The Rhodopes – Land of Orpheus

The Rhodopes, Bulgaria

Holiday overview

Destination

Bulgaria


Type

Self Guided


Difficulty

Moderate


Month

Available all year


Price

£ 630 pp


Duration

7 nights


The Rhodope Mountains are the birthplace of the mythical hero Orpheus, who with his lyre made animals and beasts docile, and trees dance. Most famously he took part in the journey with the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece.

The Rhodope Mountains are the birthplace of the mythical hero Orpheus, who with his lyre made animals and beasts docile, and trees dance. Most famously he took part in the journey with the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. These ancient lands are known as the ‘green heart of Europe’ for their vast pinewoods, reputedly the largest in the Balkans. The people of these mountains, who care for their roots and make their living by working on the land, are very hospitable. The paths take you through unspoiled nature and on the way you will meet local people in their villages like Sitovo and Shiroka Laka. You will eat delicious meals prepared with organic food. Discover unique architecture in one of the country’s largest monasteries at Bachkovo, and Plovdiv’s old town, a melting pot of different cultures. Rapidly changing Sofia has a history of some 7000 years.

Price: £630 per person based on two people sharing sharing a double/twin room. This self-guided walking holiday can be operated for 2 or more people.

Included:

  • All transfers and transportation within the programme in Bulgaria
  • Transfers to from Sofia airport
  • Accommodation in pension, family hotel and 3 star hotel on half board basis (Breakfast and Dinner), except in Sofia only breakfast
  • Walking maps and route notes of the Rhodopes

Not Included:

  • Flights
  • Lunch
  • Dinner in Sofia on day 7
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance

Departure Dates: This independent holiday is available all year round and can commence on any day of the week to suit your personal travel arrangements.

Day 1: Sofia – Orehovo

Meet at Sofia Airport by a local guide who will transfer you to Orehovo village (2.30 hours).On your way you will visit Plovdiv Old Town, to discover a great historical heritage – among the highlights are the well-preserved Roman Theatre from the 2nd century, the Ethnographical Museum, and the many 19th century houses with their colourfully painted walls, representing the building traditions of the Revival Period.

We will have 2 overnights in Orehovo, accommodation in a pension, twin-bedded room.

Orehovo is situated in the heart of Rhodope Mountains. The village has a wonderful location on Oreshitsa River with pinewoods surrounding it. The word “Oreh”, from Oreh-ovo, means walnut tree. Legends tell that the people who settled in these lands built their houses near a spring and a huge walnut tree. Several chapels are built in this area. Numerous paths head to the hills, pastures and villages above.

 

Day 2: Wonder Bridges – Kabata – Orehovo

After breakfast your hosts will transfer you to the Wonder Bridges, two natural bridges of solid rock rising up to 45 m, peacefully set among the pinewoods. You will first hike to Kabata – you will need a little more than an hour to reach the Kabata hut. From here descend to Orehovo to enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure!

3.5/4 hours walk. 12 kms/8 miles. + 250 m – 700 m

 

Day 3: Zaburdo village – Izgrev Hut – Shiroka Luka Village

Drive to Zabardo village, the staring point of the walk. Follow the path to Izgrev hut, marked in yellow. Some springs can be found on the way, which goes upwards. After a deserved rest at the hut you continue and now follow the red marks and mountain road. The Mecho grobe meadows are the place where you leave the red marks and follow now the blue/green ones to Shiroka Luka. Accommodation in a small family hotel in Shiroka Luka, in twin-bedded room. Your luggage is transported to Shiroka Luka.

Shiroka Luka is declared an architectural and folklore reserve. The houses are built of stone and wood. The roof is covered with stone plates. Many of the houses rise to 3-4 floors. Old bridges cross the river. Revival period (18-19th century) architecture is also found at the church with marvellous frescos.

6.5 hours walk. 20.5 kms/10.9 miles + 450 m – 850 m

 

Day 4: Orpheus lands, Stikal and Gela Villages

After breakfast your hosts will transfer you to the trailhead. First you hike on the so-called Panorama Road with fantastic views over the hilly landscape. In less than 2 hours you leave this road and descend to Saint Pantaleimon chapel. Further downwards to the tiny Stikal village – the highest one in Bulgaria (1560 m). From there you take a mountain road to the nearby Gela village – birthplace of the mythical hero Orpheus. In the afternoon descend back to Shiroka Luka.

6 hours walk. 21 kms/13 miles. + 150 m – 850 m

 

Day 5: Trigrad Gorge and Yagodina Cave

In the morning transfer to Trigrad village, leave your luggage at the guest house and head to Trigrad Gorge, the biggest and most spectacular river gorge in Bulgaria. You can visit Devil’s Throat Cave related to the legend of the mythical hero Orpheus who descent to the underground in search of his beloved Eurydice. Take the red marked trail going to Yagodina small mountain village and in about ½ hour you will reach a second cave, known as Yagodina cave “The Strawberry Cave”. Return back to Trigrad on the same path.

6 hours walk. 16 kms/10 miles. + 350 m – 350 m

 

Day 6: Chairi Lakes walks

Today you start your walk straight from your guest house, in about 3 hours on a red marked trail you will reach Chairi Lakes in the protected area called “Chairite”. Return back on the same trail.

6 hours walk. 18 kms/11 miles. + 400 m – 400 m

 

Day 7: Sofia

Transfer to Sofia (4 hours). Enjoy your time in Sofia. The highlights are the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the National Theatre, the Rotunda of Saint George (4th century), ruins from ancient Sofia and the mineral springs. Overnight in a small 3* hotel with central location in Sofia.

 

Day 8: Departure

Transfer to Sofia airport.

PRICE

£630 per person based on two people sharing.

 

ACCOMMODATION:

7 nights accommodation in pension, family hotel and 3 star hotel on half board basis (Breakfast and Dinner), except in Sofia (breakfast only).

 

INCLUDED:

Seven nights accommodation in good quality Inns & hotels half board, luggage transfers, maps and route notes.

 

GETTING THERE:

Sofia airport is served by numerous budget airlines such as Easyjet, Wizz Air and Ryanair as well as other airlines.

Transfers are included from the airport to Orehovo village (2.5 hours), transfer back to Sofia on Day 7 and also back to the airport on Day 8.

 

What to take:

Sturdy walking boots and walking socks (with a change of socks in rucksack), rucksack/day pack, 1 x water bottle with 1 litre capacity, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sunblock/cream, compass, torch, first-aid kit.

 

Insurance:

We recommend that you take out appropriate holiday insurance covering you against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Contact us now to book this walk or make an enquiry.