Day 1: Welcome
Transfer from the Sofia airport to your first hotel. If time is available, we'll take a walking sightseeing tour of the center of the Bulgarian capital Sofia (Roman, Christian, and Ottoman heritage and totalitarian architecture legacy). We may visit also the archaeology museum.
Overnight in Sofia.
Day 2: Sofia – Panaguirishte (34 miles/54km)
In the morning, we have a short transfer to the outskirts of Sofia. You start cycling from Vakarel and ride through Sredna Gora Mountains to finish close to Panaguirishte in Oborishte," an area where the first Bulgarian National Assembly was found.
In the afternoon, if time permits, take a walking sightseeing tour of Panaguirishte city – famous of being one of the strongholds of the Bulgarian Revival movement which resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. The History museum in Panaguirishte boasts the most outstanding Gold treasure ever found in Europe (piece of art of the Thracian civilization, 4th century BC).
Overnight in Panaguirishte.
Day 3: Panaguirishte town – Plovdiv city, the European capital of culture in 2019 (37 miles/59km)
Today you cycle from Panaguirishte town to the outskirts of the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv.
You start right from your accommodation in Panaguirishte and ride south through a valley located between Stara Planina and Rhodope Mountains. This valley is referred to as the valley of roses, or the valley of Thracian kings.
On your way to Plovdiv you pass by some small villages and the artificial lake Pyasachnik in order to finish in Suedinenie town, 35km away from Plovdiv. From here transfer to the city by bus.
Plovdiv was elected to be the European Capital of Culture in 2019, and in the afternoon, we'll take a walking sightseeing tour of the city. You will explore the Old Town with numerous cultural monuments from different historical periods. Among them are the Roman Theatre, the Roman stadium, the Ethnographical Museum, the East Gate from the 4th century, mansions from the 19th century and more. The modern town is dotted with shops and bars, and a pedestrian street crosses from one end to the other. Dinner will be in a restaurant in the center of the town.
Possible extension: as today is pretty much flat you can extend the ride from Suedinenie to Plovdiv with another 24km and enter the city on the bike. This option should be discussed with the guide.
Overnight in Plovdiv city.
Day 4: Plovdiv – Surnitsa (45 miles/72km)
In the early morning, you can see some more of the old center of Plovdiv. Later, transfer by vehicle from Plovdiv city to a nearby town Peshtera. Here you enter the Western Rhodope Mountains which are the bordering Mountains with Greece and where you will cycle for the next few days.
The bus leaves you above Peshtera town from where you start riding in West direction and finally reach Surnitsa town without any other transfers for the day. You'll cycle from the outskirts of Peshtera town to Surnitsa town, passing by the 3 artificial dams: Batak, Golyam Beglik and Tsigov Chark.
Overnight at the shores of Dospat dam.
Day 5: Dospat Dam – Trigrad Devil’s Throat Cave and Trigrad Gorge (34 miles/54km)
Today you get deeper in the Rhodope Mountains: the land of the legendary Orpheus. We ride alongside Dospat dam and continue further east cycling through the beautiful Rhodopean landscape.
At the end of the ride, we follow Trigradska river which takes us through its gorge, a natural phenomenon carved 300m into the rock and visit the Devil’s Throat Cave. This cave is related to Greek history and the myth of Orpheus and Evridika. The local people believe that Orpheus entered the underworld from here. (Every July there is a two-day festival that represents the myth).
Overnight in Trigrad city.
Day 6: Trigrad – Shiroka Laka village – Smolyan (41 miles/66km)
In the morning we start from our hotel and once again ride through Trigrad gorge. We continue further south and our next stop is Shiroka Laka village, architectural reserve that preserves the Bulgarian architecture style from XVIII – XIXc. It is also the bbirthplaceof the Bulgarian bagpipe music. Every first weekend of August a folklore festival takes place here. From here you cycle towards the town of Smolyan.
Overnight in Smolyan.
Day 7: Srednogortci – Zlatograd (39 miles/62km)
In the morning, we transfer from Smolyan city to Srednogortci village, where the cycling starts. You go south to the town of Zlatograd. Arrival and sightseeing of the town which has an old city declared for an ethnographic complex. Sightseeing and options to try different crafts such as woodcarving, weaving, pottery, etc.
Dinner and overnight in Zlatograd.
Day 8: Greece / Thassos Island (33 miles/53km)
Today we start with a transfer to Keramoti, Greece and take a ferry to the tiny island of Thassos. After arrival, spend some time sightseeing of the capital of the Island. We'll have lunch and then cycle to Skala Potamia village. Spend the afternoon at your leisure.
Optional cycling can be done after arrival in Skala Potamia, if you're interested.
Overnight in Skala Potamia.
Day 9: Greece / Round trip of Thassos Island (19-25 miles/30-40km)
Morning at your leisure in Skala Potamia village. Afterwards, get on the bus for a trip around the island. Stop for a lunch and relaxing at Psili Ammos Beach. Then get on the bikes and cycle alongside the sea.
Dinner and overnight in Skala Potamia.
Day 10: Thessaloniki
In the morning transfer to Thassos and catch the ferry to Keramoti / Kavala and then transfer to Thessaloniki - the second largest city in Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea (at the back of the Thermaïkos Gulf), it is a modern metropolis bearing the marks of its stormy history and its cosmopolitan character, which give it a special beauty and charm.
Places of interest include Aristotelous Square, Nikis Avenue, White Tower, Palace of Galeriu, Ancient Agóra, Byzantine Bath, Hamza Bey Mosque, Royal Theatre, and more. Free lunch in a restaurant at your taste.
Overnight and farewell dinner in Thessaloniki.
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Thessaloniki airport for onward flight.