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Natural Park “Vitosha”
Vitosha mountain is settled in the center of the southwestern Bulgaria, between Stara planina mountain and Rila – Rhodopes massive. It is the only thick mountain – its range consists of the highest and the closest to each other peaks – Cherni vrah and Rezniovete. Typical for this mountain are the stony rivers, which were formed by the senile of the rocks and their slow moving to the valleys as a result of the gravitation of the falling waters.
As a result of the human activity, Vitosha mountain has changed more than the other mountains in Bulgaria. The virgin forest was destroyed in the last 400 years till the creation of the park. For the last 200 – 250 years there was cut down or fired a big part of the pine forests, and for about 150 years the beech and the oak forests were convert in to bushes.
The mountain is very rich of water resources – numerous are the streams and the springs, that give the beginning of rivers. The only big river that comes from Vitosha mountain is Struma, and it flows into White sea. The reserve occupies almost the region from Ushite – Chernata skala to Cherni vrah. This is the spring zone of Wladiiska, Boianska and Dragalevska rivers.
The territory of the Park have changed several times, and at the moment it is 26 606,6 ha, 24 078,6 ha of them are forest funds. In 1977 the general director of UNESCO proclaimed the reserve for a biosphere - park.
When the park was created there have been announced two natural reserves in it – Bistrishko branishte (1 061,6ha) and Torfeno branishte (782,8 ha).
  • The Bistrishko branishte was proclaimed with the purpose the eco – systems from spruce, and also all the species from the sub – alpine zone to be saved. The forests occupy territory from about 51 %m, and the rest are alpine grass zones and stony heaps.
  • The second reserve is Torfeno branishte (Peat). At the beginning it occupied small territory from 144, 1 ha, and in 1980 its territory was increased to 782,8 ha. The main purpose for its proclaiming was the natural and the untouched condition of the Peat’s complexes in the high mountain parts to be preserved. There are over 300 types of mosses and 500 types of duckweed. The thickness of the Peat’s cover in it is 0,6 – 2 m. the age of the peat is from 1000 to 1500 years. It grows very slow – 1mm per year. The pear reserve is almost afforested – there are only bushes – osier, junipers, bilberries and dwarf pine. The grass cover is from tormentil, insectivorous plants, yellow and spot gentian etc. The access to the reserve for tourist is forbidden.
  • Another landmark is the highest peak – Cherni vrah. It raises up at 2 290 m. above the sea level. It is a grass planted, rounded with stony heaps formation. Around it there are the peaks Golyam and Malak rezen, Skoparnik, Kupena, Samara and Selimitza. In the northwest direction are the Torfeniat reserve ( Peat reserve) and Bistrishki reserve. From the vastest bog under the south slops of the peak Cherni vrah and Skoparnik springs the river of Struma. The natural landmark Duhlata is the longest cave in Bulgaria.
    The Boyana waterfall is another landmark in Vitosha.

In the past the predominant vegetation in the park was of broad-leaved forests that reached high in the mountain and the most widely distributed species was the birch. Beech and coniferous forests were still not distributed. During the following historical stages the vertical forest zones have formed. Nowadays the beech tree is the major species in the lower mountain forests of durmast, beech trees and fir-trees. The presence of the durmast is limited and the fir-tree is rare. There also can be white and black pine and spruce but they are planted additionally. The afforested area of the park is 60% of its territory, 67% of which are natural plantations with predominant presence of the coniferous forests. From the trees the most distributed are the white pine, the spruce, the beech and the birch.
On the territory of the park are found 1 489 higher plant species (25 Bulgarian endemits, 31 Balkan endemits, and 47 endemits included in the Red Book of Bulgaria)., 500 species of mushrooms, 500 species of duckweed, 300 species of mosses and 200 species of lichen.
The fauna of the park includes lots of invertebrates and vertebrates – 800 species of butterflies, 40 species of ants, 10 species of amphibian, 14 species of reptiles, 114 species of birds, and about 50 species of mammals. Although the park is very close to city it offers the necessary conditions for life of the following mammals: bear, royal deer, deer, fox, wild boar, badge, marten and etc. The Vitosha park is a home of many rare and threatened with extinction birds, such as the big and the small hawk, the black woodpecker and etc.
The Dragalevski monastery is situated at the foot of Vitosha mountain, not far from the Dragalevtsi district. Today it is a cultural site and is part of the group of monasteries called “Mala sveta gora” (small holy mountain).
Visits: 62780
Type: | Parks |

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