Sofia is probably the only European capital with such a big mountain so close to the city center.[1] Vitosha is a ski resort (though a bit underdeveloped), nice hiking place and gives you a great panorama view of the city. The city is also one of the highest capitals in Europe.[2]. So the question inevitably pops up – ‘How to get to Vitosha mountain?’. Here are some options.

SKI RESORT AND LIFTS CURRENTLY DO NOT WORK

WALKING + HIKING – This is actually how organized tourism in Sofia started. In 1895 the famous Bulgarian writer Aleko Konstantinov managed to convince around 300 people to leave the ‘dusty streets’ and ‘stuffy cafes’ of Sofia and get a refreshing walk from the city centre to the top of the mountain – Cherni Vrah (Black Peak) at 2290 m above sea level. In front of the National Theatre there’s a stone that marks the starting point of this interesting journey. However, if you prefer to start in the foothills of the mountain or go straight to the top, here are some other ideas:

SKI RESORT AND LIFTS CURRENTLY DO NOT WORK

BUS + LIFT / HIKING – In order to get to the hiking paths near Boyana church or any of the lifts going up the mountain, you would have to switch two buses. First, you have to take bus 9TM from the National Palace of Culture and get of at the last stop Hladilnika. Here’s a good map with the routes of the buses in Sofia to get an idea where to get what. Then you have five options:

  • Bus 66 would take you to Aleko area which is just below the highest peak of the mountain. This is as high as you can get with public transport. This bus is a bit more expensive because it’s not part of the city network. That’s also why it’s so hard to find on any information places :) Fortunately our friend Patrick wrote a really useful article about it.
  • Bus 64 to nearby Boyana Church and you can choose the hiking paths to Boyana Lake or Boyana Waterfall, for example. You can also join the free hiking tour that’s organized by our friends at Sofia Green Tour.
  • Bus 122 to Simeonovo gondola lift. During the summer it works only on weekends. 8BGN return ticket. From the last stop you can also take another chair lift to almost the top of the mountain. Make sure you come back in time for the last ride down (around 16:30).
  • Bus 93 to Dragalevtsi chair lift. During the summer it works only on weekends. 7BGN return ticket.
  • Bus 98 to Jeleznica village on the other side of the mountain. Less popular hiking paths.

There’s also the free bus to Zlatnite Mostove which leaves from the center and would operate throughout the summer.

TAXI + LIFT / HIKING – This idea is often overlooked because people do not realise how cheap taxis are here compared to the rest of Europe. If you don’t feel like switching two buses to go to the foothills of the mountain, a taxi ride to the first three above-mentioned bus stops should not be more 15km and more than 6-7 EUR. Just make sure you get a proper taxi because scams still exist.

CAR – There’s a road that goes through Dragalevtsi neighbourhood to the Aleko area with the homonymous chalet. During the summer season there are no restrictions on the access, the Vitosha Nature Park Directorate informed us. From there you can walk to the top of the moutain.

If you are interested in hiking in Sofia and Bulgaria, we will show you some of the best routes in the mountain in one of our next articles!

  1. [1] If we don’t consider the European ministates like Andorra.
  2. [2] It’s Andorra la Vella again on top, followed by Liechtenstein’s Vaduz and arguably Madrid.
 

7 Responses to How to get to Vitosha mountain

  1. [...] One of the easiest day trips from Sofia is hiking Vitosha, the 2290-meter mountain right outside the city. On weekends in the summer, LIDL runs two free daily buses to one of the trailheads in the morning (one bus leaves at 8 AM, the other at 9 AM, from Vasil Levski Stadium; arrive a half hour early to secure a seat or you may have to stand) and returning at 5 and 6 PM. There are also several city buses if you want to go during the weekdays; Free Sofia Tours has detailed information on their website. [...]

  2. Ayse Tezel says:

    Do the buses work on the 1st of May?

  3. Chucho says:

    Zagreb also has a high mountain not so far from the city center. You just take two tram lines and start walking, after 2 or 3 hours you will be at the top of Medvednica mountain, Sjleme

  4. [...] to the first hiking trails in days without traffic you may take no more than 15-20 minutes. Well, public transport  will take more. You have a choice of easier and more difficult hiking routes. Whichever route you [...]

  5. [...] are a couple of ways to get to Vitosha mountain which I have already covered in Free Sofia Tour’s blog. We went to Aleko chalet by car. The hike from there to the top is around an hour and it’s [...]

  6. [...] to the first hiking trails in days without traffic you may take no more than 15-20 minutes. Well, public transport  will take more. You have a choice of easier and more difficult hiking routes. Whichever route you [...]

  7. Kefka says:

    We tried to go to Vitosha last week – in autumn and no weekend (4.-5.9.2013). The bus 66 is going only at weekends like as the lifts. So we had to go by the bus 64 to Bojana and climb up to waterfall and Momina skala hut :-)
    On the back way, we met in Zlatnite Mostove a taxi, which brough us to Bojana for cca 10 Leva (more than 10 km).

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