Scheduled tour dates – Guaranteed departures!
From 17 to 19 August 2018
Other tour dates upon request
Cycling (ΜΤΒ) and hiking tour
- Chair lift to Bezbog
- Bezbog lake and the small café-hut
- Descent from Bezbog lake to Dobrinishte village
- The meal at the trout farm “Ribamika”
- Old Bansko
- Museums in Bansko
- Gondola lift to “Banderishka meadow”
- “Baikusheva Mura”, the ancient pine tree
- Vihren refuge at 1,950 metres
- Okoto alpine lake at 2,440 metres
- Descent by bicycle along the Demyanitza river
- Dimitri’s picnic next to a stream of the Glazne river
The Pirin Mountain Range, a pleasant surprise
During our trip to discover MTB routes in the Rhodope mountain range, we thought of spending our night in Bansko… Since, though, we are mountain tranquillity enthusiasts, we started going uphill to Vihren refuge, in the shadow of the homonymous peak of the Pirin Mountains, where we started looking for a place for our overnight. The forested steep slopes with abundance of refreshing springs and brooks mesmerised us, and kept us with them as many days were needed, in order to explore this magnificent mountain and to plan a short but exciting cycling tour, postponing for later our original plans about the Rhodope mountains.
We had to cycle a lot and on unknown and difficult paths, since the information provided by the locals wasn’t very accurate and, on top of that, the registered cycling routes seemed very touristy lacking in interest and essence.
Moreover, we hiked to the famous lakes of the area, in order to see whether they could be part of the routes we would plan.
The result of this effort was to compose 3 amazing days of cycling, and much more, in one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited…
Welcome to the mountain of the 176 lakes, of the Slav “god of thunder and lightning”, Perun. We are sure that our short trip will thrill you!
What to bring with you on this tour
In order to know what necessary things to bring with you on this tour, please check the information at the “What to bring” section of our General Information. Especially, though, for this MTB tour you are going to need:
- Please, make sure to carry with you the travel documents that meet the entry requirements of Bulgaria (for more information look at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria
- Hiking and cycling clothing suitable for the season. Due to altitude, we may experience low temperatures even in the summer.
- Towel and swimwear – whoever wants to swim in the natural pools
- Metal coffee cup – for those who don’t wish to drink their coffee from a plastic cup next to Bezbog lake 🙂
Departure and return
Departure: from Philippion Hotel in Thessaloniki
Please, find on the website of the hotel information about the location and how to get there: Philippion Hotel.
Nearest airport: “Makedonia” International Airport (SKG, Thessaloniki)
Return: at Philippion Hotel in Thessaloniki
Gathering at 16.00 at Philippion Hotel. After we arrange our personal belongings and bicycles we depart for the city of Bansko. Estimated time of arrival at about 20.00.
Next, we settle in the rooms of the hotel and have leisure time for sightseeing in the area (museums–old town–pedestrian street). First-day dinner is going to take place in one of the most beautiful and traditional taverns in “old” Bansko. There we will have the chance to taste local specialties and excellent beer! A drink which, according to recent research, is “beneficial” to cycling…
Distance on bicycle: 20 km (1 km on foot and 19 km by bicycle)
Elevation on bicycle: Up 146m / Down 1,534m
Departure at 09.00 by cars towards Dobrinishte town and Gotse Delchev ski resort, where with the help of the lift we are going to ride uphill to Bezbog hut. After a short break in the small café-hut, we are going to walk in the area of the beautiful lake in order to capture the amazing landscape. Afterwards, we are going to cycle first on the ski slope and soon after on a descending path, which is going to take us 1 hour later to the base of Gotse Delchev ski resort. For the less experienced cyclists there is the possibility to follow the beautiful forest road instead of the path. Next we will continue to cycle downhill, following either the quiet route on paved road or through wide paths, always in the green landscape of the area until we reach the trout farm and tavern “Ribamika” for a break and a meal.
Estimated time of return to the hotel is at about 17.00 o’clock, where after a short briefing there is going to be leisure time in order to complete your previous-night quests or to go after new ones in beautiful Bansko. All these, of course, are going to take place after our dinner in a different tavern on this second day.
Distance on bicycle: 23 km (2 km on foot and 21 km by bicycle)
Elevation on bicycle: Up 825m / Down 1,231m
Similarly to the previous day, we start our schedule at 09.00 o’clock in the morning. We are going to gather with our bicycles in order to get on the gondola lift to the “Banderishka meadow” area, at an altitude of 1,600 m, the famous ski centre that operates all year round. From this point we are going to cycle uphill towards Vihren refuge at 1,950 m, with a stopover at “Baikusheva Mura”, a huge and ancient pine tree–a natural monument. In Vihren refuge we are going to fill our flasks with spring water and have a short break for coffee and snack. We are also going to let our bicycles rest for a while and walk for about half an hour to beautiful Okoto lake, which can offer to its visitors a cool swim.
Upon return to the refuge we are going to descend, first following the refuge road and soon the mountaineering path to the “Banderishka meadow”. Then we will ascend until we get to the wide path next to the turbulent Demianitza river. Our route will end up at Dimitri’s outdoor restaurant, where we are going to have dinner. It’s also going to be our farewell dinner, since, after that, we are going to board for our return to Thessaloniki, with estimated time of arrival at about 20.00 to 21.00 hours.
Route specifications table
|General route difficulty level:||Intermediate to difficult*|
|Rider’s ability level (technical):||Intermediate experience to experienced*|
|Physical fitness:||Average to Good*|
|Distance of route:||43 km (40 km by bicycle and 3 km on foot)|
|Elevation:||Total of UP 846 m by bicycle|
Total of DOWN 2,640 m by bicycle
Total of UP 125 m on foot
Total of DOWN 125 m on foot
* For a detailed description of our rating scale please refer to the corresponding Levels of Difficulty Tables on our website.
All the plotted routes are in alpine and forestry environment and for the most part descending and enjoyable, next to rapid streams. Participants should, at least, be of average physical fitness, be knowledgeable about the use of mountain bike, and have technical riding experience of intermediate level to experienced level. For less experienced cyclists there will be alternative routes.
Price and what it includes
The participation fee for “Bansko MTB experience” is the following:
|Prices||and accommodation options|
|€290||single room accommodation*|
|€275||double room accommodation per person*|
Full payment of the participation amount should be settled ten days in advance of the scheduled start of the event.
For discounts for big groups, please contact us.
What is included and what is not in the Guided tour
|INCLUDED||Accommodations for 2 nights in 4 stars hotel|
4 Meals (accompanied by beer or soft drink)
Snacks and water during the tour
2 Lift tickets
2 attendants (van support driver and bilingual certificated bicycle guide with First-Aid certification)
Support vehicle during cycling tour (equipped with first-aid kit and bicycle repair kit)
Transfer of bicycles and participants from Thessaloniki to Bansko and from Bansko to Thessaloniki
Day route maps (directions, distances and elevation profiles)
|NOT INCLUDED||Trip insurance|
Bicycle rental (available under request)
Personal purchases and extra expenses than those mentioned above regarding the hotels
Anything that is not mentioned in the Included items