Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha Mountain is the home mountain of Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria. It is conveniently located southwest of the city and the good road network makes it easily accessible.

 

Although not very big, Vitosha is still the 4th highest mountain in Bulgaria after Rila, Pirin and the Balkan Mountains. It is almost rounded, dome-shaped mountain with a diameter of 25 kilometers. Its highest peak is Mt. Cherni Vrah (Black Peak) – 2290 meters (7513 ft.) above the sea level. It is not a hard peak to climb if you get a chairlift or drive up to 1850 meters high to Aleko chalet but it always catches out the unprepared tourists with its strong winds and low temperatures. If you want climb to the top of the mountain from its foothills get ready for a full day hiking adventure. Every step of it is worth it, especially if you are lucky enough to try the warming soup served in the mountain shelter at Mt. Cherni Vrah.

 

Being so close to Sofia, Vitosha Mountain is very well developed for tourism all year around. During the winter months there are a number of ski slopes one can enjoy and the high parts are suitable for snowshoeing. Once the snow has disappeared in the late spring a multitude of trails coming from every direction are populated with hikers. Some of the trails, especially on the northern slopes facing Sofia are very popular while the other ones you can barely meet a person for a whole day.

 

Mountain Biking in Vitosha Mountain is also very popular with a number
of trails for every skill level. The wide, soft trails in the foothills of the mountain can be the perfect place for your first ride in the mountain while climbing all the way up to Mt. Cherni Vrah and then coming all the way down requires skills and experience. There are special trails for downhill riders who can use a chairlift to climb up and
the cross-country enthusiast can enjoy riding the 90 kilometers trail that circles the whole mountain.

Vitosha Mountain is also the oldest Nature Park on the Balkans, established in 1934. It has extremely rich flora and fauna containing more than the half of the species that can be seen in Bulgaria. There are two Nature Reserves in the high parts of the mountain where there are also species of plants and invertebrates that are unique. These territories provide peaceful atmosphere where some rare larger animals can be also seen – Red Deer, Roe Deer, Wild Boar and Brown Bear. The Red Fox and the Rabbit are more common and the beautiful songs of more than 200 species of birds can be heard in the abundant forests.

 

The best period to visit Vitosha Mountain is the summer and the autumn when the weather is stable and the days are long. Always carry water and warm clothes with you as well as a rain cover. A hat and sunscreen are a must and you will need comfortable hiking shoes. Here are some of our guided day tours of Vitosha Mountain that you can enjoy when you come to Sofia:


Bovska Skaklya waterfall near Sofia

Stunning but accessible waterfall near Sofia offering breathtaking views and hiking opportunities to the outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Bovska Skaklya is one of the highest waterfalls in Bulgaria. It cascades down the vertical cliffs of one of the numerous deep valleys bringing its waters down to Iskar River flowing north through the Balkan Mountains in its magnificent gorge. The highest fall is an 85 meters sheer drop followed by several smaller ones which accumulate to an amazing overall of 140 meters of falling water.  The waterfall is most impressive in the spring when the melting snow generates large amounts of water running down every mountain stream. During the hot summer months the waterfall can dry up completely only to return with the autumn rains. If the winter is cold, the water can freeze in beautiful shapes making the whole area quiet and eerie without the constant sound of the falling waters.

Situated in the deeply cut Iskar gorge, only an hour away from the centre of Sofia, Skaklya waterfall is one of the most accessible natural phenomenons of such proportions in the region. A steep but very well made and secure trail leads up to the bottom of the waterfall and further on to its very top. From here one can see deep into the river gorges and above the clouds towards the other parts of Western Balkan Mountains. A small village, called Zasele, is a good spot for a break and little chat with the locals. There are many legends about this region and you can hear about medieval knights, rebels and their hidden treasures, and brave local heroes.

You could also hear about one of the legends of the Bulgarian literature – the poet, writer and novelist Ivan Vazov (1850 – 1921). He spent two years of his life in a nearby village and the waterfall was one of his favourite spots in the region. The trail that leads to the waterfall is named after him and the story goes that he met some of the prototypes for his characters in this region.

Should you wish to explore beyond the city streets and sights, Bovska Skaklya is an amazing opportunity to visit a stunning waterfall near Sofia. Skaklya waterfall is the highlight of our Iskar Gorge Day Hike from Sofia.