Budget Travels Hiking Outdoor Activities Rural Holidays Rural Hiking Tour

570€ per person
6 Days
More than 1


Experience the great outdoors of Eastern Rhodope mountains with this six days guided walking tour. Explore spectacular nature areas with abundant wildlife, authentic villages, and organic cuisine.
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What's included

Bulgaria , Eastern Rhodope , Ivaylovgrad , Madzharovo , Studen kladenets Discover Destinations
Departure Location
Sofia, Bulgaria
Return Location
Sofia, Bulgaria
Price includes
  • Accommodation in twin room
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Half board meals
  • Lunches/picnics as described
  • Specialist English speaking tour guide
  • Transport to start and departure point
Price does not include
  • Flights to Bulgaria and back
  • Medical insurance and emergency insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to guide and driver
Additional Prices
4 people in the group: 650€

Walking along scenic lakes in the Rhodope Mountains, the magnificent Arda river, dramatic mountain slopes, and green deciduous forests. Griffon Vultures and other interesting birds make this hiking adventure emotional.

Wild farm Madzharovo
The Wild Farm, Flight shots over the Arda river canyon, Madzharovo, Eastern Rhodope mountains, Bulgaria. Photo by: Staffan Widstrand

Traditions & Culture

A tireless guardian of traditions and culture, the Eastern Rhodopes are an area of spiritual and religious abundance. The Rhodopean people have been fiercely oppressed for a long time (during the Ottoman empire, then by Communist regime), but they started to create a new nature-based economy, using Dutch experience and training from professional experts, not so long ago.

Rhodope Mountains
Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Kiril Makarov


The stranglehold is in the past now, although still in the oldest people’s heads, and the region’s creative milieu is streaked by traditions, whether it’s folklore entertainment, contemporary art, culinary festival, or house architecture. Food is another creative arena that has become a nice obsession in certain villages. And spiritual sites like Thracian sanctuaries and temples bring some mysterious touch into this beautiful area.

Stone roof
Stone roof, Eastern Rhodope, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Todor Mitkov

A Tale of Few Cultures

The Eastern Rhodope mountains are deeply multicultural, with one in three Rhodopean people being muslim, many Pomaks (Thracian origin), some Catholic-Orthodox and all others – Slavic-Orthodox. This multiplicity penetrates intrinsically Rhodopean guest houses; the regional Museums of Kardzhali and Ivaylovgrad have collections as varied as they are magnificent, while the flavours at centuries-old local outdoor markets run the full agricultural spectrum.


  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
Day 1

Transfer to Kardzhali

Transfer from Sofia Airport to the bank of the lake Studen kladenets, region of Kardzhali. Accommodation is at a beautiful cottage in a lovely rural setting.

Day 2

Hiking Studen kladenets

Motor boat will transfer the group to the nature reserve where this walking day begins. Lake Studen kladenets is absolutely stunning and boat tour is a must do when visiting the area. Scenery lake views, abundant deciduous forest and smiley local people feature today's hike adventure. Highlight is the great wall of the lake and the Abrasive canyon - abrasive mineral rocks on Arda river is a place likened to the moon surface. A deep canyon was formed in the rocks by the river flow. The sharp abrasive minerals brought by the the frantic water pace, furrowed the rock surface into tiny sharp fragments. This is where the second day accommodation is settled - nice guest house in the nearby village.

Day 3

Hiking along Arda river

The hike trip goes ahead to discover the great area of the ancient volcano of Madzharovo. The river Arda meanders through green forests and rich wildlife territories reaching the dramatically sculpted volcanic rocks. Vultures and eagles will escort you all along on this epic walking adventure. Madzharovo area is a famous birding area where you will stay overnight in the lovely hotel rooms of the BirdLife nature conservation center.

Day 4

Hiking Madzharovo

The impressive start of the forth day will load you up with energy for all day long. The itinerary follows the edge of the former volcano with exceptional mountain views. Great oak forest, fresh springs, view points and culture monuments on the way. On this evening you will dive into the natural hospitality of the local people because accommodation is organized in private rental houses of people from the village of Gornoseltsi. There is no other adventure like this one where taste of the food and freshness of the air are simply unforgettable.

Day 5

Heading to Greek border

Last hiking day in the area between village of Gornoseltsi and Ivaylovgrad highlights a catholic village with interesting old church, game reserve area and panoramic point over the town of Ivaylovgrad. Besides the lovely countryside the area is rich in nature making this walking day an intriguing visit full of pleasant surprises. Last accommodation is at a nice family hotel in the border town of Ivaylovgrad - 6 km from Greece.

Day 6

Sightseeing and transfer back to Sofia

Before heading to Sofia, you will visit the Ancient Roman villa to discover more hidden secrets of past and present in this incredibly diverse mountain. Expected time arrival in Sofia is 16:00 o'clock.

More about Bulgaria Discover Bulgaria

Bulgaria occupies a strategic location in the Balkans, locked between the Black Sea and the Danube river. Since Ancient times, the country has served as a major crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the oldest land in Europe that rose from the warm sea more than 35 million years ago. Rocks, caves and biodiversity in Bulgaria rank as one of the best in Europe.

More about Eastern Rhodope Discover Eastern Rhodope

The Eastern Rhodopes are a truly mosaic of various landscapes – grasslands, waterlands, deciduous woods, coniferous forest and rocky cliffs. Our nature areas have particular habitats for plants, birds and animals offering unique opportunities for wildlife observation.

More about Ivaylovgrad Discover Ivaylovgrad

Located in the most southern part of the Rhodopes, the area of Ivaylovgrad enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees and Laurel show it. Here you can find some of the most virgin forests in Bulgaria.

More about Madzharovo Discover Madzharovo

Madzharovo is a small Eastern Rhodopean town with approximately 500 inhabitants. Madzharovo is literally located in the center of volcano’s crater, erupted over 35 million years ago. As a result of the volcanic activity, in the rocks around the city are found precious and semiprecious stones. It is this natural wealth that has determined the city's development under socialism as a mining center. And even today, traces of the active work in the mines are still visible.

More about Studen kladenets Discover Studen kladenets

Surface – 15 995 hectares. A water reservoir established in the rocky defile of the Arda River, with vertical cliffs, steep banks covered by scant vegetation and the adjacent maintain hills. It is located between the town of Kardzhali and the village of Studen Kladenets. The Natura 2000 site Studen Kladenets supports 219 bird species. Seven rare species, typical for the Mediterranean zone, occur there: Black-eared Wheatear, Olive-tree Warbler, Sub-alpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Nuthatch, Masked Shrike and Black-headed Bunting. Studen Kladenets reservoir hosts 21 migrating and wintering waterbird species - few colonies of Griffon Vulture breed on the cliff banks of the reservoir, as well as Black Stork, Egyptian Vulture, Stone Curlew, Eagle Owl, Olive-tree Warbler and Masked Shrike. The area holds a significant on a European scale population of the Blue Rock Thrush.

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More about this tour

Tour type: Guided hiking tour. Small groups, up to 10 pax.

Period: May to October

Distance: average 18-20 km, approximately 6-8 hours per day

Start & end city: Sofia, Bulgaria


  • Accommodation in this hike tour is in cottages/guest houses/family hotels. Some place have shared bathrooms.
  • Food is included and presents the great variety of tasty ingredients and recipes of Bulgarian traditional cuisine. Lunches are packed. Small shops are available in most of the villages along the itinerary.
  • Vegetarian and other menu available upon request.


NOTE: This hike tour could be tailor made according to your preferences.

Difficulty grade: Relaxed walking, leisure, suitable for all levels.

Level of comfort: Generally comfortable. Some accommodations have shared bathroom facilities. Lunch is package. Transfer of main luggage is included.

Hiking experience: Not necessary

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Rewilding Rhodopes
Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation
Bulgarian Society for the Protection of birds
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Rural Hiking Tour

570€ per person
6 Days
More than 1

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