On clients' request we may combine Day 4 and Day 5 suggesting another route and stay one more day on the Danube instead. This opportunity allows you to make a cycling trip of the Romanian side of Silistra vicinities among the vineyards surrounding Garlitsa lake and visit Dervent Monastery too.
Day 1: Arrival in Varna and transport to the ethno complex accomodation at the village of Chernevo.Enjoy the hospitality, taste traditional cuisine, get familiar with the bicycle with a short test drive in the near vicinity and try some of the many outdoor activities in that peaceful place.
Day 2: Cycling from Nikolaevka to Provadia (distance 56 km; elevation +440m/-680m). Starting from Nikolaevka we catch a glimpse of the beautiful local church built in 1847 and the house of Beinsa Duno, the spiritual leader of White World Society, an esoteric Christian teaching. Then crossing the flat ridge of Dobrudja Plateau we stop to see the Pobiti Kamani natural phenomena, a site from the UNESCO Tentative List. In the town of Beloslav we take the ferry to the south bank of Beloslav Lake. Our trail goes along the lake and after a slight ascent we pedal on Dobrina Plateau. A plenty of treasures waits to be revealed like a medieval Catholic church served for the Ragusan colony, numerous rock-hewn churches connected with corridors and the stunning Ovech fortress. You spend the night in the picturesque town of Provadia which is placed in a rocky canyon.
Day 3: Cycling from Provadia to Madara (distance 44 km; elevation +350m/-240m). Cycle along Provadijska River through its imposing canyon carved in Provadijsko Plateau where scenic cliffs alternate with volcano-like hills. After that the terrain becomes hilly but the cycling is combined with a panoramic view toward Pliska Archeological Site, the capital Bulgarian from 7th to 9th century A.D. In the late afternoon you arrive in the sacred rocks of Madara. Here was the religious center of the Bulgarian kingdom before Christianization. The notorious Madara Rider, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was carved on the nearby rocks. The relief depicts a majestic horseman 23 m above ground level in an almost vertical 100-metre-high cliff and just below it there is a Zoroastrian-like sanctuary. The complex is attributed to the Bulgars from the 7th-8th century. We stay for the night in the nearby village of Madara.
Day 4: Cycling from Madara to Veliki Preslav (distance 52 km; elevation +450m/-440m). Today we ride up and down the lowlands passing through the village of Tsarevbrod known for its Catholic monastery. Soon we enter the Kabiyuk Studfarm, found by the Ottoman sultans in 1852. Trips with a carthorse or riding a horse in the surrounding steppes are the main attractions. We have a lunch there with special local dishes. The cycling continues on a slight uphill road with low traffic until you reach the woody Lozevo Pass in Shumen Plateau Natural Park. After the pass we go riding on a long steep descent meeting amazing natural beauties and enjoying the marvelous panorama. Next place to visit is Veliki Preslav where we stay in the evening. This town is famous for its winemaking and the medieval golden treasure, but once it was the glorious “golden” capital of the Bulgarian kingdom between 9th and 10th century.
Day 5: Cycling from Veliki Preslav to Shumen (distance 38 km; elevation +380m/-280m). In the morning make a small tour in Veliki Preslav, go to the archeological park with chestnut trees, see the Preslav golden treasure and the museum. Preslav was the cradle of the Cyrillic alphabet and literature which later spread in Eurasia. Then cycle on the road back to Shumen Plateau. At lunch we’ll be in Osmar tasting the local specialties and of course the Osmar pelin, a famous local wine with herbs. Riding on the foothills of the plateau in the early afternoon we reach the city of Shumen. The city is very interesting cultural center, but its jewel is the Tombul Mosque built in 1744 which is the biggest mosque in the European Union.
Day 6: Cycling from Shumen to Ahinora (distance 68 km; elevation +600m/-640m). This day we enter the region of Ludogorie. The route weaves in predominantly Turkish minority areas where traditional culture is strongly preserved. At noon we have to overcome the most difficult part of the day pedal up the ridge of Ludogorie Plateau. In the afternoon the road goes among fields and forests. The mosque in the village of Golyam Porovets will be in our attention. Finely we come to the valley of Tekketo River. Here is another extremely positive cultural area with unusual religious importance, called Sboryanovo. See the ruins of the ancient Thracian city Helis placed on a small panoramic plateau.
Day 7: Cycling from Ahinora to Tutrakan (distance 63 km; elevation +210m/-380m). The morning starts with a tour visiting nearby sightseeing. First stop at Demir Baba Teke with the miracle spring Five Fingers, a tomb of an Alevi Muslim saint and a gathering point of the Danubian Alevi community. Then enter the Thracian tomb near Sveshtari dated back to 4th century B.C. In the inner cameras there are bass-relieves of mystic figures and wall paintings of Alexander the Great as a God. The Sveshtari tomb is an UNESCO World heritage site filmed several times by European and Japanese televisions. Leaving Sboryanovo we head north through thick woods and vast fields admiring the natural forms of the karstic Ludogorie region. In the afternoon we visit the biggest war cemetery of the World War I in Lower Danube region situated near Tutrakan and commemorating the battle of Tutrakan taken place here between 2nd and 6th September, 1916. Then Danube waits us. We enter Tutrakan with its remarkable fisherman’s quarter and quite streets.
Day 8: Cycling from Tutrakan to Vetren (distance 50 km; elevation +520m/-440m). This is our Danubian day. A boat trip on the Danube to the island of Pozharevo is an essential attraction. Passing by the villages along the bank we reach Malak Preslavets Lake, the largest habitat of water-lilies in Bulgaria. Then crossing the coastal plateau we pass by the Garvan marshes, another Natura 2000 site. Cycle close to the river bank we reach the village of Vetren with a scenic view toward the Danube and Romania. We stay here for the night to learn something for the danubian fish cuisine.
Day 9: Cycling from Vetren to Silistra (distance 40 km; elevation +300m/-290m). In the morning we take the road down to Srebarna Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, famous for its pelican colony. Make a relaxing trip around the lake admiring the landscape and the sounds of the birds. On the way to Silistra we visit Medjidi Tabia first. The well preserved Ottoman fortress from mid-19th century is placed high above the city and the Danube. Pedal downhill the route which lead us to Silistra, a city with a great history faded in the last decades. Silistra (Dorostol, Durustorum) was the third patriarchal seat in Europe since 927 A.D. after Rome and Constantinople. The city was Bulgarian, Byzantine and Ottoman provincial capital. The most interesting places in Silistra are the old town, the late Roman tomb with wonderful frescoes, a monument from the UNESCO Tentative List, the medieval Bulgarian archeological site with a patriarchal cathedral in the riverside garden.
Day 10: Cycling from Silistra to Bezmer (distance 47 km; elevation +400m/-280m). Leaving Silistra our route goes away from the Danube bank. We enter Dobruja through its gate, the small town of Alfatar. Cycle on the flat plateau terrain we cross Kanagiol Valley where we see a number of rock monasteries from the early Middle Ages carved in the cliffs. Then bike southwards and stop for the night in a typical Dobrugean guesthouse located in the village of Bezmer. Here taste homemade local dishes and the healthy breakfast with "Dobrugean banitsa" cooked by Mrs. Maria, the house owner.
Day 11: Cycling from Bezmer to Nikolaevka (distance 73 km; elevation +530m/-470m). The last day suffers the lack of historical and cultural sites, but it dips us in the mild and quite environment of the rural Dobruja. Cycle all day long among endless fields far away from cities and busy motorways, stay in a touch with the wild life and be careful for steppe bird species and surprisingly appearing mammals or reptiles. In the afternoon catch one of the ridges of Dobruja Plateau and then pedal on excellent dirt roads overlooking the rich landscape of Suha Reka (Dray River’s) valley with alternating lakes and meadows on it. This trail takes us back to the village of Nikolaevka where our mystic circle ends.
Bonus 2013-Day 12: After the tour -Free accommodation -Recall the tour having a day off arranging the end of your vacation. Enjoy the many outdoor activities at the ethno complex in the village of Chernevo or just relax in that peaceful place.
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