Vitosha Nature Park
The fourth highest mountain in Bulgaria (after Rila, Pirin and Stara Planina mountains) is among the favorite places for tourism, walks, sports and relaxation of the citizens of Sofia, the residents of the surrounding villages and towns and the guests of Sofia. The city is among the few capitals in the world that are located in the immediate vicinity of a high mountain. Vitosha Mountain is the most urbanized mountain in the country with numerous hiking trails, routes and biking routes, ski runs, chalets, opportunities for various types of tourism, facilities, lifts, shelters, roads, transport, wild camping sites, hunting and fishing, etc. It is actively visited during the four annual seasons and is preferred by tourists of all ages.
Its highest point is Cherni Vrah Mount with an altitude of 2,292m. It is among the 100 national tourist sites and is associated with the beginning of the Bulgarian tourism. The European tourist route "E-4" crosses it.
Almost the whole area of the mountain – from over 31,100 hectares, is included in the Vitosha Nature Park, which today covers 27,079 hectares. The park was established in 1934 and it was the first in the country and on the Balkan Peninsula. Bistrishko Branishte biosphere reserve and the Torfen Branishte Reserve are located on its territory. On the website of the Park – http://park-vitosha.org, you can find detailed tourist information on hiking and thematic routes, bicycle routes, paths, climbing sites, camping sites, chalets, landmarks and more.
Among the most popular sights of Vitosha are the Duhlata cave, which is the longest cave in the country – 18 km; stone rivers /moraines/; the Zlatnite Mostove area (*Golden Bridges); Boyana Waterfall; the world-known Boyana Church, which is in the list of the world cultural heritage of UNESCO; Dragalevtsi monastery; Kladnishki Monastery and others.
Together with these, the favorite places of tourists are the areas of Kominite (*the chimneys), Ofeliite, Belite brezi (*the White birches) with the Museum of Owls; Boyana Lake; the area of the Dendarium, established in 1952, which is a favorite for family walks for its many arbours, alleys, benches, the Children's Information and Entertainment Center with playgrounds and game facilities, the Bear Museum, the Botanical Garden for the Blind People, the Sports Information Alley for People with disabilities of the musculoskeletal system, etc.; the area of "Aleko" chalet and others.
Vitosha is also a favorite destination for skiers and snowboarders. The most popular among the tourists are the two ski centers – “Aleko“ and "Vetrovala". The Ophelia track above the Golden Bridges area is the best option for beginner skiers. There are 1 cabin, 3 chair lifts and several ski lifts in the mountain. More information about the lifts and their working hours can be found on the website of Vitosha Ski AD, which maintains the facilities: https://skivitosha.com.
There are more than 40 huts and small hotels and over 10 shelters available to the lovers of the mountain, such as Aleko hut under Cherni Vrah Mount, Kupena hut /Akademika/ at Golyam Kupen Mount, Kamen del hut close to the Kamen del Mount and others. This summer /2018/ a new shelter was opened in the area of Tri kladentsi, at altitude of 1,940m, along the route between the Kumata hut and Cherni vrah Mount.
Vitosha is famous for its rich and diverse flora and fauna. More than 1,500 species of higher plants grow on its territory, with more than 50% of it being covered with forests. The mountain is inhabited by over 1,800 species of invertebrates, 200 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, including red deer, roe deer, wild boar, brown bear and wolf, fox, rabbit, etc., 12 reptile species and 10 amphibian species.
Vitosha Nature Park
National Park Information Center
Sofia, Vazrazhdane Sq, 17 Antim I Str
Tel.: +359 2 989 53 77, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://park-vitosha.org
9.00 – 17.30, day off – Saturday and Sunday
Up-to-date information on the working time of the Bear Museum and the Museum of the Owls can be obtained from the Park Information Center, tel.: +359 2 989 53 77 and on the site: http://park-vitosha.org
Car access to the mountain is facilitated, as sections of the State Road Network and Municipal Roads pass through the northwestern, northern and eastern foothills of the mountain. The most popular starting points for Vitosha are the districts of Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Knyazhevo, the nearby villages of Bistritsa, Zheleznitsa and Vladaya, which can be reached by regular bus lines from Sofia.
In the summer, the city bus line 63 traditionally travels to the Golden Bridges area, and also bus line 163 travels there on weekends.
Detailed and up-to-date information on the capiatal‘s public transport services can be found on the website of the Center for Urban Mobility: https://www.sofiatraffic.bg/en/common; https://www.sofiatraffic.bg/en/transport/schedules. The telephone number of the Information Center for Urban Mobility is: +359 700 13 233. Detailed and up-to-date information on public transport to the Park can be found here.
Pedestrians and cyclists who want to visit Vitosha during the summer tourist season can travel for free with the "Vitosha Green Line" buses that leave from Sofia. This summer /2018/ the buses traveled every weekend from 8 am and 9 am, with starting point Vasil Levski stadium, returning from Golden Bridges at 5 pm and 6 pm. For cyclists, the first stop was from the Zoo and reached the Aleko hut. The second one – from G.M. Dimitrov Boulevard to the village of Zheleznitsa. The two bicycle lines were at 8:20 am and at 10:30 am from the starting points. You can find up-to-date information on the web page: https://www.lidl.bg/bg/greenline.htm
This summer /2018/ the first system for shared use of electric bikes in Sofia has started. The station for electric bicycles, which can be used on the territory of Vitosha Nature Park, is located in front of the National Museum of History. You can learn more from the website: https://rentebike.bg, through which the guests can book a bicycle and get more information about the service, prices, working hours, etc., tel.: +3559 885 151 928.
The Simeonovo – Aleko hut Lifts and the Dragalevtsi – Goli Vrah Lifts work on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays in the summer. More information about the cableways can be found on the website of Vitosha Ski AD, which maintains the facilities: https://skivitosha.com.
The Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) maintains a 24-hour watch. MRS telephones: +359 2 963 20 00 – Central non-stop watch; tel.: 1470 /for all mobile operators/; for inquiries or advice – tel.: 1471 /for all mobile operators/. Website:https://www.pss-bg.bg.