Burgas city / Village of Debelt - Lake Vaya - Protected area "The mouth of Izvorska River" - the Springs of River Mladezhka - Village of Kosti - the Mouth of River Veleka through Protected area Veleka - Protected area Paroria - Village of Stoilovo - Dokuzak Waterfall - Historical site Petrova Niva - Kamenska Barchina - Indipassha - Village Gramatikovo - Vlahov dol - Village of Bulgari -Protected area Marina Reka - Chapel of St. Elias
Day 1. Burgas city - village of Mladezhko; Distance: 57.1 km
The route starting point is the city centre of Burgas; it continues along the Burgas Lake (Vaya), through the residential complex Meden Rudnik, over the dike of Mandra Lake and climbs the hill Lale bair. Approximately 2.5 km after the dike, to the right there is a direct dirt road heading down to the road Marinka - Dimchevo ending at protected area "The mouth of River Izvorska". In Dimchevo there is a shop and a public fountain, then continue for the village of Zidarovo through the junction towards the village Prisad and along the river Fakiyska. The road crosses the river before entering the village of Prisad. The village centre has a large square with a shopping complex. Turn right at the village exit, cross Dara dere (tributary of River Fakiyska) then the road to the village of Vurshilo is merging with the one from Debelt through the village of Gabar. The total distance from Burgas till here is 31.8 km, of which 1.3 km on a dirt road and 3.0 km bike lanes.
If the starting point of this route is Debelt, there are two options - either by the entrance of Promet (steel factory), through the village Prisad (described in route № 3) towards the village Zidarovo or along the fortress Gornoto gradishte through Gabar. The road through the village of Gabar is asphalt, in bad condition and with almost no traffic. Fields and woods are switching with picturesque smooth up- and down hills. On 2.5 km there is a turnout to the left with a place for picnics with a bench, playground and bungalow. After the descent to River Fakiyska, the road twists past the ruins of the construction of dam Rakov Dol. After the bridge over the river on 500 m before Gabar there is a public fountain. At the village centre in front of the church the road turns left towards the villa complex. After 3 km smooth ascent and descent the route crosses the road Zidarovo - Varshilo. Total distance between Debelt and the last junction: 17.1 km.
From this point to the village of Varshilo the ascent is still smooth; 185 m difference in altitude in 9 km. On 1.5 km from the junction there is a public fountain to the left of the road near the creek. On 2.3 km from there, after the bridge on the other side of the road there is another fountain. And after further 300 m to the right there is a forest area with gazebo, fireplace, playground and bungalows. The village of Varshilo is a picturesque Strandzhan village with preserved old houses. In the village centre in the low, after the church Sveta Bogoroditsa "St. Mary "(built in 1882), one house ahead there is a shop with local/pub and to the southeast of it, is a public fountain. From there head up the asphalt road to the east. After 1.5 km on the left uncovers a beautiful view over the village and hills surrounding the area, to the right is the turnoff to the village Indzhe Voivoda, be careful not to miss it as there is no signboard. After 3 km the road goes down to the remains of a wastewater treatment plant and the construction of dam Indzhe Voivoda on the river Dara Dere. Drive through the picturesque valley along a dirt road that later crosses the river ford and fuses with the old road to the village of Indzhe Voivoda.
Then follows one kilometre long downhill over a gravel road, then cross the river over the ford again, and after a 5 km climb, get onto the dirt road Bliznak - Indzhe Voivoda. Village Indzhe Voivoda is on 1 km to the left; in its village centre there is a public fountain and a shop across of the church "Sveti Ilia" (en: St. Elijah). Besides the church in the village, you can explore the narrow streets with authentic houses from the late 18th and the early 19th century, which were built in the typical architectural style of Strandzha region. In the recent years, the village develops rural tourism and you can stay overnight in a guest house. From the junction to the right is the road to the village of Mladezhko. Drive 4.2 km on the mostly flat dirt road to the crest Bosnenskoto bilo (road III-908 Bosna - Varovnik), which is the northern boundary of Strandzha Nature Reserve. Turn left on it. Drive 4.5 km on asphalt road which is in poor condition with very slight descent to the junction for the village of Bliznak. You will see a signboard on the opposite side. Near the junction there is a half broken bench and 450 m below to the left is the road to the village of Mladezhko. Signboard or road markings are missing, but the road is wide and difficult to miss. At the beginning the road is dug out by the loggers, but then it is covered with gravel and is in a good condition. Its length is 6.2 km and throughout descends gradually to the village. Approximately 600 m after the turnout at the side of the road, there is a public fountain in the area Mechi kladenets and on 1.5 km away at the junction take the right path. Drive over a high forest road, which reveals wonderful views to the village Evrenozovo and the hills surrounding it. In the village of Mladezhko, houses in the so-called "Sharon style" still can be seen. You can visit the nature monument "Caves and springs of the River Mladezhka", but this is a place that can hardly be reached by bicycle. Exit the village to the west passing by the bungalows of Burgas Airport and walk along an interactive eco trail, leading to the springs, cave Kaleto and the village of Evrenozovo. The river offers small pools where you can swim but then fast changes with rapids. Its old name is Karamlak, which translates in Bulgarian as Tumnata reka (en: Dark river). It's said that the spring water here has healing powers and can cure rheumatism, joint and cardiovascular diseases.
In the area above the springs you can find the caves "Leyarnitsite" (around 19 caves), "Brezhanka" and others, in which evidence have been found from the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (18th - 11th century BC). The caves are inhabited by numerous bat colonies and many other valuable species. The remnants of an early Byzantine fortress - the largest medieval castle in Strandzha, emerge on 1.5 km west of village Mladezhko in the vicinity Golyamoto Kale. Remains of rectangular towers, which were bent out, can still be seen at the place. At its centre is the cave "Kaleto", where appeared ceramics from the late Middle Ages (12th-14th century). The fortress Malkoto Kale is on 500 m ahead of it.
The distance from the junction after the village Zidarovo, to Mladezhko is 25.3 km (of which 14.2 km asphalt and 11.1 km on a dirt road); Time to travel 3 hours and 30 min.
Day 2. Mladezhko village - site Kachul; Distance: 40.1 km
Go to the east from the village of Mladezhko along an asphalt road leading to the main dual carriage way I-9 (E-87) Burgas - Malko Tarnovo. At the junction continue left towards Burgas and 800 m ahead turn right on the route "Green Corridor - the River Road", following the flow of the rivers Mladezhka and Veleka to the site Kachul. The route has a length of 33 km and marking in white-green-white. Driving is very pleasant along a smooth slope down the river. Only the first 2 of 8 bridges on Mladezhka River have been restored so far so you will have to be wading through fords, luckily the river is shallow and calm. To the left there are turnoffs to the villages Byala voda and Kalovo, and as the valley expands further turnoffs appear so you must always follow the river flow. The banks are covered with longose grove, flooded during the spring high flow; the longose vegetation is a tertiary relict. The route passes south of protected area Paroria, where you can find the typical for Strandzha euxeinos (marine) species: Caucasian primrose, Strandzhan mad tree (Daphne pontica L.), Colchica Holly and others. Here grows the oldest tree in Strandzha, a centuries-old oak.
Pass through vicinity Kukurinkovi luki where there is a public fountain and a chance to turnoff to the caves Bazan-1 and Bazan-2 (although they are easy accessible and poor in geo formations, they can be entered only with equipment and a qualified driver). A little further up the slope in protected area Paroria is situated the chapel St. Pantelei. After a total of 18.2 km over the route "Green Corridor - the River Road" (25.6 km from village Mladezhko) the road reaches a site called Trakiiski lager (en: Thracian camp) and just below it is the influx of the rivers Veleka and Mladezhka. What is left of the camp are only few ruins, but you could easily camp on the lawn in front of them.
From Trakiiski lager you can go to the village of Stoilovo, which is 8.4 km ahead over a stabilized road (difference in altitude 220 m), from therein direction to the west, the route "Way of the clear moon" will take you to the village of Brashryan and on 3 km to the south along the asphalt road to Malko Tarnovo is Dokuzak waterfall. There is a tourist shelter with wooden tables and a fireplace next to the waterfall. Also, on 3.2 km to the west of Trakiiski lager is located the historical site Petrova Niva, south of which is Protected area Veleka.
Petrova niva can be reached over an alternative road from the village Indzhe Voivoda, instead of taking the turnoff to Mladezhko village, continue on the road to the village of Bliznak, thence to the villages Evrenozovo and Zvezdets as south of village Bliznak you can view the remains of an ancient and medieval fortress, and on 2 km after Evrenozovo over the asphalt road, a dolmen. On 200 m after village Zvezdets turn left towards Petrova Niva. Pass the chapel "Gospodyovo manastirche", after that the vicinity Cheshmenski polyani with a public fountain and a shelter with fireplace, continue along the Thracian mounds in the area Mahmukyovo (on 4km from Cheshmenski polyani), then along vicinity Parnarat, the turnoffs for caves Golyamata vupa and Vapata. The total length of the route "village Indzhe Voivoda - Petrova Niva" is 39 km as the road is almost smooth - with soft ascents and descents.
From Trakiiski lager the route "Green Corridor - the River Road" continues to vicinity Kachul, which is on 14.5 km soft descent along Veleka River. Drive over a flat dirt road that follows the river curves and sometimes hides in the forest tunnels, then passes through lush green meadows.
In the vicinity Kachul there are suitable places for camping and several tourist complexes and villas before and after crossing the secondary road (II-99) Tsarevo - Malko Tarnovo, accommodation in which might require a reservation. From this point along the flow of Veleka to its river mouth, passing through the villages Kosti and Brodilovo is a distance of 48 km.
From the vicinity Kachul on 6 km direction Southwest and 260 m difference in altitude over the main road to Malko Tarnovo you can visit the Nature site "Kamenska Barchina" which is a complex of interesting formations of the rare in Strandzha Mountain conglomerate rocks lying at the centre of impressive panoramic views. One of the rocks has the shape of a mushroom, at its base there is a narrow slit called by the locals "proviralishte" (en: a squeeze) to cleanse from sin. On another rock, "solar circles" are carved in the height where the sun shines all day long; they are connected with the solar cult and the god Apollo. Round altars carved almost everywhere in the rocks have been used to prepare "holy wine" and to offer sacrifices deploying different fluids (water, milk, wine, blood).
At 7.3 km to the Northeast and 240 m difference in altitude the road takes you to the village of Grammatikovo, where you can see the interesting interactive exhibition "Forest Collection" by DNP "Strandzha", monument dedicated to the fallen during the Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising, the church "St. 40 Martyrs", Thracian-Roman sanctuary in the vicinity Tumba and the chapels near the village.
Day 3. Kachul vicinity - village of Kosti; Distance: 21 km
From Kachul the route passes south of the River Veleka (on its right bank) along asphalt road to the left of a forest arboretum with exotic and relict plant species, past the chapel "St. Mary" with a public fountain next to it and continues over a dirt road in the picturesque valley along Veleka River towards the village of Kosti while driving through the scenic canyon in the old oak-beech forests.
On 5.3 km is the turnoff to Indipascha - Thracian consecrated ground with a healing spring. Here you can see a lot of evergreen vegetation - Colchica Holly, Cherry Laurel, (Daphne pontica L.), Hart's-tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), Ruscus - here is the most western point of the distribution of Strandzha periwinkle (Rhododendron ponticum).
Over the gravel road on 4.1 km alongside the downstream of River Veleka, through Zhelyov pryahod, you can cross towards the village of Gramatikovo, which is remote on 7.4 km and 250 m climb.
After another 3.7 km to the right is the junction to Vlahov dol, and on 1.8 km from there, a marked dirt road along the valley leads to the most holy place for the nestinari (dancers of glowing embers) Golyamoto ayazmo (en: the Great holy spring). There, on the Sunday before June 3 the residents of five villages connected with the ritual Nestinarstvo: Bulragi, Kosti, Brodilovo, Gramatikovo and Slivarovo gather after pilgrimage procession.
To the village of Kosti still remain 7.2 km of a flat dirt road. At several places along the road there are gazebos with tables and benches (next to the bridge after the turnoff to Vlahov dol, next to the small waterfall, further 1.5 km from there and then after the dairy farm). The total length of the route between Kachul and the village of Kosti, along the river valley of Veleka, is 21 km over mostly flat terrain.
In and around the village of Kosti, surrounded by hills covered with ancient forests, there is more to see. Kosti is known as one of the first settlements in the "nestinar region". The villages Kosti and Brodilovo offer great examples of the so called Strandzhan architecture style, which contributes to a unique vision of the settlements. The church "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" in the village centre should not be missed for its remarkable wood-carved iconostasis. The centre you can get more detailed information about the roads from the info boards and locals. At the village square there is a supermarket and a local/pub, and on the opposite side of it, to the right of the church is a public fountain.
To the chapel "St. Mary" you will have to pass a rope bridge over the River Veleka, then crossing over riverside meadows and continuing over a gravel road following the river flow in the vicinity Kreynero where you can find a shelter and fountain. Continue along the road between large arrays of beech forests with Strandzha periwinkle, after 3 km it deviates to the east (right) over the ridge and then descends to Bogorodishki dol. There is a small pool with waterfall and wooden platform for recreation. The tourist marking is yellow-blue-yellow and white-green-white. Nearby grows the oldest beech tree in Strandzha, 800 years of age.
To nature site "Sveti Iliya"(en:"St. Elijah")- 14 old oak trees, with a chapel and "holy springs", drive on the asphalt road towards the village of Bulgari and 2-3 streets before the end of the village turn left direction Veleka. The marking is white-blue. Here on July 20, on the day of St. Elias, people celebrate the village holiday.
To the village of Bulgari can be reached through the locality Dyado Vulcho, Protected area "Piren" and 4.2 km along II-99 direction Tsarevo to drive to the protected area "Marina Reka" (Marina River); on the way back from the village Bulgari, go down on main road through Nature Reserve "Silkosia".
To the Sanctuary "Sveta Marina" (en: St.Marina), take the old road to the village Slivarovo, which is starting on the right (south) river bank of Veleka upstream (back on the road to Kachul) as 300 m after the bridge turn left on an asphalt road passing along the former sawmill.
Day 4. Village of Kosti - Village of Sinemorets; Distance: 27 km
The route continues from the village of Kosti to the river mouth of Veleka, starting at the village centre along the fountain to the east on a wide asphalt road that runs along the left river bank and Protected area "Kulkata". 4 km after the start, the asphalt road goes left towards the vicinity Dyado Vulcho and to the village Brodilovo a dirt road continues straight, which is possible to be partly flooded in spring time. The tourist marking is white-blue-white. The road passes along a shelter in the vicinity Pevtich, the fountains Kazepov and Rashov izvor, it crosses the river Elenitsa and comes out on the road Tsarevo - Brodilovo just before the bridge in the village. You can visit the church "St. Panteleimon ", built in 1911, a monument of culture, which is one of the last carved iconostasis in Strandzha, a masterpiece of the local carver - Yannis the teacher. The village is surrounded by numerous chapels and sacred springs (ayazma) and was one of the "nestinar" centres. Now Brodilovo develops rural tourism. North of Brodilovo is the mount Golyamata Papia, where you can see the remains of the fort Papiya (use the turnoff from the asphalt road to Tsarevo).
Exit the village to the east, the road splits in two, to the left goes the hiking and equestrian route to Ahtopol and to the right along the river valley of Veleka among longose and wide beech forests with rhododendrons beneath them, the route continues to the river mouth. Info and sign- plates are missing. The marking is white-blue-white.
Riverbanks are overgrown with lush vegetation. After about 6 km along the downstream in the area of Tsarskoto kladenche, you will enter protected area "Mouth of the River Veleka" - the lower river flow, which is navigable. The river bed is expanding; its fast moving waters are calming down and begin to twist in picturesque meanders. 9km away from Brodilovo, in the locality Palihora there is a shelter with a fountain.
To get to the very mouth of River Veleka, climb over the bridge on the main road to the village Sinemorets and on 500 m after it, take the dirt road to the left, of where in front of you will reveal an impressive sight to one of the most beautiful pieces of untouched nature along the South Black Sea coast. A steep path descends to the bottom along a small fountain and recreation area in the low.
The distance between the village of Kosti and the river mouth of Veleka is 27 km (primarily on stabilized dirt road and 900 m over the asphalt road before the village of Sinemorets) and can be travelled within 1 day.
Total time: 4 days
Food and drink: you can find small shops in the villages Debelt, Prisad, Dimchevo, Tvarditsa, Gabar, Zidarovo, Varshilo, Indzhe Voivoda, Mladezhko, Stoilovo, Gramatikovo, K, Brodilovo, Sinemorets.
Equipment: bicycle, tires with tread pattern suitable for asphalt and dirt roads, spare inner tire, tire patches, pump, tool kit, front and rear bicycle lights, sports suit and shoes, raincoat, helmet, small backpack or saddlebags, sleeping bag or a tent, map of the area or GPS device, glasses - sun protection or insects stopping, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, first aid kit, pre-vaccination against ticks travel insurance.
Service: in Burgas city, in the city of Malko Tarnovo across the building of Border Police.
Accommodation: village of Varshilo - Gorski kut (tel: + +359 / 898 649 383), village of Indzhe Voivoda - houses or guest rooms; village of Mladezhko - bungalows of Burgas airport, villas, guest houses (tel. number of one of them: +359 / 887 397 965); Site Kachul - Tourist complex (tel. +359 / 887 825 734), Villa Bohemi (tel. +359 / 888 963 676), Kachul villa (tel. +359 / 885 948 883); village of Kosti - guest house Silkosia (tel. +359 / 876 413 402), Guest house Pangovski; village of Bulgari - guest houses (Villa Georgievi); village of Gramatikovo - villas and guest houses; village of Brodilovo - villas and guest houses; village of Sinemorets - hotels, villas and guest houses.
1. Note that in Strandzha Mountain phones often lose signal.
2. The route passes through remote and low populated areas and you might not meet people that can provide aid when needed, for hours or even days.
3. From May to late September in the mountains there are many flies and you are advised to take necessary precautions to prevent them from annoying you - protecting glasses, towel, repellent.
4. It is desirable to be vaccinated against Crimean hemorrhagic fever and Lyme disease because of the large numbers of ticks present especially during the spring months.
5. Be wary of unsolicited meeting with hornets, wasps and snakes, load your first aid kit with anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory medicaments against possible bites.
6. In Strandzha it is compulsory to carry personal documents that can be require for verification by the Border Police officers.
|Length: 145km||length of time: 4 days|
|- asphalt road:45km||- bike lanes: 3km|
|- dirt road: 97km||- displacement: 1320m|
Routes and sites
Километър 0 42.495311, 27.471684
Sinemorets 42.060605, 27.976084
VAYA LAKE – BOATS PIER AND BOAT TRIPS 42.510631, 27.367642
LALE BAIR (THE HILL OF LOVE) 42.424217, 27.456017
MOUTH OF IZVORSKA RIVER PROTECTED SITE 42.401944, 27.440056
NATURAL LANDMARK “CAVES AND SPRINGS NEAR MLADEJKA RIVER” 42.152058, 27.357522
THE VILLAGE OF ZABERNOVO AND PARORIA PROTECTED AREA 42.102125, 27.562211
INDIPASHA 42.004811, 27.653386
GOLJAMATA AYAZMA (VLAHOV DOL) 42.027522, 27.726153
MARINA REKA PROTECTED AREA and– ECO TRAIL 42.115436, 27.761444
NATURAL SITE ST ILIYA, NEAR THE VILLAGE OF KOSTI 42.058594, 27.763567
THE VILLAGE OF KOSTI 42.059006, 27.780356
„SILKOSIA” RESERVE 42.089294, 27.752575
MOUTH OF VELEKA RIVER PROTECTED AREA 42.069428, 27.968331