It's hard to find online information about the border crossings between Bulgaria and Turkey in English. The border crossing between Kapitan Andreevo, Bulgaria and Kapıkule, Turkey is allegedly only open for cars and lorries.

Does somebody know if the nearby border crossing between Lesovo, Bulgaria and Hamzabeyli, Turkey is open for pedestrians and/or bicyclists?

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    I've crossed on foot at a couple of Bulgaria/Turkey crossings. I'm pretty sure Kapitan Andreevo was one, but I'm not sure about the other(s). The Turkey/Greece definitely does not permit pedestrians to cross, but I'm not sure about bicycles. – hippietrail Mar 17 '14 at 14:09
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    There are several online references claiming that the border crossing between Kapitan Andreevo and Kapıkule is closed for pedestrians. The Bulgarian Wikiedpia article mentions that it has been closed since 2005 for pedestrians. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 17 '14 at 15:05

Indeed it appears online that the Lesovo border is for commercial trucks only, and I can see where you get that view.

This blog, for example, notes that the road they are on to the crossing at Malko Tarnavo is almost devoid of traffic, as all the trucks go through the Lesovo border.

The Lesovo border was the focus on the news recently when it looked like it might even get blockaded in strikes, but appears to be open. However, the photos on the news indicate that even there - it's just trucks coming through.

Finally, the Wikipedia article Hamzabeyli, Lalapaşa notes, along with a photo:

A view of the Hamzabeyli border crossing point with its counterpart Lesovo (Note the exclusive truck traffic)

However, it's also in the news that in 2005, a new border was opened at this crossing, and is the first to be opened in the country for the last 16 years. It says nothing about commercial exclusivity.

Lonely Planet also confirms that there are several borders into Turkey for travellers, and specifically mentions this crossing.

So really, what we want is EVIDENCE of a cyclist traveller crossing into Turkey at this border point. And so we go to a messageboard on triumphtorque:

Crossed the border into Turkey at midday at Hamzabeyli (new crossing North of Edirne) Got my visa and documents checked (about 6 times at 6 different windows, each one where i had to stop, then restart by taking saddle off...) and was on my way in less than 30 mins.

So there's a motorcyclist in 2009 crossing with no problems at all.

Then we go to this page on an International Bicycle Tour (the site is actually down for me, but I used google cache to access):

Turkish, Bulgarian and Greek high school students will get together and ride their bikes. Greek students will enter Turkey from Pazarkule Boarder Gate and Bulgarian students will enter from Hamzabeyli Boarder Gate. All students will meet at the city center and will ride their bikes to Yildirim Beyazit Saglik Museum (Health Museum) then they will go to the Campus of Trakya University and will attend University’s Spring Festival.

So there's a bunch of high school students from Bulgaria entering from the border at Hamzabeyli.

Hope that helps!

  • I read somewhere that the border crossing is almost exclusively used by lorries and commercial vehicles due to the sparse population in central Bulgaria. Even if there is not much non-commercial traffic there, I've not seen any indications that only commercial traffic is let through. The last article you're linking to is however written by a motor-cyclist. I am planning to cross with an old-fashioned bicycle with thigh propulsion. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 17 '14 at 12:27
  • Hmm, I saw him mention a puncture repair kit, but on closer inspection he does sound to be riding a motorbike. Still, at least he's an example of non-commercial traffic. – Mark Mayo Mar 17 '14 at 12:30
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo updated with clarification, and added another example of students cycling over that border from Bulgaria. – Mark Mayo Mar 17 '14 at 12:33
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    The border crossing close to Malko Tarnavo might indeed have less traffic than at Lesovo, but it would be a substantial detour from my planned route and other online sources claim the Malko Tarnavo crossing to be very busy due to its serving of the larger cities along the Black Sea coast. But since it seems possible to get through at Lesovo, everything is ok. Thank you very much! – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 17 '14 at 17:40
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    Yes Malko Tarnavo has only cars and very few of them. I've crossed it a few times and I'm pretty certain the last was on foot from Turkey to Bulgaria. – hippietrail Mar 18 '14 at 4:57

After actually trying it, I can now confirm that it is possible to cross the border both by foot and by bike.

Plan some time, there are a total of 6 checkpoints (two passport controls and one custom check at each side of the border), so even with almost no traffic, it took me almost two hours to get through from Bulgaria to Turkey.


I crossed that border with a car many times, so car traffic is permitted. Pedestrian crossing is not permitted by law as far as I know. But bicycle should be okay.

  • I don't speak Turkish and the result of Google Translate is pretty useless. Can you translate the relevant parts of the post you are linking to? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Apr 21 '14 at 21:44
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo "c) Sınır kapılarında ve tampon bölgelerde yolcu aktarma, indirme, bindirme yapılamaz. Yolcuların sınır kapısından yaya olarak geçmek suretiyle bir başka taşıta binmesine müsaade edilmez." translates to: "it is forbidden to transfer passangers, for passangers to get off/on in border crossings and buffer zones. It's for forbidden for the passangers to walk through the border crossing and get on a vehicle." – şaloma Apr 22 '14 at 16:17
  • If your translation is correct, the text does not say that pedestrian crossings are prohibited. There are even Turkish border crossings only open for pedestrians, so it is unlikely that border crossings on foot are generally prohibited by Turkish law. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Apr 22 '14 at 22:06
  • Maybe not, do it at own risk. I've never tried. But last summer my brother was scolded by the border police for trying to cross the border (Kapikule) on foot. – şaloma Apr 22 '14 at 22:24
  • As already stated in the comments, the border at Kapıkule has been closed for pedestrians since 2005, so that has already been considered, but is not directly related to my question. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Apr 23 '14 at 12:26

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