Day 1: Arrival in Pliska
Pliska was the first capital of Danube Bulgaria late 7th c. - 893 AD. Visit the Garden of the Cyrillic Alphabet. Time for relax and preparation for the cycling tour. There are available spa facilities, swimming pool, sauna, massage.
We have tour details and safety instructions meeting at dinner.
Overnight in Pliska
Day 2: Pliska to Dobrotica village (20 miles, flat with few moderate hills)
Sightseeing tour by bike to Pliska Archeological Reserve. Meanwhile you’ll warm up, get familiar with the bikes and we’ll do adjustments for you. Depending on the time frame we may plan a visit to Madara Rider – Bulgarian medieval rock monument, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Transfer to the starting point of the cycling route. Lunch in the town of Dulovo.
The bike route goes through some of the most spectacular canyons of Ludogorie region. We stop and hike to the miracle spring and cave of the Alevi Muslim saint Demir Baba – the place, where he lived and preached in 16th century. On the opposite site are the carved remains of medieval rock monastery, which were typical for the plateaus of Lower Danube. Again on the bicycles we continue our trip on flat dirt road to reach Dobrotica village. We stay in a family guest house, where local brand of wine is also produced. Enjoy homemade food and refreshing white wine for dinner.
Overnight in Dobrotica village
Day 3: Dobrotica village to Silistra (28 miles, mostly flat)
Today we ride on the easy quiet roads towards the Danube. Our first stop is for yogurt tasting, one of the most common and traditional foods of Bulgaria. Just before we see the Danube we will discover one of its hidden gems – Srebarna Lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site, protected for the biodiversity and especially the breeding Pelican colony.
On the way to Silistra we visit the fortress Medjidi Tabiya, which overlooks the Danube. Medzhidi Tabiya is the only fortress with completely preserved interior and exterior belonging to the Ottoman period in Bulgaria. Shortly after the fortress we enter Silistra and depart in our luxury hotel on the Danube.
We take a cycling or walking tour in Silistra to see the major sites of the town, concerned to the glorious Roman, Bulgarian and Ottoman past. The old Thracian village was turned by the Romans to strategic town, called Durostorum, which later became Silistra. Durostorum was major Chistian Metropolitan centre on the Danube and the 3rd Patriarch Seat in Europe, after Bulgaria was granted with own Patriarchy in 927. A lot of Christian saints were born in Durostorum in Late Roman times and also here was born the last great Roman general Flavius Aetius, who defeated Attila the Hun.
Overnight in Silistra
Day 4: Silistra to Oltina (28 miles, mostly hilly terrain)
In the morning we cross the border with Romania on bicycles. Then we will be cycling along the Danube and along the big lakes by the river. Bugeac Lake, also known as Lake Garlica and the surrounding area have been declared a nature reserve. On the lake’s high bank is situated imposing Orthodox monastery. Established by a Bulgarian monk, the monastery is equally worshiped by Romanians and Bulgarians for its collection of holy relics and for the Healing Spring Izvor.
Riding around the larger Oltina Lake is a great wildlife adventure as the lake is of great importance for aquatic birds. Oltina Lake marks the end of the longest Dobrudja river and it is part of Via Pontica bird migration way. Oltina village is the stork capital of Lower Danube with almost 50 stork nests inside the village. We’ll stay here in a basic family hotel.
Overnight in Oltina
Day 5: Oltina on the Danube to Durankulak on the Black Sea (30 miles, mostly flat terrain)
After the home made breakfast we take a morning cycling trip to St. Andrew monastery. New Rumanian monastery with a small cave church, built on old place of worship as the Hermitage of St. Apostle Andrew during his preaching in Scythia, ancient Roman province between the Danube and the Black Sea. Then transfer with the van from Ion Corvin to 2 Mai village on the Black Sea coast. (120 km – 2 hours)
Lunch in restaurant on the local beach. Next we ride to Vama Veche, the last place on Rumanian land. The village attracts the artistic community of Romania and especially of Bucharest for years. Here, the tents on the beach, the lively hostels, the bars and the music clubs perfectly illustrate the bohemian mood of Vama Veche in the summer.
Afternoon ride to Durankulak village and passing through the Bulgarian border. The accommodation is specialized in nature tourism and offers short bird watching walks and trips.
Overnight in Durankulak
Day 6: Durankulak to Tyulenovo (25 miles, flat terrain)
Cycling on the mild plains of the northern lake area of Bulgaria.We ride the trails around Durankulak Lake amidst sunflowers and marshes.
It is protected ornithological site, one of the most important wintering habitats of the world endangered Red-breasted Geese. On the island in the lake the scientists traced cultures from the 5th millennium till the Middle Ages and excavated the largest pre-historic cemetery in Europe.
Cycling the scenic coastal dirt roads we approach Shabla Lighthouse. It is the oldest Ottoman lighthouse on the Western Pontic coastline, which marks the easternmost point of Bulgaria. Accommodation in a coast hotel with sea view.
Overnight in Tyulenovo
Day 7: Tyulenovo to Balgarevo village (25 miles, flat terrain)
Flat landscape, easy cycling route and stunning views along the cliff coast of Bulgarian Dobrudja, full of natural, historical and archeological sites. From here starts the most thrilling part of our bike adventure.
We pedal to Yailata archeological reserve, passing by cliff bridges and standing rocky pillars in the sea. The spectacular rocky terraces of the ancient site, left by the Thracian culture, rise straight from the waves. This used to be a holy place with carved sanctuaries and grave chambers in the cliffs. After a short ride we'll face the stunning landscape of Rusalka, where a coastal lagoon is stretched between the high cliffs and the sea.
In the afternoon we’ll pay special attention to the scenic Cape Kaliakra. This imposing 60 meter-high cape is located 2 km deep into the sea and is the most remarkable landmark on the European Black Sea shore. The ruins of antique and medieval fortresses rise directly from the red-colored rocks.
Overnight in Balgarevo village
Day 8: Balgarevo to Varna (15 miles, mostly flat with few hills)
Cycling from Balgarevo to the town of Balchik and then van transfer to the city of Varna.
A great downhill dropped us from the plateau to the beautiful hilly seaside, recently occupied by several golf clubs. Finely we arrive in Balchik. A major tourist attraction of Dobrudja, the town rises in tiers from the beach. Balchik is ancestor of the Hellenistic DIONYSOPOLIS, the town of the ancient God of wine and wilderness Bacchus-Dionys. In Balchik we will immerse in the rich heritage of the old town, discovering the best-preserved temple of The Mother Goddess on the Balkans and the tiny streets with white limestone houses, churches and mosque. Visit to Balchik Palace of Queen Mary of Romania with its exotic garden, which is a real jewel on the European coast of Black Sea.
Leaving Balchik we head to Varna. The planned departure is on the next day, but if you want to enjoy and appreciate the city you have to stay another day or two.
Varna (population 350 000) is the ancestor of the large Greek-Roman city Odessos. The discovery of The World Oldest Golden Treasure from Varna Necropolis shows the existence of Varna Civilization, which is dated back to 5000 BC. The monumental heritage of the city consist of spectacular Roman Baths, remains of medieval monasteries, the later Orthodox Cathedral and other smaller churches, old town architecture and the Public Baths from the dawn of the 20th century, the royal Euxinograd Palace along with one of the biggest Communist Bulgarian-Soviet monuments. In 2017 Varna is European Youth Capital and annually during the summer the city hosts Varna Summer International Music Festival and in August the renowned Ballet Festival. Varna is famous with the lively beaches, fine restaurants and good sea food.
Overnight in Varna
Day 9: Transfer to departure airport (Varna, Sofia or Bucharest)