Traveling along the meanders of the Arda River in Bulgaria

There is no doubt that Bulgaria is a picturesque country with many places to explore and experience. If you’re looking for an adventure that will take your breath away, then the meanders of the Arda River in Bulgaria should be high on your bucket list. It will be easiest to organize your trip if you have a vehicle at your disposal.

The Arda River flows through some of the most beautiful and pristine scenery in the entire country. Her meandering route takes her past lush green hills, majestic mountains and hidden valleys. There is much to discover on its way – from ancient churches to centuries-old bridges. Here’s what we found along and around the meanders of the Arda River on our spring road trip adventure.

Arda River Meanders, Bulgaria

The Deaf Stones

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We started our journey from Svilengrad, where we stayed at the “Raiski kat” guest house. We stopped at a turnoff and walked through the forest to the Deaf Stones – and that was just the first Thracian rock-cult complex. The place is worth the walk – it’s magical!

Gluhite kamyni, Bulgaria

Borislavtsi and Madzharovo

Photographers will find many attractive places along the meanders of the Arda River. Borislavtsi is one such place, offering stunning views of the river as it makes its way through a picturesque valley. Madjarovo also offers stunning views from the top of a hill overlooking the lower reaches of the river. Near the city is Eagle Beach, which is also next to a picturesque meander, and you will see birds of prey soaring in the sky.

The meanders in the regions of Borislavtsi and Madjarovo are among the most “wild”. We did not meet any other cars on the road, nor people in the villages. If you are looking for experiences off the beaten track, you will definitely like it there. The road itself was at times quite an abstract concept.

The Stone Wedding and Kardzhali Dam

For more breathtaking views along the meanders of the Arda River, head to the Stone Wedding – an area where the rock formations appear together as if having their own wedding ceremony! Nearby is the Kardzhali Dam, which was built on a bend of the river and offers impressive panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and quite a few nice places to stay.

Not far away is the Thracian rock-cult complex of Tatul, which is a must stop when traveling in the area.

Where to stay: Aparthotel Seasons

Horseshoe Bend and the rope bridge in Sukhovo

No trip along these meanders would be complete without visiting the Horseshoe Bend (Star Chitak). This fascinating geological formation creates an almost perfect horseshoe shape around the bend of the Arda river – something that has to be seen, otherwise it looks unreal in pictures!

And those brave enough can cross the next bend using the Sukhovo rope bridge that hangs above it – an experience not to be missed!

Utroba Cave and Lubino

For something different, be sure to visit Utroba Cave near Lubino, an amazing underground cave system with tunnels that stretch far into its depths. Explorers will find themselves surrounded by glittering stalactites and stalagmites as they make their way through this mysterious labyrinth below the surface of the magical Bulgarian landscape – definitely not for the claustrophobic!

There are also some fantastic hiking trails in the vicinity of Lubino, from where you can enjoy wonderful views of this dramatic region of Bulgaria. There we found one of our favorite places to watch the meanders.

Devil’s Bridge and Ardino

Heading further upriver, you’ll come to the Devil’s Bridge, a medieval bridge built with three arches over the fast-flowing waters of the Arda River – another prime spot for photographers looking for unique shots where old and new blend perfectly in one place!

Devil's Bridge, Bulgaria

Not far from here is the town of Ardino, where you can find Orlovi skali – a rock-cult complex that rises to the sky and has small windows carved into it, and various birds perch on their surface – it looks like something from a fairy tale! They can be reached with a 5-minute walk on uneven but well-maintained terrain after the parking lot or 15 minutes through the forest.

Where to stay: Stylish loft studio with a great view of Ardino

Best places to photograph the meanders

It is difficult for us to judge for ourselves and give advice on the best places to photograph the meanders. We have so many favorite photos that this article has become huge. Which one do you like the most?

Certainly in most places the drone is very useful. But even without a drone, quite a few meanders along the Arda River can be photographed.

All in all, traveling along the meanders of the Arda River in Bulgaria is an authentic experience that should not be missed by anyone looking for stunning scenery and unforgettable experiences – regardless of the season or time of year!

Arda river meander near Madjarovo, Bulgaria

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