Rhodope mountains are one of the most beautiful and mysterious mountains not only in Bulgaria, but throughout Europe. Known as the mountains cursed by the gods and the mountain of Orpheus, Rhodope offers many opportunities for tourism. With its mix of pristine coniferous forests, high – quality ski resorts and unique local culture, this secluded region attracts Bulgarians and foreigners alike. Here are most interesting places to visit in the Rhodopes.
Not far from Yagodinska, the most visited cave in Bulgaria, the sightseeing platform, Eagle`s Eye (Orlovo Oko), was built 1563 meters above sea level and offers stunning views of the Rhodope Mountains and nearby villages.
It`s easy to be destracted by the mythical and mysterious caves that are the birthplace of many stories and legends in Bulgarian history, but don`t forget to finish the day cathing the sunset on the sight-seeing platform at Eagle`s Eye.
Journey back in time to one of Bulgaria`s most celebrated and visited Medieval attractions. Throughout different points in history, Asen`s Fortress was under control by the Thracians, Romans, Crusaders, Bulgarians and the Ottomans. The feudal castle includes a living quarters, a church, two reservoirs and a fortress watch tower. Built true to the for of Medieval Christian architecture, Asen`s Fortress gives visitors the opportunity to experience the footpoints of medieval history in Bulgaria`s Rhodope Mountains.
Canyon of Waterfalls
Located near the town of Smolyan, the waterfalls are situated in the canyons stretching along the Elenska River and are interconnected via eco-path. The Canyon of Waterfalls is a blend of 46 isolated phenomenal waterfalls. The biggest and most popular is Orpheus, peaking at 68m. high. Orpheus was the mythical Thracian musician who made his home within the waterfalls.
To maximize your experience it`s recommended to visit the Canyon of Waterfalls in early summer when the water levels are at there peak or mid autumn when fall foliage colors are vibrant and pristine. Besides the winter season, the rest of the year offers lovely conditions for hiking, fishing, biking and a lot of outdoor activities.
Centuries ago these natural bridges were once one connected cave. However, after years of weathering, the process of erosion has created these unique rock formations. The wonderful Bridges ( Chudnite mostove) are 80km. south of Plovdiv but are definitely worth the drive if you are staying in the city. It would be a solid day-trip, but you will realize it was worth it as soon as you arrive. A large variety of animal species can also e discovered in this section of the Rhodope Mountains.
Shiroka Laka Village
Shiroka Laka is nestled in the western Rhodope Mountains just 23 km. from Smolyan in route to Devin. The village has long been a top destination for tourists travelling the region. Shiroka Laka was originally settled in 17th century and has now been known for preserving its Bulgarian Revival Period of stunning authentic Rhodopean architecture throughout the village.
Rhodopes` unique cuisine
Last but not least you definitely have to treat your senses to a taste of Rhodopes cuisine. It is so special that even Bulgarians find it exotic and curious. Due to this mountainous region’s isolation and specific geography, its staple dishes are quite different from the Bulgarian classics. Rather than relying so much on fresh veggies like potatoes and cucumbers, the cuisine of the Rhodopes involves lots of local beans varieties, home-grown potatoes and kohlrabi, seasoned with local spices and herbs.
Typical local dishes include the huge and tasty Smilyan beans (smilyanski bob), the grated potato-and-onions delicacy patatnik and the banitsa with rice called rodopski klin. Practically every town and village in the Rhodopes is sure to offer excellently-cooked versions of these dishes, whether prepared by a chef at a traditional restaurant or a skilful Rhodope lady at a guest house.
Source: kashkaval-tourist.com /a tourism blog about Bulgaria and the Balkans/