The hike between Bistritsa village and Zheleznitsa village, both of which are located very close to Sofia city, is one of the most popular routes for many people over the weekend – it is short, pleasant and very easy for people of all ages. It can take one to two hours, depending on where you start and finish the hike.
I personally decided to start the hike from Bistritsa village – you can reach it by bus #69 (you can catch it from G.M. Dimitrov metro station) or bus #314 (you can catch it at Mladost 1 metro station). In both cases you should get off in the center of Bistritsa village, the name of the bus station is “Selo Bistritsa”. Once you get off, you should catch the first street on the right, named Stefan Stambolov. Follow the street for about half an hour (there is a green mark on it) and you will reach a big sign on your right side that marks the Vitosha mountain natural park. Here you have two options: to keep on the main road that is a shortcut to the start of Bistritsa – Zheleznitsa hike (you should reach it in about 15 minutes maybe) or you can hike a bit longer by turning right at sign for Vitosha mountain natural park. This means you will leave the road and follow a well-trodden path via the green sign for about 15 minutes more. You will also have a chance to refill your water bottle at two places. After around 15 minutes have passed, you will cross the path that connects Zheleznitsa village – Bistritsa village – Simeonovo lakes – Dragalevtsi neighborhood. According to the map that I usually follow (www.kade.si), this whole path should be marked red, but I have never really seen red marks. However, there are plenty of yellow signs and the hike is pretty straight forward, so you shouldn’t be afraid of getting lost. You will also see a sign pointing out that in order to go to Zheleznitsa village, you have to go left. This means that you now leave the green path, which goes straight to Aleko hut. After another 15 minutes cross the Stefan Stambolov Str. and see the “official start of the hike” (you will see plenty of signs and benches). This is where the shortcut mentioned above would take you and this is also where many people actually drop off their car to start the hike, in case they don’t use public transport.
From there to Zheleznitsa the hike is again really pleasant and easy – you will see plenty of people over the weekend. Around one hour after the “official start”, you will reach an area where the path splits multiple times, so you can go left and reach the stadium at Zheleznitsa village (which is also a minute away from “Aneva cheshma” bus station of bus #69) or keep straight for about 20 minutes more until you reach the start of the hike for Cherni vrah summit. This hike is marked in blue and is a dirt road. Via the dirt road you can also go back to Zheleznitsa village – the closest bus station would be either “Lyulyak str.” or “Selo Zheleznitsa”. Another option is of course to go back to Bistritsa village.
Things to bear in mind:
Watch my video about the hike from Bistritsa to Zheleznitsa then to Aleko hut and Zlanitnite mostove!