Bikes and birds in the eastern Rhodopes

What is included in bikes and birds in the eastern Rhodopes:

Birdwatching while cycling. This can only happen with our long weekend trip to the area of Studen Kladenets (Cold Well) Reservoir and the vicinity of the town of Madzharovo.

Day 1

Friday afternoon (4 p.m.) we leave for Studen Kladenets Reservoir.

We spend the night in tents on the shore of the reservoir and we make a campfire.

Day 2

We will start with a photoshoot of the birds, dwelling around the reservoir and the surrounding cliffs and forests with hornbeam and Hungarian oak trees.

The reservoir itself was created in the rocky gorge of the Arda River – the swiftest-flowing river in the Eastern Rhodopes.

There are 219 bird species recorded on the territory of Studen Kladenets Reservoir, 59 of which are included in the Red Book of the Republic of Bulgaria. The site is of great international significance as a representative area of the Mediterranean biome. Seven species, restricted in the biome, could be encountered here: the black-eared wheatear, the olive-tree warbler, the subalpine warbler, the western rock nuthatch, the masked shrike and the black-headed bunting. On the territory of the reservoir, there are about 70 nesting species (some of them include: the black stork, the Egyptian vulture, the little ringed plover, the Eurasian eagle-owl, the olive-tree warbler, the masked shrike).

After we manage to take pictures of some of the species, we leave with the bikes and go along the reservoir. Our first stop will be the canyon of Sheytana (located just below the reservoir dam).

We continue along the Arda River towards the village of Gorno Pole, from where we will take the trail towards Madzharovo. This section of the route is light and lasts for 36 km.

The route passes by the megalithic cromlech, the iron bridge over the Arda, and the Thracian rock niches in the Pchelen Kamak (Bee Rock).

We spend the night in the town of Madzharovo.

Day 3

Our bike route continues along the canyon in the vicinity of Madzharovo.

Madzharovo is the second smallest town after Melnik. The settlement is in the crater of an extinct volcano.

This also provides explanation for the presence of precious and semi-precious stones in the area.

The route starts from the wild-life centre and finishes near Kovan Kaya – one of the biggest rocks with Thracian niches. It is equipped with terrestrial telescopes.

Here we can see 11 species of predatory birds. Apart from the griffon and the Egyptian vulture, the short-toed snake eagle, the booted eagle, the lesser spotted eagle, the peregrine falcon, the northern goshawk, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, the common buzzard, the long-legged buzzard, and the common kestrel, there is variety of rare songbirds such as the blue rock thrush, the grey-necked bunting, the western rock nuthatch and many others.

Around 4 p.m. we leave for Sofia.


You may rent a bike from one of our partners!

For the trek you will need insurance, dry food and water.

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