Vitosha Mountains are the closest area near the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia which is suitable to practice outdoor activities. Many would say that the best thing about Sofia is that it has its own mountain nearby. Visiting the capital without going up ti its “home” mountain is a miss.
No matter its a smaller range, comparing to the main Bulgarian ones – Rila, Pirin and Balkan mountains, Vitosha offers a great terrain and conditions for different sorts of mountain sports – walking, mountain biking, climbing, paragliding, skiing, ski touring and snowshoeing. Vitosha is also an important nature protection sight, with rich flora and fauna. Most of the territory is declared as a protected area – Vitosha Nature Park.
The last one is arguably the easiest and most enjoyable way to visit the mountains in winter, to have an exciting active day out in the nature and to get in touch to spectacular panoramas. Snowshoeing is easy, comparing to the skiing – no technical part is involved and you don`t need any skill gaining period – you just put the snowshoes and start walking.
Despite that, being in the mountains during the winter period requires some knowledge and preparation. The proper equipment is crucial in order to have a good experience, together with knowledge on how to plan your route. Vitosha, despite its reputation of a “small” mountain, could be dangerous and one should consider factors like the weather, the route timings, the avalanche risk, etc. The mountain receives a good amount of snow between January and March, so this is generally the suitable period for snowshoeing on Vitosha.
We may offer you a variety of day trips on snowshoes on Vitosha – suitable for novices or more demanding. Please check some of them listed below.
The highlights of Vitosha:
- The forth highest mountain of Bulgaria with great alpine panoramas
- Spectacular views towards the highest mountain range of Rila
- Wild nature, the Vitosha Nature Park and the Peat Reserves
- Cultural sights like Dragalevtsi Monastery and Boyana Church
- Close to Sofia – max. 1 hour drive from any point
You may find a list of our routes on Vitosha below. Please contact us in order to choose the best itinerary for you, according to your level, the current season and snow conditions.
- The Golden Bridges/Ofeliite locality – Konyarnika – its a beautiful and remote loop 3-4h long route, suitable for novices. The walk usually offers great snow conditions, but is also sheltered from the winds and rough weather of the more exposed parts of the mountains, as we usually move on the edge of the forests and the tree line. Suitable to combine with a visit of the Dragalevtsi Monastery and the Boyana Church in the afternoon.
- The Vitosha “ringroad” between the villages of Dragalevtsi and Boyana – thats the easiest walk in our list, suitable if you want to try snowshoeing and visit some cultural sights like the Dragalevtsi Monastery and the Boyana Church on foot. As the average altitude of the trail is pretty low, the route is good for snowshoeing during limited part of the winter only. The walk takes about 3 hours total, with easy ascents and descents. We`ll see the beautiful forests of Vitosha Nature Park and Boyana Lake on the way.
- The Golden Bridges area – Mount Kamen Del – Kamen Del is easily noticeable from Sofia and many people mistaken it as the highest point of the mountains. Our walk starts from the famous area of Zlatnite Mostove (The Golden Bridges) popular because of the moraine stone “rivers”. It is accessible by an asphalt road from Sofia. We climb through the beautiful conifer forests until we reach the tree line and with a final ascent reach the Vitosha Plateau (a Peat Reserve) and the peak of Kamen Del. We`ll return back to the Zlatnite Mostove. Total walking time is about 4 hours, +350/-350 meters of vertical gain, suitable for novices and walking in leisure pace.
- Aleko Hut – Reznyovete Area – Zheleznitsa Village – this route is not short, but the ascent is very little. We start from Aleko Hut and walk nearly flat below the impressive Reznyovete Peaks, on the edge of the forest and above Bistrishko Branishte Reserve. Descent to Akademika Hut and further to the village of Zheleznitsa, one of the suburbs of Sofia. Total about 5h, +200/-850m.
- Ascent of the highest peak of the mountain – Mount Cherni Vruh (2290 m) – this route starts from Aleko Hut at 1810 m above the sea. The hut is accessible by asphalt road and by the Simeonovo gondola lift. The ascent is generally smooth, with panoramas towards Balkan Mountains, and, finally, towards Rila Mountains to the south. The walk takes about 6h total, with 500 m of vertical ascent and descent. It is suitable for novices, without previous experience in snowshoeing or hiking, but with the proper equipment (see below).
- Konyarnika Locality – Mount Cherni Vruh – this is not a loop walk but one that follows the highest parts of Vitosha and traverses it. The start point near Konyarnika is located at around 1700 m and accessible by car. We start ascending and follow a ridge with spectacular panoramas towards Rila Mountains and the lower mountains, located west from Sofia. We climb the peak for about 3 hours with 600 m of vertical gain. Descent down to Aleko Hut and further to Sofia.
Rate & Equipment needed:
The cost of the trips is the guide`s daily rate plus any transport expenses – you share this to the number of the participants and pay for a certified mountain leader, who will guide you and show you how to use the equipment. We can organize the snowshoes and trekking poles hire for you. All you need is a sandwich for lunch, some snacks and bottle of water or flask. Its better to have a few thin layers of clothes on , rather than one heavy and thick layer. Most important – you need proper water/windproof jacket with hood and pants. Please do not forget your sun glasses, sun cream and sun hat, also warm hat and gloves. Please, consider that without proper shoes the tours wont be enjoyable for you at least to say – as you’ll spend most of the day out on the snow. The snowshoes fit to almost any boots, but ski boots, trainers or casual shoes are not suitable. You need walking boots that will guarantee you protection from the wet and will keep your feet warm.
If you have any additional questions or want to book a tour for a certain date, please use the button “Contact Us”. We usually respond to emails within a few hours – or you can give us a call or just text “snowshoeing” and we’ll call you back!
Author: Lyuben Grancharov
“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” (Augustine of Hippo). I enjoy filling up the page, called “Bulgaria”, both working as a guide and writing about the mountains of Bulgaria on this blog.