Bulgaria is an excellent location for an active holiday. This small country has it all from climbing, hiking, skiing, and horse riding to alpinism, swimming and caving! There are many places to rock climbing, with Vratsa being the best and largest rock climbing area in the country.
Located in a valley a few kilometres from Vratsa town are a series of good quality limestone cliffs that stretch for over a kilometre in length. There are many big walls and isolated towers, including the longest wall in Bulgaria, the Central Wall, which is 350m long. The routes on these walls and towers are traditional routes (alpine style) though most have some in-situ anchors, particularly on the belays. However, not all the climbing at Vratsa is multi-pitch traditional climbing, as there are over 250 sport climbing routes to choose from. These sport routes are usually single pitch, well bolted and include routes across a wide range of grades, with many hard routes in 2 excellent caves.
Access to the rock climbing at Vratsa is easy by car being situated around 110km to the north of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. The best time to climb at Vratsa is in the spring and autumn though it is possible to climb in the summer providing you choose sectors that are in the shade.
Vratsa is an ideal rock climbing holiday destination to combine relaxed sport climbing with big wall traditional climbing, and the Vratsa climbing guidebook covers all of these options. This guidebook describes 505 routes, of which 251 are sport, 51 are mixed (sport/trad), and 203 are traditional (alpine). All the sport routes are shown on colour photo topos, along with the grade, route length and the number of quickdraws required. For the traditional and alpine routes, there is information about the gear required, pitch-by-pitch descriptions and descent information. All the traditional and alpine routes are shown on a combination of colour photo topos and detailed hand-drawn topos. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
Lakatnik is a fantastic sport climbing venue with around 280 routes, and is in a fantastic location within the Iskar Gorge. Coupled with the fact it is only 63km from Sofia, it is easy and quick to reach, making Lakatnik the most popular rock climbing area in Bulgaria. The majority of the routes are well bolted and the quality of the limestone rock is very good, with most routes between 10 to 30m long. The climbing here is perfect during the spring, autumn and warm winter days.
Located on the banks of the river Yantra, Veliko Tarnovo is the old medieval capital of Bulgaria, and is a charming quaint town in its own right. Just outside of the town are 2 well developed crags called St. Trinity and Usteto. These 2 limestone crags provide around 200 single pitch sport routes across a wide range of grades. The best time to climbin is during the autumn and spring.
This limestone crag has many tufas and a huge cave, and is a great place to climb in the summer and autumn. There are around 75 routes of 20 to 40m long, up to F8c+
Located in the mountains these granite crags are a great summer alternative. The majority of the routes here are traditional and multi-pitch on the many large towers and rocky outcrops that make up this beautiful mountainous area.
The Rock Climbing Atlas for South Eastern Europe describes the rock climbing at Vratsa, Lakatnik and Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. This useful book describes the different crags, number of routes, style of climbing, how to get there, where to stay, and general information about the area, though it doesn’t describe any individual routes. As well as Bulgaria, the book also has information about Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia. Buy this from our shop.
The Vratsa rock climbing guidebook is the definitive guidebook covering the rock climbing at Vratsa.
Buy this guidebook from our shop.