One day trip: Nature Protection Information Center Vitosha – a panoramic observation deck over Sofia - Dragalevtsi Monastery - a ride on a panoramic ski lift.
Have a bird's-eye view of Sofia by standing at an altitude of 1818 meters! Visit Dragalevtsi Monastery - the main monastery in Sofia Holy Mount, and learn more about the most visited mountain in Bulgaria – Vitosha. Present-day Sofia is one of the most ancient cities in Europe with millennial cultural traditions. It is also one of the few capitals in Europe with a mountain on its territory - the northern part of Vitosha which is the most developed tourism area. Thus, unforgettable walks in nature await you!
You can take public transport from the city center to the last stop of bus №93 and travel for about an hour. The price of a one-way ticket is BGN 1.60. The most convenient option is to buy for BGN 4 a one-day card that offers an unlimited number of trips within the day on all types of public transport - buses, trolleybuses, trams and metro.
1. Serdica Metro Station
Take the metro from Serdica Metro Station or National Palace of Culture Metro Station in the direction of Lozenets to the last stop – Vitosha Metro Station. You will travel for about 15 minutes. When you go out of the metro station you will be next to one of the biggest shopping centers in Sofia. There will be a bus stop – take bus №93 to the last stop which is located next to the panoramic ski lift – Dragalevtsi. You will travel for about half an hour. You can start your tour by taking a ride on the ski lift or you can finish it this way. From the last stop of bus №93 walk up the road towards Aleko Hut in the mountain. In 5 minutes you will see Nature Protection Information Center Vitosha. Nature Protection Information Center Vitosha is the first of a series of information and education centers in protected areas in Bulgaria. It was established on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Vitosha Nature Park and opened in May, 1998. Through photos, articles and movies you can learn everything about the natural and cultural wealth of Vitosha and the routes in the mountain. A cylindrical tower was also added to the building from which you can see Dragalevtsi quarter and Boyana quarter and you will even be able to see as far as the Balkan mountain range across Sofia Valley. Free entry. Go further up the road towards the mountain. In 10 minutes you will reach the panoramic observation deck over Sofia which will give you an opportunity to take panoramic photos of Sofia. People with disabilities can also access it. Go further up the road towards Aleko Hut and in an hour you will see a parking lot detour and down the hill – the Dragalevtsi Monastery itself.
2. Dragalevtsi monastery of St. Virgin Mary of Vitosha
The monastery is part Sofia Holy Mount - a "ring" of medieval monasteries located around Sofia. Founded by Tsar Ivan Alexandar (Tsar of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371) around 1341 it survived the conquest of Sofia by the Ottomans in 1382. The old church in the monastery which was renovated and painted in 1476 has preserved the ktetors' portraits of the boyar (nobleman) Radoslav Mavar and his family. They were inspired by the realistic style of the Tarnovo school. These valuable icons present the ethnographic traditions through the depicted folk costumes. Do not miss the chance to drink from the healing spring in the yard! According to folk tales, the water will give you longevity and health.
3. The panoramic ski lift – Dragalevtsi
Going back to the bus stop of bus 93. It will take you 5 minutes to go back to the bus stop and thus to the ski lift station by following the marked path from Dragalevtsi Monastery or 20 minutes by going down the same road you came up. If you have at least 2 hours take a ride on the panoramic ski lift and continue your walk in Vitosha by "flying" over the centuries-old beech trees near Dragalevtsi Monastery. Keep in mind that the last bus to Sofia leaves at 19:00. The panoramic ski lift – Dragalevtsi – only 150 meters away from the bus stop. The first station takes you to Bai Krastyo area which is at an altitude of 1000 meters, and the second – almost to Aleko Hut. The bird's-eye views of Sofia are unforgettable. The first part of the line (Dragalevtsi – Bai Krastyo area, at an altitude of 1000 meters) was built in 1956. It is 1775 meters long. It goes up 455 meters for 17 minutes. The two-seat ski lift has a capacity of 300 passengers per hour. The second part was constructed in 1968 (from Bai Krastyo area to Goli Vrah, at an altitude of 1818 meters). It is 1700 meters long and goes up 438 meters for 15 minutes. Working hours: check if the lift is operating at https://www.skivitosha.com or https://www.vitoshaski.com Going up – from 9:00 to 16:00 Going down – from 9:00 to 17:00 Take a ride on the ski lift to Goli Vrah where there are panoramic views at an altitude of 1818 meters. Do not forget to take warm clothes as the area is windy and temperature decreases with altitude – there is a temperature difference of about 10 degrees Celsius. If you visit the mountain during the warm seasons, there are various tourist paths that start from here and the most popular one is the marked path to the highest peak in Vitosha – Cherni Vrah (2,290 m) which begins from Aleko Hut. People generally need around 2 hours to reach the peak. If you visit the mountain during the ski season two ski tracks offer excellent conditions to the lovers of winter sports and one of them – Vitosha Lale Ski Track, offers night skiing – check what is happening at the track at http://weather-webcam.eu/laleto-webcam. You can check the operating hours of the ski track at https://www.skivitosha.com After you take a walk and see the views over Sofia you have two options as to where to eat – you can either eat at the tourism complex near Aleko Hut, or you can go back down by the ski lift to Bai Krastyo area. At this intermediate ski lift station there is a small hut with a buffet offering hot drinks and meals. Having rested, go down the path and after a one-hour walk in picturesque forests and spacious meadows you will reach the Dragalevtsi monastery.