Off The Beaten Track: Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha is the most visited Bulgarian mountain. It is situated just above Sofia – within an hour you can be far away from the noise of the capital. Many people accept it as a big park where one can walk following signed paths and enjoy nice landscapes. However it is a high mountain and should not be underestimated – the highest peak Cherni vrah is 2290 m (the meaning of its name is ‘black peak’). The access points are from the fringe quarters of Sofia where rich Bulgarians have built luxury houses at the mountain foothills – Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Boyana, Vladaya, Knyajevo and others.

One easy way to get there is using the lift starting from Simeonovo quarter and reaching Aleko hut. The area around the hut is quite developed and can be even crowded during the weekends. There are few ski slopes for beginners and advanced skiers. From Aleko hut to Cherni Vrah is less than 2 hours – for those who like challenges.

The other lift which can be used starts from Dragalevtsi and reaches Goli Vrah /meaning “the bare hill”/. This is a plateau area suitable for long walks. Those who are not afraid of climbing can get off at the middle station and walk through the pine forest until they reach the flatter top area. There is also a nice monastery within 40 min walk up the hill from Dragalevtsi.

One of the most beautiful destinations is Zlatni Mostove – about 2 hours walking distance starting from Vladaya. This is a natural phenomenon – a rock river. The big rocks are covered with golden lichens which give the name of the place meaning “golden bridges”. You can climb on the rocks for fun and try to “walk up the river”, have a sun bath on them or just enjoy a lazy picnic in the open. You can reach Zlatni Mostove also from Aleko hut passing through Vitosha Plateau and going down – it is 2-3 hours easy walk without steep descends.

Another interesting tourist track starts from Boyana. There you should definitely visit the Boyana Church with its preserved medieval frescos – it is listed as a world cultural heritage from UNESCO. The aim is Boyana waterfalls – there is a bit of climbing but the walk along the river and the final destination deserve the effort.

There are so many other places to visit. We are sure that once there you will find your way. It is also very easy to say “Dobar den” to the smiling elder tourist who walks slowly following his usual path and you will get loads of information where to go, what to see, how far it is and so on.

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