Karagyol Reservoir is a high mountain reservoir at an elevation of 2.359m (7,739ft) above the sea level, located in Kyustendil Province, southwestern Bulgaria. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country.
The road to the summit is called Road to Vintcheto. Located in the Rila mountain range, the surface is concrete (in pretty bad conditions), narrow and steep. There are sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy. This route is not recommended if your passengers are prone to car sickness. Vintcheto, the summit, is marked by a crumbling old building. To get there you’ll have nearly 18km (with 28 hairpin turns) at an average gradient of nine per cent, with some parts up to 20%.
Drive with care as this is a mountain road with hairpin curves and bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. It’s said to be the highest concrete-paved road on the Balkans. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. The highest part of the road is closed between late October and beginning of July due to snow.
The road was built between 1943 and 1946. Its highest elevation is at 2.553m (8,375ft) above the sea level. The drive is definitely worth it. A drive not to be missed! On a clear day the summit offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The zone is prone to heavy mist and can be dangerous in low visibility conditions. The climb sweeps up the mountainside with a series of switchbacks, although the rough road surface may demand something a little more heavy-duty than your conventional road bike.
Pic: Nik Bo