The Gorge of the River Iskar

Picturesque views, high waterfalls, rock phenomena

There is a truly beloved place near Sofia and if you have decided to go for a visit, be well aware that a piece of your heart and soul will remain there  forever - the Iskar Gorge. One of the most beautiful and pristine places in Bulgaria is located in Western Stara Planina, where the wild river cuts through the mountain, leaving a narrow rocky gap. Scientists believe that the river existed long before the mountains and gained its way gradually - gnawing the rock, slicing it in two. Barely a century ago, the place was inaccessible and barely even known, but at the end of the 19th century, the railway finally passes through the area. The place was gradually settled and people from all over started coming, attracted by the beautiful and peaceful nature. Today the gorge can best be viewed from the train “Sofia–Vratsa”. Groups of  amateur and professional photographers often use the route to enjoy the divine beauty of the gorge and the breathtaking sunsets - a one of a kind experience that will make you think and will give you the time to find a path to yourself through the surrounding nature. On the way you’ll have the chance to see wonderful sites such as the Katina pyramids, Lakatnishki cliffs and many other fascinating karst formations. The few inhabited places in the area are starting points for several  hiking routes - from the village of Rebrovo to peak Bukovets and Leskova.


The largest settlement in the gorge is the town of Svoge and above it there are quite a few picturesque villages such as Zasele. From there the view to the valley is fascinating. One of the most beautiful and largest waterfalls in the country – “Skaklya” is in the vicinity of Zasele village. Skaklya can be reached by a scenic ecotrail and the walk reveals other wonderful views. The “Ivan Vazov” Ecotrail passes through the villages of Zasele and Gara Bov (Train station Bov). Locals say that Ivan Vazov simply adored the place and loved writing his short stories here –in peace and quiet. The famous „Diado Yotso gleda” /loosely translated as "Father Yotzo’s sight "/is among these works.


Another great place to visit is Eliseina - especially the "St. Prophet Elias” (St. Prophet Elisha)church, built in 1905. Next is the "Cherepishki Monastery"/“The Monastery of skulls”/ dating back to the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and Tsar Ivan Shishman’s reign. After the monastery there’s the village of Lyutibrod, “Ritlite” and the “Rashov dol” area.


The Gorge passes by the towns of Mezdra, Gara Strupets, Roman and ends after Karlukovo creating countless picturesque views and landscapes.  Among those, don’t miss the canyon of “Prohodna” cave – a.k.a. “The Eyes of God”. After Karlukovo, there are three mmonasteries built in the cliffs. A couple of interesting rock phenomena are located nearby as well - the limestone “Strupanitsa” (lit. “The Bunch”) at the penultimate cliffs of the gorge and “Provartenika” /"the Clock Tower"/- a formation that resembles a giant clock tower, but with a stolen clock.


The gorge offers an abundance of natural and cultural values ​​that will touch your heart...

View the Sites

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    Lakatnik Cliffs

    Located on the left slope of the Iskar Gorge, the Lakatnik cliffs attract not only lovers of beautiful landscapes and unspoiled nature, but many climbers as well.

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    Skaklya Waterfall

    One of Bulgaria’s unique natural spots which not only deserves our attention but captivates us and draws us back here again and again is Skaklya Waterfall near the village of Bov.

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    Vazov’s Eco Trail

    Vazov’s Eco Trail near Gara Bov is growing in popularity and attracts many tourists.

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