Danube River and Black Sea

4.9/5 (9)
8 nights
30 miles/day
Guided from EUR € 1100
Self guided from EUR € 930
Bike tour in Bulgaria and Romania
Rider Level: Recreational

Danube River and Black Sea

4.9/5 (9)

Rider Level: Recreational

8 nights
30 miles/day

Guided from EUR € 1100
Self guided from EUR € 930
Bike tour in Bulgaria and Romania

Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

  • Follow the romantic Danube River to the breathtaking Black Sea

    On this tour, you'll discover the rich heritage of Bulgaria and the epic wilderness of the Black Sea coastline, uncovering 7,000 years of history in the far eastern reaches of the European Union. This itinerary includes the iconic Thracian Royal Tomb in Sveshtari, a UNESCO monument!

    This guided cycling tour weaves its way from the UNESCO-preserved lakes along the dynamic Danube River to the astonishing cliff coast of the Black Sea. Cycling on comfortable standard bikes, you'll follow carefully planned routes on secondary roads with some gravel/dirt roads and paths. You'll ride through the peaceful villages of local Bulgarians, Romanians, Turks, Romani, and Alevis, and pass by lively old towns with remnants of Roman, Greek, Thracian, Bulgarian, and Ottoman settlements.

    Cycle past abundant farmland, sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, fields of golden sunflowers and dazzling lavender, and meadows of fragrant wildflowers. All meals unlock the essence of the tasty Balkan cuisine, including delicious local wines.

    • Lake Bugeac in Northern Dobruja, Romania.
    • Balchik Botanical Gardens in Bulgaria.
    • Olimp Beach in Mangalia, Romania. CC:Barbugeorgemarian
    • Romanian "sarmale de post" in Biertan, Transylvania. Draculina (Anne)@Flickr
    • Srebarna Nature Reserve in Bulgaria. CC:Georgy Palpurin ShareBulgaria team
    • Cape Kaliakra is on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
    • Tutrakan Bulgaria (photo:jacquelineogara)
    • Varna Bulgaria Flowers (photo:presentsquare)

    View more photos

    Highlights

    • Lake Srebarna – UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Cape Kaliakra – nature and historical remains
    • Kayak trip to Pojarevo Islands in the Danube
    • City of Varna, ancient Odessos (350 000 p.)
    • Town of Balchik – between the Mediterranean and the Orient
    • Balchik Palace and Bothanical Garden
    • Silistra – the Medieval see of Dristra and the Roman remains of Durostorum
    • Tutrakan – the traditional fishing port of Lower Danube
    • Romanian Orthodox monasteries of Dervent and St. Andrei
    • World Oldest Golden Treasure from Varna Necropolis, 4500 BC
    • Durankulak Lake and The Big Island Neolithic Site – 5000 BC.
    • Oltina and Garlica Lakes – important bird sanctuaries in Romania
    • Shabla coast – cliffs, beaches, lakes and lighthouse
    • Yailata Archaeological Reserve – coastal hewn graves, dwellings, sanctuaries and churches
    • Vama Veche Resort & Mangalia on the Romanian coast

    Learn More

    Learn more about guided tours.


    Danube River and Black Sea

    Photos 

  • Traveler photos

    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
    • Photo 1 (photo by Gretar)
    • Photo 2 (photo by Gretar)
    • Wonderful view (photo by Gretar)
    • Photo 4 (photo by Gretar)
    • Photo 5 (photo by Gretar)
    • Photo 6 (photo by Gretar)
    • Photo 1 (photo by JimJ)
    • Cycling through cornfields and farmlands (photo by JimJ)
    • Leaving our bikes to walk to an ancient fortress on the Black Sea (photo by JimJ)
    • Who could turn down this sweetheart selling almonds soaking in honey? All grown or harvested locally, of course. (photo by JimJ)
    • After a few days inland, we celebrate reaching the Black Sea again. (photo by JimJ)
    • Clambering along cliffs and across a natural bridge on the Black Sea (photo by JimJ)

    Danube River and Black Sea

     Tour Description Daily Program 

  • Daily program

    Day 1: Arrival in Tutrakan
    Individual arrival in international airports in Bucharest, Romania or Varna, Bulgaria. The Sofia Airport is an option, but using this airport requires an extra night in Sofia and a longer trip to Tutrakan.

    You will arrive to Tutrakan, a small northeastern town in Bulgaria, where Bulgarians, Turks, and Romanians have tamed the Danube floodplains for centuries. These people have worked the fertile land of the wild forests of the Ludogorie Plateau for centuries. Local traditions of farming and fishing continue to form the social foundation of local life. We will focus on the Fisherman neighborhood of Ribarska mahala and learn about the remains of the fortress of Transmarisca, which was founded by Romans in 200 AD in order to strengthen the Danube Limes of the Roman Empire.

    You will have a delicious welcome dinner(only included for guided tour) along the Danube, where you will also have an itinieary review and a safety meeting to ensure that all travelers have the same understanding.

    Day 2: Tutrakan to Popina, Kayak & bike (kayak trip is optional) (25 mi/40km, +1313 ft, moderate route)
    There is an optional kayaking tour down the Danube today, with the Turakan river zone offering pleasant conditions for kayaking. As the route progresses, we will glide with the current through canals, past the islands of Pojarevo Nature Reserve. You can also enjoy some birdwatching.

    You may also cycle directly from the hotel in Tutrakan, riding along unforgettable views and the remains of the ancient Roman road towards the Malak Preslavets Lake. Upon arrival, you are awarded a riverfront hotel in the village of Popina, where you can enjoy swimming by the river and an open-air restaurant with a menu filled with local fish.

    Day 3: Popina to Silistra (26 mi/42 km, +985 ft, mostly easy)
    You will begin the day with a long incline towards flat terrain where you adventure through the dirt road sections. You will pass beautiful apricot and cherry orchards on your way to Srebarna Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, representing Lower Danube wildlife. On your ride around Srebarna Lake towards the village of Aydemir, you may even see the precious Dalmatian Pelican colony.

    As you continue your cycling journey, you will enter the town of Silistra, which sheltered one of the earliest European Christian communities. This town later became a seat of the Bulgarian Church in 870 AD when it was recognized as autonomous by the Constantinople Patriarch. This town is rich in Roman, Bulgarian, and Ottoman history. The pre-historic Thracin, Durostorum, was where Roman general Flavius Aetius-- the "Last of the Romans"-- was born. Flavius Aetius was known for defeating Attila the Hun on June 20, 451 AD in Gaul. The Ottoman Silistra fort overlooks the Danube from atop a hill. This fortress, built in the 1830's during the reign of Sultan Abdul Mejid, commemorates the last decades of Ottoman presence in the Danube.

    Day 4: Silistra to Baneasa (31 mi/50km, +1706 ft, terrain with rolling hills)
    You will cross from Bulgaria into Romania through Silestra in the morning. From there, you can expect ride along the Danube, passing by energetic villages and breathtaking lakes. On the high bank of Garlica Lake, you will see the striking Dervent Orthodox monastery of Romania's Constanta region. This monastery was founded by a Bulgarian monk in the 1920's, where it became equally worshipped by Bulgarians and Romanians for its vast collection of holy relics and its healing spring lvzor.

    Continuing on your ride will lead you to Oltina Lake, where, in the protected areas, there is diverse wildlife activity among the reeds and meadows. You may see flocks of aquatic birds and birds of prey. Another monastery overlooks Strunga village. You will soon arrive in Baneasa, where you will stay in a family-owned hotel.

    Day 5*: Baneasa to Cernavoda (36 mi/58km, + 1970 ft, hilly terrain)
    Your first full day in Romania is spent cycling along the Danube towards Cernavoda. You will first stop at the hidden St. Andrew Monasery, home to the legendary cave-church. Then, you will cross large vineyards as you approach the Danube, where you will finally reach Rasova. You can enjoy a delicious picnic in Rasova.

    After you embark on the next section of your journey along the Danube, you will stop at the Footprints of Joy. This is a domestic animal sanctuary where dogs, donkeys, cats, and horses receive human care and attention. You, then, cross the Danube-Black Sea Canal to arrive in Cernavoda. The first bridge connecting Dobrodja and the rest of Romania was built in Cernavoda. In 1895, Anghel Saligny's railroad bridge was the longest in Europe, spanning above the Danube, Borcea, and the swamp islands between.

    Day 6*: Cernavoda in Romania to Krapec in Bulgaria (26 mi/42km, +820 ft, flat terrain)
    You will drive from Cernavoda to Mangalia, where land meets the Black Sea. This town was once the Ancient Greek polis of Kallatis and heavily fortified by the Romans in 2 AD. There was a major life gap in this town until the small fishing village enlarged during Ottoman rule.

    You will begin your ride along the tourist seaside of Mangalia, where you will first stop to visit Esmahan Sultan Mosque. Built in 1575, this is the oldest building in the town. You will then cycle from Mangalia to Vama Veche village, an artistic community of Romania and Bucharest. A mile from there is the Bulgarian border, where you will soon experience the peaceful Durankulak Lake, a sharp contrast to the bustling Romanian resorts. Durankulak Lake is a protected ornithological site and an important wintering habitat for Red-breasted Geese. In the lake stands an island where scientists have traced cultures from the 5th millenium to the Middle Ages. They have even excavated the largest pre-historic cemetery in Europe on this lake.

    You will then approach the exuberant seaside village of Krapets as you drift across a picturesque dirt road. Here, you can enjoy the open-air pool and Bulgarian specialties in a seaside restaurant. You will spend the night in the village of Krapets.

    Day 7: Krapets to Balgarevo village (34 mi/55km, + 1150ft, flat terrain)
    As you ride across the flat cliff coast of Bulgarian Dobrudja, you will see a plethora of natural, historical, and archeological sites. Next, you will embark on the most thrilling part of your tour.

    As you bike to Yailata archeological reserve, you will pass remarkable cliff bridges and rocky pillars emerging from the sea. The momentous terraces left by the Thracian culture emerge from the water. This once holy place had carved sanctuaries and grave chambers in the cliffs. You will continue riding through the marvelous landscape of Rusalka, where a coastal lagoon stretches between the sea and the lofty cliffs.

    As the day progresses, you will focus on Cape Kaliakra-- an enormous 60-meter-high cape, located two kilometers under the sea. This is the most exceptional landmark on the European Black Sea shore. You will see ruins of old and medieval fortresses arising from the rust-colored rocks. The night is spent in Balgarevo village, a village famous for mussel farms and melon fields.

    Day 8: Balgarevo to Varna (21 mi/33km, + 1085 ft mostly flat with few hills)
    You'll begin by cycling from Balgarevo to Balchik, where you will meet a van to transport you to the city of Varna. A steep decline sends you from a plateau to an attractive, hilly seaside. When you arrive in Balchik, a town spreading from the beach to the top of the plateau, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich culture of this quaint town. You can learn about Balchik's abundant history and find the best-preserved temple for the Mother Goddess on the Balkans and the small streets lined with limestone houses. You will take a walk in "the Quiet Nest" Royal Villa of Queen Maria of Romania and explore the nearby Botanical garden.

    Your bike route finishes here, and a van will drive you to Varna. Varna, with history dating back to before 5000 BC, is the oldest cosmopolitan city along the western side of the Black Sea. You will spend the night here, enjoying flavorful cuisine, joyful beaches, and delicious seafood.

    Day 9: Transfer to Varna Airport

    *The itinerary for Days 5 and 6 will likely vary on the self-guided tour.


    Danube River and Black Sea

     Photos Accommodation 

  • Accommodation

    Hotels

    These are sample hotels and may vary by availability.

    Tutrakan: Hotel Dunav

    Popina: Dunavska Perla Hotel

    Silistra: Hotel Drustar

    Baneasa(Romania): Pensiunea Ambasador

    Cernavoda/Mangalia: Hotel Imperio

    Krapec: Hotel Yanitsa

    Balgarevo: Hotel Akre

    Varna: Grand Hotel London

    Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.


    Danube River and Black Sea

     Daily program Bikes 

  • Bikes

    Bikes available on this tour, and included in the tour cost (reserved in advance at the time of booking):

    • Standard touring bikes, 24- or 27-speed

    Bikes available to rent (limited availability, reserve in advance):

    • Electrically-assisted bikes*

    *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

    Pedals:
    The bikes will have flat pedals. If you bring your own pedals, be sure to bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.

    Helmets:
    Helmets are available to rent on this tour upon request. However, we recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.


    Danube River and Black Sea

     Accommodation Dates & Prices 

  • Dates

    • May 15; Jun 30*; Jul 24; Aug 28, 2024. (*indicates fully booked)

      Please note all departures require a minimum of 3 participants to be guaranteed.

    • May 7; Jun 6; Jul 10; Aug 16; Sep 10; Oct 4, 2024.

    Prices

    • Tour package

      Per person, double occupancy €1100
      Single use room €1350

      Bike Rentals

      Electrically assisted bike €125
    • Tour package

      Per person, double occupancy €930
      Solo traveler, with single use room €1280

      Bike Rentals

      Electrically assisted bike €220

    Included services

      • 8 nights accommodation in 3/4 stars hotels and guest houses
      • Breakfasts and lunches (some healthy snacks while cycling - bars and fruits)
      • Daily route maps; English/Russian speaking ride leader with local knowledge
      • Support vehicle and luggage transfer
      • Technical bike support
      • 24-gear lightweight standard bikes (helmet and bag upon request)
      • Transfer from/to Varna airport to your pre- and post tour accommodation
      • Entrance fees in all UNESCO heritage sites
      • Medical insurance for Bulgaria
      • Kayak trip along the Danube – half day
      • 8 nights accommodation in 3/4 stars hotels and guest houses
      • Breakfasts (some healthy snacks during transfers - bars and fruits)
      • 24-gear lightweight standard bikes (helmet and bag upon request)
      • Transfer from/to Varna airport to your pre- and post tour accommodation
      • Luggage transfer
      • Technical bike support on transfer days
      • Daily route maps, highlights guide book, and quesheet entries
      • Garmin Edge Touring with uploaded routes

    Tour Company


    Danube River and Black Sea

     Bikes Other Details 

  • Map

    Maps are for information purposes only and reflect typical routes between overnight locations. They may not reflect your actual route.

    Surface and terrain

    On this tour, there are 5 easy and 2 moderate cycling days - for regular cyclists who ride almost daily and sometimes take weekend trips. The day routes follow manageable terrain and cross flat surfaces with the exception of one day which features hilly landscapes. You'll cover mid-to-long distances from 35 to 60 miles per day with plenty of time for leisure, photography and sightseeing.


    How to get there

    Tour start and end
    Nearest airport: Varna or Sofia, Bulgaria or Bucharest, Romania
    Transfers to/from the Varna airport are included. Transfers from to Sofia or Bucharest airports available with surcharge.

    Tips on getting to and from your tour.


    Danube River and Black Sea

     Dates & Prices Tour Reviews 

    • Jennifer K. 4 weeks ago

      Awesome trip

      This was an awesome trip. Was my first biking adventure. The owner/guide was very attentive and very well educated on the history of Bulgaria and sights. Definitely recommend an e-bike unless you have bike experience uphill. Everything was planned out from the daily route to hotels and meals. I felt we had a great balance between the time biking and sight seeing. The hotels were very nice accommodations. Weather was perfect for our May 2024 trip. Highly recommend this company.

      What was the date of your tour?
      May 2024
      How many tours have you completed?
      1st bike tour
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists, Solo travelers, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      •  (photo by Jennifer K.)
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • Jacqueline Day September 11, 2022

      Rugged/Adventurous/wonderful sites

      This trip was full of everything, fine wine tastings to, rustic countryside sites, ancient ruins, sunflower fields, kayaking down the Danube to biking along the Black Sea. Our guides were great, caring and made it special for us.

    • Leena Dallasheh September 6, 2022

      Dedicated guides that will make your trip

      The best thing about this trip were the guides. They were so nice, and they tried to accommodate all our needs. They listened and adapted when needed. And they did it all with a great demeanor. They really made sure we enjoyed!
      The trip had a lot of activities. In addition to cycling 20-70 km a day, with a lot of hills, the guides took us on hikes to show us beautiful sites, and we kayaked down the Danube.
      Bulgaria is apparently an unusual choice for cycling. But it clearly has a slowly growing cycling niche. It is challenging, with a lot of hills, and having to off-road at times, so don't be ashamed to opt for an e-bike (I didn't, but there were times I wished I did). But as I struggled, the guides were amazing, they supported, they slowed down to my pace, made sure I always had someone with me, and they pulled when the wind was hard! Absolutely wonderful!
      The trip went off the beaten path, but the company chose nice locations, the hotels and B&Bs were always clean, and they checked with us to make sure things were ok.

      How many tours have you completed?
      One before
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      Much harder
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 4/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 4/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • Francisco Perches August 5, 2022

      Land and Water

      A magic journey with an intimate touch with the wonders of the geography, ancient and actual cultures, nature, tastes and spirit of its people is what for me mean this Bulgaria-Romania exciting highly recommended and safe bike tour.
      Francisco ( Mexico )

    • billiehenny August 10, 2019

      Romania & Bulgaria

      Very well organised and efficient. Bikes were excellent and well maintained. Nothing seemed to be a problem even when I manage to leave my power adapter somewhere our guide went out of his way to find a replacement.

      What was the date of your tour?
      17th July
      How many tours have you completed?
      13
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 4/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 4/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • auntch June 29, 2018

      Wonderful trip

      Danube River and Black Sea was a wonderful trip. Our guides were great, arrangements worked well, hotels were very nice, interesting food, learned a lot of interesting history, and saw a lot of beautiful scenery.

      What was the date of your tour?
      June 3-12 2018
      How many tours have you completed?
      6
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • jacidc September 17, 2016

      Great company, riding, food, scenery -- a spectacular experience.

      This was a wonderful introduction to Northeastern Bulgaria, a region full of history and beauty. Our tour took us along the Danube River and to the Black Sea with many stops for cultural experiences, and just fun, along the way. The guides were great: smart, fluent in English, concerned about both our enjoyment and welfare and extremely knowledgeable about the areas we visited. This is not a luxury tour -- that wouldn't be possible in some of the remote areas we visited -- but that's what goes along with visiting a place not many outsiders see. Our guides did everything possible to keep us safe and comfortable.

      What was the date of your tour?
      September 2-9
      How many tours have you completed?
      two
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      Somewhat harder
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • Gretar September 13, 2016

      Amazing trip with an amazing guide!

      A diverse trip with all kinds off bike routes, from asphalt to gravel/dirt roads. Nice and helpful guides. The trip included many fun and different accommodations. Me and my wife would definitely recommend this trip, we would love to do it again with a different location/routes.

      What was the date of your tour?
      18 july -26 july
      How many tours have you completed?
      First time
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • Photo 1 (photo by Gretar)
      • Photo 2 (photo by Gretar)
      • Wonderful view (photo by Gretar)
      • Photo 4 (photo by Gretar)
      • Photo 5 (photo by Gretar)
      • Photo 6 (photo by Gretar)
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
      • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
    • JimJ December 3, 2015

      First time in Bulgaria won't be last!

      (Staff review) Bulgaria did not disappoint! During this tour, we explored seacoast and farmland, toured castles and monasteries, and ate in fine restaurants and village homes. Our guides were excellent--committed, knowledgeable and cordial. One of them was a bird expert, and we learned so much about the fauna in the region. After a day along the Danube in Romania, we overnighted in a tiny farm village where we became the main attraction. We couldn't speak Romanian, and the farm folks couldn't speak English, but we all made ourselves known. And three of our party even got invited into a private home to enjoy the local home made brandy! Some days were on routes that sometimes had too much traffic for my taste, and we've advised the local tour operator on ways to avoid or bridge these sections.

      How many tours have you completed?
      35
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      Somewhat harder
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • Photo 1 (photo by JimJ)
      • Cycling through cornfields and farmlands (photo by JimJ)
      • Leaving our bikes to walk to an ancient fortress on the Black Sea (photo by JimJ)
      • Who could turn down this sweetheart selling almonds soaking in honey? All grown or harvested locally, of course. (photo by JimJ)
      • After a few days inland, we celebrate reaching the Black Sea again. (photo by JimJ)
      • Clambering along cliffs and across a natural bridge on the Black Sea (photo by JimJ)
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 4/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 4/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 4/5 Local tour company services
      • 3/5 Route selection
      • 4/5 Guides (if applicable)

    Danube River and Black Sea

     Other Details Book This Tour 

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