting Zlatishki Pass with Roman and Yablanica, it will be easier for bicyclists designing routes crossing Bulgaria from north to south and back.

      The route from Roman to Etropole is:

      from Roman to Karash to Sredni rat to Svode to Kalugerovo to Pravets to Etropole

information for this route can be seen in the previous point, as well as in the Chapter VI. Routes B.  Sovia - Varna, Sector VI. 2 - A,  from Sofia to Etropole

In the same point information for the route from Yablanitsa to Etropole is available as well:

      from Yablanitsa to Dzhurovo to Malak Iskar to Laga to Etropole.



      Zlatishki Pass connects Etropole (alt. 536 m.) and Zlatitsa (alt. 690 m), the distance is 28 km. It is marked on the map as N37. The pass elevation is 1381 meters, it is 17 km from Etropole and 11 km from Zlatitsa.  According to me,  it is one of the best routes to cross the Balkans. Presently, the road is in very poor condition, there are off-road segments, so drivers avoid it, with some of the road closed for cars. The Pass is closed in the winter.

      The road profile chart shows that climbing from Etropole is a little bit easier comparing with the climbing from the opposite direction.

      There are nice places for wild camping. Winter time the Pass is closed. A little history:



      Etrople is a small town, a great place to relax for a night before climbing the Pass.  Overnight accommodations at the hotel is not a problem.  There is a small museum in Etrople, as well as a few restaurants.



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



      Beginning from Etropole to south, climbing is permanent and long - 17 km. Have in mind that there is not any taps of drinkable water up to the highest Pass point.

      Leaving the town, you will see a sign that the pass is closed. If a police patrol is present you will enjoy of very pleasant climb because there will not be any traffic up the mountain. But if you do not see the police presence, drivers usually ignore the sign and use the road. Because the road is in very poor conditions, in the dry season/s the road can be very dusty (as can be seen in the last photo below), and I would not recommend to climb the Pass from this side.

      Except a little monument, there is nothing else on highest point of the pass. In the North direction, the Cupper Metal open mine can be seen. A kilometer further (from the south Pass side) a hut called "Kashana" is available. I did not visit it, but I believe coffee and tea can be found there, you can stay in it if the weather is not good. My last information is that the hut flamed. Maybe nobody there.

      The climbing from Zlatitsa to north is pleasant and relatively easy. The scenery here is much better than the North Pass side. Higher in the mountain there are nice places for camp in the wilderness (overnight accommodation in Zlatitsa and Pirdop is available too, both little towns are appropriate to relax in before Pass climbing).

      Leaving Zlatitsa again you will see a lot of signs pointing that the road is closed for cars; just after the train line a little hostel & restaurant is available.

      A little hotel is available in Tsarkviste, it can be seen from the road just before entering  the mountain. The first several kilometers of the road are paved and nice.  Higher in the mountain you are pedaling on off road conditions. There is a nice little river along first 5-6 km of the road.

      Here there are 2 springs of nice drinkable water: 3 - 4 km. after Tsarkviste and a kilometer or two before the Pass peak (the last picture below). Better places for camping are available higher in the mountain.

      Routes in the the region:

      - East from Etropole: from Yamna to Teteven  . . . to Varna;

      - West from Etropole: from Pravets to Botevgrad to Vitinia Pass to Sofia;

      - North from Etropole: from Laga to Djurovo to Vidrare (along Malak Iskar River) to Kalugerovo to Svode  . . . to Roman it is one of the best routes to pedal in BG, I recommend it.

      In Chapter VI. Routes: B. from Sofia to Varna,  Sector VI - 2 - A: from Sofia to Etropole, Variant 2. there are more details concerning these routes.

      Zlatitsa is located on the road E 871 To the West you can pedal toward Sofia, to East - Burgas. Information concerning this route can be seen in the Chapter VI. Routes: A. from Sofia to Burgas. Very little information for Zlatitsa is here:



      There are 2 opportunities in the South Direction toward Pazardzhik, look further in the same chapter (sector I. D).

5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto)



5. Troyanski Pass (Beklemeto)



      Troyanski Pass, (or Beklemeto), is one of the highest passes in the Balkans. The road connects Troyan and Karnare. It is marked on the map as N35. I would recommend this Pass only to stronger bicyclists loving to climb long distances. The highest of the Pass point has altitude 1526 meters, although other maps show it is 1560 m. I have climbed it two times from south to the north.


      The road is in very nice conditions. I would say the traffic is not intensive. Because of the turns and slope, car speed is not high, drivers are careful. Winter time this pass is closed. A nice period to bicycle there is May through the middle of October.


      The Pass is between Troyan and Karnare, here I will expand a little my description and give a little more information including the road segment from Lovech to Troyan.


      Photos from Lovech and information about it:



      A walk to the old town "Varosha" and the mediaeval fortress remains is worth.



Sector I. A - 5. a

Climbing the Pass from Lovech

      The road segment Lovech to Troyan is easy and pleasant for pedaling, although the traffic here is relatively intensive. I would not say it is dangerous.

      The two villages Slivek and Kazachevo are apart from the road, food and water are available in both villages, next to the second of them I camped near Osam River.

      A train is available from (Levski) to) Lovech to Troyan. In the crossroad with the main road E772 (4) there is a restaurant.

      Going further toward Troyan, after Leshnitsa just near the road are the ancient remains of the Roman fortress "Sostra".

      Remains of some of Roman "diagonals" road can be seen as well, I would not say their roads were so nice to pedal on them.

      Next three photos are the road toward Troyan.

      Overnight accommodation is available in Troyan, information about it can be seen here:




      Several photos from Troyan

      Several kilometers east from Troyan is placed Troyanski Monastery. It is a touristy place, there is hotel next to Monastary as well as in Oreshak - just to the Monastery. Information for the monastery and several photos:


Sector I. A - 5. b



      Beginning from Troyan to the south the climb is long and permanent, although there are no slopes steeper than 10%. The area is attractive and woody.

       As it can be seen from the road profile chart, the first 10 kilometers (up to Balkanets the slope is not so steep.



      Beli Osam is not placed just on this road, but at the crossroad toward Shipkovo and Teteven (to right) food and water are available.

      The last little village up the Balkan is Balkanets. Next to the road there is a coffee places and restaurant,  the last place for relax and maybe a beer before begin climbing the mountain. Overnight accommodation is available in it as well, sigh for guest house is placed near the road, (the last photo below) unfortunately it is not written in Latin.

      I have never climbed Troyan Pass from this side, but I think it is not so hard. The slope is not steeper than 8-9%, more of the road is in a forest, so even in the hot days you will pedal along a shaded road. Next several photos are from this area. Approximately 7 km. after Balkanets there is a spring of a nice fresh water.

      Approximately 26 km from Troyan is placed a nice hotel-restaurant (6 km to the divide). It is very nice place to relax, wifi is available as well (the pass word May, 2018 was "panorama":). A kilometer and half further there is a sign toward a guest house (, again this sign is not written in Latin), I did not visited this place.

      Already you are in the higher part of the mountain, soon you will see the monument, and after several turns divide will be next to you.

      And the best is still yet to come! Soon you will pedal down the mountain - 22 km to Karnare enjoying of a great view!

B. From Karnare

Sector I. A - 5. c

      Beginning from Karnare the southern side of the Pass is long and steep (It is permanent and less than 10%). After the serpentines the slope is not so steep and climbing is a little bit easier.

      To climb the Pass in the sunny summer afternoons is not a good idea (do it only early in the morning); no shade and no drinkable water (the first water fountain is 2 - 3 kilometers to the pick - I pointed it on the map).

      As a compensation of the hard bicycling, the perfect view to the south must be taken into account. When you see the monument on the divide, it means your suffering soon will be over.

      Nice places to camp in the wilderness are available on this side of the Pass.

      There is a restaurant in Karnare, in the village you can supply with food and water. Overnight accommodation is available in it as well, on a pole you can see a sign "Hostel".

      So, you can start climbing. I climbed the Pass 2 times: August 2007 and early May 2018. The second time I was very careful with my preparation and training, so starting at 8 am 2 kilometers after Karnare, at 12 I was on the divide. For my 62 (my age in that moment) it was not so bad.

      Next several photos are from the south side of the Balkan. As I have mentioned, the scenery here is perfect, it is because I love to climb the mountain from this side.

      The south side of the Pass is a sunny place, there is not any shade. So my suggestion is to avoid climbing it in the hot summer afternoons. I really did not feel very comfortable climbing the Pass in the extremely hot August summer '07. Starting at 5 pm from Karnare, I was not able to reach the divide and spent a thirsty night 8 km before the top of the Pass. It is not easy for me to forget this climbing, although I love the hot summer days.

       My suggestion is always when you pedal Balkan to bring with you winter equipment never mind of the season as well as to inform about the weather forecast. The weather high in the mountain is changer very fast, if you are not equipped properly, you really can have a great troubles.

      Next photos were taken 21st April 2017. Several minutes after I was on the top of the Pass there was a snow storm in the mountain.

Sector: I. B


6. Rusaliiski Pass


      The pass crosses a saved area - "Central Balkan Reserve"


Sector I. B - 6. a


       The Pass is placed between Apriltsi and Tazha. Almost all the distance is off-road rocky off-road. Rusaliiski Pass again is one of the highest in Balkan its altitude 1520 meters (1550 was the altitude according to an other map).

      I will give a little more detailed description of this Pass, because I have seen maps, on which it is pointed like a nice road, in fact the true is quite different.


      Beginning at Apriltsi (point A) the road will lead to Ostrets (point B). Immediately after Ostrets, the road conditions deteriorate to 'off road' conditions. Initially,  the climb is pleasant (up to point C), with road conditions becoming more difficult with conditions at times leading to walking your bicycle up the grade. The road surface turns to something close to scree conditions, but the scenery is perfect all the area is very nicely wooded. Fresh water is available everywhere. The road is not signed, but you cannot be wrong pushing your bike up the mountain. Two to three kilometers before the mountain divide, the road's angle of assent starts to taper off, but bicycling again will be not possible because the road is too rocky.    


    Once the ridge is reached (Point D), you will have a perfect view in any direction. There you will see a primitive mountain hut Tazha, as it is named on the Google map, also "Taja", as I have seen on other maps. I believe tea is served to passers by in the hut.  When the weather is bad, the hut can be used for a night. The area on the ridge is perfect for camping.  You need to bring your own food.  


      Overnight accommodation in Apriltsi is possible. Information and several photos from Apriltsi:


      The view is especially impressive April and  May, when the Balkan is still covered by snow.

Toward Ostrets. Overnight accommodation in it is possible as well.
Leaving Ostrets, the long and hard climbing is beginning . . .

    For more information about Apriltsi, and the area: Chapter  VI. Routes: B. from Sofia to Varna,  Sector VI. 2 - D: from Troyan to Gabrovo (road N44).



Sector I. B - 6. b

      Down the mountain you will find 3 - 4 kilometers of nice off road conditions, which are not too steep.  But the next road segment to Tazha is rather steep and rocky, making bicycling a bit of a challenge. Plan on taking 4 hours to go down to the village of Tazha.

      The climb from the south mountain side begins just after the village at Tazha. I have never climbed the Pass from its southern side (and I will never do it). The road is steep and rocky.  I think bicycling here is not possible. You will need at least 6 hours to walk a bicycle up to the mountain ridge. But, if you decide to give it a go,  the best views are to the south and will be your best reward for the suffering, while pushing your bike up and up the mountain.

      I do not recommend to climb the Pass from south to north, but if somebody decide to do it,  the best view to the south all the time will be the best reward for the suffering, while pushing your bike up and up in the mountain.


      The period between May and September is the best time to walk in this area. I believe it would be best to bring winter equipment and to have your own food supplies. The weather in the mountain is very changeable, snow always is possible, and all that area is considered no-mans land by the locals. There is nobody to help you if assistance is needed. My suggestion:  Avoid this Pass without an experienced guide.  But if you are a real adventurer - do it!

       There are aggressive dogs in this area. Carry dog spray for your protection.

      The link below is a photo album of a bicycle tour I and my daughter Maya did in the rain in June 2009. In the beginning of the album there are a lot of photos in Iskar River Gorge, a part of the album is our climb over this Pass.



7. Shipka Pass

A. From Gabrofo



Sector I. B - 7. a

      Shipka Pass (altitude; 1200 meters) is one of the base Balkan passes signed on the map as N5 or E75. The pass is closed to trucks heavier than 12 metric tons; traffic on this road is relatively intensive, although the car velocity is not high because of the turns and restrictions. August 2015, I pedaled this section from south to north, I would say, it was not an unpleasant ride.

      The north side of the Pass (woody place) is longer, especially if you are coming from Veliko Tarnovo. The road passes a very nice beech forest up the mountain, making for a nice ride any time of the day. I have noticed 3 springs of drinkable water to the divide.



      The road profile chart shows that climbing is permanent, I think the slope is 8 - 9 %.


      Gabrovo is a bigger city, it is a regional center. Overnight accommodation is not a problem in it. For information about Gabrovo:




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





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

Below are several photos of the north side of the Pass:

      On the mountain divide there are 2-3 restaurants, a small hotel, it is also a place connected with our history:




      There is interesting monument and a stairway having approx 900 steps up to the monument. The view from the top of the monument is remarkable - photos below:




B. From Kazanlak

Sector I. B - 7. b


     I want to suggest a visit to the Shipka Memorial Church next to Shipka village:




      Climbing the Balkan from its south side begins after Shipka village (the first photo below). The road slope is permanent, approx 9 - 10% up to the mountain divide. Comparing with the north Balkan side, here the road is better and wider.

      If you can begin climbing the Pass no later than 8:00 8:30 am, you will pedal in shade. My suggestion is to avoid climbing of the Pass in the hot summer afternoons.

      Nine km. after Shipka village, up in the mountain, there is a spring of nice drinkable water.

The next several photos are the climbing of the south Pass side.

The next map shows approaches toward Shipka Pass.

      You can use routes a, b or c depending on your general route. The first 3 photos below are along route a (The route a in Shipka village is not signed well) - in the first picture Maya is pointing to the Monument on Shipka Pass.

      The route a is appropriate if you head to Plovdiv. Pavel Banya is a nice spa resort. There are a lot of nice spots - hotels and swimming pools - nice to relax after a hard bike day. A link for Pavel Banya (the last 2 photos below):


      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 the tomb can be seen here:




      Next, I want to mention an alternative road to cross Balkan just here:


      from Gabrovo to Zeleno darvo to Hotel Hlebna (on the mountain divide) to down to Iasenovo.


      From Gabrovo, up to the hotel Hlebna (it is on the divide), the road is very nice and not hard for bicycling.  After that, follows an off-road section. After the Hotel Hlebna, the road is not signed and very easy to lose your direction. There are too many off-roads used by the wood cutters no signs, nobody to consult, the area is woody, and no visibility.

      August 2013, Maya and I were lost there (photos below). We started pedaling from Tranito (west from Gabrovo)  to Gabrovo  to Smirnenski to Zeleno Darvo, up the mountain. We had a lunch in the hotels "Hlebna" restaurant at the highest point of the pass. Late in the afternoon we were strongly surprised to be back in Tranito. All the time I did not know we are bicycling to the wrong direction down the mountain. Even on Google Maps I cannot find out the road we were on. It didn't help that it was a very cloudy day; we never saw the sun.

      In short, I do not recommend using this route, although Hotel "Hlebna" (the first photo below) is very pleasant place to relax, and enjoy a meal at the restaurant. 

      I mention here this route because I have heard that GPS devices shows this road as very appropriate to overcome Balkan. NO! This road is not appropriate. Often cars and tourist bus drivers have been mislead and must drive back to Gabrovo town from the highest point of the Pass.

8. Trevnenski Pass


This Pass is an amazing area and I recommend warmly to cross Balkan just here in both directions. It is between Tryavna and Dabovo. NO ANY TRAFFIC !!! On some maps the road, I have signed on the map as off-road (between Borustitsa and Krastets train station), is even not shown.

The Pass altitude is 960 meters. The north side of the road is:

 from Tryavna to Plachkovtsi to Krastets Railway Station.

      Climbing is not hard, yet, not so easy.  The road is asphalt, and in a nice condition.


      To reach Krastets Railway Station, you must be careful to find the off road further down the mountain simply follow the railway immediately after the  Railway Station (the right side of the train line). I am not sure if there are water springs up the north mountain side I have always climbed the south side of the Pass. Have food with you, although in Raduntsi there is a little food shop.

      Climbing the south Balkan side begins from:

      from Dabovo  to Yavorets to Raduntsi  to Borustitsa  to Krastets Railway Station.


      As it can be seen in the road profile chart, the climb is long and pleasant, and not steep. The road segment Borustitsa Krastets Railway Station is off-road (some maps do not even show the road). Needless to say, there is very little traffic. The area is very nice, with comfortable places for camp in the wilderness at higher elevations. No way to be wrong along this road it is next to the railway (the south part of the pass). Bring water and food. Water is available at springs higher up the mountain.

      The train offers an opportunity to cross Balkan by this pass. It serves the line from  Gorna Oriahovitsa to Stara Zagora. Traveling by train, especially when the train is in the mountain, is truly spectacular. Usually in the train there are not many people, so handling with the bicycles and baggage is not a problem.


      The left photo here is the off-road between Borustitsa and Krastets Railway Station along the river - I was in the train on one cool and raining afternoon.

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




9. Pass of the Republic (Hainboaz)


      One of the basic Balkan passes (altitude: 700 meters). The pass is a segment on the international road E85

      from Turk border to Nova Zagora to Gurkovo to Pchelinovo to Raikovtsi to Vaglevtsi to Kilifarevo to Veliko Tarnovo to Byala to Ruseto Romania.

      Because this route is heavy with tourist traffic, there are a lot of hotels, motels, restaurants along the road.

      The pass is very easy for bicycling in both direction, but it would be better to avoid it as the road can be busy with a lot of heavy, industrial truck traffic in both directions. Also, there are no restrictions concerning truck tonnage. AVOID IT !!!

10. Tvardishki Pass



      Tvardishki Pass (altitude: 1050 meters) is one of the best ways to cross this part of the Balkans. The pass connects Elena and Tvarditsa - road N662 which (last time I explored this area was August '17) was in very nice condition, and still should be.

      The pass has very little traffic, I would be surprised if you see more than 5 - 6 cars here. It is closed to trucks heavier than 10 metric tons, so I recommend to cross Balkan just here. The entire area is very scenic, almost all the time you will pedal in the wood.

      Drinkable water is available at the both sides of Balkan.

      August there are a lot of beautiful blackberry along all the road - the last tine I explored this area I lost a lot of time to eat it. On the top of the Pass there are 2 huts, next I have posted pictures and details about huts.





      A. From Elena

      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:




      Several photos from Elena:

      The road south from Elena to the top of the pass begins at the center of Elena, is a steep grade up to Shubetsi, and is very pleasant pedaling after that in the perfect mountain area. The route is very scenic and there are nice places for camp in the wilderness.

      Drinkable water is available approximately 7 and 13 kilometers from Elena up in the mountain.

The Mountain divide - there is no big flat open area nice for camp in the wilderness.

      Just after the mountain divide (pedaling to South) are two huts.  To right is the first one is "Bukovets" Hut, the road toward it is labeled, unfortunately using Cyrilic.

      It is a little primitive for overnight accommodation, but coffee and food is available there.

      A kilometer further down the mountain is the crossroad toward the next one (to left): "Haidushka Pesen" Hut. Here is much comfortable (and more expensive) for overnight accommodation, but food & coffee is not available. The road again is signed using only Cyrillic.

B. from Tvarditsa

      The climbing from the south side the Pass begins from the center of Tvarditsa - the road toward Elena is signed well. Unfortunately there is not an English language information site of this small town. No problem to find overnight accommodation in it - look for labels attached to the poles.

      Climbing the south pass segment (north from Tvarditsa) is harder, as seen from the road profile chart above. There is a beautiful view to south as well. Two - three kilometers up the mountain the re is a nice place for camp in the wilderness.

      Along the road there is very nice cool river; nice springs of cool fresh water can be found 8, 10, 16 kilometers after Tvarditsa up the mountain. Area here is woody, I recommend to start climbing no later than 8.30 am in the summer time.

11. Vratnik Pass

      Another very nice road (N 53) to cross the Balkans. The road connects Elena and Sliven. The highest pass point has altitude 1100 meters, although the Google map shows me 920 meters. The entire road is in very nice condition, there is very little traffic. In addition the pass is closed for trucks heavier than 10 metric tons.

      Beginning from Elena to east, the next villages are Maryan, Berovo, Konstantin, Maisko, and Stara reka.

      The south side of the pass is steeper and harder for bicycling (especially just after Sliven). No wooded areas or shade, so it would be better to avoid climbing here in the sunny, hot summer afternoons. Bring water with you; I am not sure if there is water here.

      Sector I. B - 11. a

      Beginning from Elena to east, next villages are Maryan, Berovo, Konstantin, Maisko, Stara reka.

      I can say this is one of my favorite areas in this region.  Each village has food and water available. I point on the map the only the water spring I remember. Unfortunately, last year I saw more and more cow farms in the region. So, if you camp in the wilderness you have to be more careful, you might wake up early in the morning surrounded by hundreds of caws - it happened to me August '16.

Sector I. B - 11. b

      Climbing of the pass begins after Stara Reka. It is very nice countryside. The north Balkan side is a nice wooded area. Climbing is long but not steep and very pleasant. Carry water when climbing the mountain.

      The last time I was in the area, August '16, at the top of the pass, there is a little restaurant, which wasn't open.

      Unfortunately I haven't photos of this beautiful countryside - I lost my camera  climbed in the area in August '16. Let's hope, some nice day, I will be not so absent - minded.


Sector I. B - 11. c


      The south side of the pass is steeper and harder for bicycling (especially just after Sliven). No wooded areas or shade. Again, it would be better to avoid the climb here in the sunny and hot summer afternoons. Food can be found in Banya.


      The only photo I have of this road segment is taken just after Banya, climbing the hill toward Sliven, I took it August '08, I toured there together with 2 couples from Belgium, it was an amazing 3 week tour.

      High on the horizon can be seen a lot of wind electro generators. The region near Sliven is a windy area.

      Overnight accommodation in Sliven is not a problem. Information about Sliven can be seen here:




      In the north end of the town there is a chair type lift up to "Sinite Kamani Natural Park" - the Blue Stone Nature Park. The view to the plane low down is great


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.

12. Kotlenski Pass

From Targoviste to Omurtag to Kotel to the Pentacle to Yambol

      The road segment, Targoviste to Yambol, is one of the shortest roads, when the country is crossed from the Romanian border (Silistra or Ruse) to the Turkish border (Border Checkpoint Lesovo).

      This section of road is relatively easy for bicycling in both directions, is in very nice condition, and there is some traffic on it. 

      The road segment from Targoviste to Omurtag can have heavy traffic. Even though the road is wide enough, I do not like it and do not recommend bicycling of this road segment, especially north to south (up the hill). It would be better to pedal:

from Targoviste to Veliki Preslav (road N74) to Varbitsa (road N7) ,

and to cross the mountain using Varbishki Pass (the next one in this Chapter).


Sector I. C - 12. a


      The crossroad on the south most point on the map on the left is known in Bulgaria as "the Pentacle".

      This route includes, from south to north, 3 passes: Marashki Pass (alt. 225 m.), Mokrenski (Avramovski) Pass (alt. 470 m.), and the highest one Kotlenski Pass (alt. 700 m.).

      All the three passes make for easy climbing in the south to north direction. There are several water springs along the road, but the water is not very tasty. I recommend you bring your own water. Food can be found in villages along the road.

      Below are several photos from the Pentacle to the highest point of Kotlenski Pass. The area is nice for wilderness camping.

      The next three photos illustrate approach to Marashki Pass from the Pentacle. Usually at the beginning of some passes you will see a Open, indicating the pass is clear of snow and passable.

       Mokren, and the hill toward Mokrenski Pass.  Climb it earlier in the morning, as there isn't any shade here.
      Toward Gradets and Kotlenski pass. The entire area is nice for wild camping.

      Overnight accommodation in Kotel is possible. Information for Kotel: 



      Close to this route is Zheravna - an architectural - historical reserve:


      I still did not find a time to visit it. Overnight accommodation there is possible, it seems it would be nice to spent a night there.

Sector I. C - 12. b

      Beginning at Targoviste, to the highest point of Kotlenski Pass, I have pointed on the map altitudes of several specific points; the map indicates  that the area is not easy for bicycling, but that is not the case.

      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.

      This road segment can be avoided (look the next point):

      from Targoviste to Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa to Varbishki Pass to the Pentacle.

      Notice that Ticha is placed in a low place it makes this route harder in both directions of bicycling.

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

      The country side between Omurtag and the Pass: very nice mountain area, roads without any traffic.

     Some information about Targoviste:



      Some information about Omurtag:


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


13. Varbishki Pass

       Varbishki Pass is the one of the passes and roads in Eastern Balkan connecting both north and the south parts of the country. Because it is not maintained regularly, the road is in very bad condition, especially its southern part (the last photo below).

      The traffic here is forbidden, so the Pass is excellent for bicycling I recommend it. If you see here a car, you have to be sure, that its GPS device has misled the driver that the road is nice. Just being the crossroad of roads N7 and N 7006 you even will see 2-3 sand heaps on the road N7 and many signs pointing that the Pass is closed: go ahead, it is for cars.

      The Pass can be used for crossing Bulgaria north south (or vice versa) as follows:


from Ruse (Silistra) to Targoviste to Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa to the Pentacle to Yambol to Turkey/BG border (Border Checkpoint Lesovo),


from Ruse (Silistra) to Targoviste to Veliki Preslav to Varbitsa to Sungurlare to Madrino to Karnobat to Aitos to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Turkey/BG border (Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo).

      The road segment from Shumen to Veliki Preslav can be used to cross Balkan here as well.



      Information for Shumen and Veliki Preslav can be seen in the 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 - H: from Ticha to Shumen

      Sector I. C - 13. a

      The highest point of the pass has an altitude of 880 meters. It is the last relatively high pass in the East Balkans. Enjoy the ride in either direction.

      Carry water as this pass is very dry, especially the south part of Balkan).

      The pass can be pedaled from Sungurlare and from Medven as well. As it is obvious from the road profile charts, both route a and route b are similar. After Sungurlare (to north - the first photo below) the road is not signed well, but it is easy to figure out.

      There are nice places for wild camping, especially on the Divide - the last photo below).

       It is necessary to have food and water with you, although between Varbitsa and the top of the Pass (4 - 5 km south from Varbitsa) there is a nice restaurant and fresh water, it is a small local resort, I am not sure if overnight accommodation is available there.

      Very little information for Varbitsa can be seen here:


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

      On the divide there is a meteorological station and nice places for wild camping. August '16, I spent a nice night there beneath the full moon.

14. Rishki Pass


      On the maps this road is signed as N73, it connects Shumen to Karnobat. The highest pass point has an altitude of 420 m. (pointed on the map below), it is not a problem to be bicycled in both directions.

      The road is in very nice condition, but the traffic is relatively intensive (comparing with the traffic on the previous 2 passes). But, it is convenient and is wide enough, truck speeds are safe because of the slopes and turns in the route.


      The route is convenient to cross the country north - south (or vice versa).

      from Romanian/BG border to Silistra to Alfatar to Dulovo to Zagoriche to Kliment to Venets to Kapitan Petko to Panaiot Volovo to Shumen to Smiadovo to Veselinovo to Prilep to Lozarevo to Karnobat to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Turkey/BG border (Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo).



      Information for Karnobat can be found in the Chapter VI. Routes: A. from Sofia to Burgas, Route 1, Sector V. 1 - E: from Sliven to Burgas

      The mountain area of this route is between Smyadovo and Lozarevo. On the map I have shown altitudes of some high and low points.

      All this area is beautiful countryside. There are nice places to wild camp. Food can be found in Veselinovo, Prilep and Lozarevo.

      A part of this route I pedaled August '16. I was disappointed with the amount of traffic.  I really did not expect it. Three months later a friend of mine told me that there is not any traffic along this route.  But, this was an opinion of car driver.

       Because there are no restrictions with respect to truck load tonnage I think it would be better to avoid this route. 

      The first 6 photos are taken between Shumen and Sungurlare.

My camp place next to Alexandrovo and up to the Pass.
Toward Prilep
Toward Lozarevo and after it.

      15. Aytoski Pass

      As I have mentioned above, in its east part the mountain is wide and low. The Pass itself is only a short part of the route I describe here. This route should be strongly considered to cross the country north - south (or back), rather than the previous one. It connects Provadia, Dalgopol, Aytos and Burgas.


      The highest point here has altitude 400 meters (several kilometers north from Aytos), so this Pass is nice and easy for bicycling in both directions, over more this area is very nice countryside as well as there is not intensive traffic.


      This would be a great area to take time and tour. There are villages along this road, no problem finding food and water. Many times I toured in this area and wild camped.




      The route can be used to cross country north - south:

      from Silistra to Alfatar to Tervel to Kochmar to Vekilski to Kaloyan to Vetrino to Provadia to Dalgopol to Asparuhovo to Aytos to Burgas to Malko Tarnovo to Turkey/BG border (Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo). 

      Look as well in the

      Chapter  III.  Crossing Bulgaria from north to south (from Romania to Turkey & Greece:

      - PART I: From Romania/BG Border to Balkan: Point 7.2  Routes from/to south (from/to Turkey and Greece borders). Route C

      - PART II: From Balkan to BG/Greece Border: Point 15. Burgas - Border Checkpoint Malko Tarnovo (road E87: Burgas - Malko Tarnovo - Kirklareli)


      Further I will split this route in 2 sectors     

      Sector I. C - 15. a

      The route is:

      From Provadia to Dalgopol to Komunari to Asparuhovo to Bilka to Daskotna to Kitka to Aytos.

      More intensive traffic here is from Provadia to Dalgopol. The heavy trucks use the route as well, but because of the bad road condition, vehicle velocity is not high and I can say the road is not dangerous for bicyclists.

      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:





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

      The road toward Dalgopol is crossing a hilly area, 12 - 13 kilometers after Provadia is the highest hill, where there is a little restaurant. A nice view toward Tsonevo Dam is revealing here. 

      Toward Dalgopol and Asparuhovo. Asparuhovo is placed near Tsonevo Dam, in it there are several hotels - fishers use it as a base for their weekends, one of hotels can be seen just near the route - the last photo below.
      The next road segment maybe is the most scenic one. Crossing Tsonevo Dam you will see a very pretty place: The Wonderful Rocks. The next several kilometers are along Kamchia River Gorge. It is not attractive as Iskar River Gorge, but pedaling along it is still a pleasure.


      The next several kilometers from Dobromir to Daskotna are along Kamchia River Gorge. It is not attractive as Iskar River Gorge, but pedaling along it is still a pleasure. A food and coffee is available in the villages along the road, there are nice places to camp in the wilderness.

       After Kitka there is a motel and restaurant just next to the road.  Soon is the crossroad toward Ruen, after it is Aytoski Pass.

      Information about Aytos:


      For overnight accommodation here I would recommend Hotel Genger - It is a cool place in this hot area. It is placed in park area formed like a mini ethno - village. Unfortunately I have not photos of this place. There is a trail up the ethno-village to a place with a restaurant and pool.


      From Aytos you can pedal toward Burgas

Sector V. 1 - E. 1 


      Bicyclists intending to visit Nesebar and Sunny Beach Resort is better to avoid visiting Burgas town; they can use the route:


From Aitos to Mirolyubovo to Izvoriste to Bryastovets to Kableshkovo to Aheloy.


      In the touristy season (July - August) traffic here also is relatively intensive.

      Information about Sunny Beach, Nesebar, Pomorie ... can be seen in the Chapter  IV. BLACK SEASIDE

Sector I. C - 15. a

     I think the next route is better if you head toward Birgas or another point at the seaside. Using this route, you can

      Follow the signs toward Ruen. The route toward Burgas is:

      From Ruen to Preobrazhentsi to Prosenik to Goritsa to Poroy to Kableshkovo to Burgas.

      Toward Sunny Beach Resort:

      From Ruen to Preobrazhentsi to Prosenik to Goritsa to Guylovitsa to Orizare to Sunny Beach Resort


      Using this route, you can Sunny Beach Resort, Nesebar, Aheloy or Pomorie.

      Information for all them can be seen in the Chapter IV. BLACK SEASIDE

      If you decide to go to Burgas, use the route:

       From Ruen to Preobrazhentsi to Prosenik to Goritsa to Poroy to Kableshkovo to Burgas.

      The road to Goritsa is extremely pleasant, there are a lot of water springs along the road, although the water is not so nice for drinking - it is too hot in the summer.

      From Goritsa to Kableshkovo area is hilly but still very nice for exploring. No any traffic here. Reaching Kableshkovo, away in front of you is Burgas.

      Soon after you see the sign for Burgas, you have to be careful (look the red circle on the map above): You must miss the main road where the awful traffic is available. The crossroad here is a little complicated and your direction is not signed. Missing the motor road, soon you will be at the seaside, follow the bicycle lane and you will be in Burgas.

The area here is just fine for camp before entering in Burgas.

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



      Several photos from Burgas and its Sea Garden:

      If you decide to pedal toward Sunny Beach Resort, follow the route:

      From Ruen to Preobrazhentsi to Prosenik to Goritsa to Guylovitsa to Orizare to Sunny Beach Resort

      From this area I found only 2 photos - the wall of Poroy Dam.

16. Dyulinski Pass


      As in the previous point 15 of this Chapter, again the Pass I describe here: Dyulinski Pass, is a short road segment of the wide East end of Balkan.

      I will elongate a little my explanation here giving information of the route from Varna to Burgas (and back); my goal is to give an alternative which will avoid the road E87 along the seaside, where the traffic in the tourist season June - August is more than terrible and it MUST be avoid.

      The Pass itself is located between Dyulino and Gyulyovitsa, its altitude is 440 m. The pass is an easy ride in both directions. The pass is closed for cars heavier than 3.5 metric tons, and because of not nice road conditions, the traffic here is negligible.

      Further I will part this route in 2:

      Sector I. C - 16. a: from Varna to Dyulino, and

      Sector I. C - 16. b: from Dyulino to Gyulyovitsa

      I will not describe the road from Gyulyovitsa to Burgas, it is the same like in the previous point of the same Chapter.

      I will say several words how to visit some points at the seaside like Shkorpilovtsi and Obzor as well.


Sector I. C - 16. a

The route is:

      from Varna to Asparuhovo Neibour to Benkovski to Sadovo to Venelin to Pchelnik to Dolni Chiflik.

      Leaving Varna, very important here is to avoid the motor road A5 and take the road N9, just after the hudge bridge over the Lake of Varna (the first photo below). There are 5-6 kilometers hill here, not so hard for climbing until you are up on the Avren Plateau; here you will be in a forest - you will be in the shade, but unfortunately there are a lot of little tedious flies (especially if the period is humid), which will follow you and make your climbing very unpleasant if your speed is low than 16 km/hour, so it would be very nice if you have a veil near your face.

      Further you have to pedal a kilometer along E87, be careful, the traffic here is crazy. Ones heading toward Benkovski, you will be on a local roads without any traffic


      Next several photos are the countryside toward Dolen Chiflik. The local road is without any traffic, extremely pleasant for pedaling. The road from village to village you have to follow is labeled well. Food and water is available in the villages along your route.

      The entire area is nice for camping in the wilderness. After Venelin you will be in the valley of Kamchia River, a bigger settlement here is Dolen Chiflik, here is a little information for it:


      If you want to visit the seaside, You can reach is heading toward Staro Oryahovo and Shkorpilovtsi - a little resort near the sea. More information about is available in the Chapter IV. Bicycling along the Black sea side.

      Next 2 villages toward Dyulino here are Krivini and Solnik, if my memory serves in the first one there was not a food shop. Again have in mind my note concerning the flies here. Our experience climbing the mountain here was very unpleasant.


Sector I. C - 16. b

 from Dyulino to Gyulyovitsa



      It is the road segment, where you will climb Dyulinski Pass. I'd like to mention, that I have never pedaled the part of the road between Dyulino and the point 906 on the map on left; the road profile map below shows that it would be not hard for climbing.



      Have in mind that it is a dry area, so bring water with you. along the road is lokated Panitsovo; you will not find food there, but there is a nice tap with drinkable water.

      Soon after Panitsovo is the mountain divide - a wide open area, several times I camped there.

      The climbing from the opposite side: from Gyulyovitsa to the pass top is a little bit harder. Again I will say that it is extremely dry area, so bring water with you. The situation here was different in the extreme raining July '18, when from the south side of the Pass there was even a river. Just after Gyulyovitsa there is a tap of drinkable water.

      For tourists loving the sea side, I would suggest to visit Obzor. It is nice small resort, there you can find guest houses or hotels with each class of luxory. The beach here is very nice. More information for this place can be seen in the Chapter IV. Bicycling along the Black sea side, I will not write here about it. If you are coming here from south, I will suggest 2 routes shown in the map above: next three photos are from this area:


      - Route a:

      From Gyulyovitsa to Panitsovo to Dyulino to Popovich to Obzor


      Text three photos are taken from this area between Popovich and Obzor.

      - Route b:

       it is the route I would recommend, especially if you are going to/back from Obzor: And several photos from Obzor

      From Obzor to Priseltsi to Rakovskovo to Panitsovo to Gyulyovitsa

      The climbing here is much easier as it is obvious from the road profile charts of the 2 routes. I would recommend this route in the both directions.

      In Rakovskovo is available a hotel and restaurant. Next several photos are from this area.

      And some information & several photos from Obzor:





17. Pomoriiski Pass


      Pomoriiski Pass is on the road E87 connecting Varna and Burgas.

      The pass is located between Sunny Beach Resort and Obzor. Year round the traffic here is quite intensive, especially summer time (June and August), in the tourist season it is even terrible. The road has many turns, narrow segments, the south side of the mountain is steeper. Drivers are very nervous because of the traffic, and often heavy accidents occur.


      Although I bicycled this pass many times, my suggestion is ALWAYS AVOID THIS ROAD! It is dangerous signed as forbidden for bicycling. Need I say more?

      On the top of the pass there is a little restaurant and fresh water.

      More about this area and how to avoid this road (the green line on the map above) can be seen in the Chapter IV. Bicycling along the Black seaside:

- Segment IV- C. from Varna to Emine cape, Points 16. Irakli and 17. Emona;

- Segment IV- D. from Emine Cape to Burgas, point 18. from Emona to Nesebar.  

Sector I. D

      Sredna Gora Mountain is the one parallel to the 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.

      The routes in the sector I. D  are as follows:

      18.  from Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik;

      19.  from Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik;

      20.  from Karlovo to Plovdiv.


18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik

      This is a really nice area to explore. More climbing is available north after Panaguyriste. There is minimal traffic between Panagyuriste and Zlatitsa. At the top of the pass there is a little local resort, with both food and water. I am not sure if overnight accommodation is possible there. A little further you can see remains of leaved copper mine and the picture is like a moon area.

      Panaguyriste is connected with the history of Bulgaria. Information about the area can be seen here:



      Overnight accommodation is possible in the town. Several photos:

      In the town center you can visit the Museum of History. It is divided into exhibitions dedicated to Archeology, Ethnography, Bulgaria from the 15th to the 19th centuries, Contemporary Bulgaria, and Natural History.


      In a basement of the museum is exposed a Thracian Gold Treasure, estimated to be worth more than $200,000,000 USD. The exhibition is quite impressive, it is worth to be seen. Look here for information:


      In Bulgaria are found out a lot of Thracian treasures, information about it is in the next link:


      Road segment between Panaguyriste and Pazardzhik is easy for pedaling, the traffic here is a little bit more intensive, but is not dangerous for pedaling.

Sector I. D - 18.a

     A nice opportunity nearby this route is Banya and the best swimming pool of thermal water there. I love to visit this place at least one time a year.

      I can not recommend the hotel next to the swimming pool, but if you need an overnight accommodation, in Banya center there is a better placer for it, as well as not bad restaurant.

      To avoid the trafic between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik, you can use some of next routes:

      - Route a:

      from Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Dulevo to Smilets to Blatnitsa to Ovchepoltsi to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik,

      - Route b:

      frim Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Svoboda to Tsar Asen to Rosen to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

      The only thing I can say is that the entire area is more than beautiful for exploring. Next 3 pics are taken between Tsar Asen and Popintsi.

      In the next point I will give more information about the route a including Strelcha.

19.  From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik

      Another really good route for pedaling in this region. Pedaling east from Zlatitsa, you climb what is referred to as "Koznitsa" Hill. Just before the end of this climb, you have to turn right toward Koprivstitsa. The road is well signed. The traffic here is not bad, and the road is wide as well.

     After leaving the main road, you will find very little traffic all the way to Pazardzhik. The next several photos were taken along the local road toward Koprivstitsa.

      Koprivstitsa again is a place connected with our history. The architecture from XIX century is saved, it gives to the place a specific feature. Overnight accommodation is not a problem there. A lot of information about it can be seen here:



      Next several photos were taken from Koprivstitsa.

     The steepest road segment here is between Strelcha and Koprivstitsa, the view in each direction there is quite impressive.

     Another small spa resort is in the next little town Strelcha. Overnight accommodation in it is not a problem, it is worth spending an afternoon near swimming pool of thermal water:



      The last beautiful road segment without any traffic is segment between Strelcha and Pazardzhik. As a rule, each early spring  (the end of March or beginning of April) my first bike tour is to Strelcha and back.

      Road profile: Strelcha - Pazardzhik

20.  From Karlovo to Plovdiv

      Because of the high volume of traffic I do not recommend pedaling this road.

     Banya is a little spa resort, with overnight accommodations and a thermally warmed swimming pool.


        If you decide to cycle in this region, it would be better to choose route b - you will avoid the traffic and you will visit Hisarya, which is much better spa resort surrounded by the best saved roman fortress in Bulgaria - the main door of the fortress is the symbol of the place. Here you can find hotels of different qualities, according to your wish.


      A lot of information for Hisarya can be seen here:









      The entire area is easy for pedaling in both directions.

      Information about Karlovo is available here:




      Several photos from Karlovo.

      A lot of information for Hisarya can be seen here:




   Plovdiv is a popular tourist destination in Bulgaria, so, never mind the intensive traffic in the town, many times I have seen bicyclists visiting it.

      In Internet there is a lot of information concerning Plovdiv, so I will not write here about it.

      Detail nformation for Plovdiv can be seen here:








      On the map I have shown the way to cross the city of Plovdiv in order to avoid the tunnel under the hill with the Ancient Amphitheatre on it.

     I have pointed the walking area in the Plovdiv city (the next several pics.) beginning with the walking bridge on Maritsa River by the dashed green line use it. (DO NOT PEDAL THERE !!!,  - it is forbidden, only walk !!!)

The History Hill of the Old Town and the Ancient Amphitheatre on it.

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;


21. From Pavel Banya to Rakovski

      Here I put a little more expanded map showing routes toward Plovdiv (route a) and Chirpan & Dimitrovgrad (toward Bulgaria/Turkey border - routes b and c).

      Sredna Gora Mountain, placed between Brezovo and Pavel Banya, is a very nice area for pedaling. You may experience heavy traffic between Plovdiv and Rakovski.     

Sector I. E - 21. a 

      - from Pavel Banya to Rakovski (route a);

      - from Pavel Banya to Bratya Daskalovi (route c).




      These are roads in very nice conditions without any traffic. There is a shortcut between Brezovo and Bratya Daskalovi as well. Routes b and c on the map in left are very nice for bicyclists crossing the country, either traveling north or south.

      A link for Rakovski: It is one of no many places where Bulgarian catholic are living.


      Pavel Banya is a nice spa resort. There are a lot of nice spots - hotels and swimming pools - nice to relax after a hard bike day. A link for Pavel Banya (the last 2 photos below):


22.  From Kazanlak to Stara Zagora


      This road can have a lot of traffic, but is wide enough (2 strips in each direction) if you choose to pedal it.  Usually I avoid this road. I do not even have not photos of this area.

      To avoid it to some extent, use the route:

      from Kazanlak to Rozovo to Kanchevo to Razhena to Yagoda to Zmeyovo to Stara Zagora.


      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:




      Information about Stara Zagora:



23.  From Gurkovo to Nova Zagora




      This is an easy area for bicycling, unfortunately the traffic here can be a challenge because it is a segment of international road from Turkey to North Europe.



      It would be better to avoid route.

24.  From Tvarditsa to Nova Zagora

      I recommend this route.  The area is very scenic, and the traffic is minimal. Never mind I pedaled this route, I can not find  photos to put here.

       Information for Tvarditsa is available here:



      Information for Nova Zagora is available here:


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