I. BALKAN PASSES

Sector I. D





Sredna Gora Mountain

      Sredna Gora Mountain is the one parallel to Balkans. Very little information for it is available here:

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

       https://www.britannica.com/place/Sredna-Mountains

       https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339384418_Geology_and_morphotectonics_of_Sredna_Gora_Mountains_Southern_Bulgaria

      It is not so high and not so long comparing with Balkan, the next photo shows a typical view of it.

      In the next two items 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.



Sector I. D

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

      18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik (road 37);

      19.  From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik;

      20.  From Karnare to Karlovo to Plovdiv (road 64).


     

 

 

18.  From Zlatitsa to Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik (road 37)

 

 

 

      The route is:

      From Zlatitsa to the Mountain Resort "Panagyurski Kolonii" to Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Levski to Saraya to Pazardzhik (road 37).

 

 

 

 

 

 

      To describe all the opportunities concerning this route, as well as for more detail description I will split the route in 2 sectors

 

Sector I. D - 18. a

      From Zlatitsa to the Mountain Resort "Panagyurski Kolonii" to Panagyuriste,

 

and

Sector I. D - 18. a

 

      From Panagyuriste to Popintsi to Levski to Saraya to Pazardzhik,

 

where more opportunities are available.

 

      All the area is really very nice one to explore. More climbing is available north after Panaguyriste.

      Food, coffee, overnight accommodations is available in Zlatitsa. This little town can be regarded as a base to cross Balkan along Zlatishki Pass.  

Some Information for Zlatitsa can be seen here:

 ttp://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/zlatitsa/zlatitsa.html

      In fact the road from Zlatitsa and Panagyuriste crosses the Mountain. At the top of the pass there is a little local resort: "Panagyurski Kolonii", 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.

   There is minimal traffic between Zlatitsa and Panagyuriste.

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

      https://bulgariatravel.org/en/town-of-panagyurishte/

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

      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 archaeology, ethnography, Bulgaria from the 15th to the 19th centuries, Contemporary Bulgaria, and Natural History.

      https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-panagyurishte-museum-of-history/

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

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

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

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


 

 

 

 

Sector I. D - 18. b

 

 

 

 

 

     From Panagyuriste to Pazardzhik here I will give three opportunities:

 

      - route a (road 37):

      From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Levski to Gelemengvo to Pazardzhik,

 

      - route b:

      From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Svoboda (unnamed road)  to Tsar Asen to Rosen to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik,

 

      - route c: (roads 801 & 8003)

      From Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Dulevo to Smilets to Blatnitsa to Ovchepoltsi to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

 

 

      I have pedalled all these routes many times in the two directions, and I really can not say which one is the best. My choose would be not route c, the traffic on it is amore intensive, although it is not dangerous.

 

 

      Route a:

      From Panagyuriste to Bata to Popintsi to Levski to Gelemenovo to Saraya to Pazardshik (road 37).

     Road segment between Panaguyriste and Pazardzhik is easy for pedaling in the both direction; the traffic here is a little bit more intensive, but is not dangerous for pedaling at all. Have in mind food is available only in Gelemenovo.

      The next six photos illustrate area from Panagyuriste toward Pazardzhik.

 

 

Sector I. D - 18. b - 1

     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 traffic between Panagyuriste and Pazardzhik, you can use the next route:

      - Route b:

      From 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, needless to say there is not any traffic. Next 3 pics are taken between Tsar Asen and Popintsi.

       - Route c:

      From Panagyuriste to Strelcha to Dulevo to Smilets to Blatnitsa to Ovchepoltsi to Chernogorovo to Pazardzhik.

      The next three photos are the area between Panagyuriste and Strelcha

      In the next item I will give more information about the route c including Strelcha.




 

 

 

 

 

 

19.  From Zlatitsa to Koprivstitsa to Pazardzhik

 

 

 

 

      Another really good route for pedaling in this region. If you have a time it is worth to elongate a little your route and visit Koprivstitsa.

 

      For more detail description I will split the route in 2 sectors:

 

 

      Sector I. D - 19. a:

      From Zlatitsa to Anton to Koprivstitsa

 

      and

 

      Sector I. D - 19. b:

 

      From Koprivstitsa to Strelcha to Pazardzhik

 

     

 

 

 

Sector I. D - 19. a

 

 

 

      Zlatitsa is a little city, food, coffee, overnight accommodations is available in it.

 

      Information for Zlatitsa can be seen here:

 

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

 

      Food, coffee, overnight accommodations is available in Zlatitsa. This little town can be regarded as a base to cross Balkan along Zlatishki Pass. Some Information for Zlatitsa can be seen here:

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

      Leaving Zlatitsa (east from it) you will see a little work shop for tire replacement too - if you need some technical assistance or tube sealing it is the place. A little restaurant is available along the road here.

      Here is even a velo lane between Pirdop and Zlatitsa, between them is an huge factory for electrolyte cupper.

      The next little town is Pirdop. Information for it can be seen here:

      https://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/pirdop/pirdop.html

      Several photos from Pirdop

      Pedaling east from Pirdop,  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. Climbing up toward Koznitsa, just next to Anton there is a nice restaurant and Motel (next map shows it).


      Sector I. D - 19. a - 1

      Near Anton there is an opportunity for off road – you can enter in the village, after the off road will lead you again to the main road after 10 – 11 kilometers. I love this place!

The next 3 pics are the off road I pointed on the map above.
Road toward Koprivstitsa is signed well (road N 606); next several photos are from this area.
      Koprivstitsa again is a place connected with our history. The architecture from XIX century is saved, it gives to the place a specific feature. The little city is a popular touristy spot, so overnight accommodation is not a problem there.  

A lot of information about it can be seen here:

https://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/koprivshtitsa/koprivshtitsa.html

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

 

Next several photos were taken from Koprivstitsa.


Sector I. D - 19. b

      The steepest road segment here is between Koprivstitsa and Strelcha, which really is a little hard for climbing from Strelcha toward Koprivstitsa. But . . . the view in each direction there is quite impressive - it is obvious from the next several photos.

 

     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:

 

http://www.bulgaria-guide.com/guide/Strelcha/207426/

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

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

      Several photos from this beautiful spot:

 

      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.

      More detail road profile: from (Panagyuriste to) Strelcha to Pazardzhik.

      In the end, Thracian Field just between Chernogorovo and Pazardzhik. The pictures above are in the beginning of May, down - beginning of August.

      In the end, Thracian Field just between Chernogorovo and Pazardzhik. The pictures above are in the beginning of May, down - beginning of August.

    

 

 

      And several words for Pazardzhik

 

      It is not as big as Plovdiv, and the most important: the traffic in it also is not as intensive as in Plovdiv, it is easy to orientate in it, as well as it is easy to find very nice hotel / restaurant in it at an acceptable price. So, further, most of the routes I will describe will begin/end with Pazardjik.

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

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

 

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

 

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

Pazardjik, Boul. „Hristo Botev“ 17, tel.: 034/45 10 45; cell tel: 0898 662 702,

e-mail: acropolispz@abv.bg     

     

 

      Everywhere in the city there are a lot of labels which will lead you to the hotel, you easy will recognize the place seeing the red bicycle lane in front of it.

 

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

              - It is very easy to find out this spot ;

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

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

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

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

             - Wi Fi;

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

 

Several photos of Pazardzhik and its garden, so called "The Island".



 

 

 

 

 

 

20.  From Karnare to Karlovo to Plovdiv

 

 

 

 

      This route is for bicyclists intending to cross Bulgaria from North to south or back via Troyanski Pass.

 

 

      The road is in very nice condition, I think it is not dangerous to be pedaled. I would suggest two routes:

      - Route a

      From Karnare (road 6) to Iganovo to Anevo to Sopot to Karlovo to Banya (road 64) to Pesnopoy to Dolna Mahala to Chernozem to Graf Ignatievo to Trud to Plovdiv.

 

 

      Because of the high volume of traffic in the road segment between Karlovo and Plovdiv, I would not recommend so much pedaling this road. Over more, the traffic can be avoided to a big extent, if you decide to pedal route b including Hisarya.

      - Route b

      From Karnare (road 6) to Iganovo to Anevo to Sopot to Karlovo to Banya (road 64) to Mihiltsi to Hisarya (road 642) to Chernichevo to Dyvanlii to Kaloyanovo to Graf Ignatievo (road 64)  toTrud to Plovdiv.

 

     - Route a

      From Karnare (road 6) to Iganovo to Anevo to Sopot to Karlovo to Banya (road 64) to Pesnopoy to Dolna Mahala to Chernozem to Graf Ignatievo to Trud to Plovdiv.

    The road profile chart shows that the route is easy for pedaling in both directions.

 

 

 

      I will start my description with Karnare: there is a restaurant in it, 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, if you are coming from south intending to climb Troyanski Pass, buy a provision and water in Karnare, have in mind that up the mountain there is not a water from this side. The first spring of fresh water is high in the mountain - 20 kilometers after Karnare.

 

 

      The next several photos are the countryside from Karnare toward Sopot and Karlovo.

      There are little restaurants along the road, in Anevo an overnight accommodation is available, the place is labeled near the road

    The next two towns Sopot and Karlovo are placed close each other, overnight accommodation is not problem there.

      A chair type lift is available in Sopot - a sign toward it can be seen just after enter in Sopot (the second photo below). The view from the upper lift station is remarkable.

 

      If you like paragliding – it is the place to exercise it – you can fly attending by an instructor. Unfortunately their Home page has not an English language version. Information about Sopot is available here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopot,_Plovdiv_Province

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/plovdiv/sopot/sopot

      Comparing with Sopot, Karlovo is a bigger city. Information about Karlovo is available here:

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

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/plovdiv/karlovo/karlovo

      Several photos from Karlovo.

      The next spot I pointed on the map is Banya; it is a little spa resort, with overnight accommodations and a thermally warmed swimming pool. Unfortunately I have not photos from this little resort. Some information for Banya:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/banya-karlovo-mineral-baths/

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/plovdiv/karlovo/banya

       The road segment from Banya to Plovdiv is pleasant and easy for pedaling. The next several photos illustrate the route, photos are from Plovdiv toward Banya. Food and water are not problem in the villages along the route. Unfortunately here the traffic is a little bit more intensive.

      - Route b:

      From Karnare (road 6) to Iganovo to Anevo to Sopot to Karlovo to Banya (road 64) to Mihiltsi to Hisarya (road 642) to Chernichevo to Dyvanlii to Kaloyanovo to Graf Ignatievo (road 64)  toTrud to Plovdiv.

      If you decide to cycle in this region, it would be better to choose route b, there will be a little more climbing, but you will avoid the traffic and you will visit Hisarya, which is very nice 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:        https://bulgariatravel.org/en/hisarya/

The countryside toward Hisarya and Plovdiv taken in a brilliant day of the late August ' 21 (road 642).

      And several words about Plovdiv in the end: 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 information for Plovdiv can be seen here:

 

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

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

       https://bulgariatravel.org/en/plovdiv-city/

 

      On the map I have shown the way to cross the city of Plovdiv by the green dashed line in order to avoid the tunnel under the hill with the Ancient Amphitheatre on it, although it is not a problem to pedal 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. D - 20. a

 

      In the end, I will increase the scale a little near Banya, in case you travel road 64 from Banya to Kalofer, it is better to use road 614.

 

      It is beautiful countryside. Several photos illustrating this area.

 

     A nice fish restaurant is near the road just after Vasil Levski as well as a longer hill of 5-6 kilometers toward Karlovo. 

      The road surrounds this little town, overnight accommodation is available in it. Information about Kalofer is available here:         http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SC/plovdiv/karlovo/kalofer

      The view toward Balkan here is quite impressive.


back to Chapter I. Balkan Passes