Location: Western Rhodope Mountains Type: road trip; nature landmarks; caves; Bulgaria Suitable for children: yes
Trigrad is surely a place you’ll fall in love with. Located in Rhodope mountains, the tiny village is really lovely with its green meadows, hills and forests, picturesque houses and yards and not to forget – the impressive Trigrad Gorge which leads to the village. Near Trigrad is also the Devil’s Throat cave. According to legends Orpheus attempted to retrieve his beloved Eurydice from the Underworld through this cave. Nearby is also another spectacular landmark – the Yagodina cave, the longest known cave in the Rhodopes. Plenty to see in this area and you should definitely visit it if you’re in Bulgaria.
So how to arrange your trip to this beautiful places? Here is how we’ve done it and you can come up with ideas on your on…
We’ve travelled from the village of Leshten to Trigrad and decided that our first stop will be the Yagodina cave, located nearby. In order to reach the cave you have to go through the Buynovsko Gorge. It`s the longest in Bulgaria and simply breathtakingly beautiful. With many twists and turns, some parts of the road are so narrow that it seems impossible for two cars to pass one another.
The cave is at the end of the road where a parking lot and a restaurant are situated as well. Entrance to the cave is on every hour with a guide who may (or may not) speak English. The tour takes about 45 minutes but keep in mind that the temperature inside is a constant 6°C yearlong, so pack some warm clothes with you.
An interesting fact is that New Year is celebrated here by locals. And the Christmas tree that they decorate for the occasion lasts up to 3 years.
Next to the exit of the cave is another landmark – a cave dwelling which is also worth a visit.
On our trip we had decided that we would go to Trigrad first and find accommodation for the night and visit the Devil’s Throat cave the next day. It was already 5 p.m., the cave was probably closed and we needed to find where to stay for the night. It turned out to be a very wise decision for us. But if you have more time you could first visit the Devil’s Throat cave and then Trigrad. The cave is located on the road that leads to the village.
To get to Trigrad you have to get out of the Buynovsko Gorge and then enter the Trigrad Gorge, which is as narrow and magnificent as the former one. It’s impossible to express in words the beauties of nature here – you’ll have to come and see for yourself.
The village of Trigrad is tiny, beautiful and peaceful. We were very lucky in finding accommodation here – we stayed at a family guest house – Vila Radost, for the night, located in the village center, with view to the church and the mosque.
We highly recommend Vila Radost – the people are very nice and hospitable, the rooms are comfortable, the view from the gazebo in the yard is splendid, and the cooking… simply amazing. The traditional local dish patatnik (a meal made from potatoes) was unbelievably delicious. And we are not even mentioning the mekitzi (batter fried in oil) for breakfast.
You could stay in Trigrad for a couple of days, enjoy the beautiful nature and fresh air, as well as the local cuisine and even go horse riding if you like.
Devil’s Throat cave
Our next stop was the notorious Devil’s Throat cave from where it`s believed that the legendary Thracian singer Orpheus descended into the Underworld to seek his beloved Eurydice. The name of the cave comes from the resemblance of its entrance to a devil head with yawning mouth.
An artificial tunnel will lead you to the main hall of the cave which is very large and impressive. Inside the river of Trigrad forms a 42 meters high underground waterfall, the highest underground waterfall in the Balkans.
The whole tour will take you about half an hour and you’ll need warm clothes – the temperature inside is a constant 8°C yearlong. In order to exit the cave you’ll have to climb up 300 stairs which are narrow and steep (don`t forget to pack comfortable shoes as well).
Outside will great you waterfalls and lush greenery (if you’re visiting in spring and summer), as well as numerous stalls and people who will try to sell you everything from Mursalski chai (a local herbal tea) to honey – do try them, they are enchanting… like everything here.