We must admit that the citizens of Sofia are spoiled by having the Vitosha mountain so close by. There are many different ways to get there. However, today we are focusing on one of our favorites. One of the many hiking paths available is the one that takes you to the Boyana waterfall.
Once a village, neighbouring the big city, today Boyana is one of the nicest and most preferred residential areas in Sofia. It is right at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain. Therefore, it is 8km away from Sofia’s city center. To access it you need to go beyond Sofia’s ring road between Dragalevtsi and Knyazhevo. There are mostly houses in Boyana owned by what would be considered as the wealthier part of the Bulgarian society. However, the area is also home to a few must sees during your trip to Sofia. By far, the most famous landmark is the Boyana Church. A UNESCO world heritage site dating back to the 10th century. Another very important building in the area is the National History Museum. You would think that it should be in the very heart of the city and easily accessible. However, here that is not entirely the case.
To start your hike you’ll need to be at the foot of the hiking path first. To get there you have several options:
Tip: If you decide to use the public transport, make sure to buy a day card for the public transport. It will cost you 4lv (around 2 EUR) You can buy it from any metro station. It covers the entire network of the public transport (trams, buses, metro, trolleys, etc).
There are two hiking paths that can take you up there. The first one is less physically demanding and is therefore the preferred option by many. The second one is a bit steeper. You can decide which one to take depending on how you feel and how much of an exercise you are up for. Both hiking paths should take in between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on your general speed and whether you do short breaks or not. Make sure to look at the marking. The green one is indicating the less difficult hiking path whereas the red marking follows the more challenging one. Don’t worry – the paths are marked very clearly!
As with any hike – comfortable hiking shoes are a necessity. A bottle of water is the other most important thing you’ll need. You might also consider taking a snack with you as there aren’t any huts, shops or refreshment stands on this path. We also recommend you take an extra t-shirt with you, so that you can change once you get to the waterfall as you will probably be sweaty. At certain parts of this hike it can be quite windy sometimes and you don’t want to catch a cold!
This is a very pleasant hike that you can do almost all year round. Try to avoid it in winter time unless you have serious hiking experience. Each season offers incredible views and colours. However, make sure to always check the weather forecast. Our favorite time to do it is early autumn (October). It is incredibly beautiful when the leaves on the trees are changing colours. It is also a great option to avoid the city heat in the summer. The waterfall itself is at its most powerful in the spring when the snow is melting.
Once you’ve seen the waterfall you have two options. One is to go back down. Or… you could continue your hike for another half an hour and get all the way up to the Momina Skala hut for a nice pic-nic. There is a large sunny meadow and a restaurant up there where you can warm up with soup, local favorites and get some refreshments.
The elevation gain of this hike is around 500m to the Boyana Waterfull and 200m more to the Momina Skala hut
On your way down we suggest that you do a small d-tour and pass by the Boyana Lake. To get to it you would only need to follow the green marking. It’s a small and cute lake worth seeing and taking a picture of. Don’t swim in the lake. It’s a protected zone. However, feel free to sit around it and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Now if you would like to fully experience to Boyana neighbourhood and make the most of your trip there… we would like to suggest our vision of a…
07:00 – Wake up
08:00 – 09:00 – Make your way to the Boyana Neighbourhood and stop in front of the National History Museum
09:00 – 10:30 – Visit the National History Museum
10:30 – 11:00 – Proceed to your hike by going to the Boyana Waterfall Path
11:00 – 12:00 – Hiking to the Boyana Waterfall
12:00 – 12:30 – Continue to the Momina Skala hut
12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch break at the Momina Skala hut
13:45 – 15:00 – Get back down and make sure to pass by the Boyana Lake
15:00 – 16:00 – Once you are down make sure to visit the Boyana Church. Last admission is 5pm.
16:00 – 17:00 – Make your way back to Sofia. If you are with a car and fancy another meal, make sure to go to everyone’s favorite post-hiking restaurant in the area – Dedo Maco. It’s a 10-minute ride. That would be the realest Vitosha mountain experience possible! There is hardly a more authentic place to experience Bulgarian food in its finest and in the least pretentious way.
By 6:30pm you should be back in Sofia city center!
We hope you’ve enjoyed your trip!
When in Sofia don’t forget to explore the city’s main landmarks with our daily walking tours!