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