I. BALKAN PASSES

Sector I. E





Sector I. E

      Sredna Gora Mountain is the one parallel to Balkans. It is not so high and not so long, here I will show appropriate roads to cross it on bicyclists planning to cross the country in the direction north - south, or back it will be useful.

 

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

 

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

      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) - route b.

Route a

From Pavel Banya to Plovdiv

      Sredna Gora Mountain, placed between Brezovo and Pavel Banya, is a very nice area for pedaling. You may experience a heavier traffic between Plovdiv and Rakovski (I do not think it is dangerous). This route is   nice for bicyclists coming from Shipka Pass and intending to cross BG/Greece border at Border Checkpoint Zlatograd (or Makaza), or BG/Turkey border at Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo.
      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. links for Pavel Banya and photos below (goats are near Turiya):  

https://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/pavel

_banya/pavel_banya.html

 

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

      I have not many pictures of this area, the last time I toured it I still did not know I will do this Page.

      After Pavel Banya starts climbing of Sredna Gora Mountain. The hill is long almost 20 kilometers, which is relatively a lot of climbing. The goats in the left photo are just after Turiya.

      Once climbing Sredna Gora Mountain (our camp place on the first photo below is on the top of the pass), down toward Plovdiv pedaling is easy and pleasant.

      Another nice camp spot is near Stryama River (between Stryama and Kalekovets ( the third photo below).

      A link for Rakovski:

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

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

      It is one of no many places where Bulgarian catholic are living.

      The traffic from Rakovski to Plovdiv is intensive, although I would not say it is intensive.

Route b

From Pavel Banya to Dimitrovgrad

      This route is nice for bicyclists coming from Shipka Pass and intending to cross BG/Greece border at Border Checkpoint Zlatograd (or Makaza), or BG/Turkey border at Border Checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo.

      I have pedaled only the road segment from Chirpan to Dimitrovgrad. Overnight accommodation is possible in Chirpan. Information for it and several photos.

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

      The road segment from Chirpan toward Dimitrovgrad is very nice to be pedaled. The road was renovated 2020, it is in very nice conditions and there is not any traffic along the road. The next several photos illustrate this beautiful foeld, I put them in other from Dimitrovgrad

 

toward Zetyovo.

            I did not explored he road segment road 5603 , but I know it is a nice countryside and there is not any traffic along it.

The next several photos illustrate this beautiful field.
Zetyovo is a bigger village along the road, food shops are available in it.

      And the last town of the route is Dimitrovgrad.

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

 



 

 

 

 

22.  From Kazanlak to Stara Zagora

 

      This Map segment is intended to shows routes for bicyclist crossing Balkan via Shipka Pass and Trevnenski Pass toward/from Stara Zagora

      The road from Kazanlak to Stara Zagora (road N5) 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 Buzovgrad (road 608) to Rozovo to Kanchevo to Razhena to Yagoda to Zmeyovo (road 5) 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.

      Kazanlak is a middle size town for us; 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. Information about Kazanlak can be seen here:

https://bulgariatravel.org/en/the-town-of-kazanlak/

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

      There is an interesting Thracian tomb near Kazanlak, unique frescos can be seen in it, I think it is under UNESCO protection.

 

      https://bulgariatravel.org/en/kazanlak-tomb/

 

      It is not possible to visit it, but in the local history museum there is a replica 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. 

      It is interesting to visit and see Roze Museum:

 https://bulgariatravel.org/en/rose-museum-kazanlak/

and the Historic Museum as well:

 https://bulgariatravel.org/en/historical-museum-of-kazanlak/

 

            A better variant maybe is to enter in Kazanlak and after to head toward Buzovgrad, Rozovo, Kanchevo and Razhena (road N 608).

      Yagoda is a bigger settlement here. Information about Yagoda:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/se/stara_zagora/maglij/yagoda

      Overnight accommodation is possible in it - there is in it a nice hotel and thermal water.

      https://spahotelmineralyagoda.com/

My camp next to Zmeyovo, March '22

      Information about Stara Zagora:

      https://bulgariatravel.org/en/stara-zagora/

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

      Have in mind that Tulovo and Dabovo are railway cross points where all the trains stop, you can use train in direction from Sofia to Burgas (west - east), or from Gorna Oryahovitsa to Stara Zagora (north - south).

      Left - our camp place next to Tulovo, right - our bikes are in the train toward Burgas.



 

 

Sector I. E

23.  From Gurkovo to Nova Zagora

Road N55

 

      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. There a lot of heavy trucks, very often heavy accidents take place along this road.

      My suggestion is to avoid this route, the next three photos illustrate it. The last time I pedaled it was the middle of May 2008, I do not believe I will do it again some day.

 

      Here can be seen very little information for Gurkovo:

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

The next three photos are near Zhrebchevo Dam


24.  From Tvarditsa to Nova Zagora

road N662

      I recommend this route. The area is very scenic, and there is not any traffic along this road.

       Overnight accommodation is available in Tvarditsa - you will see labels attached on the poles near the road for guests houses. I can not find any English language information for this little town.

 

      Information for Tvarditsa is available here:

 

 http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/sliven/tvarditsa/tvarditsa     

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

      The next several photos illustrate the countryside from Tvarditsa toward Nova Zagora. Here you will cross the valley of Tundzha River, after there is a little   climbing of the east low part of Sredna Gora Mountain, after, you will descend toward Nova Zagora and Thracian Field.

      Information for Nova Zagora is available here:

      http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/sliven/nova_zagora/nova_zagora

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


      To complete this sector, here are several photos from Shivachevo toward crossroad of the unnamed road with road N662.  

      Several words for Shivachevo:

 

http://www.guide-bulgaria.com/SE/sliven/tvarditsa/shivachevo



back to Chapter I. Balkan Passes