Pilgrimage Routes

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Winter in Vitosha mountain: Zheleznitsa – Cherni Vrah Peak

A challenge for the more experienced hiker lovers!
In the winter Vitosha mountain is a great challenge, but with good equipment, experience and some friends, it can turn into an unforgettable journey.
Beware of the weather! As in every mountain, some days there’s a bigger risk of avalanches and the weather could be unpredictable as well. Always check the forecast and the online webcams before you go. The plateаu in the upper parts is usually very windy as well. It is vital to wear the right equipment and not to go on your own. Water- and windproof jackets and shoes are a must! Crampons and ski sticks are also advisable, especially if you’re taking the steeper and slippery routes. To contact the Mountain Rescure Service in case of emergency, call the national number 112 or +3592/ 963 2000. To make easier contact, you can download their free app called PSS for Apple and Android as well. For the experienced mountaineers, the route to Cherni Vrah peak starting from Zheleznitsa village is an ideal choice. It will not only get you a little further away from the city, but also challenge you – the first part of the route is steep and tiring, but the view from the Vitosha Plateau will recharge you with energy! The marking is excellent – the stakes will accompany you throughout the whole journey, helping you make your way.
Elevation: 1300 m. Duration: 3-4 hours. Distance: 10 km.
Photos by Peter Savov.

1. Zheleznitsa village

The beginning of the hiking trail is located on Samokovsko Shose Street in the village of Zheleznitsa. The village stands on around 1000 meters above sea level and is easily reachable by bus 98, which you can catch from Vitosha Metrostation every 20-30 minutes. The bus travels about 40 minutes until its last stop where you have to take off: ‘Kmetstvo Zheleznitsa’ (№0937). The route starts where the Vedena River crosses the street. Search the signs, blue marking and stakes – they will lead you along the river up into the forest. Get ready for a long and tiring climb into the picturesque forest and then into the open highlands of Vitosha mountain.

2. Academic training base – National Sports Academy

After all the climbing you will have the opportunity to relax in the Academic training base of NSA – also known as High Mountain Training and Sports Base ‘Prof. Iv. Staykov’, as well as Fizkulturnik Hut and the former Kupena Hut. Enjoy a warm drink and all the fresh air and openness around – the hardest part is already behind you and you only have a very pleasant walk to the top left.

3. Cherni Vrah Peak

Especially in winter, the panorama view from Cherni Vrah peak is stunning – you have a 360 degree landscape of the mountain, as well as the surrounding Rila and Balkan mountains! Whether you enjoy tea at the weather station or just gaze at the snowy and icy stones all around the summit, Cherni Vrah peak will be the culmination of your adventure. And if you’re a fan of skiing – you can go down to Aleko hut by the ski slopes, maintained by Ski Vitosha!