I always love a good hike whilst on the road and when I was checking out the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, one thing high up on my list was to hike the nearby mountain, Vitosha. This was an easy hike to do if wanting to spend one day doing this. A few more days is needed to do hiking elsewhere in the Vitosha national park where the mountain lies (just watch out for those bears which roam around). Quick little fact I want to tell you, Sofia is the only capital in the European Union which has a huge mountain next to the city (which is uncommon) but if anyone wants to get picky, Madrid is the highest capital city in the European Union (so high up above sea level) but outside the European Union and still inside Europe, the capitals of Andorra and Liechtenstein claim the record for the highest cities above sea level. Anyway…I am blabbing, here is how to enjoy a day hiking up this beautiful mountain.
To spend more time up the Vitosha mountain, from the Hladilnika bus terminal take the bus 66 all the way to the final stop of Aleko. This got me halfway up the mountain and was able to enjoy more time up here in the heat of the summer. (Hint: take sunglasses, sun cream, hat and a bottle of water – unlike me who wanted to go up for a tan). The bus journey takes about fifty minutes to one hour as the journey is very slow with the traffic in the city and the winding road up the mountain. Really didn’t like taking the corners up there on a bus dated back from the 1960s.
Then from Aleko (just for fun), I decided to take the chair lift which has probably been working since the 1940s and falling to bits and managed to survive the journey. I honestly thought the whole thing was gonna collapse under my weight. The chair lift is here as during the winter months, Vitosha turns from a hiking paradise to a ski resort as snow is guaranteed to fall every winter.
The hike is a pleasant walk, no tough climbing, good walking path on hard mud and taking in the views of the city which lies down below. I spent about five hours up here just walking around, laying in bits of snow to cool down (then stop doing it when I saw dogs playing around in them and decide to urinate on the white stuff!).
This hike can be done by anyone as it does involve public transport to get visitors near the top. Remember, the mountain is 2290 meters above sea level and hiking from the centre will take a lot longer, maybe all day to get to the top. I would highly recommend anyone to do this in the summer and I think the photos tell you all.
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