Plovdiv is a beautiful city but especially around the summer it tends to get a bit busy and very hot and one might feel they need a change of pace. Although some of our hills provide a quick and wonderful escape, the city is also situated between two of the biggest mountains in the country – the Rhodopi mountain and Stara planina (“The old mountain”, also known as “The Balkan”). That creates an opportunity for city tourism to be combined with nature walks. Therefore, if you have extra time in the region and are looking to explore a bit further, we recommend you to head out to the mountains and take one of the eco-trails.
In this article, we have gathered three eco-trails around the city. Their starting points are between 20 and 50 km away from the city and they will take you to one of the above-mentioned mountains. All the trails combine the pleasure of a walk in nature with the visit of some historical and natural sights. Some of them are famous, others a bit less known but all hold the promise for an unforgettable day trip.
“The way of the legions” is an eco-trail that follows an ancient Roman route in the Rhodopi mountain. The trail connects two of the most popular attractions around Plovdiv – The Asen’s fortress and the Bachkovo monastery. The Asen’s fortress is a historical sight with archaeological importance. It dates back to the Thracian period – V-IV century BC. However, the most significant reconstruction was done in 13th century AC by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II. That is also why the fortress nowadays carries his name. The Bachkovo monastery, on the other hand, is the second biggest monastery in the country. It dates back to the 11 century AC and is extremely beautiful.
The route of the eco-trail is around 6 km long and takes about 3h to be completed. It goes through the heart of the Rhodopi mountain and provides picturesque views. What is more, the eco-trail was recently renovated and on the way, you will find benches and panoramic terraces. The markings are in the colors white-green-white.
You can take a peek here.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get there is to take a bus or a train to Asenovgrad. The trains leave from the Central railway station once an hour and the trip lasts around 40 minutes. The buses leave from the Bus station “Yug” (South) also once an hour. The fortress is situated 2 km above Asenovgrad and it is very easy to get to.
This is a very interesting eco-trail that is less known as it is situated further away from the city. It is approximately 4 km and it takes only around an hour to complete. The trail is great for hiking and is of moderate difficulty. According to the local legend, the name of the waterfall comes from the fact that even the swallows can hardly reach the spot. However, the trail is full of beautiful views that make it worth paying a visit.
At the beginning of the route, there is also an equestrian base, named “Wild city”. In case you are feeling a bit more adventurous and you are afraid you won’t make it to the waterfall, you can get there by horse.
Check it out here.
How to get there?
The eco-trail starts from the Dolnoslav village which is 13 km away from Asenovgrad. Therefore, the best way to get there is by car. You can rent a car or go by taxi. The bus traveling to Kurdzhali from the Rhodopi bus station also has a stop at the village and the price of the ticket is only 3 lv. Another option is to get a bus or train to Asenovgrad and take a taxi from there.
That eco-trail will take you to the Balkan which is situated north of Plovdiv. The trail only takes around 2h to complete and is less than 2km long. It is suitable for both adults and children and is a lot of fun since it actually goes in a circle. Not to worry, there is an information table with a map of the route so you won’t get lost.
The route will take you up and down providing interesting views. There is also a waterfall on the river which you will be able to see on your way. At the beginning of the trail, there is a big meadow with wooden benches and tables, making it the perfect location for a family picnic. After that, you can explore the nearby monastery or the city of Kalofer. It is a good place to explore traditional Bulgarian cuisine as well.
Look it up here.
How to get there?
The best way to get to the trail is by car. It is near the town of Kalofer (around 50 km away from Plovdiv) and it starts around 200 m after the male monastery of the city – “Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno”. That is also a good place to park your car.
Author: Free Plovdiv Tour Guide – Nikolina Mihaylova