Час  6 днів 29 хвилин

Координати 12444

Uploaded 13 жовтня 2019

Recorded вересня 2019

2 375 m
596 m
109,95 km

Переглянуто 367 раз(и), завантажено 8 раз(и)

біля Pirdop, Софийска област (България)

The Balkan mountain range (aka Stara planina / Стара планина; meaning the "Ancient Mountain") is a large mountain range literally dividing Bulgaria in half as it runs all the way from the border between Bulgaria and Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea.

We hiked it's central part within which the national park called Central Balkan is situated and which also encompasses it's highest peak, Botev at 2.376 metres above sea level. Our hike started at Pirdop and it took us seven days and 110 km to get to Kalofer.

Although there're many mountain chalets (or huts) along the main route most of them was either closed or not fully operational by early September. The first fully operational chalet we encountered was Dermenka (on the fourth day of our hike) and together with Dobrila these two are arguably the best establishments you can stumble upon in these parts (clean rooms, hot water, basic yet delicious food and the owners that actually do care about their customers). On the other hand we experienced some very rude refusal at the refuge on the plateau beneath the Botev peak and mostly indifferent approach anywhere else (Ekho, Kozya Stena as well as the small tourist dormitory atop Botev).

As a result we camped most of the nights even though it's officially prohibited within the perimeter of the national park. But it's virtually impossible to observe the rules when the hut's been closed (or you've been just flatly told to go away) and there's no other option to camp legally.

Anyway, apart from above mentioned issues I would strongly recommend this hike to any great outdoors buff. For the most part you would not encounter any other living creature apart from horses and cows (and some occasional dog) while the landscape is quite varied and generally stunning. There're grassy high mountain plateaus dotted with cone-like peaks as well as jagged rocky ridges as well as both barren plains and lush forrests. Arguably the Balkan / Stara Planina is not as stunning as Rila or Pirin but on the other hand it's definitely less frequented than these other two Bulgarian mountains.


If you're bold enough you can hike all the way from the Black Sea to the Kom peak in Western Bulgaria (or the other way round). With its 650 km the "Kom - Emine trail counts among Europe's longest uninterrupted high-mountain trails and forms part of the wider E3 European long distance path.

For additional information on chalets and shelters check this excellent page:

I list this one as "Difficult" as we hiked with 20 kg backpacks carrying all our stuff. Other than that it would feel more like "Moderate". Just be aware some parts of the trail within Kaloferska planina (namely the Kupena massif and the following ridge connecting it to both Mala Krstec and Golyam Krstec) are pretty demanding. There are even some really exposed parts (both secured by rails and totally unsecured) which require utmost caution and surefootedness.

An unnamed spring

Due to the close vicinity of huge copper smelting plant I wouldn't trust this one.


Closed (rather totally deserted) on the 9th of September. There's a rich mountain spring to get some fresh water from.

A 'Kom - Emine' trail intersection


Planinske Izvory

Literally "The Mountain Springs" and there're many of them indeed as well as an abandoned refuge. An excellent camping spot (though technically illegal).

Tetevenska Baba


Antonski preval

A trail to Benkovski chalet diverts here.



An unnamed spring

A pretty abundant mountain spring as well as a camping spot (again illegal of course).




Technically open but we were told it's been closed. At least sold us the beer.


A trail to Haydushka Pesen chalet and Chiflik spa town diverts here.

Kozya Stena

The chalet was open (and it appeared that there're actually some guest staying over the night) but we were told that they don't serve any meals and were able to sell us just beer, cola and some snacks.
Building of interest

Arch of Freedom

A huge concrete late communist era monument commemorating the Bulgarian struggle for independence.

Orlove gnezdo

The refuge was deserted but you can get inside (and charge your phone) and there's also a room at the basement with four fully made beds. There's also a water fountain at the porch.


Year long operational chalet offering both hotel like rooms with shower and dormitory accommodation, and serving dinners and breakfasts. On the 12th of September we're the only guests.


A Bulgarian "Chalet of the Year", 2018. Everything was all right.


There's also a small shelter near the summit (2-3 persons max).


Arguably the most spectacular peak of Kaloferska planina. A lot of steep and exposed rocky passages.

Botev (shelter)

The staff was very rude to us (and probably drunk as well) and flatly denied there're any vacancies even though the other hikers staying there told us otherwise. And the overall vibe was really tense and unpleasant there.


There's a cozy little tourist shelter few meters away from the summit. Unfurtunately they were fully booked and in a polite yet totally indifferent way told us to go away despite the rapidly approaching nightfall and the fact that it's prohibited to camp anywhere else. I mean in any mountains I hiked there's always an effort on behalf of chalet operators to find a solution even if the establishment was fully booked (sleep on the floor, use the pews as a provisional bed, raise a tent etc.). Well, apparently not in Bulgaria.


    You can or this trail