Starting coordinates: 42.6097479, 23.2361762
Distance: 7.8 km
Elevation Gain: 360 m
Time: 3¼ hours
Transport: by car, or by bus no. 63 to Zlatni Mostove
This is a classic Vitosha walk which has as its starting and end point an important location on the mountain: Zlatni Mostove (“Golden Bridges” in Bulgarian). Zlatni Mostove is memorable because of the river of moraines, large boulders, that tumbles down the mountainside and also because of the beautiful open meadow a little to the north, Beli Bryag. It is also where bus no. 63 turns around and goes back down the mountain, so there is no need to worry about where to get off!
You again go through the district/village of Boyana and continue up the mountain, going past the Dendrarium on your right and the turning to Kopitoto on your left, until you get to an open area on the road with a large bus stop. This is Zlatni Mostove. It is fourteen kilometres from the ring road that goes around Sofia. Park the car somewhere nearby. The main road continues up the mountain and soon becomes cobbled, but for Zlatni Mostove itself you want to take a side road on your left. Continue up this road for three minutes and, as the road veers to the left, with the river of moraines on your left, you will see two paths departing from the road. One heads to Artistite and Selimitsa, it sort of doubles back. The path you want is the left of the two, signposted for Planinarska Pesen and Kumata. You climb some steps with the moraine river on your left. After fifteen minutes, you come to a stream (actually, two streams with small bridges over both of them). A short distance after the streams, the path divides. Continue left.
The path now heads straight up the mountain for about twenty-five minutes. Towards the top, you come to an intersection. If you continue up the mountain, you will cross the main road and the path will take you to Kumata. If you go right, you will come to Ofeliite. But you want to go left. Follow this path for about ten minutes. It doubles back and climbs to the main road. At the main road, go left (the smaller road opposite leads to Kumata). You will come to three mountain huts located close together: Boeritsa on your left; ahead of you, then on your right, Borova Gora; and finally Planinarska Pesen, which means “Mountain Song” and fittingly has a few metal notes affixed to the wall. Just before this last hut, there is a path descending on your left, signposted for Zlatni Mostove and Bor. Take this path.
The path descends abruptly and then levels out with some wonderful views in a westerly direction. It winds through the forest, past large rocks, across minor streams. After about twenty minutes, the path begins to descend. It is signposted for Septemvri. But a new path begins on the right, signposted for Bor and Momina Skala. You want to go right in order to maintain your elevation, not to go down the mountain yet.
You continue along this new path, again with wonderful views in a westerly direction, for about thirty minutes. There are some wooden walkways where the ground is wet. After thirty minutes, you come to a clearing. This is the same clearing that features in the walk from Planinets. Directly ahead of you is Boyana River and Bor mountain hut, but when you reach the far side of the clearing, there is a path that doubles back on your left. It is signposted for Septemvri and Zlatni Mostove. Take this path and follow it all the way down the mountain. Again, there are some wooden walkways where the ground is wet. After twenty minutes on this path, there is a turning right to Septemvri. You can ignore this. In a few more minutes, you reach an intersection with the hotel Elitsa on your right. The path coming down the mountain on your left is the path you joined at Planinarska Pesen, but then left in order to join a new path on the right. None of this matters. You continue straight and in less than ten minutes you come to the road that connects Zlatni Mostove and Momina Skala.
At the road, turn left and take the path that goes past an open meadow called Beli Bryag. The view here always reminds me of Switzerland, I don’t know why. It is a lovely open area with benches where people like to picnic and have barbecues in summer. The path skirts the meadow and rejoins the road further down. At the road, continue left and follow the road for ten minutes. It will lead you directly back to the main road with the no. 63 bus stop.
This route up, across and down the mountain, which affords some wonderful views and has the added attraction of the moraines or large boulders, is shaped like an upside-down triangle. You go up one side, across the top and back down the other side until you return to the same point. The route can be shortened by following the path to Septemvri and turning left at the bottom (with Elitsa hotel in front of you). This new path will take you to the road, with the meadow, Beli Bryag, on your left.
No visitor can consider themselves acquainted with the mountain until they have come to Zlatni Mostove. On the final stretch, between the meadow and the bus stop, there are several stalls selling corn and jam and a couple of restaurants where you can get bean soup or meatballs (kyufteta).