Hiking Mt. Vitosha – excellent day trip from Sofia

posted in: Bulgaria, Hiking | 22

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.

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

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.

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

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.

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

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!).

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

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.

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria, Mountain, hiking

 

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22 Responses

  1. Haha that’s funny about the chairlift! There’s a hike near my house that you can access via chairlift, and it always feels a bit like cheating 🙂

  2. Lauren Pears

    What beautiful scenery! I had no idea there was such a stunning mountain this close to Sofia- I’ll have to check it out when I eventually get round to doing a Euro-trip. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Wow, great photos, it looks like you had a good hike! I will keep this in mind whenever we are in Sofia.

  4. I was not really a hiker but I could then walk a mile or two. But now, with plantar fasciitis, I cannot even do that. I just vicariously enjoy by readings stories like yours.

  5. That chair lift would horrify me Danik LOL! Just saw one here in Christchurch during a 2 hour hike. Seemed solid enough to me. But if it looked to be in disrepair at all….no way! You are a brave soul. Rocking post dude 🙂

    Ryan

  6. Have never been to Sofia. Hiking up the mountain so near a capital city sounds like a lot of fun and will definitely follow your steps .. when the time comes 😉

    Thanks for sharing, Eva

  7. Wow, what beautiful scenery. I would rather see it from the chairlift than on a long hike in the hot sun, though! And that bus looks horrifying!

  8. That post came in with perfect timing, we are still looking for some travel ideas for the summer.. Looks like a fun hike, not too difficult with a beautiful scenery!

  9. Looks like a great spot for a hike. Don’t think I would have chanced the chairlift. Looks great but scary experience.

  10. I could see why you didn’t like taking corners in the bus, it looks like it is tilted pretty far over during a turn. Looks like a great mountain to hike on. Since it is near the Capitol, we would definitely be interested in taking this hike (visiting Capitol’s is our thing).

  11. You are right, the pictures do tell it all – I would definitely want to do this in summer. I am not sure about the chairlift personally, I’d probably continue with the hike, albeit slowly. I’m terrible about taking a hat – I always think I won’t need one – one day I will learn!

  12. Jeez, that bus looks like it’s going to tip over! We love doing at least one hike when we travel too. It’s a great way to get off the beaten track and meet local people. Nature and scenery are my favourite parts of travel, so it suits me well. I love the rocks on this trail (I’m a bit of a rock nerd).

  13. Looked like a great day for a hike, lots of boulders to maneuver around and over, it looks like interesting terrain. Agree with you on the chairlift!

  14. love the way you described about your trip experience, the correct timing to find out this article. Next week going there and thinking about trip and sudden found your post where everything mentioned. Thanks for sharing.

  15. What a lovely hike! It’s great that it is so accessible. Although I do try to exercise, somehow my fitness levels are not the best. That bus does look a bit scary though. How hot was it? It looks like a scorching day!

  16. I really wish I had read this before I visited Sofia a couple years ago. I love hiking, and your pictures look great. I’ll just have to go back someday.

  17. This sounds like the kind of hike I could manage, since there is enough public transportation to take care of the tough part of the journey. Not sure about the condition of the bus as well as the cable car, though. The views from up there are pretty cool!

  18. Renata - www.byemyself.com

    Bulgaria used to be one of the few destinations that people from the Eastern part of Europa were allowed to travel to and it kept this ‘social charm’ for a while. But I’m getting more and more curious about the Balkan countries and would love to visit. This day trip from Sofia looks very nice.

  19. Bulgaria is on my bucket list for a while but I would have never thought that it is a great hiking destination, Danik! Such an enlightening post! Mt. Vitosha is so picturesque and a perfect hiking place. When’s the best time of the year to go hiking there?

  20. Great hiking area. The rocky terrain looks especially fun to climb around on. I love the views in the photos you took. I can understand why you spent hours just walking around at the top.

  21. Looks fantastic. I had no idea that only one capital in Europe had a mountain next to it. But Vitosha looks one well worth climbing. I lived in Granada for a while as well as cities in South Korea and China that are surrounded by mountains and I must say there’s something captivating about a mountain city. But it’s one thing to gaze up at it standing vigil over you and quite another to pluck up the energy to get up there.

  22. Wow that was some hike! I didn’t know that about Sophia being only capital city in the EU with a mountain right next to it. Did you get your tan? 😂

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