Location: Northwestern Bulgaria Type: day trips around Sofia; nature landmarks; caves; Bulgaria Suitable for children: yes; with a baby carrier for babies and toddlers
So we`ve given you a couple of ideas for day trips around Sofia – like a trip to Cherni Vrah or the Tsari Mali Grad fortress, or Zemen monastery and here is the newest one – a trip to geopark Iskar-Panega. It combines a most pleasant walk in the nature and a visit to a magnificent cave – cave Prohodna or the Eyes of God.
We`ve stumble upon this route one a Saturday morning while we were wondering which place to visit. The weather was most pleasant and perfect for a picnic. We`ve heard about the UNESCO-run geopark Iskar-Panega and decided to give it a try.
Created back in 2006, this is the first (and only) geopark in Bulgaria. It`s located 3 km from the town of Lukovit in Northern Bulgaria, and about 100 km from Sofia. It consists of two sections – the Karlukovo Karst Complex (where cave Prohodna is located) and the Landscape Park “Panega”. Both sections are connected by an eco trail.
We`ve decided to enter the geopark from the side of the landscape park. The trail begins near the town of Lukovit and goes along Panega river. All the way there are picturesque wooden bridges and rest areas – gazebos and picnic areas. One of the most impressive sites on this route is a majestic meander. But don`t be fooled – everything here is enchanting. According to the legend the energy of the place soothes the nerves and relieves the stress and tension. We can confirm this wholeheartedly.
Our goal was to reach cave Prohodna via the eco trail but we`ve talked to some other tourists and they`ve told us that the whole track is 12 km long. We didn`t have so much time so we went back to our car and reached the cave very quickly. If you have more time you can explore the whole track.
The entrance of cave Prohodna is near the village of Karlukovo and the first thing that we`ve saw were rock climbers scattered along the cliffs. The cave is 262 long, its ceiling reaches near 50 m in height and you can try bungee jumping here, too. But that`s not the most spectacular thing about it. Two huge and equal-sized holes in the ceiling of its middle chamber, formed through erosion, resemble human eyes. They let light in the cave and are known as the Eyes of God.