The Rodope Mountain

The Rodope Mountain

The Rodope Mountain has played an important role in people’s lives during the Ottoman Rule. They seek protection in the mountains thick forests and caves. The local folklore is also deeply influenced by the mountain. There is nothing in the world, which can be compared to the beautiful sound of the Rodopian Caba Gaida (back pipe). Numerous folklore fairs and events present the beautiful spirit of the mountain and the sounds and movements of the performers somehow enliven the nature.

The Rhodope Mountain is the oldest mountain massif in Bulgaria. As a whole, this big mountain massif has a slight southeast inclination. It is cut by a complicated network of valleys, shaping numerous, multidirectional mountain parts. Bessapar Elevations and Haskovo Hilly Land are also referred to the Rhodopes.

Two main parts have been differentiated:

• Western Rhodopes (with an emphatically mountainous character: high ridges, deeply cut, excavated and separated valleys, spacious inner mountain valleys), and
Eastern Rhodopes (hilly relief, cut by valleys separated by gorges and steep slopes) with numerous sub-parts. The combination between the mild climate and the great number of warm mineral springs, which have turned numerous settlements into climatic resorts, has been a good prerequisite for the mountains to be visited all year round. The Rhodopes are rich with their wildlife. More than 2,000 flora species have been known to grow here, more of 90 of them endemic Balkan plants. Predominant in the Eastern Rhodopes are the forests of hairy oak, Venerable oak, durmast, black fir, Moesian beech, hornbeam, sycamore and others. The green masses of coniferous species - spruce, pine spruce, black spruce and others, growing mostly in the Western Rhodopes, are the mountains' greatest wealth.

Both mountain parts are extremely rich in their network of rivers and a great number of dams. Some 17 nature reserves, some of them under UNESCO protection, have been established for the protection of the plant and animal world and for the preservation of the valuable coniferous species. The incredible beauty of the mountains, combined with the fragrance of oleo-resin, the curative Rhodopean air, the freshness and aroma of the flowers amidst the spacious meadows, the cold and transparent spring water, the harsh beauty of the dizzying karst gorges, the fairy-tale world of the caves and the small hamlets, picturesquely perching on the elevations or concealed amidst the flowery little valleys, have made quite a few Bulgarians or strangers come back again and again.

The Western Rhodope occupies more than 66% of the mountains' area on Bulgarian territory part and is more scenic and visited. Rising here is the highest peak of the Rhodopes - Golyam Perelik (2,191 m) and m than 10 other peaks over 2000 metres. In this part there are also karst gorges, breathtaking by their dizzying rock wreaths - Bouinovsko, Trigrad, the gorges Chaira, Gerzovitsa, and Mostova Soushitsa Rivers. Beautiful caves like: Yagodinska (in Bouinovsko Gorge, mi the river of the same name), Dyavolskoto Gurlo (the Devil's Throat) and Haidoushka (in Trigrad Gorge), Snezhanka (Snowhite) (on the left slope of Novomahalenska River, above the 1 Peshtera), Lednitsata (Ice House, Chelveshtnitsa, Lopa Western Rhodopes are also: Dyavoskiyat Most (the Devil's Bridge) nature phenomenon (in Bouinovsko Gorge); (the Elephant) rock formation, a part of the Caravan rock formation (by Nastan District of the town of Devin); Orpheevata Skala (Orpheus'Rock) on Mt Ouspa (above the town of Smolyan).

Numerous old-time monasteries have been built next to Old Bulgarian settlements in the depths of the mountains. Standing out among them an Bachkovo Monastery of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, Batoun Monastery of St. St Peter and Paul, The Shroud of the Holy Mother of God Monastery (above the Krustova Gora locality), Belashtitsa Monastery of St George the Victorious, Byala Cherkva Monastery of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Gomi Voden Monastery of St Kozma and Damyan, Krichim Monastery of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin.

Famous towns and resorts in the Rodope mountains are:

- Batak a mountain climatic resort, located in proximity to the big Batak Dam. - The town of Bratsigovo is a balneology centre and mountain resort town. It is easy accessible from Plovdiv, Septemvri and Pazardzhik.

- Bedenski Mineralni Bani(Beden Mineral Baths) is a balneology centre and a mountain resort.
- Byala Cherkva is a mountain climatic resort centre.
- Velingrad a balneology and mountain resort centre. The town is a notable spa resort, offering a variety of spa procedures. The mineral springs are more than 70, with temperatures, ranging from 22 to 90 degrees Centigrade. Climatic treatment, as well as mud treatment is also practiced.
- The town of Devin is a famous balneology resort centre. The resort is also known as the best SPA resort in the Rodhopi Mountains. The water in the resort is slightly mineralized / 37- 44 C/, fluoric and has a pleasant taste. It ensures year round conditions for recreation and treatment amongst beautiful nature and fresh Bulgarian Mountain air.
- The village of Mihalkovo is a mountain climatic resort centre. It has bus communications with Devin, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik.
- The town of Luki is an architectural reserve. It has bus communications with Assenovgrad, Plovdiv, Smolyan and Chepelare. Nearby sites: numerous caves along Gradishte Ridge, Lovna and Zarenitsa Chalets, the cave north of Mt Zarenitsa (1,642 m).
- Chepelare is a well known mountain resort and a skiing centre providing excellent conditions for winter sports. Chepelare is a beautiful mountain town and the nature that surrounds it – venerable fir trees, mountain springs, green meadows (in the spring) and deep snow slopes in the winter makes it a place for complete and thorough relax. The longest ski run in Bulgaria is in Chepelare.
- Pamporovo is a mountain climatic resort and one of the leading winter resorts in Bulgaria, with excellent conditions for skiing and holiday making.
- The town of Smolyan provides regular bus communications with Sofia, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Dospat and Devin. Very good conditions for mountaineering, entertainment and adequate sleeping accommodation have been created in the town. An extraordinary experience is a visit to the astronomical observatory in the town. 

  • Mario Domínguez From España
    Sent on 23 December 2022
    I have received the best service imaginable, with great flexibility, I have never received such excellent attention as that received with this company
  • Ana Whitton From UK
    Sent on 06 March 2019
    I wanted to write a proper review of our hotel and experience while in Pamporovo, so this is the addition to my email. We flew to Sofia and the pre booked taxi transport was waiting for us. The driver (Kosta) was wonderful and we felt really safe with him driving. Our flight was late and we arrived to the Dafovska hotel after midnight. The reception was open and they were waiting for us. We were given sandwiches and water and shown to our room. The rooms were spacious and warm, the beds comfortable, bathroom lovely and clean. Plenty of hot water, the towels were changed every day and bins emptied. The hotel has Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room which is 12 leva per person with towels. I would have liked the water in the Jacuzzi to be a bit warmer. We went in every day after skiing, apart from one when we tried a different hotel. Snezanka hotel has a swimming pool too. Its ok but it was too busy for us and we decided to stick with ours. Their changing rooms are very very small and you have to pay extra for the towels. We chose half board. There was many things to choose for breakfast, hot food, pancakes, fruit, cereal & toast. Apple & orange juice as well as many teas and coffees. I have to admit I always take my own tea bags . Not having to cook dinner after a day skiing was very welcome. There isn’t really a great choice for strict vegetarians, but I always managed to find tasty food to eat. You can buy drinks from the bar, or bring your own. There is a free shuttle bus that takes you to ski centre Malina. Very busy ski centre. We met with the representative Nelly there. I would have preferred to have the information on what time to be where when we arrived. Nelly organised our helmets (you need to rent this separately, 5 leva per person), ski equipment and our instructor. Well! I cannot give more glowing review for our instructor! Alex was amazing, very patient, very friendly and knowledgeable. We had lessons in the morning, then lunch, which he was very good to organise with the local bar, then another set of lessons. The food in the bars by the ski school and at the top of the slope was very good. Big portions, quickly delivered. I only needed soup at lunch time which were homemade and delicious. Staff, at the ski centre and gondolas, didn’t always speak a lot of English or smile enough but they were never the less very helpful especially with children and beginners. We skied on our last day too and we were picked up from the hotel by a taxi to be taken to the airport. This taxi driver was not so careful and good at driving and we could not wait to get to Sofia and get out of his car. The whole organisation of our trip with BulgariaSki was excellent! Thank you all
  • Richard From England
    Sent on 10 February 2019
    Have just spent 5 nights at the hotel for the second year. Still same high standards. Had a after ski massage with Kateriua, spot on girl knows her stuff. Highly recommended her.
  • Tommyboy From Scotland
    Sent on 07 April 2018
    5th time skiing in Bansko, have been here over Xmas period and Easter break, hasn't always been a lot of snow but enough to ski for five days. It is a good value for money skiing holiday for those on a budget, food very good value and varied depending on taste, some restaurants better than others, again depending on personal taste. Not to sure what the nightlife is like as we stay in our timeshare resort The Balkan Jewel which is 3 > 4 miles out of Bansko, they operate a free shuttle bus but the last one back from town is at 4.30pm therefore going back into town would require the use of taxis. I am sure we will be back in the future.
  • Mitko From Bulgaria
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    Dear all, Borovets is a nice place to be, but it is risky to ski there. The slopes for advanced skiers are crossing the slopes for beginners and the slopes are negligently prepared with icy spots and snow heap places. This all is a precondition for accidents. The ski lifts are maintained all on the surface, they stop frequently and the gondola had to be scrapped years ago. So be careful when skiing in Borovets!
  • Lene willsea From N.i
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    I love Pomporova. Its our home from home.We first went in 2008, the airport was a portacabin and the lifts were a dangling wooden chair.. The place improves year on year. I would highly recommend it. VERY CHEAP once ur there. But with all upgrades the prices to travel are clinbing. Jumped 200 in two yrs.
  • Neo From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2018
    The hotel it’s a brilliant idea however there are aspects you would be surprised to stumble upon We arrived late at night about 10pm. Greater by a very polite hostes she kindly provided us with prepacked sandwiches as the restaurant closed at 9pm ( we called in advance to ask if such is possible especially when you have young ckranky from long travel hours in multiple travel vechicles The room very spatious. Bed cover had some suspicious sticky stains that absolutely horrified me at the thought that my children could possibly put their tiny hands on to that. One of the bath robes provided had a black stain on its back, the other bath robe had its pocket thorn out and just hanging. There was a massive flaky, mouldy, damp patch in the corner on the ceiling. The toilet was leaking on the floor. Breakfast food was cold and rancid with a queue for pncakes quite long and very impatient as pancakes was the only food that you could have still warm. Boiled eggs were cold and so hard the yolk was dusty . Fried eggs were dry... won’t even go to details about the rest of the food. As the drinks offered to be purchased by the restaurant aren’t the healthiest of choice for children (all the juices on choice contained added multiple preserving agents and colourants) we asked if possible to have some tap water. It proved to be a terrible mistake, we were told that yes but we would have to pay for it, then told that if they bring a jug for us everyone else will be asking for it, then he brought a manager who was more rude than the server and plainly put it that even if we have children asking for water we would have to buy bottled water and she is not prepared to give us water for free, unnecessarily often stressing the ?free’ word. There are far more many good things that are good about this hotel. It’s main let down it’s restaurant staff who are poor hospitality professionals and frankly plain rude.
  • Nigel Buckle From United Kingdom
    Sent on 17 December 2017
    I have stayed at the Orlovetz for 6 out of the last 8 years and will be returning in 2018 for another week. It has become my 'Winter retreat'. A modern hotel that stands out due to its prominent position and its design. The rooms are comfortable and warm with plenty of wardrobe space and an area to relax. The safe is in the wardrobe, which is really useful for your valuables. There is a decently equipped gym, a small pool (though you can also use the larger pool in the Perelik as well) a Sauna and massage treatments, great for those aches from the first days of skiing ! The restaurant was made larger a couple of years ago and now accommodates more guests. Both breakfast and dinner are buffet style, the food, in general, is of good quality and there usually at least four different options at dinner. There is a small bar in the lobby area and a Piano Bar on the top floor that has stunning views across the surrounding district. As it is the sister hotel to the Perelik there is a tunnelway that links the two and saves you going out in the snow if you choose to use the alternative facilities provided there. One of them being 'The Pub' (previously known as the Pampi Bar) plus a couple of night clubs and a bowling alley. Also as the Orlovetz is just across from the Schnezanka it is only a short walk to Daks Bar, often used as the first mornings meeting place for your ski passes etc.,which is a lively night spot with live music and very popular. In all a great Hotel within a great small town, try it , Pamper yourself !
  • Liz From England
    Sent on 19 November 2017
    I went with my daughter January 2018. I was a cheap half board flights included and we wasn’t expecting much.... but what a fantastic week we had!! Stayed at the Lion hotel which is about a 10-15 minute walk to the slopes/town. A free shuttle is provide by the hotel. The hotel and staff are lovely. The food was always varied and hot. My daughter and I are vegetarians and in only two nights were we disappointed with the choice - but we heaped up on pudding so didn’t go hungry. Am lucky enough to be going back in 2018.
  • val From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2017
    group of us just back from borovets.we arrived 4th feb 2017 and departed 11th feb.had a great time.hotel rila was fab.great gym and was school was great.we had a really good instructor Martin Hristov.he was really good with everyone took time to try and learn everyone.we all had a great time thankyou.will be back next yearx