Bov

At 85 metres, Bov Waterfall (‘Bovska Skaklya’) is one of the highest in Bulgaria. Like Polska Skakavitsa, it can easily be reached by train from Sofia. The journey takes an hour, and there are regular services during the day (see the excellent Bulgarian State Railways website for train times, https://www.bdz.bg/en).

Bov Waterfall is located at the halfway point between the villages of Bov (down below) and Zasele (up above). An ecopath has been built between these two villages to incorporate the waterfall and is named after the famous Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov, who apparently used to enjoy walks in this area. There is some suggestion that you should descend from the village of Zasele, make your way down to the waterfall and the village of Bov and then climb back up again. Since it seems to me to make more sense to get the climbing in early in the day, I suggest starting in Bov. Also, Bov is the stop on the railway line from Sofia and is on the main road from Svoge to Mezdra, the II-16.

If you insist on starting in Zasele, located above the waterfall, then you will need a car. As you leave the village of Tserovo, five kilometres after Svoge, there is a turning left signposted for Zasele (7 km). Follow this winding road uphill until you come to the centre of Zasele, where there is a tarmac square. The ecopath starts from here.

Otherwise, continue to Bov, three kilometres after Tserovo. Ignore the turning right, signposted Gara Bov (Bov Station), and continue on the main road for another 400 metres, taking a turning left signposted for Skaklya. This narrow road continues for 1.4 km to the start of the ecopath, but be careful. 200 metres before the end of the road, the road divides – keep left, going uphill, until you come to a small area next to a house, with the river on your right, where you can park the car. For those travelling by train, alight at Bov Station and walk 400 metres down to the main road (leave the station, turn right, go under the railway and follow the road as it veers right and crosses the River Iskar). Once you reach the main road, turn right, continue for 400 metres until you reach the turning for Skaklya and then follow the previous directions.

From where you park the car, you have a forty-minute steady climb through the forest to the bottom of the waterfall. The forest is magical, and there are some wonderful views back the way you have come. Once you reach the waterfall, another forty-minute climb, slightly stiffer this time, will take you to the top. As you get higher, there are steps and a railing to hold onto. You really get an impression of the height of the waterfall because you are climbing it! At the top is an open area of grass with several picnic tables. Continue to the village of Zasele, perched on top of the rock, and you will come across one or two restaurants and guest houses if you wish to stay the night (though I understand you have to book ahead).

The best time for visiting waterfalls is immediately after the snow melts – second half of April, first half of May. This is when the flow of water is at its strongest. We went at the beginning of June, so already the flow had declined somewhat. In autumn, it becomes a trickle. We first visited the waterfall ten years ago, in November. There wasn’t much water left, but the autumnal colours of the trees more than made up for the lack of watery fireworks! It was the first waterfall we went to, and the only one we have been to three times!

Bov Waterfall is not far as the crow flies from another waterfall, Dobravitsa (except that for Dobravitsa, you have to leave the main road in Svoge and follow the signs for Iskrets and Breze). From Gara Bov, another ecopath takes you to the waterfall Pod Kamiko. This ecopath starts from the football pitch in Gara Bov and is circular, so you don’t have to come back the way you went (see the map on the road outside Bov Station).

Bov Station.
The turning for Skaklya. There is also a sign indicating the ‘Touristic Road “Vazov’s Path”, 1.4 km”.
200 metres before the ecopath begins, the road divides – keep left here.
There is a small area to park the car where the road peters out and the ecopath begins.
A view from the ecopath of the rocks up above.
The path as it passes through the forest.
The waterfall in the distance.
Arriving at the waterfall.
Bov Waterfall, seen from below.
From here, the path continues to the top of the waterfall and the village of Zasele.
This path has steps and a railing.
The view near the top.
The top of the waterfall – the stream passes under the bridge and tumbles down 85 metres.
The water as it becomes airborne.
The view back to Bov.
Bov Waterfall.

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