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This Hidden Trail In Bulgaria Will Lead You To An Epic Waterfall

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Do you know anything about Bulgaria?

Don’t worry if you don’t. In fact, it’s better because you’ll be surprised.

A small country in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria is famous for its rich history, vivid culture, and fun-loving people.

What makes many folks come back, though is the striking beauty of its nature. Few are the places in the world that offer such a spectacular variety of sea and mountain sights.

The Black Sea resorts attract thousands of tourists each year. But what avid hikers and backpackers appreciate most is just one simple fact – Bulgaria is a trove of hiking trails.

There are 43 mountains in Bulgaria each offering an abundance of routes with breathtaking views. The most famous ones are Rila, Pirin and Rhodope.

In this article, however, I will take you on a trip to a lesser known, yet easily accessible and quite alluring destination.

We will explore the Iskar gorge, which is in the western part of Stara Planina. In particular, I will show you a trail that houses many waterfalls and has some truly outstanding lookout views. And it ends with a beautiful waterfall.

In the next sentences, you’ll learn interesting information and insider tips about one of Bulgaria’s best lesser known trails – Pod Kamiko.

Let’s dive right in.

What Does The Name Mean?

Pod Kamiko means “under the stone” in old Bulgarian. That’s because the groundwater emerges from the Earth’s subsurface under stones.

pod kamiko waterfall in bulgaria

The "Pod Kamiko" fall as seen through the lens of the famous adventurer Vilian Stefanov.

And you really can’t fail noticing that when looking at the waterfall itself. It’s a marvelous view.

Location And How To Get There

Created in 2012, the “Pod Kamiko” trail lies in the picturesque Iskar gorge in western Stara Planina (it translates “Old Mountain”).

The starting point is at the stadium in the small village Gara Bov (translated Station Bov). The nearest city is Svoge, famous for its chocolate factory that produces sweets exported on six continents.

The easiest way to reach the trail is by car from the capital Sofia. The distance is 52 km, and it will take you an hour. The road is in excellent condition and there are enough signs. Do mind the many turns, though.

skaklya waterfall, bulgaria

While you’re in the area, you can jump to Skaklya fall. It’s located near the town of Vratsa, Bulgaria, only 24 km away from Gara Bov.

The GPS will lead you to the center of Gara Bov. From there you need to turn to the right and you will spot the stadium, surrounded by rocks and greenery. There’s a small parking space that’s usually not busy.

There’s also a train from Sofia central station that goes to the village. The trip takes an hour and the price of the two-way ticket is ridiculous – a little less than 6 BGN or 3.3 USD.

Trail Info And Description

The trail is a 10 km loop. It connects the two villages Gara Bov and Bov. The elevation is minimal – 380 m. The difficulty is easy to moderate.

The official trail goes along the stream of river Bovska. If you go there in the spring, chances are there might be some muddy sections.

Along the trail...Image via Tihomir Mladenov.

You have to cross the soccer field (it’s small and unused) and then the small river via the little bridge. Be careful there, as the wooden bridge is in a poor condition.

Conveniently, there are alternative trails that will also lead you right beneath the Pod Kamiko waterfall in the tiny village of Bov. You will see them when you need to make a choice to turn right or left.

iskar gorge bulgaria

A lookout view to the Iskar Gorge as seen on top of the fall.

They don’t go across the river stream. Instead, they are higher. That’s why the terrain is dry. If you choose any of them, keep in mind that they are shorter but steeper.

The trek is more strenuous and requires a medium level of physical preparedness. That’s because the elevation is higher.

Depending on how often you stop to take photos and admire the views, you’ll need around 3.5 hours.

dog hiking in the mountains

Meet the mountain beast. She's tireless.

When I was there with my hiking buddies , we spent close to 6 hours because we stopped for a picnic in a lush meadow with a gorgeous lookout view to the small villages.

Photographing also took a great deal of our time. And indeed, there is a lot to picture there as you will see.

The trail is marked along the way but sometimes it’s difficult to orientate yourself because it splits and the mark is hidden in thick vegetation.

pod kamiko waterfall in bulgaria

The surroundings are magnificent. There are plenty of small waterfalls along the way and you can reach them with a minimal diversion from the trail.

Along the path, there are also 2-3 wooden tables with benches. They make the perfect spot for an eat and drink break.

After a walking for an hour or so, you will reach a small green meadow with a view to the nestled village of Gara Bov. We stopped there to have quick snacks and to catch our breath.

bulgarian waterfall

Nothing is more rejuvenating on a hike than stopping for a pause and just enjoying nature. Sure enough, some energy bars and delicious homemade sandwiches help too.

Soon you will reach one of the main attractions of the trail – the Pod Kamiko waterfall. It’s one of the highest ones in Bulgaria standing at over 40 meters.

You can stop right next to the bottom of the fall and feel the coolness of the air. It’s a nice break from the heat that surrounds the area.

After that, you can continue up the trail. It’s the final part, and it’s slightly steep. There are some spectacular lookout views, though as you climb up. The trail continues through the village of Bov.

A Bulgarian shepherd

The trail goes through the village of Bov.

It’s a small village with old wooden houses and narrow rocky roads. Time doesn’t exist there. It won’t be difficult to fool a time traveler that he’s in 19th century.

You can see old shepherds with their flocks and elderly people cultivating their land with sweat on their forehead and big smile on their faces. There’s an engrossing feeling of peacefulness in the air. That combined with the nature sounds make the experience almost surreal.

You can refill your water supplies and continue walking on the marked route. After 50-70 meters, you will reach the top of the Pod Kamiko waterfall. It’s on the right side of the trail. This is from where the fall emerges.

rocky natural phenomenon known as the Chimney

This is the rocky phenomenon "The Chimney".

Since it’s high, you will also enjoy some great views of the Iskar gorge. It’s a spectacular combination of lush greenery and massive rocks.

The top of the fall is also the return point of the trail. There are some interesting points of interest along the way. The first one is the natural phenomenon known as “The Chimney”. It’s a natural rocky formation that looks exactly like a chimney.

You will also see some creepy abandoned houses and the remains of an ancient monastery called “St. Archangel Michael”.

old Bulgarian house.

An Old house in the village of Bov.

The rest of the trail crosses a short shady wood and after an hour and a half you will reach the starting point – the stadium of Gara Bov village.

Pay attention for snakes. We saw one.

Best Time To Visit

Since the highlights of the area are the waterfalls, it’s best that you plan a visit during the spring or in the summer – Mid April to late August.

At that time of the year, the flow rate is at its peak.

Gear Consideration

If you come only for the day, you will need a daypack and enough food and water. You can buy supplies from the village of Gara Bov from where the trail begins.

Make sure to have proper footwear as well. You need shoes with a good sole and proper arch support. The terrain is muddy, rocky and steep at times.

Since there are plenty of open spaces and the elevation is a bit high, don’t forget to take your hat and sunscreen.

If you want to be adventurous, you can bring your tent and camp on some of the meadows.

Conclusion

Pod Kamiko trail is an excellent option for a day hike in Bulgaria. It’s close to the capital Sofia, and it’s easily accessible.

Besides, it’s quite beautiful offering some truly fascinating views for an experience you will cherish long after.

Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

  • Updated October 22, 2020
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Todd tenPas - May 15, 2020

Hey Asen Stoyanchev,

Thanks for sharing this great hiking trail. I loved reading and seeing the pictures from the hike.

I almost made me feel like I was on the journey with you.

I especially loved all the tall rock formation, and as a rock climber, would be interested to know if they can be climbed?

Great post,
Todd

Reply
    Asen - May 15, 2020

    Hey Todd,

    It’d be difficult to climb those rocks but to be honest I’m not a climber and can’t say for sure. Never seen others do it, though.

    Reply

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