Duration: 2 days
Car accessibility: recommended, but also doable by public transport
Leaving from Sofia: as early as possible
Day 1: Sofia – Troyan (overnight stay)
Troyan is a small town in Central Bulgaria surrounded by the beautiful Troyan Balkan. It is famous for its delicious plum rakija – Troyanska slivova – троянска сливова and the monastery situated nearby – Троянски манастир. The trip from Sofia shouldn’t take long as most of the way is on the highway. The remains of an ancient Roman fortress called Sostra lie on the way, about 10-20km before entering the town. If you like, take a quick stop, it’s free from entrance and interesting to behold.
There’s many guest houses to stay the night in, both in Troyan, and the nearby villages. As the area also has some hot mineral water sources, the pool and spa tourism is developed to a good extent 🙂 Which is why I would suggest booking a night in one of the swimming pool resorts around. One of them is in the village Chiflika – Чифлика, lying about 16km away from Troyan.
The swimming pool is very big and full of mineral water, the food is not bad and if it’s a hot summer day, I suggest spending it there.
The pool and the hotel are tucked in among the mountains and since the water in the pool is naturally hot, you can also visit the place in winter, basking in the steaming water enjoying the snowy views around you.
If you prefer to go for a walk around Troyan, that’s also a good way to spend the day. The river Beli Osam – Бели Осъм, runs through the town making it a very picturesque place. There’s many old houses, a couple of nice museums and good food to enjoy. The nature around is also stunning, giving great opportunities for hiking or driving to Belkemeto – Беклемето, for example. Beklemeto is one of the road passes cutting through the Balkan mountain and connecting Southern and Northern Bulgaria. At the top of the road there is a monument dedicated to the liberation struggle of the Bulgarians on the peak of Goraltepe, its tremendous size and interesting location make it a place worth the visit.
We used to go there with my grandparents in the summer to pick blueberries. If you’re in the area in August, do look for the berries, super delicious and healthy, yum!
Day 2: Oreshaka, Cherni Osam
After a good breakfast, I suggest going to visit the third largest monastery in Bulgaria (after the Rila monastery and the Bachkovo monastery). It’s in the village of Oreshaka – Орешака, 8km away from Troyan. The monastery houses a famous icon – the three-handed Mother of Christ, which is said to have magical powers. People from all over the country visit the Troyan monastery to see and kiss it. If you’re not that much of a believer, I think you’re still going to like the monastery with its well-kept inner yard and nice garden.
After a visit to the monastery, you could drive to the next village – Cherni Osam – Черни Осъм, called after the river running next to it. The national school for mountain guides is there, it’s interesting to see the school yard, with a climbing wall incorporated into one of the school buildings. Makes you wonder about the cool curriculum of the students there 🙂
A small museum of the area wild-life is also situated in Cherni Osam, and while it might not be the best or most modern facility you’ll ever witness, it’s still worth the visit, displaying some of the largest exemplars hunted down in the area. Beware, this is bear country, although not as densely populated as the Rhodopes f.ex.
A couple of nice restaurants will offer you a good meal, both in Oreshaka and Cherni Osam. After that you can head back to Sofia. There’s a couple of more sights to visit in the proximity, such as the Devetaki cave – Деветашка пещера, the Krushuna waterfalls – Крушунски водопади and the town of Lovech – Ловеч, on which I have written a separate post. Combining the both itineraries will result in a very nice 4 or 5 day trip.
You can also combine with this nice hike right here 🙂