As a mountainous country renowned for its water resources, you can bet Bulgaria has some amazing waterfalls! The majestic waterfalls of Bulgaria may not be as well-known as the Niagara Falls or Iguazu Falls, but they are still perfect places to visit as part of an adventurous hike or on a more relaxed picnic trip.
From the highest in Southeastern Europe to some of the most picturesque, here come 7 waterfalls in Bulgaria that will take your breath away!
1. Thunder of the mountains: Skakavitsa in Rila
Around 70 metres high, the Skakavitsa Waterfall is among the main tourist attractions in the Rila Mountains. Skakavitsa (Скакавица) flows dramatically down from the eastern slope of Kabul Peak, at an elevation of 1750 metres above sea level. Due to its high-mountain location, the Skakavitsa Waterfall freezes every winter and is at its peak in spring. Then, the melting snows feed it with huge amounts of water and turn it into a thundering cataract.
As the Seven Rila Lakes are a two-hour hike away, it’s a great idea to combine Skakavitsa with a visit to Bulgaria’s most famous lake group.
- How to get there: Skakavitsa Waterfall is less than half an hour away from Skakavitsa Hut in Rila National Park. Travel by bus or train to Dupnitsa and catch a local bus to Sapareva Banya, then make your way to Skakavitsa on a four-hour hike from the town via Pionerska Hut.
2. Balkan record holder: Raysko Praskalo
Raysko Praskalo (Райско пръскало) literally means “a heavenly spray” in Bulgarian, and this waterfall does indeed look like one. Situated deep in the Central Balkan National Park, Raysko Praskalo may not be big in volume… but at 124.5 metres, it’s the highest permanently-flowing waterfall in the Balkans!
Here’s a tip – visit Raysko Praskalo during spring or autumn to see it in its proper size. If you go in high summer, you may be disappointed by the small amount of water flowing down from the imposing rocks.
- How to get there: Raysko Praskalo is located just next to Ray Hut above the town of Kalofer. Get to Kalofer by train or bus from Sofia or Plovdiv and start your challenging four or five-hour trek from the Panitsite area.
3. Down into the gorge: Skaklya near Svoge
One of two notable waterfalls in Bulgaria named Skaklya (Скакля), the one near Svoge, 85 metres high, is the centrepiece of the serene Vazov’s Eco Trail in the captivating Iskar Gorge. The hike is not particularly hard and leads up the towering rocks of the Balkan Mountains from the village of Gara Bov to Zasele.
The area was a favourite place of Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov, who visited it a number of times and set at least one of his works in the Iskar Gorge.
- How to get there: Skaklya can be reached from the village of Gara Bov, which conveniently happens to be a railway station on the Sofia-Mezdra line. The train journey takes as little as 1 hour from Sofia.
4. Picturesque karst terraces: Krushuna Falls
Nested in a scenic forested landscape with abundant caves and other karst formations, the Krushuna Falls (Крушунски водопади, Krushunski vodopadi) impress with their turquoise waters and peaceful natural setting.
Walk up the trail to see the waterfalls from the top and have an enjoyable lunch on the meadow by the caves. Or even spend the night camping under the stars at this heavenly location!
- How to get there: The Krushuna Falls are adjacent to the village of Krushuna, not far from Lovech in north central Bulgaria. There are regular daily buses from Sofia to Lovech as well as local buses from Lovech to Krushuna and back.
5. 46 marvels of the Rhodopes: The Canyon of Waterfalls
The Canyon of Waterfalls (Каньона на водопадите, Kanyona na vodopadite) is a stunning collection of 46 individual waterfalls. The highest of those reaches nearly 70 metres and is named after Orpheus, the mythical Thracian musician and prophet. Orpheus reportedly inhabited the Rhodope Mountains where the Canyon of Waterfalls is located.
All of the waterfalls are situated in the verdant gorge of the Elenska River and are interconnected via a well-managed trail. In total, this unforgettable walk takes four hours to complete.
- How to get there: The Canyon of Waterfalls begins on the very outskirts of Smolyan, a lively traditional town in the Rhodopes. Regular bus services link Smolyan to the big cities Plovdiv and Sofia.
6. Massive cataract above town: Skaklya near Vratsa
Now, Raysko Praskalo may be the highest permanent waterfall in Southeastern Europe, but when this one does flow, it dwarfs Raysko Praskalo with its incredible height of 140 metres. Somewhat confusingly named just like the waterfall in the Iskar Gorge, Skaklya is an unforgettable sight that can be observed from the very town centre of Vratsa!
For the best chance to see Skaklya (and not just the striking rocks of the Vrachanski Balkan Natural Park), go there in spring or autumn or after a rainy period in general. And definitely not in high summer, when it’s almost sure to be dry!
- How to get there: Plenty of buses go to the town of Vratsa and back from Sofia’s Central bus station every day. You can also get to Vratsa by train via Mezdra.
7. Memorable day-trip from Sofia: Boyana Waterfall
If you’re in the capital Sofia and feel like venturing into the mountains, nearby Vitosha is full of attractive destinations. One of the most popular destinations is the Boyana Waterfall (Боянски водопад, Boyanski vodopad), the biggest in Vitosha. In spring, it can be spotted from central Sofia among the forested foothills of the mountain.
Although with its 25 metres it doesn’t rank among the highest waterfalls in Bulgaria, the Boyana Waterfall is a great target for a pleasant day trip away from the capital. And on the way, don’t pass up the marvelous medieval Boyana Church, one of Bulgaria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
- How to get there: You can reach Boyana Waterfall on a two-hour hike from the Sofia neighbourhood of Boyana. To get there first, take bus 64 from Hladilnika bus station (a 10 min walk from James Bourchier metro station on line 2).