The highlights of this tour
One, two or three day hiking on a route town of Kalofer – Ray chalet – Vasil Levski chalet – city of Karlovo.
This tour and its variations show a great diversity of landscapes, ecosystems and habitats in Central Balkan National Park.
- the highest peak of the Balkan Range (Botev, 2,376 m asl)
- the highest waterfall on the Balkan peninsula – Rayskoto praskalo waterfall (literally translated as heavenly waterfall)
- two strict nature reserves (Stara reka reserve and the biggest reserve in Central Balkan – Dzhendema reserve) that preserve representative natural beech forests – part of the serial World Heritage Property “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”.
Video of the area
Description of the 3-day-tour
From the town of Kalofer the road leads us to the Panitsite locality (resort area).
On a small parking area we leave the transport and start our hike in direction Ray chalet and Rayskoto praskalo waterfall on marked trail. The route passes through deciduous forests, actively used pasture region of the park.
Then the path continues to the Ray chalet through Dzhendema reserve.
After an extreme ascent through Rogacheva forest we are facing the unique view of the Raiskite skali rocks and Ray chalet.
The Raysko praskalo waterfall on Praskalska river is 40 minutes up the chalet.
We are hiking the trail from Ray chalet to Vasil Levski chalet via Byala reka river gorge or via Botev peak on Tarzan’s trail.
After a short break on the meadow in front the Vasil Levski chalet for 20 to 25 minutes, we will reach Karlovsko praskalo waterfall – a small picturesque waterfall into the beech-fir forest.
After this it is time to relax and have a traditional dinner in Vasil Levski chalet – the oldest in the Balkan range.
This day is dedicated to exploring the Stara reka reserve till the end of our tour in city of Karlovo.
The path passes by the Balkanski rozi chalet (literally Balkan roses chalet) and Hubavets chalet – the last chalet on this trail.
On the final part of the trail the Stara reka river is going steeply down, cutting a rocky canyon and takes us to the city of Karlovo.
Variations of the tour
A) BYALA REKA ECOTRAIL
Four hours tour in the picturesque gorge of Byala Reka River on the territory of the national park, above the Kalofer Monastery in the beginning of the Dzhendema reserve.
The trail is 1,830 meters long or about 3,700 steps. In normal walk this should take you about two hours. The altitude at the beginning of the trail is 570 meters above sea level, and at the end 630 meters.
During your walk, you will cross eight picturesque bridges above the Byala Reka River. The route is circular.
The ecotrail is situated on the border of Central Balkan National Park, close to the town of Kalofer (7 km). There is a small parking place before the entrance of the park. From the beginning of Byala reka ecotrail starts also marked trail to Paradzhika locality. That makes the ecotrail an alternative starting point to Ray chalet.
B) TO BOTEV VIA MARINKA
Alternative for the first day of the tour – for experienced hikers only.
On the northwest end of Paradzhika locality the trail follows closely the crest of the ridge going to Marinka shelter and Paradzhika peak.
From Marinka shelter the trail turns to the west, to the peak of Botev.
C) TO BOTEV STARTING FROM APRILTSI
The town of Apriltsi is located on the northern slopes of Central Balkan National Park.
From Vidima neighbourhood (8 km from city centre) the hiking trail to Pleven chalet and Botev peak starts.
The route offers marvelous panoramic view of the wild labyrinth of the northern Dzhendema reserve.
From the peak – according to the preferences of the tourists – the group can follow trail to Rayskoto praskalo waterfall, Ray chalet and town of Kalofer or to Vasil Levski chalet and city of Karlovo.
General information and booking info
Length of the tours
We offer 1, 2 or 3 days experience along the trail of the above described tour and all variations depending on the abilities and preferences of our guests.
The three days tour is about 38 to 40 km long. Depending on the selected part(s) of the tour the length (respectively duration) can be reduced to 30 km (2 days)/ 20 km (1 day, 9 hours)/ 4 km (4 hours).
Daily hikes for two or three day tours last between 5 and 8 hours. We are also flexible with regard to the direction of passing the route and possible combinations of its parts and variants.
Breaks and meals are determined by the length of the selected tour and the individual preferences of the guests.
The height difference is 1,800 m.
Level of difficulty
Medium to high depending on the chosen variant (except Byala reka ecotrail where the level is low).
Participants must be over 14 years old (without age limit for a hike on Byala reka ecotrail only), in good health, with medium/good hiking skills and appropriate equipment including wind and waterproof jacket and trousers (not shorts!), raincoat, comfortable hiking boots, comfortable backpack, bottle for water, flashlight, cap/hat, gloves.
We are flexible and can offer tours on the same route for experienced and nonexperienced hikers. (We strongly recommend the conclusion of a travel–health–insurance, including accident insurance.)
The most suitable periods for visits are between May and October.
During the winter season avalanches often endanger the mountain trail. Booking 20 days in advance is required.
The best departure time for the first day is 9:00 a.m.
Starting and end points for all tours can be the town of Kalofer, city of Karlovo or town of Apriltsi.
(The distance between Sofia and Karlovo is 150 km, between Sofia and Kalofer 170 km, between Sofia and Apriltsi 220 km.
The city of Karlovo and town of Kalofer can be reached by train form Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas and Varna.
The town of Apriltsi is connected with Sofia by direct bus service. A local bus line serves the route Troyan – Apriltsi.
Assistance for your travel to Central Balkan NP you can receive on:
Three day tour:
80 EUR per person (min 4 persons or supplementary payment of 15 EUR per person in a group of 3 and 20 EUR per person in a group of 2). The price includes 2 nights in a mountain chalet (basic accommodation), two breakfasts and tour guiding. (Lunch and dinner are not included.)
Two day tour:
50 EUR per person (min 4 persons or supplementary payment of 10 EUR per person in a group of 3 and 15 EUR per person in a group of 2). The price includes 1 night in a mountain chalet (basic accommodation), a breakfast and tour guiding. (Lunch and dinner are not included.)
25 EUR per person (min 4 persons or supplementary payment of 10 EUR per person in a group of 3 and 15 EUR per person in a group of 2).
Half a day tour (4-hours):
10 EUR per person (min 4 persons or supplementary payment of 5 EUR per person in a group of 3 and 10 EUR per person in a group of 2).
How to book?
Text: Courtesy of Central Balk National Park Directorate
Photos: Directorate of Central Balkan National Park/Stoyan Hristov