Balkan Cycling (Bulgaria)

Balkan Cycling (Bulgaria) 540 , 8 Days
Share this

Join us on this exciting cycling trip in the heart of the Balkan Mountains!
We will bike in the north and central parts of the Balkan Mountains, famous for their unspoiled nature, green valleys, precipitous cliffs and gentle, rolling hills offering plenty of unique biking opportunities. We will start the trip in the tiny Goliam Izvor village. We will pass through the Central Balkan National Park and end up in Veliko Tarnovo – the Old Bulgarian capital and one of the most charming Bulgarian towns. The narrow roads meander through picturesque villages, where traditional lifestyle has been preserved and it is not uncommon to wooden carts pulled by a horse or donkey and villagers making hay the old-fashioned way.

Tour highlights:
♦ Troyan Monastery “Assumption of Virgin Mary” - the 3rd largest in Bulgaria, built in the style of the Bulgarian Renaissance.
♦ Etura Open-air Ethnographic Museum - showcasing the Bulgarian customs, craftsmanship, architecture and way of life in the region during the Bulgarian National Revival period (18th-19th century).
♦ Bozhentsi village - an architectural reserve consisting of some 100 houses from The Bulgarian National Revival Period.
♦ Veliko Turnovo - the old medieval capital of Bulgaria.


Day 1. Sofia -/-/-
Arrival at Sofia airport and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2. Sofia- Goliam Izvor village - Ribaritsa village 
An early-morning transfer brings us to Golyam Izvor village where the ride starts. We start cycling towards the town of Teteven. We will have an optional detour to the Glozhene monastery. After reaching Teteven, we will take a short break to explore the town and visit the local historical museum and church. Alternatively, you can opt for a short bike and hike tour to a nearby eco-trail. Afterwards, we continue cycling to Ribaritsa village where we will spend the night. B/-/D
Cycling distance: 47.5km; Ascent: 620m; Descent: 510m.
Detour to Glozhen monastery - Distance: 16km; Ascent: 430m; Descent: 430m.

Day 3. Ribaritsa village - Troyan monastery - Apriltsi 
We start today's ride with an ascent from Ribaritsa village to the highest point for the day - Bogoi pass (1185m a.s.l). From here, we continue cycling all the way down to the town of Troyan. We will pass through the village of Shipkovo, where you can take a refreshing bath in the mineral water swimming pools. After lunch in Troyan town centre, we will visit The Pottery and Craft Exhibition "Oreshaka" nearby and the famous Troyan monastery. We will spend the night in Apriltsii village. B/-/D
Cycling distance: 77km; Ascent: 970m; Descent: 1060m.

Day 4. Apriltsi - Gabrovo - Etura 
After breakfast, we start cycling along isolated village roads from Apriltsi to Gabrovo. En route, we will pass by numerous small villages, green meadows and river valleys. The cycling starts to with a moderate ascent, followed by a nice downhill ride before reaching the town of Gabrovo. After a short break in the town, we continue towards "Etura"- an open-air ethnographic museum. You can take a break here or add an additional 6km of cycling to the nearby Sokolski Monastery. B/-/D
Cycling distance: 61km; Ascent: 700m; Descent: 800m.

Day 5. Gabrovo - Tryavna - Bozhentsi 
After breakfast, we start today's ride from Gabrovo. We begin with a short ascent, followed by a descent towards the town of Tryavna. Here we will take a short break for lunch and explore the charming old town. Afterwards, we are heading to the final stop for today - Bozhentsi architectural reserve. B/-/D
Cycling distance: 58km; Ascent: 1010m; Descent: 1000m.

Day 6. Bozhentsi - Dryanovo monastery - Elena
A transfer in the morning brings us to the Dryanovo monastery. We will explore the beautiful Orthodox monastery and visit the cave nearby. Today's ride starts from the village of Yalovo towards the town of Elena, passing by several small villages and along the magnificent Iovkovtsi dam. B/-/D
Cycling distance: 46km; Ascent: 800m; Descent: 800m.

Day 7. Elena - Arbanassi - Veliko Turnovo - Sofia 
Starting from Elena, we continue cycling to the last point of the trip – Arbanasi Architectural Reserve. Today's landscape includes green meadows, vast pastures, cultivation lands, shrubby hills and finally the beautiful plateau over Veliko Tarnovo. We will take a short break for lunch in Arbanassi, before continuing to Veliko Tarnovo. Here we will do a sightseeing tour to learn more about the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Afternoon transfer to Sofia where we spend the last night. B/-/-
Cycling distance: 42km; Ascent: 600m; Descent: 730m.

Day 8. Departure 
Transfer to airport for departure. B/-/-

OUR BIKES ►Rent of Pannier bags 

Good to know:
Roads: we use mainly isolated village asphalt roads with little traffic, road conditions are relatively good with some exceptions (bumpy sections, potholes, rough asphalt), we do not go off-road
♦ Guide/driver: The guide with the supporting vehicle and the luggage inside checks several times a day if everything is OK with the group, waiting by crossroads, accompanying them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and giving them talks by the most interesting sites en-route
Dress code in monasteries and churches - men are not allowed to enter in shorts and women should not expose their legs and shoulders.

Elevation Data > Download

Price Includes:
7 nights at family-run hotels and guest houses in rooms with private facilities
7 breakfast + 5 dinners (day 2-6)
supporting vehicle and English-speaking guide/driver
map and road notes in English
technical bike support
airport transfers on days 1 and 8 and all local transfers

Not Included:
flight tickets
drinks and meals not mentioned
entrance fees
additional transfers
bike rental - see above "Our bikes"
personal expenses

Additional Services:
private tour on other than the published dates: additional 90 EUR pp.
extra transfer: 15 EUR per vehicle


Balkan Cycling (Bulgaria) (Rated 4.91 / 5 Based on 348 Reviews.)
540 EUR
8 Days
Single Supplement
90 EUR
Guaranteed departure
540 EUR
8 Days
Single Supplement
90 EUR
Open for booking
540 EUR
8 Days
Single Supplement
90 EUR
Guaranteed departure

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Moderate. For bikers in good phisycal condition. 

Group Size
Reservation System Code
Rodopi Cycling (Bulgaria) 580 , 8 Days

Rodopi Cycling (Bulgaria)

Join us on this amazing cycling trip in the heart of the mystic Rhodope Mountains - home of the...
Roundtrip Iran - Classical Persia 820 , 10 Days

Roundtrip Iran - Classical Persia

A cultural trip that will show you both modern Iran and ancient Persia  This is a roundtrip...
Iraq - A Journey to the Cradle of Civilization 1660 , 9 Days

Iraq - A Journey to the Cradle of Civilization

After years of political turmoil and military crisis, Iraq is slowly rising from the ashes. The...
View all» Blog

10.12.2021 15:21

Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of Islam (tips for visiting the country)

It took really long for Saudi Arabia to decide to open for tourists, but now it is finally a fact and Penguin Travel immediately put the destination on its belt. The Kingdom – known as the spiritual birthplace of Islam, now has a new approach to attract visitors and that's why the visa requirements are changed. The changes are so big, compared to the past that they look almost like a...

06.08.2021 17:00

7 Things to do in South Sudan

  It’s the newest country in the world and one that a lot of people haven’t even heard of. Those who have, usually associate it with the military conflict that has been tearing up the region for decades. But behind all of that, lies a country of ancient cultural rituals, a myriad of colorful local tribes and raw natural beauty. It is still the most challenging destinations for...

05.08.2021 08:55

The Little - Known Pyramids of Sudan

Can you name the country with the most pyramids in the world? Nope, it’s not Egypt. The country which holds this record with more than 200 pyramids is actually Egypt’s southern neighbor – Sudan. Though not as big as the Egyptian ones, they are just as impressive and have just as intriguing history, dating back to 8th century BC, to the kingdom of Kush. Since the Sudanese...

01.10.2020 11:45

11 Interesting Facts about Rwanda

  Rwanda is a small African country, whose name is often mostly associated with the horrific genocide that happened here in 1994. It was one of the most tragic events in the history not only of Rwanda, but the world. However, it was also a turning point in the country's history. It has since then embarked on a new path of social, economic and ecological development and deserves to be known...