Svoge and Around: Single Day Trips From Sofia
If you land in Sofia and have a few days to spend in Bulgaria, move out of the big city. There are plenty of interesting places nearby and each one of them can be visited in a single day trip. Sometimes you can even visit more than one place in a day. Today we'll tell you about Svoge and the villages around. They are great destinations if you like nature and mountaneous villages.
The town of Svoge with its population of about 8,000 is the center of this area. It's easy to reach Svoge by train, car or bus. The train ride is between 30 and 60 minutes and costs €1.2. The town is on a hilly terrain and great for hiking. If you like walking in the nature I recommend you go on a walk on the Vasov way or to Grohoten. A walk through the neighborhoods is also worth it - head up in Djidjovica and you'll see great views.
Inside the town there are stores and restaurants so you'll not stay hungry or thisty. If you'd like to stay for the night, there are two small hotels close to the bus station. Just ask for a hotel and people will show you the way. Note that the last train to Sofia is at 8 or 8:30 PM, so if you don't plan to sleep is Svoge, don't miss it.
View from Lakatnik
On the way to Svoge
Vlado Trichkov is closest to Sofia and is the biggest village in the row. If you come by train you may first got the impression that it's very small, but just go upstairs in front of the station building and you'll see it's not. There are a couple of shops and at least two restaurants. Again, hilly terrain like most of the villages in this region, and plenty of natural beauty to explore.
If you want more rural experience, stop in the next village - Lukovo. It has only about 300 inhabitants and if you go uphill where the vacation houses are you'll feel like being in the wild. Get some food with you as you can't be sure you'll be able to buy anything, especially in the weekend.
The next one on the railway, Rebrovo, is bigger and steeper. Go there if you want to see how people fight with the hilly terrain. The architecture of houses and streets is interesting.
The closest one to Svoge is Tompson. (Techhically the train has one more stop - Orlin - but it's just a bunch of vacation homes.) Tompson is small and wild village. There is nothing special to see except rural houses, but it's nice place for a walk.
On a short bike or bus trip from Svoge
There are few villages near Svoge that are not on the railway but are close enough to be visited by bicycle. There are also buses which reach them in few minutes, and you can get a taxi for several euros as well.
The biggest one is Iskrets. Few km West of Svoge, the village has a lot of life and good views. Feel free to visit also Redina, Svidnya and Cerecel.
On the rail, heading North
Some of the more interesting places are on the railway after Svoge. The first one - Jelen - can also be visited by road. It's just 3-4 km away so feel free to bike or walk to it. One of the interesting things in Jelen is the Trinoga community where a permaculture project is run.
Next, it's worth visiting Bov, especially if you like caves. You can also see the waterfall Skaklya there.
A very popular destination close after is Lakatnik. Go there if you like rock clibming or just to see the amazing terrain and the Lakatnishki rocks. Bring some food with you especially on weekends. If you forget there is a small store and snackbar on the station, but don't expect much from it.
Many of the villages after Lakatnik, on the way to Mezdra, are also interesting. I'll only mention Zli Dol, Zverino, and Chelopek.
Eliseina deserves a bit more attention because it's base for exploring The Seven Thrones Monastery. The whole area near it is great. You can get to Eliseina by train from Sofia in less than 2 hours. Check the return trains carefully because they are just a few per day.
Other Things to See
The Elata cave is located near Zimevica. Getting to Zimevica from Svoge is easiest by car as there are no direct buses or trains.
Djuglata is natural landmark near the rail station of Cerovo. There are trains from Svoge to Cerovo, it takes just few minutes and costs an euro or less.
The alpine shelter "Eagle's Nest" is located in the rocks above Lakatnik. It's hard to reach but you can see it from the village. Bring binoculars with you.
There are a few other caves as well, if you are into this.
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