Cultural and Sightseeing
Belogradchik, whose name literally means “small white town”, is situated in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains just east of the Serbian border and about 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of the Danube River. The town is famous for its unique and impressive rock formations, the Belogradchik Rocks, which cover an area of 90 square kilometres (35 square miles) strange shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock. Many rocks have fantastic forms and are associated with interesting legends. They are often named for people or objects they are thought to resemble.
The Magura Cave is located in north-western Bulgaria, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the town of Belogradchik. The cave is 15 million years old, and its total length is 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles). Thanks to its prehistoric paintings, Magura is, with Grotta dei Cervi (Otranto-South Italy), the most significant and extended European post-Palaeolithic painted cave.
The Venetsa (The Wreath) Cave is located 13,5 kilometres (9 miles) from Belogradchik. It is declared a natural monument because of its exceptional beautiful coloured calcareous formations and ice crystals which look like flowers, figures, animals and lot of different things that it is possible to imagine. Coloured formations are explained by scientists by the absence of oxygen, wherein water crystallised, and the various colours derived from the diversity of clay and rocks. Inside the cave, there are corridors with a length of 200 meters and 5 falls.
The tour will include: a scenic but mountainous two hours and thirty minutes drive through Petrohan Balkan range pass (if you don’t mind the turns). After a short view point stop right before the town, we arrive in front of Belogradchik Fortressand go for a walk uphill to the top part. On the way we can enjoy the funny-looking forms of the rocks and use our imagination to “see” the figures of the Madonna, the Rabbit, the Turtle, The Ice-Age Squirrel, the Rebel and many more, learn the history of the Fortress during the different periods, hear the frightening legends of prisoners and rebels. The parking lot offers some nice souvenir shops, a good variety of wine and rakia (local strong brandy) from the Magura cave wine cellar.
At this point you will have three options:
- Drive further north to Magurata Cave, famous for its pre-historic drawings. The visit takes over one hour and is divided in two parts – main part (5 BGN per person entrance fee) and Pre-historic drawings part (5 BGN per person entrance fee). Both entrance fees are not included. Please pack a snack with you before departure.
- Drive to a nearby newly-opened cave Venetsa (The Wreath), smaller in size than Magura cave but more impressive and shorter drive from Belogradchik. Please pack a snack with you before departure. Entrance fee not included.
- Skip cave visits and have a hearthy lunch in a very traditional local tavern called Madonna Inn in a nearby village Falkovtsi (lunch price not included).
Please note that the drive to Belogradchik is fairly long and mostly mountainous and with turns on the way to Belogradcik. The return leg is on a straight road.
Recommended period: All year round.
Driving time: 6h 30m approximately.
Walking time: 2h 00m approximately.