Visitor’s Paradise: The Major Caves of Rhodope Mountain
If you’re fortunate enough to stay at the sunniest mountain resort in Bulgaria, the lovely Mountain Lodge Pamporovo Resort, and you enjoy outdoor adventure, you are in for a special treat. Mysterious, exciting subterranean adventures await you not far from the Mountain Lode: three well known caves that fortunately don’t require advanced ‘spelunking’ skills.
Let’s get oriented first. Mountain Lodge Pamporovo Resort is situated on the breathtaking Rhodope Mountain, in the shadows of the glorious pine-covered Snejanka Peak. The popular resort is located just 85 km (53 miles) from Plovidv and 240 km (149 miles) from Sofia. As a convenience to its customers, Mountain Lodge Pamporovo offers free shuttle service to and from nearby airports. After enjoying some delicious fare in the resort’s restaurant, you can pack a lunch, some extra clothing, and begin your adventure.
For spelunkers, there are three exciting caves on Rhodope Mountain that are open to the public. In each, you can explore mysteries of ages past while taking in chilled mountain air. Do remember to pack some warm clothing for your descent into the caves, as the temperatures can drop quickly just beneath the surface.
The Devil’s Throat Cave is a favorite and is thought to be the very source of many legends, including the tale of Orpheus as he journeyed through the dark kingdom of Hades searching for his long lost lover, Eurydice. History buff spelunkers will think they are in heaven! Nestled at the foot of the Western Rhodope Mountains, the Devil’s Throat cave is located about 1.5 km from the village of Trigrad. You will hike along a winding pass also known as the Trigradsko Gorgeto reach the cave. Just before you enter the cave, a wooden sign will announce that you are at the very Devil’s Throat, which may lead you to wonder if the contents within the cave walls are fiery hot. You may be surprised, since the year-round temperatures are on the order of just 8 degrees C.
On your spelunking itinerary, you must also visit Uhlovitsa Cave, known as one of the most beautiful and oldest caves in all of Bulgaria. It is located roughly 37 km from the Mountain Lodge Pamporovo Resort near the border with Greece, and the trip itself will delight as you pass mountain forests, village meadows and gorges along the way. Inside this cave, visitors have stood in silent awe at its many branched formations. The year-round temperatures in Uhlovista Cave hover around 10 degrees C.
Finally, the fourth longest of all Bulgarian caves and most often visited cave in the region is known as Yagodina Cave. You will find it in the Buynovo Gorge, close to a village of the same name. The chilliest of the three, Yagodina Cave’s annual temperature falls between 6 and 8 degrees C. A special treat among the many types of formations, “cave pearls” are especially delightful. They are named based on the way that they form, as do pearls inside oysters: starting with a individual grains of sand, covered over many years by thin layers of calcite.