Part 1: Easy to reach and less known hiking trails that you can take for day trips this summer
Written by Monica Boyadzhieva, edited by Gabriella Permaul, photos by Monica Boyadzhieva, Spiritus – Own work, Public Domain.
Living in a city can sometimes feel suffocating, especially during the hot summer months in Bulgaria. Going to the sea sounds like a great option, but some of us only have a day or two off and it’s just not worth it (unless you live there, but then you are probably bored of the beach). Instead, we hope you find new and interesting hiking spots in this article as an alternative. All of them are near big Bulgarian cities and can easily be reached with public transport.
A fairly easy and beginner-friendly hiking path, this spot is perfect for a day-trip near Sofia. In order to get there, you just need to hop on the train to the stop Lakatnik – it’s just after Svoge so not more than one hour away from Sofia. I’ve heard the road by car is not very good so it will take you the same amount of time, minus the beautiful scenery you are going to have on the train.
After arriving at the train stop, follow the river until the road splits in two – don’t take the road to the village, keep walking along the water. Soon, you will see a very fun bridge – it sways left and right when more than a few people start walking on it but it’s safe On your right, you will spot a restaurant and right next to it, a small waterfall. That is where your hiking adventure begins. You can’t get lost if you follow the trail.
As you walk, a few times you may spot paths diverging from the main one – follow them. Different paths lead to different caves along the way for the region hides over 100 of them. As you go back to the main trail and keep walking up, you will eventually reach the top and see a monument honoring the people who died in September 1923. The monument is made of red bricks and a big star at the top – in fact, you may spot it from the train station.
The whole hike should not take more than 2 hours even with rest stops but the view from the top is definitely worth it. The Iskar Gorge beautifully makes its way between the mountain slopes and small houses are placed like little red flowers all over. After your hike, we recommend stopping by the restaurant from the beginning for the best tarator you will ever taste.
The Ovech Fortress
Just 50km from Varna hides the Bulgarian version of the Great Wall of China. The train stop is called Provadia and from there you have three choices on where to start your hike. All of them beginner-friendly although equally challenging. Provadia is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria.
The fortress was built back in the 3rd century AD in order to protect the tribes from unfriendly neighbors. Over the centuries many nations have passed through it and you can see that as you walk around numerous remains of churches, prisons, towers peek out.
Starting from the fortress you can keep walking along the edge of the plateau for about 30-40 minutes till you reach the region called Shashkanite. There you will find prison cells, craved inside the steep rocks. The fortress is open every single day between 9:00 and 18:00 and the entrance fee is only 2 BGN!
“Lyastovichi Vir” Waterfall
The name of the waterfall translated means “swallow’s pond” for locals believed only swallows could reach that area. In fact, the trail is fairly pleasant to walk and it’s filled with jaw-dropping landscapes.
The hiking path l is only 40km away from Plovdiv but since the train system in South Bulgaria isn’t at its best, you will need to rent a car for this trip. To start your hike you can drive to Sushitza Dam, near the village Dolnoslav, and have a nice little picnic to charge your batteries. Close to it, there is a horse base called “Wild City” – you can ask them for directions or even get on for a little ride.
Passing “Wild City”, the hiking trail turns left and you start walking parallel to the river. After about 500m you will reach the river and its numerous water cascades. Keep walking and enjoying all the beauty around you. Before you know it the waterfall, about 12m tall will stand in all its glory in front of you.
The off-beaten paths in Bulgaria are endless and we will tell you more about them in the future. In the meantime, enjoy a day off in nature regardless if you live in Sofia or Varna!
Are you looking for spots to hike around Sofia? Check out this guide.