A weekend on Mount Vitosha
A weekend on Mount VitoshaA weekend on Mount Vitosha Sofia is the only European capital, where one can go skiing on the public transport. The nearby Mount Vitosha is one of the city emblems and a very attractive place of choice for winter tourism. Snow in the highest altitudes remains for nearly half a year, and true summer weather is there only in the months of July and August. Mount Vitosha is a typical example of climatic inversion, i.e. whenever it is damp and overcast in Sofia, the sun shines brightly and the weather is warm on Mount Vitosha. There are quite many accommodation facilities. Mount Vitosha is the most frequently visited Bulgarian mountain. Sofia residents love it and regard it as part of the city skyline, and their attitude is richly rewarded by the excellent ski runs and magnificent vistas. The four parts of Mount Vitosha occupy an area of 278 sq. km. The most famous, Aleko skiing centre, lies in the Northern part. Mount Vitosha spreads all the way to Mount Lyulin to the Northwest. The Southwestern part is the largest and yet the least frequented. It borders on Mount Verila. It is home to Bulgaria’s longest reaching cave, Duhlata, as well as the karst spring natural phenomenon near the village of Bosnek. To the East rises Mount Plana. The Eastern part is also where some of the highest peaks are. The latter offer excellent conditions for rock climbing. The Bistrishko branishte natural reserve occupies the Eastern part of the mountain. Cherni Vruh, or Black peak, with its 2 290 m, makes Mount Vitosha the fourth highest in Bulgaria. There are no lakes in Mount Vitosha, but the river Struma, one of Bulgaria’s longest rivers. The mineral springs on Sofia’s outskirts Knyazhevo, Boyana, Simeonovo are huddled in the folds of Mount Vitosha. A mountain trail leads to the spectacular Boyana waterfalls, whose waters fall from a 40m high vertical rock. In winter months the waters freeze and form weirdly shaped icicles. Not far from there is situated the famous Boyana Church, a UNESCO protected cultural heritage monument. The church dates to 11th-12th century A.D. The Aleko skiing centre is the best opportunity for the lovers of winter sports. There one can practise skiing, snowboarding or trekking in the Vetrovala and Konyarnika localities. There are several schools for beginners and advanced skiers. Mount Vitosha offers also excellent opportunities for trekking. The biggest tourist chalet, Aleko, offers accommodation to 100 people and enjoys tremendous popularity with holidaymakers. The total length of the ski slopes on Mount Vitosha amounts to 29 km, the longest of them being 5 km long alone. There are six tow-lift facilities, 4-open-air cable cars and one cable-carriage car. The Visitors’ Centre on Mount Vitosha offers excellent opportunities for nature-friendly education and activities.
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