The idea is during one long weekend (4 days, including Saturday and Sunday) to be visited the most interesting places in the Middle and partly in Western Rhodopes. Groups may leave from Sofia or Varna. Our first stop will be in Smolyan for short stroll before we head for the village of Smilyan with its Clock Tower, museum of beans and the dairy called Milky House, where we will taste the local Rhodopes specialities. We continue to the village of Mogilitsa, where we will see “Agushevite konatsi” – an old building of the town-hall, the neighbourhood Bukata with its architectural group “Hadjiyski kashti” and the village of Arda, almost at the Greek border. In the region, we will visit the Uhlovitsa cave, and then we continue to Shiroka Laka, Teshel, Buynovo gorge with the Yagodinska cave and the panoramic platform Orlovo oko, which we will reach by SUV’s. We will take a walk over the Trigard gorge, will visit the Devil’s throat cave and will take a walk on the charming road between the villages of Jrebevo and Kesten. We will have Dospat trout for lunch in the town of Dospat at the Dospat dam lake. On our way to Sofia/Varna, we will pass along the dam lake Batak, which is one of the most captivating places in Rhodopes Mountain.
Type: a guided tour or a self-guided tour;
Duration: 3 nights/4 days;
Price: Please send us your enquiry! If you would like us to contact you with a proposal for this tour, please complete the form at the end of the page or use e-mail/phone or other communication channels, providing as much information as possible. We specialise in tailor-made travel to Bulgaria and our travel suggestions are individually designed to suit your personal requirements, so the more detail you can provide us with, the better. One of our specialist Travel Consultants will then contact you in order to provide you with a personalised proposal and quotation;
Typically a guided tour includes: group transportation in a tour van/microbus; fuel/road taxes/parking fees; tour guide/driver (English); an accommodation depending on your preferences; entry fees; any additional services, excursions or places to be visited depending on your requests; extensive pre-arrival information and services.
Typically a guided tour does not include: international air fares; airport transfers (can be arranged depending on your arrival and departure time and the place of arrival ); lunches and dinners; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature.
Our self-guided tours offer a flexible touring experience that allows you to discover Bulgaria in its diversity at your own pace.
Typically a self-guided tour includes: hotel reservations depending on your preferences; maps and detailed itinerary description + GPS coordinates of the places/hotels; information for places of interest; car rental depending on your preferences and car insurance; extensive pre-arrival information and services.
Typically a self-guided tour does not include: flights to/from Bulgaria; airport transfers (can be arranged depending on your arrival and departure schedule and the place of arrival); fuel, lunches and dinners; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature.
Tour dates: all year round;
Tour mileage: ca 1000 km;
Minimum number of travelers: 2
Day 1 Varna/Sofia – Smolyan – village of Smilyan – Mogilitsa – Bukata – village of Arda
At 8 AM we leave from Sofia or from Varna at 6 AM (we will pick you up from your accommodation in Sofia or Varna) to Smolyan, where we will arrive around noon.
After a short stroll through the town, we continue south to the Greek border, and our first stop will be at the village of Smilyan. There we will see the preserved Clock Tower and the Museum of Beans, since this region is known for its cultivation of a special variety of big beans. There we may also see one of the biggest orthodox churches in Rhodopes – the church St. Spas.
We will drop in the Milky House dairy, where beside the traditional milky products, Dutch and Swiss cheeses are also manufactured, using special Swiss and Dutch technologies). In the dairy restaurant we will have for lunch some delicious Rhodopes dishes, made by products of the dairy and of the region.
Our nest stop is the village of Mogilitsa, famous for Agushevi konatsi, the 19th-century winter estate of a rich Ottoman feudal lord, Agush Aga, and his son. Built in 1834 by local Bulgarian masters, the castle-like complex consists of three buildings with a separate yard surrounded by a common wall with a richly decorated tower in the southeastern corner. The estate has a total of 221 windows, 86 doors and 24 chimneys and is situated near the banks of the river Arda.
2 km away from the village is located the neighbourhood Bukata, where we may see the architectural group “Hadjiyski Kashti”, also known as Konaka of Bukata hamlet. There, beautiful wooden ceiling, old oven are preserved, along with tools for ploughing and reaping, seeders, threshers and flour mill. We will get familiar with the wool processing.
We finish the day in the village of Arda, where we will spend the night and have a typical Rhodopes dinner.
Near the village of Arda, in the neighbourhoods of Gudevitsa and Lagat, there are springs from one of the largest Bulgarian rivers, the Arda, from which the village takes its name. In this neighbourhood is also a church, built in 1882.
Day 2 Uhlovitsa cave – Shiroka Laka – Buynovo – Jagodinska cave and Orlovo oko
After breakfast and coffee at the hotel, we head back on the road for Smolyan, as our first stop of the day will be Uhlovitsa Cave.
The cave Uhlovicain is often called “the underground palace’ and it is one of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria. The cave’s entrance is 1040 m high, hence there’s a path you have to walk until you reach the entrance (takes approx 30 mins). The visit takes about 40-50 minutes and is amazing. You walk down a long flight of stairs until you reach the main part of the cave where you can see impressive cave formations. The best thing in the cave is the crystal waterfall with its 7 lakes, positioned at the end of the 300 meter walking path inside the cave. The lakes get filled during the melting of the snow and are crystal clear.
After the cave, we continue to the town of Smolyan, along which we pass in our way to Shiroka Laka.
Shiroka Laka is famous for its authentic Rhodopean houses set in tiers on both banks of the local river. The houses feature two storeys, oriels, built-in cupboards and a small cellar with a hiding place. The thick white walls hide the yard from the outsiders’ eyes. The yard is small and slab-covered and has a typical stone drinking fountain in the middle. Some of the most famous houses are those of the Zgurov, Uchikov and Grigorov families.The old school, built in 1835, is located near the church. There is one more church in the village, the Church of St Nicholas.
We will stop at the family hotel Orpheus in Teshel, where we will leave our luggage and will have Rhodope trout for lunch before we head for the next step of the program – Buynovo Gorge, one of the most beautiful places in the Rhodopes.
The Buynovsko Zhdrelo is a famous limestone gorge, which is located near Yagodina. The gorge was cut by the river Buynovska and has several narrow and steep parts. One section is especially narrow, it was rather difficult to construct the single lane road part and numerous tunnels were necessary. The most narrow spot of the gorge is called Wolf’s Jump after a legend. The locals tell the story that hungry wolfs in winter came here and jumped across the gorge to attack the herds on the other side. The place actually looks like it could be possible to jump, but we strongly discourage you to try.
We will visit here Yagodina cave, located in the Buynovo Gorge near the Rhodoope village of Yagodina. It is one of the most famous and most-visited caves in Bulgaria. Its galleries extend to a length of 8,501 meters, which makes it the 4th longest cave in Bulgaria and the longest in the Rhodopes.
From the cave or from the village of Yagodina we will get on SUV’s, which will take us to the only of its kind in Bulgaria panoramic site Orlovo oko (Eagle Eye) on top St. Ilia, built at a height of 1563 m. The structure is powerful and robust, designed to support up to 3 tons of weight. The place has spectacular views to Buynovsko Zhdrelo, to the hills of Rhodopes and even to Rila and Pirin. In the evening, we will spend the night in the family hotel Orpheus in Teshel, where we will taste again the local Rhodope cuisine.
Day 3 Trigrad Gorge – village of Jrebchevo – Dospat and dam lake Dospat
After breakfast at the hotel, we head for the other interesting place in the area – Trigrad Gorge – sheer limestone cliffs that surround the river Trigradska downstream.
The Trigrad Gorge is a canyon of vertical marble rocks in the Rhodope Mountains. The gorge encloses the course of the Trigrad River, which plunges into the Devil’s Throat Cave and 530 metres (1,740 ft) further emerges as a large karst spring. It later flows into the Byunovska River.
The gorge is 1.2 kilometres from the village of Trigrad at 1,450 metres above sea level and has a total length of 7 kilometres, of which the gorge proper comprises 2–3 kilometres.
After the gorge, we continue the stroll along the road similar to a park alley towards the villages of Jrebevo and Kesten, among some of the most pastorally looking landscapes in Rhodopes. We will often stop for photos and walks around the area.
Then we continue to Dospat and dam lake Dospat, where we arrive in the early afternoon. The road here is particularly picturesque – ancient forests and lush meadows, herds of cows and sheep create this typical Rhodopes pastoral atmosphere. In Dospat we will eat the famous Dospat trout. Locals say that coming to Dospat without eating trout is like going to Rome without seeing the Pope. In the afternoon we will take a stroll around the lake, will see fish farms, will take a look at the cultivation of fish and buy special local fish products. We will spend the night in a guest house, where, again, local Rhodopes specialties will be prepared for us.
Day 4 Dospat – dam lake Batak and Tsigov Chark area – Sofia/Varna
After breakfast and the coffee at ease at the hotel, we head north through the mountains for dam lake Batak and Tsigov Chark area, one of the most beautiful and remarkable places in Rhodopes Mountain, where we stop for stroll. We will have a lunch at ease, and then we continue to Pazardzhik, and from there to Sofia or Varna.