Balkan Mountains – Vratsa

If you travel from the south of Bulgaria to Vratsa, the smartest thing you can do is to get on the highway to Sofia. Before entering the city, you should see a sign to Botevgrad. Go this way. You can stop in the city to take a cup of coffee in any of the nice coffie shops on the main square. You can take a rest and enjoy the view to the clock tower – symbol of the city. From here, heading to Vratsa, you still have about 50 km left to travel. Just before entering the city of Vratsa you should find a sign that will show you the road to Mount Okolchitsa. Take this one!

The road go up to the top of mountain , passing through several villages. If you wish, you can stop for a rest in the village of Chelopek. There is the house of grandmother Iliytsa – Vazov’s heroine form the famous story One Bulgarian woman. The story is not fiction. This woman actually lived in the village and saved some bulgarian rebels in the time of the Ottoman Empire. Today her house is open for visiting.  Continuing to the road you will reach peak Okolchitsa whre you can see 35 meters hight monument – a cross. This monument is build in memory of Hristo Botev. From here you can enjoy beautiful view to the Vratsa region. If you want to have a walk in the mountains, you can go to the place of death of Hristo Botev. There are some signs so you can find the way easily. There are two or tree ecopaths trough the forest but be careful, because you can hurt yourself if you don’t watch your steps.

Next stop – Vratsa. I found a  small hotel where I stayed for the night. It was outside of the city so I had the chance to take a tour on the next day. On the central square you will see a large monument – Hristo Botev. There are a lot of restaurants, shops, banks. In the city there are also  two interesting museums – historical and ethnographic, but I advise you not to waste your time there. There are interesting landmarsk outsie of the city. One of them is Vrattzata pass – the highest rocks on the Balkan Peninsula. Ledenika cave is located on 16 km from the city. Don’t miss to visit it. There is group tour on every hour and it is led by tour guide. Without a doubt  this is the most beautiful cave I have ever visited. With a little imagination you will see inside faces religious and historical figures, animals, even the head of Yoda. : D  The first room is the coldest. In general, the temperature inside is low, so bring a jacket with you because you will spend at least an hour inside. One of the most unique things I experienced there was improvised concert in the Concert Hall. A lady from the group decided to test the acoustics and sung My beautiful forest (*bulgarian folklore song).  They say that the perfect time to visit the cave in the spring when you can see beautiful ice shapes. But anyway, you should visit it.

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