Vitosha is the highest Bulgarian ski resort that offers perfect conditions for active and relaxing holiday during all seasons. In the winter, Vitosha is an excellent destination for snow sports of any different kind.
The capital of Bulgaria Sofia boasts with Vitosha Mountain, located only 10 km away. This mountain destination is excellent for skiing and other winter sports during the winter months and for strolling in the summer. It is a favorite place for local citizens and city’s guests, who love to spend weekends here with the whole family. It is easy to access Vitosha by bus from different places in Sofia or to get there by car.
December is usually the beginning of the skiing season here that lasts till late spring for four months. The average winter temperature is -6° C. The conditions are ideal for cross-country skiing and slalom. Many tourists prefer walking tours in the mountain, too. However, they should be aware that the weather can be changeable in this region.
Vitosha during the summer offers magical skiing atmosphere for young and old, as well as for advanced and beginning skiers. They can visit both ski centers and ski schools where instructors will teach them how to take pleasure of this sport.
The main ski slopes are located just under the highest Vitosha’s peak, Cherni Vruh, which is 2290 m above the sea level. People can reach the location using the drag lift. Two ski centers are available for Vitosha’s guests. The oldest and the most popular one is Aleko, located on 1800m altitude. Many of the pistes are located next to this ski center or in close distance from it. The region offers a number of ski schools, pistes for children and beginners, along with more difficult ski pistes for advanced skiers. The other ski center is called Koniarnika-Vetrovala and is located about 700 m lower compared to Aleko.
One of the popular ski pistes is called Akademika. There are many cannons for artificial snow that maintain appropriate snow cover throughout the day.
The ski slopes are various and suit any level of difficulty – from beginners to advanced boarders and skiers. The green ski run is the easiest one, while the most difficult and challenging one is called Vitoshko Lale. Univerisada is a 9600 m long trail for ski running that is also available for active holidaymakers. The ski runs are fully equipped with the required facilities. Apart from the already mentioned drag lift, there are also chair lifts and a Gondola lift that can be taken from the Sofia’s outskirts. It will take the tourists almost to the very top of the mountain.
Highly experienced and qualified instructors can be found in the Aleko chalet. Tourists should keep in mind that the area is overcrowded during the winter weekends. All people can rent skis in the hotels or near the ski runs.
History and Culture:
Not many people know that Vitosha is the first national park in the Balkan Peninsula. It has been officially announced for such on 27 October 1934. Two reserves are currently involved in Vitosha national park. In order to preserve the spruce population in the Old River’s basin, the government declared the territory of Bistrishko Branishte to be a reserve. Today, people can find trees that are more than 120 years old. They reach about 35m in height. In 1977, this reserve was included in the UNESC program after declaring it a biosphere reserve.
The other reserve the so-called Torfen (Peat) Reserve includes the peat areas between Cherni Vrah and Cherna Skala peaks. The peat layer at some places reaches 60 cm of thickness. The reserve features about 500 species of algae and 300 species of mosses, along with some rare mountain flowers and some species of interesting trees and shrubs. The mountain features a number of artificial water bodies, gazebos, recreation spots, and fountains to make the tourists’ strolls even more pleasurable.
Seslavtsi monastery St. Nicholay Myrlikeesky is located only 2 km from the resort. It has been built in 14 century by Boyar Seslav, which then has been destroyed during the Ottoman invasion and restored in the end of 16 century.
Basilica St. Sofia is among the most amazing Bulgarian churches. Situated in the capital city of Sofia, this basilica has been probably built in the beginning of the VI century on the ruins of early Christian churches from II to IV centuries. It is located in the necropolis of the ancient Serdica. The name of the church is connected with the legends for Emperor Constantine the Great, Princess Sofia and Emperor Justinian.
Rotunda St. George in Sofia is another unique archeological attraction that is worth to be visited. This is the only one building preserved from the Roman era in Bulgarian lands and is located in the center of Sofia. It is believed that it is built in 4th century probably as martirium of religious edifice in honor of the martyrs Christians or as a mausoleum for their remains.
One of the most attractive festivals that take place in Vitosha is the so-called Planiniada that is held in the middle of March. This festival shows the attractiveness of alternative winter sports. Participants have a lot of fun while trying to ski with belts, walk with snowshoes, or to build a snow igloo, to name a few of the options. They learn the rules for avalanche safety too.
Vitosha attracts many skiers and tourists, but the mountain often offers come surprises. The weather quickly changes and the air conditions especially in winter can turn harsh. This requires knowledge of the safety rules while using the slopes and trails. Avalanche areas of Vitosha are marked. In thick fog, strong winds and snowfall there is a danger of losing the way, so always be careful and do not separate from the group, which should include an experienced guide.
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