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Stara Planina (Balkan)

Stara Planina is the longest (550 km), the biggest of all mountains. It extends throughout the entire length of the country- from the Bulgarian border of Serbia to the Black Sea coast.

The highest peak – Mount Botev (2376 meters).

Climate and borders

Stara Planina is the most foggy and windy of all Bulgarian Mountains. Average temperature values around the Mount Botev are January average minus 8.9oC; July average 7.9oC and an annual average of minus 0.7oC. Rainfalls are at their maximum at May and June and minimum (excluding the mount Botev area) in February. The snow cover is rather irregular not only in duration but also in territory.

The western border of the mountain is Vrashka Chuka pass while on the north , the natural border is the Danubian plain. From west to east Stara planina touches upon the Sofia valley, Sredna Gora and the Upper Thracian valley. To the east, The Balkan ends with cape Emine.

Within this borders it covers an area of 25 000 square kilometers.

Western Stara Planina

It starts from the Vrashka Chuka pass and it ends at the Zlatiski pass. This sector has a length of 215 km.

The most popular and the most climbed is mount Kom (2016 m.).

In general, the relief of the mountain does not have a well-expressed alpine character.

The Vratsa mountain is one exception. The natural phenomenon Vratsata is the focal point of climbing activities in Bulgaria.

The existence of many caves explains the speleological activities in this region. The biggest cave is Temnata Dupka. Here too is the caves Ledenika, Elata, the picturesque Iskar Gorge. It is a natural miracle carved out of the stone breasts of the Stara Planina.

Central Stara Planina

Central Stara Planina starts from the Zlatishki pass and ends at the pass Vratnik on the east. This is the highest and the most attractive part. Except the highest mount Botev, there are 24 other peaks. Some of them are: Vejen (2198m.); Golyam Kupen(2169m); Ambaritsa (2166m.); Malak Kupen (2141m.)

The valley of the river Osam and the Steneto pass must be mentioned as an important natural reservation.

It is here than Nature has created a mountain heaven – the Northern Djendem and the southern Djendem, the Heavenly rocks, the Heavenly Springer, Singing rocks.

The Stara reka river gorge (passing through Karlovo) has also be declared a natural reservation.

There are the mount Stoletov, the Shipka pass, which sanctified peak hosts a 32 meter tall memorial of granite – the church monument Shipka.

There are also the National Park Central Balkan, the Troyan Monastery, the Kapinovski Monastery, the Kilifarevo Monastery, Dryanovski Monastery, the Merdanski Monastery in the Middle Stara Planina.

Eastern Stara Planina

This part starts from the Vratnik pass and ends at the waters of the Black Sea.

There are no alpine formations. The Sliven mountain deserves mentioning because of its height and the alpine character of the area around the Blue rocks as well the fact, that it is the most visited part of the whole of Stara Planina. The natural park Sinite kamani is of great interest too.


Over the greater part of the Central Stara Planina ridge runs the chief Balkan water-separator line. The rivers of greater importance, which flow from the mountain to the north and into the Black Sea via the Danube river are the rivers: Lom, Ogosta, Yantra, Russenski Lom, Kamchia. To the south and into the White sea flow the rivers Struma, Stara reka, Tundja and Mochuritsa.

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