The Lakata eco-path is a great opportunity for a walk around Devin Town. In order to reach it, the local natives must guide you to the mineral pools and the Lakata area. There is also the beginning of the eco-path. It passes through the areas of “Struilitsa”, “Kaleto” and “Lakata” and two waterfalls – “Samodivsko Praskalo” and “Mecheshki Vodopad”.
Its length is about 4 km, and the whole journey takes about 2-3 hours. There are some rest areas along the route – gazebos and benches.
Distance from the hotel – 4km
The “Hrastevo” eco-path, also known as “Red Stone”, is the perfect place to escape from the summer heat. It was established in 2012 in the protected area “Hrastevo”, located above the town of Devin.
In Hrastevo there are trees whose age reaches 300 years. The area has been declared protected in order to preserve a unique century-old black pine forest, as well as to restore the oldest protected area created in Bulgaria.
The total length of the eco-path is 2.4 kilometers in one direction, and the route is extremely pleasant and easy. There are markings and signposts along the route, and recreation areas have been built.
A panoramic observation tower with a height of 5.6 meters has been built in the “Cherven Kamak” area, which is part of the eco-trail, and the observation deck is at a height of 2.5 meters. The tower is located in the highest part of the route – 939 m above sea level. From the site there are incredible views of the town of Devin and its surroundings.
You can go along the path by steep wooden stairs from the eastern end of the town of Devin, the “Trabeshkovo” area, or by a forest road with a crushed stone pavement, deviating from the Devin – Lisichevo road. You will know the place where you need to turn by the fountain built there, as well as the signposts.
Distance from the hotel: 1.5 km
The Valchi Kamak area is located above the village of Gyovren, Municipality of Devin. The road passes through the Trigrad Gorge in the direction of the “Devil’s Throat” Cave. You will find jeeps there which will always pick you up and take you for a walk around the area. The price is BGN 60 for the entire jeep, regardless of the number of people. Immediately after the sign for the village of Gevren and Valchi Kamak, you should turn left. You pass through a rather small village.
The road is curving, meandering, being almost level in some places, and quite steep in others. This creates an extreme vibe in the visitors.
And this is the way you reach the highest panoramic deck in the Balkans. Kaba Tash Peak is the place from where you can see Pirin and Rila mountains, the Rhodopes Mountain and the Trigrad Gorge. There is a panoramic deck built on the meadow and the view is fascinating. Besides this panoramic deck, there is another one overhanging a rock.
A legend has it that on this peak people left their sheep there and every morning found an animal with a bitten throat. The local natives were on the prowl for days to find out who was doing this. Finally, they caught the perpetrator, who turned out to be a big wolf. They threw the predator off the cliff. As it fell down, there was a loud howl, and since then the area is called Wolf Stone. The local place celebrates its holiday every year around August 22. On this day the people of the village gather and have fun.
Distance from the hotel – 23km
The panoramic viewpoint named Eagle Eye (Orlovo Oko) is one of the most preferred and interesting places for tourists to visit. It is located in the region of Yagodina Village. It is a unique panoramic deck that is the height of more than 1500 meters above sea level. The view of the Eastern Rhodopes is incredible, memorable, and breathtaking. It is located on Saint Ilia Peak, which is one of the highest in the area. The name of the viewpoint comes from the fact that a person’s gaze can reach distant kilometers in all directions.
A view opens to Pirin and Rila mountains, to a part of the Buinovo gorge, to Chala Village, and even to the mountains in Greece. Climbing up to the Eagle Eye is quite an adventure. It is impossible to reach the panoramic site by car. For this reason, at the entrance of the Jagodin Cave, you can rent a jeep to reach the top. The journey is approximately one hour. The other option for reaching the panoramic platform is for lovers of walking. The eco-trail starts from the village of Yagodina. The viewpoint was founded by the Tourist Association “Rhodopeia” – the village of Yagodina, in 2009. The funds from entrance fees for the Yagodina Cave were used to open the place. The safety of visitors to the deck is guaranteed. It is adapted for up to 3 tons of endurance.
Distance from the hotel – 19 km
“The Devil’s path” is a set of wooden bridges, trestles, water cascades, cantilever platforms, erosion cauldrons, rock formations and incredible panoramic platforms, revealing a view of the “Devil’s bridge” rock formation, the confluence of the rivers Chatak Dere and Buinovska. „The Devil’s path“ can be reached starting from the village of Borino. At entrance of the village, you should turn left towards Chala area. There is a sign that will direct you in the direction of “Devil’s Bridge” rock formation and “Devil’s path”. In a few kilometers there is a metal monument with “Devil’s Bridge” inscripted.
You should turn left there and in a hundred meters the eco-path begins, and there is also a parking lot. There are two entrances to the Devil’s eco-trail, the first one is from the village of Borino, and the second one from the Buinovsko Gorge, where the rivers Chatak Dere and Buinovska merge. There are no opening hours and there is no entrance fee. Within a kilometer after the parking lot, you reach a wooden bridge over the Chatak Dere River. Passing through it, there is an entrance to a centuries-old forest.
A slight 15-minute climb will reveal in front of you the rock phenomenon “Devil’s Bridge”. The height of the rock arch is 18 meters. A steep but well secured wooden ladder descends under the bridge. Passing over the bridge, at several places you can see the formidable gorge of Chatak Dere. For those of you who are afraid of heights, you can go around the bridge on a well-secured path. You can sit under the shade and take a rest on the benches where the two paths meet. In about 30 minutes walking, you will reach a cascade of waterfall – the Hidden Waterfalls. Then comes the most extreme part of the eco-trail according to visitors – the Rock Couloir. It is a steep 50-60-meter-high cliff. Wooden stairs have been designed to climb and descent. You will reach the end point in about 10-15 minutes. This is the place where the two rivers merge and where you will find the information point
Distance from the hotel – 24km
In the Western part of Rhodopes Mountain, on the territory of the municipality of Smolyan, there is a small village nestled, which has preserved its authentic appearance to this day, keeping a rich history and a unique cultural heritage. The village of Shiroka Laka is an architectural and ethnographic reserve, the population is about 900 native inhabitants and many traditions and customs have been preserved there. It is famous for its long history and numerous musical performances.
It is located between the two picturesque riversides of the Shirokolashka River, in the majestic Rhodopes Mountain, at 1060 meters above sea level. The river had a leading role in the name of the village. It was so named because of the wide river branch. The well-preserved authentic appearance of the village carries in spirit to the Renaissance era. The large number of houses preserving the architectural style of the Rhodope Mountain, the arched bridges towering over the river, the speech, songs and customs, typical for the local population, reveal the opportunity to learn the Bulgarian culture and the way of life of the population.
The settlement was built in the 17th century. At that time, the local population was suffering a violent Mohammedanization by the Turkish enslavers, but the oldest preserved houses date from the 19th century. There are more than 90 places, declared cultural monuments. The houses have the characteristic old-time architecture – two floors with a bay window, the invariable high stone walls, heavy wrought iron doors, small wooden windows, the wooden couches set in order along the walls and the external winding stairs and the narrow, cobbled streets winding between them. The most attractive houses are the Bogdanova, Kalaydzhii and Grigorova houses. The exhibits of the open ethnographic museum trace the popular customs and the cultural life of the population.
„Dormition of the Mother of God“ Temple built-up in 1834, provokes astonishment through its unique internal decoration and external configuration. The iconostasis is highly valuable because it is supposed to have been painted by the students of Dimitar and Zahari Zograf. There is also a cell school in the courtyard. The local school was opened in 1830 and settled in the Palamarch House. The first teacher who started teeaching there was Atanas Grigorov.
Today, in the village of Shiroka Laka, there is the famous Secondary Folklore Music School, whose graduates present our colorful folklore not only in our country, but glorify the name of Bulgaria around the world. Many of the Bulgarian traditions and unique customs are alive here. In the first days of March, the Kuker custom “Pesponedelnik” is celebrated. It is performed by young men dressed in special costumes and unique masks, performing ritual scenes and ritual dances around the village, which express the eternal struggle between good and evil. It is an ancient pagan custom with Christian elements, which was believed to bring abundance, health, and fertility. Motifs from mythology are also involved. The local kukers are joined by kuker groups from all over the country, a general amusement begins. An interesting spring holiday was also revived – Lazarus Saturday. Young maiden actively participate in it, dressed up in folk costumes, they sing Lazarus songs for health and prosperity. On this day in the past, the boys were looking for their chosen ones. Shiroka Laka is also known for the sound of the Kaba bagpipes used in the accompaniment of their songs.
Distance from the hotel: 20km
The Buinovo gorge is one of the many heavenly corners of the majestic Rhodopes Mountain, cut in by the picturesque Buinovska river, which in its way forms numerous pools and waterfalls and forms the characteristic landscape that we enjoy. The gorge connects the village of Yagodina and the village of Teshel. Its length is about ten kilometers, and a narrow asphalt road winding through it, surrounded by high limestone cliffs that at some places they are almost touching.
The place where the sheer marble rocks almost touch at a height of 3-4 meters above the road is called “The Wolf’s Jump”. It is possible that the local population called it so because of the wolf packs that jump from there and attack their sheep pens. The ancient forests, vast meadows, green hills and crystal cold waters of rivers and lakes are inhabited by several rare animals and birds. Genuine variegated vegetation and the typical for these Balkans fragrant flowers of Silivryaka and the delicate Orpheus flower can be found there.
The gorge was declared a protected area in 1971 because of its unique wildlife and wonderful natural creations. The pearl of the turning point is the Yagodina Cave, whose wonder and magnetism attracts many domestic and foreign tourists. Visitors are being mesmerized by the exquisitely sculpted cave forms. Here we can admire the gentle shine of the priceless pearls, formed under the influence of millions of years. After some archaeological researches done and ancient objects found, such as parts of ceramic vessels, tools of labor, the existence of life in the Middle Ages in these areas is proven. Nearby is Hajdushki dol, a little-known canyon, but not less impressive and fascinating than the Buinovo and Trigrad gorges. It can only be reached on foot, the effort is worth it, because you turn out being in the middle of an immense world of beauty and magnificence, hidden by the lush vegetation and a sparkling waterfall.
Distance from the hotel: 21km
The Rhodopes is not that much of a high mountain, but it ranks first in terms of beauty and uniqueness. In its depths, it has preserved many historical values, divine creations of nature, magnificent examples of the cave world, impressive rock formations, picturesque canyons and full-flowing wild rivers, forming adorable corners of paradise, which we are looking for at every single chance for a little rest and relaxation. The pearl of the Rhodope Mountain beauty is the Jagodina Cave, a magical fairy tale that you will fall for at a first sight.
The cave is the longest one in the Rhodopes Mountain – about 10 km long. It has three floors, but only the lowest third floor is safe and accessible to visitors. A lighted path runs through it and allows the visitors to admire the astonishing splendor of the cave formations. The entrance and the exit are artificially excavated. The natural entrance leads to an ancient dwelling. The objects found there prove that the cave was inhabited in the 4th century BC. From the very beginning, we find ourselves among countless bizarre formations and a fairy scene of colors. Stalactites, stalactones and stalagmites create picturesque forms and fascinating figures resembling exquisite curtains, birds and animals. Because of the iridescent colors, attractive patterns can be obtained resembling leopard skins. Pearls are iconic for the cave. Their mysterious shine and grace captivate our gaze. Some of the stone statues resemble Santa Claus, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Pijo and Penda – symbols of the Bulgarian folklore along with Baba Marta. Throughout the year, the temperature remains around 6°C, and the humidity – 92%. The altitude is about 930 meters. In one of the halls there is a Christmas tree that remains fresh for years. In the same hall, lovers of non-standard wedding ceremonies get married. Permanent inhabitants of the underground palace are bats, troglobionts, cave locusts and spiders. There are also lichens, mosses, molds and fungi.
There are more than two hundred caves in the area, but they are for visitors. Because of its incomparable beauty and magnetism, the Yagodina Cave ranks among the Hundred National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. It is open for tourists all the year round, and the last entry is at 16:15. It also has a stamp. There is a parking lot in front of the entrance. While you wait your turn to see the sight, you can take a cup of coffee or have a delicious lunch in the fine restaurant.
Distance from the hotel: 22km
The first attempt to penetrate the cave was made in 1962 by Radostin Chomakov, Nikola Korchev and Elena Padareva. The three climbers reach the Great Hall of the Abyss, then attempt to continue down the river path. A lack of equipment, as well as a lack of any experience, spoiled the further exploration of the abyss.
The Devil’s Throat is an abyssal cave that was formed as a result of the collapse of the earth’s layers. A large hall forms its main part, where the highest underground waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula can be found.
The cave was formed by a river falling underground from a height of 42 m, forming a huge hall called “The Roaring Hall”. It is 110 m long, its width is 40 m, and its height reaches 35 m. It is the second largest hall among the Bulgarian caves after the entrance hall of the Devetashka cave. For example, the cathedral “St. Alexander Nevsky” can fit in it. The cave is entered through an artificial gallery 150 m long, where the base of the water flow is reached through. 301 steps from there are leading to the surface through the old entrance, close to the underground waterfall. Within 400 m away from the Devil’s Throat’s entrance, the waters of the underground river disappear in a siphon-gallery. The length of the siphon is more than 150 m long. After that, through a 60-meter gallery the underground river leaves the cave and comes to the surface again through another cave.
Distance from the hotel: 24km
The Trigrad Gorge is a canyon, 1,5 km away north from the Trigrad Village. Its total length is 7km, and the actual gorge is 2-3km long. It is the third longest gorges in Bulgaria after the Buynovo Gorge and the Erma River Gorge (Tran Gorge)
The Trigrad Gorge is a canyon of vertical limestone rocks that encloses the course of the Trigradska River. The river plunges into the Devil’s Throat Cave and 530 metres further emerges as a large karst spring.
It later flows into the River Buynovska. The gorge’s west wall reaches 180 metres in height, while the east one extends up to 300–350 metres.
At the beginning of the gorge, the distance between the two walls is about 300 meters long, but the gorge narrows to about 100 metres in the northern section.
The gorge is part of the Hundred National Tourist Sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union. Stamp in “Trigradski skali” hut can be taken.
Distance from the hotel: 24km
The village of Trigrad is located 40 km away from the regional town of Smolyan, where many historical monuments and valuable cultural heritage are located. It is close to our Greek border. It preserves ancient history and the archaeological excavations prove it – Thracian necropolises, cave dwellings. The past is combined with the modern look in an unique way. The fabulous Rhodope village of Trigrad awaits your attention. A walk there will give you real pleasure.
The church and mosque in the center of the village coexist peacefully side by side – a symbol of the Christian values and Muslim customs. 20-30 minutes south from the village, the equestrian enthusiasts can visit the horse base and explore the surroundings on horseback. Various hikes with interesting routes are organized. For this purpose, an instructor is also provided. There is a bear museum near Trigrad.
You will enjoy the fresh mountain air, the incredible peace and quiet as well. Many of the popular sights in Bulgaria are located here, which will amaze you with incredible natural features and indescribable beauty. The popular Mursal tea herb, also known as the Bulgarian Viagra, grows here. The village of Trigrad is a starting point of many interesting tourist routes and huts – Mugla village, Chair Lakes and “Lednitsa” hut.
Distance from the hotel: 26km
Vacha is a dam, located in the South part of Bulgaria, alongside Vacha River. It is on the border between Plovdiv, Smolyan and Pazardzhik regions, and it is a part of the Dospat-Vacha cascade. It is the largest dam on the river and it’s one of the largest dams in Bulgaria at all. It is about 18 km long – starting from the “Antonivanovtsi” rest station until the village of Mikhalkovo. It provides a part of the drinking water for Plovdiv City and it is being used to irrigate the Plovdiv field.
The dam has the highest dam wall in Bulgaria – 144,5m
A wide variety of fish live in the Vacha reservoir – grass carp, European bream, white fish, babushka, crucian carp, mullet, bass, common nase, sheatfish, walleye, sunfish, carp, redfin and pike. This is the reason why it is a very popular fishing destination. Around the dam there is a part of the Rhodopes Mountain and beautiful nature. A good view of the area is revealed from Mount Saint Ilia.
There are good conditions for tourism along the banks of the dam. The Krichim-Devin road passes by the dam. The previous name of the dam was Anton Ivanov or Antonivanovtsi. On the bank on the Pazardzhik region side, a memorial was erected in honor of the partisans from the “Anton Ivanov” detachment.
Distance from the hotel: 40km
Gela village is located at the central part of the Rhodopes mountain, in the foot of the most magnificent mountain peaks in the mountain – Goliam Perelik (2191 m), Orpheus peak (2188 m) and Turlata peak (1825 m). It is also called „The valley of the chanove* and the songs”, besides it is one of all the incredible and spectacular Rhodopes mountain villages, Gela village is also a source of myths and facts.
According to many people, Gela village is a generator of positive energy that fills the body and soul during your stay there. One of the most curious details of the legends can be told by the local population, which is less than 80 people. The village consists of 7 hamlets located on several hills, and the only thing that can break the silence are the cattle bells and the music of the bagpipes. Gela village has more than 3300 years of history. Like most of its Rhodope counterparts, it was founded by the Thracians, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological monuments in the vicinity. The village is true to the Rhodope tradition of enchanting every guest with delicious feasts, traditional folk music and a magically blissful atmosphere and fabulous nature.
Distance from the hotel: 28km
Haramiyska cave (a.k.a The Haramian hole) is an abyssal cave in the Rilo-Rhodope region. It is located 1 km northeast of the village of Trigrad, on the eastern side of the Trigrad Gorge. Its length is 510 m. Until 1977, it was known as two separate caves – Haramiyska 1 and Haramiyska 2. The first known survey (of Haramiyska 2) was made in June 1924 by an expedition of the Royal Natural History Museum. In 1965, the cave was mapped by L. Popov. In 1977, cavers explored the upper cave and connected it with the lower one.
In the period of 1981-1983, archeological excavations were carried out in the cave, led by Hristina Valchanova from the Museum of Archeology in Smolyan. Ceramic fragments, tools, weaving equipment from the late Stone-Copper (IV millennium BC) and Bronze Age were discovered. Part of the finds were moved to the Historical Museum in Smolyan.
The cave is not electrified. The Haramiyska Cave is located opposite the Devil’s Throat Cave in the protected area of Trigrad Gorge, 2 km away from the village of Trigrad. The cave consists of two caves connected by a 43-meter chasm. The total length of the cave is 510 m, the slope is 45 degrees, there is increased humidity and there are places covered in ice. The cave can only be entered with a guide and special equipment. Information about the order of entering the cave can be obtained from the ticket office or from the tour guide of the Devil’s Throat cave. Pre-registration is recommended. The free places in the login group are limited. The meeting point is in the morning until 10 o’clock at the parking lot in front of the Devil’s Throat. The entrance to the Haramiyska cave is reached after a 20-meter vertical climb with the help of a guide and alpine equipment. The great hall inside can be reached after a 43-meter rope descent. Inside the cave, archaeological finds from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age were found – tools, weaving tools and ceramics. At the entrance, visitors can see a decorative composition depicting primitive people.
Distance from the hotel: 24km
Smolyan is a city located in southern Bulgaria. The city was formed on June 18, 1960 by the merging of the large villages of Raykovo, Ustovo and Smolyan. It is the administrative center of Smolyan municipality and Smolyan district. According to the 2011 census, the population of the city of Smolyan is 30,642.
The name of Smolyan comes from the Slavic tribe of smolyans, who inhabited this area. It is believed that the settlement dates back to ancient times. It was called Aetos, Ezerovo, Akh Celebi, Pashmakli, etc. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, this region was inhabited by Thracians about 2500–3000 years before the beginning of our era.
The city is а headquarter of companies in the technical and service sphere. In recent years, perceived progress has been observed in the city. A new main street was built, new hotels, restaurants and discotheques were built as well. Investments in the city are increasing at a tremendous pace. One of the most large-scale projects, not only for Smolyan, but also for the whole Bulgaria, is the Perelik ski center. In October 2007, the investor for the sports and tourist center “Momchilovtsi” was chosen. The facility will be comparable to the “Super Perelik” megaproject. Investments in Momchilovtsi shopping center are expected to exceed 250 million euros. The construction of a golf course, ice rinks, tracks, football fields, tennis courts, snowboarding, bicycle lanes, horse stables, etc. is pending. All these projects prove that tourism is a priority sector for Smolyan.
Distance from the hotel: 44km
The National Astronomical Observatory – Rozhen is the largest astronomical observatory in Southeastern Europe and on the Balkan Peninsula. It is equipped with 6 telescopes: universal 2-meter Ritchey-Chretien-Coude (RCC) Carl Zeiss Jena reflector, 50/70 cm Schmidt, 60 cm Cassegrain, built with own forces 15 cm solar coronagraph, 30 cm MEADE, 18 cm Meniscas Cassegrain.
NAO – “Rozhen” provides observations on a wide range of astronomical and astrophysical tasks – from dynamics and physics of bodies from the Solar System, to extragalactic studies: asteroids and comets, spectra of stars of different classes and types of variability, star clusters, nearby and distant galaxies , quasars. Observatory code: 071.
The National Astronomical Observatory – Rozhen was officially opened on 13.03.1981, but the regular observation activity under scientific programs dates back to September 1979. It is Bulgaria’s largest one-time investment in scientific infrastructure (over BGN 12 million) and it is still the largest astronomical observatory in the Balkans and also in this region of South-Eastern Europe. It is located in the Rhodopes mountain. It was built on Rozhen peak, above this area and near Chepelare. It is managed by the Institute of Astronomy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Distance from the hotel: 46km
“Snezhanka” Peak is a favorite destination of Bulgarian skiers. More than 35 marked slopes start from it, which lead down to one of the most attractive winter resorts in our country – Pamporovo ski resort. It is located in the heart of the Rhodopes, 15 km away from the town of Smolyan. The biggest attraction of “Snezhanka” is the Television Tower (156 m). If you take an elevator to the top of it, you will find yourself in an amazing cafe-patisserie.
More than 2,000m above, it will reveal enchanting panoramic views of Rila, Pirin and Stara mountains. A legend has it that if you have good visibility, you might catch a glimpse of the azure blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
Distance from the hotel: 40km