by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff

Bulgaria's most enchanting mountain range warrants drive-thru in right season


The Rhodope mountains have an aura of an enchanted place no matter whether you visit in summer, autumn or winter. But in springtime there is something in the Bulgarian south that makes you feel more relaxed, almost above the ground. It could be the clean air and the smell of firs, the magnificence of the green peaks fading away in the distance or the picturesque traditional villages that are so often depopulated, a bitter-sweet sight. It could be the sublime nature of gorges, river meanders, oddly shaped rocks, or the locals with their trademark friendliness and mesmerising music.

Analysing the mystery of Rhodope's charm is useless, the time will be better spent travelling the mountain's winding roads, exploring its ancient Thracian rock shrines, fortresses, mosques, villages, music festivals, stories and legends.

The Rhodope

Blossoming trees at the now completely abandoned village of Dyadovtsi, near Ardino

Spring is the perfect time to indulge in Rhodope pleasure. Covered with fresh greenery, the mountain slopes exhibit all the existing nuances of green: emerald new leaves shine under the sun, the firs are almost black, the meadows glow, the mosses are intensely green against the grey of rocks. The rivers, the streams, the small waterfalls are white and unruly with the the flow of snow water. The sun is still gentle and the sky is deep blue. The natural world is abuzz: bees fly, birds sing even at night as if their lives depend on it. The flocks of cattle and sheep look content, too, as the days of boring hay are over and the fresh grass is all for them to feast on.

In spring, the Rhodope becomes the epitome of reviving life, a marvel to experience and to relive year after year.

The Rhodope

The overwhelmingly Muslim village of Chubrika sports two mosques

The Rhodope

Early morning at the village of Brezen


The Rhodope

Village of Sinchets

The Rhodope

 Stone Mushrooms natural phenomenon at the village of Beli Plast


The Rhodope

The eastern spreads of Kardzhali Reservoir evoke both Scotland and Iceland

America for Bulgaria FoundationHigh Beam is a series of articles, initiated by Vagabond Magazine, with the generous support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, that aims to provide details and background of places, cultural entities, events, personalities and facts of life that are sometimes difficult to understand for the outsider in the Balkans. The ultimate aim is the preservation of Bulgaria's cultural heritage – including but not limited to archaeological, cultural and ethnic diversity. The statements and opinionsexpressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and its partners.


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A little bit like a lot of Bulgaria - I came across you quite by accident. I live here as a retiree (almost) and it's a breath of fresh air, spending my time between Plovdiv and Smolyan. Will be following...

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