Bulgaria Day Trips Destinations Mountains Travel

Climbing Cherni Vrah: the highest one in Vitosha

As many people who live in Sofia, I always neglected the closest mountain – Vitosha. You know this feeling of taking things for granted, right? This summer, however, Ellie and I decided we should tick Cherni Vrah off the list. And so we did. It turned out to be the most boring peak we’ve ever been to. But I’ll get to that later.

Apparently, there are a few ways to get to Cherni Vrah, one of which requires almost no effort at all. The other one, that I will tell you about, is a little different.

Climbing Cherni Vrah the harder way

We started our journey on a beautiful Saturday morning. Our beginning point were the beautiful Golden Bridges. We were there by 9:30 (don’t judge, it was a Saturday). Basically, the route goes as follows:

  1. Golden Bridges – Kumata Hut: 45 minutes;
  2. Kumata Hut – Cherni Vrah: 2.5 hours.

The above timing is given, considering that you’re walking really slow (which is what we did). Since the Golden Bridges are at 1400m above sea level and Cherni Vrah is 2290m, this makes a total of 890m positive elevation for about 3-something hours.

Is Cherni Vrah hard to climb?

Umm, no. The only “hard” thing about it is that it lacks the scenery that makes me, personally, go hiking. See, Vitosha is a plateau-type mountain. The hills around are covered in beautiful forests, but once you hit 1600m above sea level it is mostly large fields with uphills. Although pretty convenient for mountain biking, it doesn’t offer the jaw-dropping views that Rila mountain does.

Do many people climb Cherni Vrah?

We went there on a Saturday and it felt as if we’re downtown Sofia. I kid you not – there were so many people! On the positive side, there are some awesome places there to lay your towel and get the best suntan you can think of – it is not as hot as in the city (usually about 10 degrees less) and the sun is proper strong. The other great thing about it is that it’s a rather easy hike and if you want to teach your kids to love mountains, that’s a perfect place to go to.

Is there an easy way to climb Cherni Vrah?

You betcha! If you’re not up for the 20km walk we did, you can take the easy road from the Aleko hut. To get to Aleko Hut you can use Dragralevtsi lift.

Some info on lift Dragalevtsi

  • Starting point: Google Maps link
  • Phone number: 02 / 967 11 10
  • Prices:
    • One way ticket: 4lv adults | 3 lv kids below 12 years old | 3lv pupils, students, pensioners
    • Two-way ticket: 7lv adults | 5 lv kids below 12 years old | 6lv pupils, students, pensioners
  • Working hours: 9:00 till 16:30 (weekends and public holidays only!)

On the achievement to conquer Cherni Vrah

Although boring in terms of views, Cherni Vrah is the highest peak in the 4th highest mountain in Bulgaria and it’s a nice thing to add it to your list of achievements. If you decide you’re not afraid of walking and decide to visit it on a weekday you’ll probably be able to enjoy it a lot more. So, grab a book, call in sick, and take off. Views or no views it’s always better to be in the mountains than anywhere else!

By Nina Alexander

Nina is the big sister. She's a marketing professional by day, traveler by heart, tech geek, bookworm, beer lover and an amateur photographer. Her motto is Friedrich Nietzsche's famous quote "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

7 replies on “Climbing Cherni Vrah: the highest one in Vitosha”

Hi !
I think about a day hike like: BUS 66 to the end, Aleko, Black Pick, Golden Bridges and back to the city by bus 63. Do those lines operate on working days in Oktober ?
Where can I get exact times bus leave stations ? says only interval. For line 66 it is 190-195 min. It does not help much.

I just hiked Cherni Vrah today (Mar 7). I took 93 from Paradise Shopping Centre (Vitosha métro) to Dragalevski and the lift wasn’t running. There is a hiking path to get to Aleko Hut. About 6.2km and 870m elevation. And then from Aleko Hut to the black peak. It’s all snow in March with a very strong headwind on the uphill section. View of Sofia was fantastic. You do take Vitosha for granted! It’s wonderful to have a beautiful peak so close to the city!

Hi Nina
I want to climb Cherni Vrah from Golden Bridges as you described – is the road marked? how can I know the way?
and to get down – I can use the lift? which one – from Dragalevtsi or from siemanova?
Thank you for all you wrote – it is very helpfull

Hi Hannan,

This is a very often used path in a very civilized part of the mountain. The beggining of it starts with stairs going on the right side of the Stone River (Golden Bridges). I bet the path is marked as well, however, because of how often the path is walked on it is vividly visible and we didn’t even look for the path’s marks that are normally positioned on trees and rocks along the way. Besically there is no way you miss it and on each path fork there are metal signs pointing towards the right dirrection.

I’ve tried calling the Dragalevtsi lift to ckeck if it’s working, however, no one is picking up the phone.

Normally you can climb Cherni vrah and go back to the Golden briges by foot in a single day with no problems. Nevertheless, if you feel you’ve walked enough for the day, once you get up on the peak you can countinue towards Aleko hut and take the Dragalevtsi lift from there (if it works) or call a cab to come pick you up and bring you down to Sofia.

Hope this helps.


Hi Ellie
We have just finished a 10 day’s journy in your wonderfull country – and it was very helpfull, as all the other things you write in your blog
Thank you very much indeed!
(the Dragalevtsi lift still works – they just don’t pick up the phone . . .)
Best wishes

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