The Rhodope Mountains are a network of paths and trails that vary in length, difficulty and terrain, from wide grassy pastures to sheer rocky drops. The scenery is constantly changing as you wind around the mountains; enclosed leafy lanes turn into beautiful views far across the valleys. You can follow the domestic animal well-worn tracks or venture down overgrown paths only kept open by wildlife. The woods consist of natural broadleaf trees, including Oak and Silver Birch interspersed with a mixture of pine trees, and make great habitats for flora and fauna, including many varieties of wild flowers, ferns and mushrooms. The Eastern Rhodope Mountains is the most biodiverse region in Europe and as a result, plenty of wildlife is all around with native tortoises, lizards, deer, golden eagles and many rare species of butterfly. There are also many night time animals such as hare, boar, wolves and bears but these are extremely shy animals and even the villagers who have lived here over 70 years have never seen bears.
We have mapped out and marked routes to help you get to know the area, whether independently or in groups, and remarkably mobile phone coverage is excellent. Most routes cover many terrains so good footwear is important for safe and comfortable mountain walking. The weather affects the paths and dry sandy slopes can become as slippy as wet leaves and rocks in Autumn. On the maps are marked streams to cross but in high summer these can dry up completely. If you intend to walk the more adventurous unmarked routes than you will need a more supportive boot.
Another plus is there are regular watering holes all along the main track, stone or slate built arches with a constant supply of fresh clear mountain spring water so you can refresh and refill bottles. These are also marked on the maps. Another piece of human intervention we appreciate!
The really great thing about mountain walking is you feel closer to nature and more observant to your surroundings, watching the deer grazing and finding Chanterelle mushrooms. High summer is from late July to early September, reaching 40°C and can be too hot for any midday walking however mountain weather is very changeable and short showers and thunder storms can occur any time of the year. Also something to bear in mind is in late September temperatures in the mountains drop quickly at night. Night walking is a brilliant way to see the starry sky without light pollution though if you stray off the main path you’ll need a good torch ☺