Day 2: Around Bulgaria in 14 days

I woke up early in the morning, maybe as early as 7. I couldn’t wait to get my coffee and head to my next destination. Aileen woke up the same way. Only two hours later. However, we were able to quickly pack our luggage, have a cup of coffee, eat a princess, and head to Ardino to see the Devil’s Bridge. The road to it goes through the Rhodopes and through a few turns, but from a high view the view is fascinating

Ardino and the Devil’s Bridge

So after about 40 minutes we reached Ardino. The town is small and is located in the eastern part of the Western Rhodopes. The Arda River flows from the west and north of the city, approaching about 4 km from it. The city owes its name to the river. To reach the bridge, it first crosses Ardino and then through the small village of Dyadovtsi. The road is nice and asphalted. In the last stretch the road is narrowed, but this is not a problem. At the very end, the road was muddy and there were quite large stones in places. There are signs indicating that they remain 700-800 m to the bridge. You can leave your car there and continue on foot, but if you are in a taller car, you can continue with the car to the parking lot, which also shows the bridge itself. Keep in mind that there are bumps along the way, so drive carefully.

Here are some interesting facts about the bridge. It was built in 1515-1518 by order of Sultan Selim I as part of a road linking the Upper Thracian Plain with the White Sea Thrace and the Aegean Sea. There was once a Roman bridge at the site of today’s bridge, part of the significant ancient Via Ignatius road linking the White Sea and Thrace through the Makaza Pass. At the behest of Sultan Selim I, the bridge was rebuilt to continue trade links between the two geographical areas. The bridge was known by the name “Sheitan Kyupriya

There are many legends associated with this bridge, here I will try to tell you some of them briefly:

The image of the Devil
This legend states that for a very long time no one was able to build a bridge over the lush Arda River. A young master undertook this task. It is alleged that the secret of how to build the bridge was revealed to him by the Devil himself, but made him a condition – Satan’s face had to be portrayed so that he could be both visible and invisible. The master handled the task. The image of the devil can only be seen at certain times of the day when the sun is at its highest. To see the image, you have to look at the central arch of the bridge – the stone below it and its reflection in the water. If you rotate the picture vertically you should see the image of the Devil. I tested this on one of my photos. This is the result:

The appearance of the Devil
Another of the more famous legends about the Devil’s Bridge over the Arda River tells of a Bulgarian girl who was persecuted by the Turks because one of them wanted to make her part of her harem. The girl climbed the bridge with the intention of jumping into the river, but when the Turks approached the bridge, they stopped frightened because they saw the Devil in the waters of the Arda.

And now, here are some pictures from this location, which certainly made it into the top 10 of my favorite places in Bulgaria.

Arda Cascade

After spending an hour or two on the bridge for viewing and photos, we headed to Smolyan to see the Canyon of the waterfalls. Along the way, however, we came across another interesting view – the Arda Cascade. Here, after passing a short cable car, you can see the cascade, which is really impressive. You can also walk on the metal bridge that goes over the water. The feeling is very pleasant.

Waterfall Canyon

Two hours later we reached the Cayon of the Falls. I know in the first article I said I planned to drive no more than 2 hours a day but … oops. 🙂 However, driving around Bulgaria is actually enjoyable when you are surrounded by nature. Let’s return to our destination. The canyon of the waterfalls is extremely easy to find. If you are still having trouble, you can use this link to Google Maps. It will take you to where you can park your car and continue walking. You will also see a sign board that indicates the beginning of the eco-trail. Frankly, it’s too hard to go wrong.

The trail is relatively easy, but if you are going through it, I recommend getting comfortable shoes (preferably hiking), water and food. There are no fountains on the road (or at least we didn’t see one), and the route length is ~ 6km. So it is good to keep one. Along the trail you will surely meet other tourists. We saw a multitude of people between the ages of 60-70 walking through the aisle with ease. All good, but it wasn’t exactly easy for us. We’re just tired. We did not prepare enough water, and yet our backpacks weighed. However, with more stops in about 3 and a half hours we walked the path. So, are we travelers or what?

After finishing the tour, we drank plenty of water and headed for Borino, where we would spend the night. The road there was extremely picturesque. Several times I stopped shooting with a drone. I just couldn’t miss it.

In the late afternoon we also arrived in Borino, where we stayed at the Elegance Hotel. We were extremely pleased with the hotel. I confirm that the photos uploaded to Booking are true (unlike other hotels where we are staying). The staff was extremely responsive and the next day even allowed us to do a late checkout, for which we are extremely grateful. The owner of the hotel was an elderly woman who explained to us how she had walked through the Devil’s Trail last year. Quite frankly, the path was quite difficult and in many places I had to give up, but the words of this woman strengthened me. Once she has managed to pass her, I can’t help it.

So after dinner, we went back to the room. In the evening, temperatures in Borino dropped to 15 degrees (at the end of June), which was a prerequisite for a good and restful sleep.

Marin is the person who organizes all trips – reservations, route selections and luggage preparations. He works actively in the IT, but even more actively likes to rest.

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