Orpheus Mountains Trek

Guided Walking Tour, difficulty 2 of 5

Prices and Departure Dates

Date 01-05-2019 to 31-10-2019
Price: 520 €, 8 Days

The walking routes chosen for this tour passes through some of the most spectacular parts of the Rhodope mountains - Trigrad Gorge, the Devil’s Throat Cave, Yagodina Cave, Chairski Lakes... The trails affords breathtaking views over high rocky cliffs, woods, alpine meadows and remote mountain villages where you can observe Bulgaria at its best, untainted by the influence of western society.

The green and 225 km long mountain ridge of Rhodope Mountains is situated in southern Bulgaria with highest peak around 2,000 m and average height around 800 m. With their pleasant climate, Rhodope Mountains are the perfect place for hiking, offering walkers a rolling landscape with pre-historic caves, ancient Roman roads and bridges, fortresses and churches. Goats and sheep are not just a part of the scenery, they are a significant element of everyday life, providing the locals with milk, meat, wool, and leather.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Sofia

Arrive Sofia and transfer to your hotel for overnight.
-/-/-

Day 2: Shiroka Luka - Gela
Transfer to the village of Shiroka Luka. We spend about an hour in the village taking a walk along its cobbled streets and then continue for another 20 min. drive to Gela. Rhodope's highest situated village (1500 m) Gela hosts the annual Bagpipe Festival in August. The afternoon offers a delightful introduction to the Rhodope Mountains by taking several hours circular walk from our guest house to the nearby villages of Stikul and Solishta. B/-/D 
Walking: 16 km, 5 hrs; Uphill walk: 770 m; downhill walk: 770 m

Day 3: Gela - Lednicata Hut - Mugla - Chairski Lakes
A long and rewarding day of walking through the heart of the Rhodopes. We walk most of the time above the tree line enjoying the magnificent views over Mt Turlata and Mt Perelik. This walk combines forest tracks with old mule trails without any steep ascents and descents. After a short rest in the small village of Mugla, we reach our final destination - Chairski Lakes Hut for overnight. The hut is named after the seven lakes nearby formed by melting glaciers during the Ice Age. The origin of the name of the lakes is Turkish. It comes from the word “chair”, meaning “meadow”. B/-/D
Walking: 18.5 km, 6 hrs; Uphill walk: 950 m; downhill walk: 960 m 

Day 4: Chairski Lakes - Trigrad Cave - Trigrad
An easy day walking lies ahead of us. After two hours along a dirt road following the Chairska River we reach the main road Devin-Trigrad and we walk another 30 min. to get to the Devil Throat cave of Trigrad. The cave waterfall is one of the highest in Europe; some 42 m a spectacular underground experience. B/-/D
Walking: 8.5 km, 4 hrs; Uphill walk: 305 m; downhill walk: 500 m

Day 5: Trigrad - Yagodina Cave - Yagodina - Lyaskovo
This day starts with gentle 30-40 min. ascent North-West from the village to a forest trail leading into alpine meadows offering views over Trigrad Gorge. The spectacular, 8 km Yagodina Cave is the longest known Rhodope cave and with its many abysses and labyrinthine tunnels, also one of Bulgaria’s deepest. The 45-minute tour highlights the remarkable stalagmites and stalactites, which resemble curtains, and mentions the Neolithic settlers who lived here 8000 years ago. B/-/D
Walking: 8.2 km, 4 hrs; Uphill walk: 285 m; downhill walk: 495 m

Day 6: Lyaskovo - Zaburdo
After leaving the village we follow ancient trails criss-crossing streams as we ascend. Then after a steep climb we reach the highest point in the trek at 1470 m enjoying the panoramic views. Now descend through thick pine forests to the village of Zaburdo where we will stay overnight. B/-/D
Walking: 17.5 km, 6 hrs; Uphill walk: 920 m; downhill walk: 795 m

Day 7: Miraculous Bridges - Kabata Hut - Orehovo - Bachkovo Monastery - Plovdiv
After breakfast our hosts will transfer you to the Miraculous Bridges, two natural bridges of solid rock rising up to 45 m, peacefully set among the pinewoods. You will first hike to Kabata Hut (1 hour 20 min) following a blue marked dirt road. After another 30 min. climb from the hut we reach Tsirikova Church - a small chapel at 1740 m. The trail affords breathtaking views over Chaya Valley and Chernatitsa Ridge. From here descend to Orehovo where our guide will be waiting for you to take you to the Bachkovo Monastery, one of southern Bulgaria’s architectural gems, and then to Plovdiv for overnight. B/-/-/
Walking: 21 km, 7 hrs; Uphill walk: 850 m; downhill walk: 1180 m

Day 8: Departure
Private transfer to Sofia airport for departure (1.5 hours drive). B/-/-/


Recommended period of travel:
May - October

Necessary equipment:
backpack (15 - 25 l) for the daily hikes, hiking boots/shoes, waterproof gear, hat for sun protection, sunglasses, etc


Price Includes:
6 nights at hotels and guest houses; rooms with en-suite facilities
1 night in rooms with shared facilities (day 3)
airport transfers on arrival and departure days (day 1 + day 8)
breakfast all days and 5 dinners (days 2-6)
luggage transport
all transfers
English speaking guide
map

Not Included:
Flight tickets
airport transfers outside the tour itinerary
drinks and meals not mentioned
entrance fees
insurance
tips
personal expenses

Extra Services:
Supplement per person at 2-3 travelling together: 70 EUR