Mouth of River Veleka - The mouth of River Rezovska - the City of Malko Tarnovo
through Protected area Silistar - Village of Kosti - Chapel St. Elijah - Sanctuary St. Marina - Vlahov dol - Village of Slivarovo - Indipascha - Kamenska Barchina
Day 1. Distance: 45.3 km
Starting point of the route is the mouth of River Veleka, where you can enjoy the beautiful views, interesting rock formations, among which the most attractive are the "Sphinx", the "Pigeons" and the "Divided crag". The route goes through the village Sinemorets and continuing over the asphalt road to Rezovo. From the sign for Sinemorets over the asphalt road to the junction for protected area "Silistar", the distance is 5.4 km, from where on 900 m along a dirt road reach the actual bay with picturesque but strongly parsed sea coast.
Protected area "Silistar" is one of the most beautiful bays on the southern Black Sea coast - scenic views, rock formations, fjords, white Pontic dunes, sand lily, and rich biodiversity. The distance from the mouth of River Veleka to Silistar along the bike route is 7.2 km (1.6 km of dirt road and 5.4 km asphalt) with difference in altitude of 50 m.
From Silistar to the village of Rezovo over the asphalt road is 6.5 km and on the halfway there you can stop at Cape Kastrich then continue along the enclosure (the path is cleared periodically and sometimes could be quite overgrown) and descend down over a dirt road that follows the coast line and after 2.5 km fuses with the asphalt road.
The old names of the village Rezovo are associated with the name of the Thracian king Rhesus, who participated in the Trojan War. In the past, the village has often changed its position because of the constant attacks by Caucasian pirates (lazi). Nowadays Rezovo was settled in 1903 and immediately after that the settlers built a new church called "St. St. Constantine and Elena ". In its vicinity in many places there are traces of metallurgical activities. In the area of Selski dol, on 3-4 km west of the village except the ore processing evidence there is also Thracian necropolis.
The Mouth of River Rezovska is on the border between Bulgaria and Turkey - a beautiful bay divided between two countries, wintering place for many waterfowl and hunting in the sea otters. Along the river Rezovska rolling hills alternate with beautiful rock formations, numerous rapids passing in quiet river sections.
From the village of Rezovo the route goes back to the border facility next to Cape Kastrich. Hence the difficulty becomes greater due to the large difference in altitude. The map shows four ways to enter to Route № 4, which you can use as an alternative. The advantage of this route is that in wet weather it does not form puddles and swampy places.
From the junction to Cape Kastrich turn left on a dirt road along the enclosures. The terrain climbs up gradually 9.3 km to 260 m altitude, where is the turnoff to the village of Sinemorets. After 6.2 km from there the road subducts itself from the border facility in direction Northwest, and after a total of 8.3 km from the turnoff to Sinemorets, with slight ascents and descents you will reach the junction to the village of Brodilovo below the mount Hodzhata (326 m asl) . 900 m before the junction is a turnoff on the right, along which after about 400 m you will reach a small fountain. From the junction under mount Hodzhata, continue further 5.5 km to the west to the locality Odereto as along the way appear remnants of asphalt. There, past the wooden pavilion, you can go down to the chapel "St. George" with a fountain, tables and benches.
If you continue right on the junction, after 5 km smooth downhill over an asphalt road with 230 m difference in altitude, then past the chapel St.Marina, you will reach the village of Kosti. The village 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 e 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".
The distance between the villages Rezovo and Kosti is 31.6 km; including 8.5 km asphalt road and the remaining 23.1 - a dirt road.
Day 2. Distance 52.5 km.
From Kosti, go back to the locality Odereto using the same way, where right on the junction over the gravel forest road, continue to the village Slivarovo. Along the road at 2.5 km to the right, there is a fountain and shelters with tables and benches and after further 1.5 km a deviation to the left for Makyovtsi. After a total of 5.5 km long ride to Odereto, without any serious ascents and descents, you will reach the locality Yabalkite, where is the chapel of St. Constantine and the fountain Yabalkite next to it.
From Yabalkite take left direction to the cave-sanctuary "St. Marina". If you are interested to visit the place, you will have to get in touch in advance with Border Police on their duty phone: +359 / 5952 3095 or +359 / 5952 23095 for permission to walk through and unlock the gate of the 13th stand, as 1 km after the junction you will reach the border facility. Every year on July 17 the residents of the neighbourhood villages celebrate the church holiday of Saint Marina and come on a pilgrimage to the cave. For now there are no markings and signs and the last 200 m take you to the right of the dirt road on a narrow trail leading you down to a gazebo with tables. The sanctuary is located down after the wood stairway inside the open cave in the cliffs with a spring nearby. The total difference in altitude from the site Yabalkite is 80 m. For more security you can call a local tour guide from the village Slivarovo - Mr. Yanaki Gradev (tel: +359 / 5952 4493 or +359 / 898 790 806).
The distance from the village of Kosti to Cave-sanctuary "St.Marina" is 13.5 km, including 5 km on asphalt, 6.6 km on gravel and the rest on a dirt road.
To continue to the village Slivarovo you can use the 12 km long marked bikeway (marked in yellow colour), passing through the border zone and the localities Likudi and Zipkata or return along the same way to the site Yabalkite and from there to the left along a stabilized road. On 4.8 km away from Yabalkite after gradual uphill, to the right is the junction to Vlahov dol where is the most holy place for the "nestinari" - Golyamoto ayazmo (en: the Great holy spring). To reach it you will have to go down (4% total slope) a marked dirt road (marked with blue colour) with a length of 3.6 km. At this place, on the Sunday before June 3 residents from the five nestinar villages - Bulragi, Kosti, Brodilovo, Gramatikovo and Slivarovo gather after the pilgrimage procession.
The distance from Cave-sanctuary "St. Marina" to Golyamoto Ayazmo is 11.4 km.
To get back to the village Slivarovo follow the same route, as coming out on the old road Slivarovo-Kosti starts gradually uphill with a slope of 3.3% along the crest Rezovsko. On 4.8 km to the left is the turnoff to the village along the enclosure and for now there is no signboard. From the border facility to village the distance is 3.2 km, over a downhill with a slope of 5%, and just before it to the right is the chapel "St. George ". Located among ancient forests, alongside the scenic winding river Rezovska, the village of Slivarovo today is the smallest village in Strandzha with the total of 9 residents. From the village church to the right, past the graveyard, you can get down to the bank of River Rezovska along a marked hiking trail.
The distance from Golyamoto ayazmo to the village of Slivarovo is 11.6 km.
On 1.4 km from the turnoff to Slivorovo, next to the border facility along the road to Malko Turnovo, over the crest Rezovsko, to the right is the road to Indipascha - Thracian consecrated ground with healing spring. The road is not marked, but there are signs on the trees at key location. After 4.1 km gradual downhill and 5% slope, along a forest dirt road amidst old oak and beech trees, you will reach a pretty flat place with wooden tables and benches where you can relax and put down for a while the bikes and luggage, as coming next is a quite steep descent (length 100 m) along a secured path into deep dank dale called Ayazmovski. The water springs out under a huge rock, covered with ivy. It is believed that water from the holy spring has greater healing power one week after Easter. Then at the consecrated ground, the locals celebrate with a fair and sacrifice meals for health. 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).
The distance from Slivarovo to Indipascha is 8.7 km.
To go back to Malko Tarnovo follow the same route but this time at the junction over the crest, continue right over the stabilized road leading to the secondary asphalt road Malko Tarnovo - Tsarevo. The distance from Indipascha to the town of Malko Tarnovo is 16.6 km, 10.1 km of stabilized road and 6.5 km of asphalt road.
From the site Indipascha you can drive downhill for 2 km over the stabilized road from the village of Kosti to the locality Kachul along River Veleka and then go left on it against the river flow. Reach Kachul after 5.3 km, where you can stay overnight in several tourist resort and villas - Tourist Complex (tel. +359 / 887 825 734), Villa Bohemi (+359 / 888 963 676), Villa Kachul (tel. +359 / 885 948 883).
Day 3. Distance 17 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 and Thracian rock sanctuary "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).
On 10.5 km to the southwest from the turnoff to Kamaka, along II-99 is the town of Malko Tarnovo. Do not miss to visit the museum complex, the Orthodox Church "Assumption", the East Catholic church "Holy Trinity", the site Golemiya vris (a spring) and the visitor's centre of Natural Park Strandzha.
Around the city you can visit the chapels "St. Mary" on 3 km north-west in the localities Peikova and Bozheyme, which is on 3 km southeast in the area Tsarnogorovo.
The total distance from the mouth of River Veleka to the town of Malko Tarnovo is 115 km and if the route is taken without pulling in any tourist sites, the distance is 59.3 km.
The distance from the town of Malko Tarnovo to the Turkish border is 10 km along I-9 (E-87) with a difference in the altitude of 200 m.
Total time: 3 days
Food and drink: you can find shops in the villages Sinemorets, Rezovo, Kosti and Malko Tarnovo; Public fountains in Sinemorets, Rezovo, Kosti and Malko Turnovo, in the vicinities Odereto and Yabulkite as well as on the way between them, two fountains along the road II-99 between Malko Tarnovo and the turnoff to Slivarovo, Ayazmoto in the cave "St. Marina", Vlahov Dol and Indipascha.
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 protecting or insects stopping, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, first aid kit, pre-vaccination against ticks travel insurance.
Service: in the city of Malko Tarnovo across the building of Border Police.
Accommodation: in the villages Sinemorets and Rezovo - hotels, villas and guest houses; village of Kosti - guest house Silkosia (+359 / 876 413 402), house Pangovski; vicinity Kachul - Tourist Complex (+359 / 887 825 734), Villa Boheme (+359 / 888 963 676), villa Kachul (+359 / 885 948 883); Malko Tarnovo - guest houses Bildnix (+359 / 41 and 5952 60 +359 / 88 5678 505), Belite kushti (tel. +359 / 886 708 161) and hotel Zelenika (+359 / 888 525 737).
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: 115km||length of time: 3 days|
|- asphalt road: 40km||- bike lanes: 1km|
|- dirt road: 74km||- displacement: 1200m|
Routes and sites
MOUTH OF VELEKA RIVER PROTECTED AREA 42.069428, 27.968331
SILISTAR PROTECTED AREA 42.022500, 28.009750
THE VILLAGE OF REZOVO – THE MOUTH OF REZOVSKA RIVER 41.974797, 28.029708
ST. MARINA CAVE - SANCTUARY 41.981789, 27.747839
GOLJAMATA AYAZMA (VLAHOV DOL) 42.027522, 27.726153
THE VILLAGE OF SLIVAROVO 41.967914, 27.664600
INDIPASHA 42.004811, 27.653386
KAMENSKA BURCHINA (THE STONE) NATURAL LANDMARK 42.008433, 27.591014
MALKO TURNOVO 41.979667, 27.523819