Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia

Bulgaria / FYRO Macedonia

From Kjustendil the trail continues towards Blagoevgrad. Heading east, you can already see the foothills of the Rila Mountains on the horizon and shortly after Nevestino you cross the Kadin Bridge, 100 metres in length, over the river Struma. The bridge is a historic monument, combining eastern and central European architectural elements with Renaissance influences. Parts of the bridge date back as far as 1470.

After crossing the river, you continue through Dragodan to the university town of Blagoevgrad, which is situated at the centre of southwest Bulgaria and is also the site of the American University in Bulgaria. The town was built on the site of the old Thracian settlement of Skaptopara and developed into a major trading and commercial centre in the mid-18th and early 19th century.

The trail then leads into the territory of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. You cross the border at Delcevski Prohod, which lies at an altitude of 1,085 metres. Then you continue through a wide valley towards Berovo. Some distance away you may see the Golak mountain, which is 1,536 metres high. It is worth stopping off at Lake Berovo near the town of the same name.

You now cycle through fields and meadows heading south towards the town of Strumica. The road is steep at times, but it winds through picturesque hills and offers wonderful views. You also have to tackle the Prevedena pass at an altitude of 1,167 metres. When you finally reach Strumica, you will find it a surprisingly lively place after the rather quiet town of Berovo. This region is of great historical importance as the site of early settlements dating back as far as 7,000 B.C.

Onwards towards Petric you return to Bulgarian soil.

  • 291
  • 1,167 m altitude
    of Prevedena pass
  • 7 000 BC
    early settlements
    in Strumica region


  • Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

    Rila Monastery is indisputably one of the masterpieces of religious architecture in the Balkans. Founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, an Orthodox hermit, this monastery was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862 and is nowadays a splendid example of the Bulgarian Renaissance. Located in a beautiful natural area, the building with its dramatic colours and columns and its wonderful frescos is a must see on the Iron Curtain Trail. Photo credit: Raggatt2000

  • Ajvar, FYRO Macedonia

    Ajvar (from Turkish havyar - “salted roe”) is a traditional spread made from red peppers. Ayvar is one of the most delicious specialties as well as one of the biggest secrets of Balkan cuisine and it originates from FYRO Macedonia. It is typically prepared outdoors with the peppers being baked on a wood stove, which is why it can be a difficult dish to find. Usually it is prepared at the end of the summer and the beginning of autumn. It has to be noted that different families prepare the ajvar differently.

  • Smolari Waterfall, FYRO Macedonia

    Smolari Waterfall is the longest constant waterfall in FYRO Macedonia with a height of 38m. It is found on the River Lomnica as it makes its way down the Belasica Mountain close to the village of Smolari. To reach the waterfall there is a 580m path, which includes 300 rock stairs and a small wooden bridge. At the bottom of the waterfall there is a footprint-shaped hole in the rock which is named 'Marko’s foot'. According to the legend, this footprint was left by King Marko’s horse, Sharec, when they were resting here.

  • River Bregalnica, FYRO Macedonia

    Bregalnica is the second largest river in the Republic of Macedonia. It starts as a spring near the mountain city of Berovo and it passes near the cities of Makedonska Kamenica, Kocani, Vinica and Stip, before joining the river Vardar on its way to the Aegean Sea. The route of EuroVelo 13 - Iron Curtain Trail crosses the river and its tributaries on several occasions. Photo credit: Katerina Vasileva

  • Certified EuroVelo Route
  • Developed route with EuroVelo signs
  • Developed route
  • Route under development
  • Route at the planning stage

The stages