Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Polly Dimitrova
The most beautiful places are often quite remote and difficult to get to. Thе meanders of Arda River have been on my bucket list for years. I had to travel hundreds of kilometres to the most faraway locations in the Rhodope Mountains but I finally got to see them. The views are absolutely spectacular and totally worth the journey! If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience when in Bulgaria, I strongly recommend embarking on the adventure of trying to find the stunning meanders of the Arda River!
About Arda River
Arda is the longest river in the Rhodope Mountains and probably one of the most beautiful in the country. The river is approximately 280 km long, with 250 km winding along the territory of Bulgaria.
As the river beautifully meanders through the Rhodope Mountains, it forms impressive curves along the river valley. The meanders of Arda River are probably some of the most beautiful wonders in Bulgaria. Due to their remote and difficult to find location, however, they are not very well-known. That makes the search for the meanders of Arda River an off-the-beaten-path experience worth adding to your Bulgarian itinerary.
Before you Go
Before you hit the route, there are a few things to keep in mind. The meanders of Arda River are not easily accessible and it would be impossible to see them on just a day trip. Having a car is compulsory in order to be able to reach these remote and isolated spots in Bulgaria.
When I say that it is more of a search to find them – I am not kidding. Even though, the meanders of Arda River are gaining popularity they are still fairly unknown even to the locals. Finding someone to speak English and give you directions in these secluded spots might be a challenge as well. Make sure that you have a map, enough gas and an adventurous spirit!
The Meander Near Madzharovo
I would say this is the easiest to get to from all meanders of Arda River. It is located on the road between Madzharovo and Village Borislavtsi in the eastern part of the Rhodope Mountains. The road follows the river as it winds around and allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery through the window of your car. The river creates a 180-degree curve, which looks like a horseshoe. The road widens, allowing you to leave your car by the road and head to the overlook area.
An incredible scenery will unfold before your eyes – the picturesque meander of the Arda River beneath your feet and the steep vertical cliffs dominating the skyline above the winding road and river. Make sure to soak in the beauty in front of you, but do not forget to take a quick glimpse of the sky as well. The area is home to the only Griffon vultures in Bulgaria. We were even lucky enough to see one!
The Meander Near Kardzhali Dam
Getting to the meanders of Arda River located right next to “Kardzhali” Dam can be a real challenge as they are very far away from any larger towns. Making your way over there, however, is definitely worth the try as they are the most stunning and you will be treated to picture-perfect scenery!
The only way to get to this meander is to follow the road between Ardino and Kardzhali. After less than 15 km there will be a sign for Borovitsa Village. You should take that road, and in another 10 km, you will be at a small crossroad. Take the road to Suhovo; there is a white sign stating that you are entering Star Chitak. At this point there is no chance of getting lost – just keep driving on this road and in few kilometres you will see the river curves to your left.
You will feel like you have reached the end of the world, in this secluded spot where time has stopped. In this distant location, though, with no cars, no traffic, no urban noise, you will feel the most alive.
We had to travel for more than 100 km through winding and rough roads, in one of the most isolated parts of the Rhodope Mountains while searching for the meanders of Arda River. The small villages along the way look almost abandoned and only flocks of sheep remind that life still exists in between the empty houses.
It was just a unique and remarkable journey, as we got to experience some of the most secluded, remote, rugged and authentic places in Bulgaria. A place where the peace and tranquillity of nature overtake us and helps us recharge our batteries away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Let me know in the comments section below. Would you add this off-the-beaten-path experience of finding the meanders of Arda River to your bucket list?
Who knows – If you are lucky, the Rhodope Mountains and the stunning Meanders of Arda River might just be one flight away!