Bulgaria offers so much variety when it comes to day trips. There’s a lot to see and it is sometimes hard to prioritize. Most visitors with a 2-3 day stay in the country usually choose a trip to Plovdiv or the Rila Monastary. However, if you have more time, a trip to the Belogradchick Rocks and Fortress will surely be one to remember.
Belogradchick is a town in the North West of Bulgaria. While the region itself is economically lagging behind other regions in the country, there is something that attracts local and foreign visitors alike. And that’s the famous Belogdradchick Rocks and Fortress. Truth is, Bulgaria is not famous for its castles. However, this one is definitely among the ones worth visiting. Not only because of the fortress itself but because of the way it’s situated among the incredibly beautiful rocks. In fact, the fortress has been there in different shapes and forms for the past 2000 years. Artefacts found in the area (such as Roman coins, ceramics and more) prove that. The fortress developped its current appearance in the 14th century towards the end of the Second Bulgarian Tsardom. It was then conquered by the Ottomans.
Today, it is regarded as both a historical and a natural monument. It is mostly popular among locals whereas tourists usually choose more actively marketed locations that are also more easily accessible.
The Belogradchick Rocks form a strip that is 30 kilometers long. In some parts it reaches a height of 200 metres. What’s fascinating about these formations is that each one carries a different name with a different story and at least several urban legends attached to it. Some of the names are The Horseman, The Madonna, Adam and Eve, The Bear, The Camel and on and on and on.
There are a number of ways to get to the town of Belogradchik and the Belogradchick Rocks:
While we always recommend taking the bus in Bulgaria, as trains have a reputation of being somewhat unreliable, this route is rather convenient. There are 3 direct trains daily from Sofia to the town of Oreshec (the closest possible train station). You can catch the train at 07:35, 12:05 and 17:10. The lenght of the ride varies between 3.5 to 4 hours. For a two way ticket you will pay between 20BGN to 26BGN. If you decide to buy one-way tickets it will be a bit more expensive. Once you are in Oreshec you will need to take a taxi to get to the Belogradchik Rocks. It’s a 12km ride and it should cost you approx. 15BGN. Be careful, as sometimes, taxi drivers might try to overcharge you. Make sure to check our “Taxi Guide” to avoid problems.
There are buses that can take you from Sofia to Belogradchick. However, they only leave once a day at 16:30 at the Central Bus Station. That might not be the most convenient option if you are trying to turn this into a day trip as you would have to spend the night at Belogradchick and come back to Sofia the next day. One way ticket will cost you 16BGN. Once you are there, the rocks are within walking distance – about 1.5km from the city itself.
We are not the ones to advocate driving around Bulgaria but in all honesty, this is the best option here. It is by far the fastest way to get there. Considering the limited train and bus schedules a car will allow you to explore the area at a time that suits your schedule and preferences. Once you are there, the rocks are within walking distance – about 1.5km from the city itself.
That’s of course the most hassle-free way. Relax and let a tour guide show you around.There are many travel companies providing such an experience. Quite often they also combine the trip with the nearby Magura Cave.
The working hours of the fortress are as follows:
April: Every day from 9am to 6pm
May to September: Every day from 9am to 7pm
October: Every day from 9am to 6pm
November to March: Every day from 9am to 5pm
Regular ticket: 6BGN
Discounted ticket (for students and pensioners): 4BGN
Family ticket (2 parrents + kids up to 18 years old): 12BGN
Groups of 10+:
For students and pensioners: 3BGN pp
A paid parking for both cars and buses is also available at the fortress.
In all honesty, there isn’t much to do in the town itself. However, you migh consider the following:
We highly recommend combing your trip to the rocks with a visit to the Magura Cave. 22km away from Belogradchik, this cave is one of the largest in Bulgaria with a lenght of more than 3km. In fact, Bulgaria is famous for its countless caves. In this 15 million year old cave you will see amazing stone drawings, prehistoric paintings, 12 large halls and one of the largest collections of geological formations. Colums, stalactites, stalagmites and much more. You can also visit the nearby Rabisha lake.
There are 2 museums available:
Photos by: Free Sofia Tour guide Boyko Blagoev