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Krushunski Waterfalls: Cascades of Bulgarian Relaxation

After a long summer by the sea, if you were lucky, you might feel the need for some fresh water after the salt has gone everywhere it shouldn't, so this time I am taking you to the Krushunski waterfalls - Bulgaria's largest.

The Krushunski waterfalls are a natural marvel found in Central Bulgaria, 35 km north-east of Lovech and 12km south of Letnitsa. Krushuna village is located where the slopes of Stara Planina meet the Danube plain. It is named after the Kite, a type of bird of prey that is still found in the area.

In the 13-14th century Hesychast monks picked the spot to live and I can tell you something - they were on the right path. Their carvings and cells can still be seen in the gorge leading to the waterfalls.

The gorge itself is home to some of the most wondrous caves in the Balkans, so before guiding you to the waterfalls I will tell you about these extraordinary caverns. The region close to the waterfalls has four caves: Boninskata - 2753 meters. Waterfall -1995 meters, Urushka - 1600 meters. and Gornik -1080 m. All of which have their own shapes carved into the rare Bigor cliffs. They are all endless and I wouldn't suggest going too much deeper than the entry halls.

The best of them all however is the Devetashka Cave which can be found further down the valley. It is located on the right bank of the Osam river. The cave impresses with its enormous size. Its entrance, which is 35 meters wide and 30 meters high, leads to a spacious hall with an area of 2400 square meters. It is amazingly the cave with the largest lobby in Europe.

If you don't get lost or attacked by vicious bats after the cave tour you should slowly walk on up to the waterfalls and relax, for hours and hours if you wish, as the noise of the cascading water inside the gorge has to be one of the most therapeutic imaginable.

It is the biggest water cascade in Bulgaria and consists of many shoots, ledges and small drainage basins. The main waterfall falls from an altitude of 20 m. It is divided into several branches which form a few smaller waterfalls. There are constructed multiple step-ladders and an eco path. The ‘spring' of the waterfall is "hidden" in a cave at the top of the cliffs and can be reached using the narrow path, which squeezes under the limestone rocks.

In the area of the waterfall there is a chalet, which offers rooms, a restaurant and café, sauna and a parking lot. In the area you can enjoy many of the activities offered there - archery, horse back riding and trekking There are many eco paths which lead to the local sights.

The waterfalls are actually known as the Maarata cascade named after the river. The highest cascade is 15-20 meters but along with all the others they must total over 100 meters of waterfalls.

After you have had time to wind down head to the Osman river further down the valley, here you will find owls, eagles, falcons, turtles, fish and many rare plants, some of which are on the Bulgaria red list for endangered flora and fauna.

At this time you may be asking how to get there and revving up the engine, well it's easy: from Lovech the waterfalls are sign-posted all the way. If you do happen to get lost ask a local Baba, who sit on benches at convenient points on your journey - say Krushenski Vodopadi!

Henry Rowlands
The Krushunski waterfalls are a natural marvel found in Central Bulgaria, 35 km north-east of Lovech and 12km south of Letnitsa

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