The tour of Vitosha 100km has 9 stages: Start/Final –> Vladaya –> Kladnitsa –> Studena –> Chuipetlovo –> Yarlovo –> Plana –> Bistrica –> Dragalevtsi –> Start/Final.
The following information is described in the table below for each of them: distance plus length from the start, altitude, total ascent and total descent (length, height gained, slope), terrain and pavement, relative difficulty and additional information. You can also download the description of the route in pdf format.
START – Vladaya
Launching in the EAST direction! From the entrance of the Historical Museum, take the wide local lane of the Ring Road. A launch corridor is being built there, at the end of which is the START-FINAL arch. After passing it, to the right of the local area, a large grassy area is found. The route crosses through it, following the direction of the massive metal fence of the Boyana Residence. This is how you get out onto the asphalt alley, parallel to Bulgaria Blvd. (Daskal Stoyan Popandreev Street is above the ring road) and the first ascent (1000m) begins.
At a mass start, the vehicular traffic on the boulevard in the direction of the route is stopped.
After a 350-meter horizontal section, 1,600 meters from the arch (2,350 meters from the starting point) a roundabout is reached – take the second exit, the direction now being west. The street in the next 2500 meters is “Belovodski Path”. The slope is relatively constant – about +5% (+3 – +8%). The road enters a forest and takes a long left turn in an easterly direction. 350 meters after it, you reach the turnoff (4850 meters from the starting point) along “Star Belovodski Path” street. With a steep and sharp right turn, it is taken again in a westerly direction. The last 1,300 meters of asphalt pavement for the stage follow, but with more serious slopes, reaching +14%.
Cross the road (Belovodski Path Street, 6100 meters from the starting point) and cross a wide mountain lane, which is steeper in its first 350 meters until you reach the “Bialata Voda” fountain. At the fork after the fountain, continue along the right, gentler fork. The next 1000 meters are moderate (+6% – +7%) and are the last big climb of the stage. A paved passage about 100 meters long follows, past the “Quiet Corner” restaurant, and after it the route crosses the road to “Golden Bridges”.
To the right of the gazebo at the bus stop, a smooth, felt-paved path begins to descend. This descent, with a length of about 2400 meters, is interrupted by 2-3 short (about 100 meters each) climbs. The gradient is mostly moderate (average -7%), BUT there are a few steeper passages (up to -20%) where there is always a danger of cyclists falling due to the slippery surface. In places, especially at the end of the stage, the road has been dug up by the rains and there are larger stones. The driveway also has cross ditches where a bicycle tire happens to be cut.
At the end of this slope there is a sharp transition to an ascent. There is also the first support point.
2nd stage – 13,800 m
Vladaya – Kladnitsa
It goes southeast along the alley-path to the “Golden Bridges” along the valley of the Vladaiska Reka. The beginning of this stage is characterized by alternating very steep sections, in places reaching +30% (the average slope is +12%), and the length of this bair is 1100 meters. This is the hardest part of this stage. It ends with a deviation from the lane – to the right, along a wide concrete bridge over the river (11,300 meters from the starting point).
The route then continues on a dirt road that is 300 meters downhill and 700 meters horizontal. Cross a paved road (for the old Vladai quarries) and take an old concrete road 700 meters long. At a sharp left turn on the concrete road, take a right (south) on a briefly descending path (200 meters, -6% to -10%), which turns into an equally short (100 meters, +12% to +22%) ), but a steep climb. Immediately after it, you go out on a horizontal path.
“Single track” begins (13,300 meters from the starting point) – this is how the next almost horizontal passage (average -0.6%), 9,900 meters long, which follows the “water channel” to the village of Kladnitsa, is known. It is named so because of the rare chances of overtaking cyclists. With a few minor exceptions, the passage allows for a fairly high tempo to be maintained without a change in speed. Numerous roads and paths coming from the villages of Vladaya, Murchaevo and Rudartsi cross over which the route passes, and the right direction remains clear – the most horizontal. The passage ends with a short (20 meters), but very steep (-20%) descent to an asphalt road near the sign for the village of Kladnitsa.
It turns left towards the village. This is followed by a short ascent and a horizontal part along the main asphalt road through the village (500 meters). A five-bay intersection is reached! Turn right (southwest) and after another 300 meters of asphalt street, downhill, you exit the village. Immediately after the last houses, on the right, during the “Vitosha 100” event, there is a support point* Kladnitsa (24,000m from the starting point).
Stage 3 – 9,190 m
Kladnitsa – Studena
The next more than 4600 meters are on an asphalt road, mostly downhill, but there are also 2-3 climbs. The first 200 meters are almost horizontal, after which the slope gradually increases to -6%. There is a horizontal section in the area of the settlement “Delta Hill”, and there it is important NOT to get caught on the road leading to the complex! Therefore, participants stick to the left path. The descent continues for a few hundred meters before smoothly transitioning to a short climb (300 meters). At the end of the climb, the route continues to the left (south) along a small asphalt road. This is the beginning of the longest (1600 meters) descent for this stage
The average slope here is about -5%, but in places it reaches -12%.
This descent predisposes the cyclists to develop high speed, but it should be noted that in several places the surface is too compromised, and some of the corners unexpectedly appear sand. There are no shortage of incidents!
At 3,400 meters from the beginning of the stage (27,400 meters from the starting point), one of the bays of the Studena dam is reached, and the road begins an ascent, lasting more than 400 meters and with a slope of +5% to +10%. Before the end of the ascent there is a fork – the route continues along the right road.
What follows is a rather horizontal section and again a fork – again on the right road (west direction). A descent follows again (500 meters, -4%) along an increasingly broken asphalt road. You pass a guard post at the “Studena” dam (outside the “tour” time there is a lowered barrier at this place), 300 meters after which the route continues to the left (south) with a short steep descent on a dirt road with large stones.
Here (4,600 meters from the stage, 28,600 meters from the starting point) begins one of the most difficult sections to describe the terrain and pavement, as it is highly dependent on the weather conditions in the days leading up to the crossing. The most unfavorable conditions create conditions for very sticky mud, which has to be avoided in some passages. Otherwise, this mud is capable of blocking ANY bike! In the more favorable versions of the track condition, no particular problems are observed for the passage of this critical section of about 1500 meters in length, if you do not count a few unavoidable puddles.
The short stony descent turns into a long ascent on stony pavement (about 400 meters, +7% to +12%). Then the stone pavement is replaced with a soil one.
A short descent (100 meters) and a very steep climb (300 meters, +10% to +22%) on a hill with a grove at the top. A series of several smaller hills, valleys, woods and open areas follow. The slopes also change many times. The approximate direction to follow is south until reaching a U-junction during the ascent (6700 meters from the stage and 30700 meters from the starting point). The direction of the route is to the right (southwest) – on the steeper path to the ridge of a bare hill, which is also the last big climb for this stage.
An open passage with a panoramic view follows, and the slope smoothly turns into a descent (850 meters) and soon enters a loose pine grove. The steepness continues to increase (-7%), and towards the end of the descent the slope reaches -16%, in combination with slippery and rutted sandy terrain. Here again the route approaches the Studena dam.
The last part of the stage (1400 meters) is almost horizontal and at first it keeps parallel to the bank of the dam, then it diverges from it (in a southerly direction) and soon reaches the “Barrier” and the road to the village of Bosnek. Here is another, third support point “Studena” (33,190m from the starting point).
Stage 4 – 11,300 m
Studena – Chuipetlovo
This stage is only on asphalt roads. It is usually well lit by the summer sun, although there are also shady places (if needed). From the control post at the barrier of the water supply area, take the road to the left, in the direction of the east, towards the village of Bosnek. It starts with a moderate climb (1300 meters), which gradually reduces its slope to an almost horizontal part (about 800 meters) and again a moderate climb (400 meters).
There follows a very easy and short descent (200 meters) at the entrance to the village of Bosnek. Here you follow the main road, which with a slight incline (about +3%) after 600 meters reaches a T-junction. At the junction turn left on the main road, then 120 meters of ascent and another junction (3600 meters from the stage and 36190 meters from the starting point). It continues to the right, again on the main road, to the east towards the village of Chuipetlovo. A short (100m) gentle descent and horizontal passage before smoothly transitioning to a long climb that ends at the next checkpoint after another 7600m. The first half of this climb has a slight gradient of about +3%, a long section (about 2000 meters) with an average gradient of +4% follows and the section ends with a much steeper passage of about 1400 meters and a gradient reaching in places up to +11 %. Chuipetlovo support point is located on the village square and is the highest (1223 m.a.s.l.) large control post. Conditionally accepted for the middle of the route (44,490m from the starting point). It is followed by one of the longest stages.
Stage 5 – 17,200m (longest)
Chuipetlovo – Yarlovo
For a short time (100 meters) at the beginning you go back on the asphalt road, but immediately after the last house on the left you go up a dirt road that soon enters a forest. The slope is moderate (on average around +6%) but quite variable (up to +10%) The surface at the beginning is typical of a forest road, and further on, in the few open passages outside the forest, it is stony and/or sandy. There is a possibility of muddy sections with ruts and puddles.
The first key point is 1,650 meters from the last point (46,140 meters from the starting point). It
represents a fork at which the rightmost fork is taken. This is done by crossing a small and boggy creek and making an almost U-turn before re-entering dense forest on a (usually) wet rutted road.
Another 400m of similar ascent and even a small descent (about 300 meters) follow. The next 800 meters or so have less climbing, but the pavement is varied and even crosses another river, this time with a sandy bottom. After crossing it, you get to the second key place – a T-junction (3,260 meters from the stage, 47,750 meters from the starting point). It turns left and begins the last section of the ascent to the ridge, which is 570 meters long and the gradient is up to +10%. Leaving the forest, the slope decreases and you reach an intersection on the flat ridge itself, near the “Smilo” shelter. This is the highest point of the stage (and also of the route, 1350m above sea level) and is 3830 meters from the stage (48,320 meters from the starting point).
At this point it turns right (in a south-westerly direction) to follow the mountain ridge (soon the direction becomes southerly). At the beginning (about 450 meters) the track is more horizontal, but then there is a descent that is 800 meters long and with a slope of -4% to -9%. Next is an ascent (340 meters, +4% to +7%), again a descent (500 meters), but this time, after the middle of it with a rather serious slope from -10% to -16%!
At 6,000 meters from the stage (50,490 meters from the starting point) a narrow old asphalt road is reached. At this T-junction turn right (southwest) and start climbing – the first 200 meters on tarmac, then on a dirt road branching off to the left. It continues for about another kilometer of ascent with a moderate gradient (+3% to +7%) through a meadow and a young forest.
In this area, the grassy section of the route increasingly enters wooded areas, but there are also long, completely open ones. Deep puddles and muddy ruts are almost always formed on the horizontal passages, and this applies mainly to the forest sections.
A long descent (almost 2000 meters) follows, but interrupted by short climbs, ruts and other obstacles are encountered that do not allow high speed for the bicycles. In the area under the power transmission line, the slope again reaches -16% and has deep ruts.
The route continues in a rather horizontal passage (1100 meters), then gradually the slope increases to a moderate climb (+2% to +6%), and the pavement improves.
Here, at 10,300 meters from the stage (54,790 meters from the starting point), a long (1,700 meters) descent to Bukapreslap Pass and (another 2,000 meters. to) Samokovsko Pole begins. The first kilometer is on a completely open and rounded ridge (about -5% slope), then another kilometer in a forest, where the slope increases to -15%.
At 11,900 meters from the stage (56,390 meters from the starting point) a T-junction is reached. This is the medieval and Ottoman main road (Radomir – Samokov), crossing the mountain in this area – Bukapreslap. Here the main direction of movement changes – take left (northeast). In total, the section along the ridge from Smilo to Bukapreslap is 8120 meters, and the difference in altitude is -228 m
The descent from the Bukapreslap Pass is moderately graded (-4% to -9%, 2000 meters) on a wide and mostly nice dirt road (“Ottoman highway”), but is interrupted by a section with puddles and a short (100 meters) climb. Next comes a horizontal passage with even bigger puddles and a 250m climb before the final descent (450m) for this stage.
At this point (14,800 meters from the stage, 59,290 meters from the starting point) you cross a bridge over the Sharkovica River. Immediately after the bridge there is a fork. Take a left (north) on a less frequently used grassy dirt road, where a 700m long ascent begins. In its middle part, the route is quite steep (up to +12%). A horizontal section (450 meters) follows until entering the village of Yarlovo. Here the surface becomes asphalt, and the slope is a very slight climb. The road makes a right turn and after 400 meters it reaches an intersection – turn left along the street parallel to the Palakaria River. Another 420 meters and there is a turn to the right on a bridge over the river, and after 100 meters you reach the square of Yarlovo. Take a right (heading east) and after 240 meters along the main street, the route branches off to the left from the main road, just in front of the school. Another support point is located there at 61,690 meters from the starting point.
6th stage – 10,900 m
Yarlovo – Plana
This is the stage featuring the toughest and longest dirt road climb of the tour! In addition, a large part of the ascent is through open areas on the southern slope of Vitosha mountain, soaked in the summer sun.
It starts along an initially horizontal street in the east direction. After the first 300 meters, leaving the village with a climb and a left turn on the street, the route branches off to the right on a dirt road. It has a smaller slope that soon decreases even more to almost horizontal. It climbs once more before descending (200 meters) to the bed of a small creek (1,140 meters from the stage and 62,830 meters from the starting point). The road crosses the river through a ford and forks – the route continues along the left fork (to the north). The incline turns into an increasingly steep ascent (340 meters, +9% to +18%). A short flattening (60 meters) precedes an 850-meter climb (+5% to +12%), flowing again into a short flattening and a 100-meter gentle descent into a forest to the crossing of the creek named Lustra (2530 meters from the stage).
Again, a long, 1,100-meter ascent with varied gradients (average +7% to +17%) follows. This is followed by a 280m horizontal section across a meadow and a short (200m) gentle descent between two river ravines in a forest. It is a 900m climb (+5% to +10%) across open meadows to a mountain shelter (5000m from the stage and 66690m from the starting point). A judging station is usually organized here.
430 meters after the shelter you reach a fork (Key place!) and take a left along a steep forest road (120 meters, +14%). This is how you get to the next Key Location! (5,550 meters from the stage and 67,240 meters from the starting point), where the dirt road makes a sharp left turn, and the route diverges to the right of it along a path!
The path passes through a mostly pine forest, it is not wide, and in places there are large stones on both sides of it. The first 620 meters have a moderate climb (+4% to +8%). A short (120 meters) descent follows to a small river with a slippery wooden bridge. Soon after the river is the last big and steep, but at the expense of this short climb (170 meters +14% to +22%). The trail continues through a section characterized by its “humps” (250 meters) to a meadow, which is the second highest place on the route (about 1348 meters above sea level, 6780 meters from the stage and 68,780 meters from the starting point).
At the meadow, the trail joins a dirt road that descends (150 meters, -10%) to another Key Place! – turn right again on a narrow and steep path (50 meters, -16%) to a sharp bend and a short (30 meters) but rather steep (+14%) ascent.
Here you suddenly enter the “Yarema” villa area – with a descent (480 meters, -8%) along a wide street leading to the main highway Sofia – Samokov and a large fountain (7,500 meters from the stage and 69,190 meters from the starting point) .
Turn left (north) on the main road. Next is a 1000-meter horizontal section on smooth asphalt through the “Yarema” villa area. After the end of the settlement on the right, the route diverges onto a dirt road, following a small side ridge in an easterly direction. It continues in a long section (2300 meters) that starts horizontally but soon becomes downhill. Follow a dirt road, avoiding the detours leading to buildings. Most of it is a steep descent (-8% to -19%), its second half is in forest. There are exposed tree roots in places! At 10,900 meters from the Yarlovo point, you reach a shelter with the Plana point (72,590 meters from the starting point).
Stage 7 – 10,400 m
Plana – Bistritsa
From the shelter to a river and a small pond, you go down the river, on a dirt road with a slope of -4% to -11% and after 720 meters of descent, you come out on an asphalt road to the village of Plana. Turn left along the asphalt and after a 130-meter horizontal section, a 560-meter ascent begins (+5% to +10%). A 700-meter descent follows.
At the end of the asphalt section there is a 270-meter ascent along the serpentine. The asphalt section of this road is 1,650 meters. At the first right turn from the climb, the route turns left on a gravel road through the Umni Dol hamlet. After another 330 meters of climbing on the gravel road, then the dirt road (+6 to +10%), the main highway Sofia – Samokov is crossed in the “Brezite” area. Pass to the right of the bus turning wheel and start descending on the first straight to the right past the houses of the “Tsareva Mahala” villa area. After about 200 meters of descent, the asphalt street begins to climb. Soon, at the first left turn on the asphalt, a narrow path diverges to the right, which with a slight descent after 130 meters reaches a wooden bridge. After crossing it, a steep (+8% to +12%) ascent (170 meters) is entered. Cross a vast meadow (about 300 meters) with gentle slopes and enter the forest above the village of Zheleznitsa.
There are 3,800 meters of the stage so far (76,390 meters from the starting point). The next 6,600 meters to the next, 8th post, are without serious ascents and descents along the alley named after engineer Ivan Ivanov. The route is relatively horizontal, following the contours of the terrain. In the first 950 meters, the direction of movement is oriented to the west on a rather wet slope, because of which the entire alley is usually very muddy.
And this is how you reach the meadows with gazebos, a shelter and a fountain above the village of Zheleznitsa. Key location! The river Vedena and the dirt road in the village of Zheleznitsa – “Fizkulturnik” hut are crossed, and immediately above the road, almost parallel to it (to the right) in the east direction and horizontally through the forest continues the alley “Inj. Ivan Ivanov”. That is, in the area of the river and the crossing of the road, a reverse turn is taken to the right and horizontally (4,750 meters from the stage and 77,340 from the starting point).
The route continues along a flat and smooth path mostly in the forest, narrowing to a path in some places. The ravines and rivers are crossed on wooden bridges, but sometimes some are broken
damaged or destroyed – cyclists find this out quite suddenly because the terrain allows for higher speeds. It’s good to watch out for other hazards too, such as large rocks hidden in the grassy areas! The lane is usually very busy and people are often encountered, so cyclists should be careful! After 2,700 meters from the picnic meadow (7,470 meters from the stage and 80,060 meters from the starting point) you cross a massive stone viaduct and after another 2,930 meters you reach the Bistrica aid station (82,990 meters from the starting point).
8th stage – 9,900 m
Bistritsa – Dragalevtsi
At the very beginning of the stage, the route crosses an asphalt road and continues horizontally for another 2,760 meters. In several places there are wooden bridges, some of which are not suitable for cycling – they have high steps. At the end of the horizontal part of the alley, it acquires a west direction and suddenly, with a steep threshold downwards, the “Aleko” hut – village of Bistrica in a U-shaped intersection appears on the path. Take a short turn to the right, down and east in the direction of the village along a very steep (-12% to -24%) and stony path with several forks – follow the left paths and after about 130 meters you will reach a wooden shed and a bridge over the Yanchovska river .
After crossing the wooden bridge, there is a 360-meter climb (+4% to +10%), smoothly passing into a 260-meter more horizontal part (even a little descent) and again a climb of about 400 meters (+4% to +11%) . This is the last major climb of this stage.
Here (4000 meters from the stage) the lane turns into a dirt road. It begins a 500-meter descent (-4% to -11%) to the crossing of the Rakovets river via a ford. The road becomes horizontal (400 meters) until reaching the more open area of Dudov preslap. It’s an intersection! The dirt road leaves, and the route continues slightly to the right along a path that, entering the forest with a descent (-7% to -10%), becomes an alley. There is also a never-ending swamp with sharp stones! You pass under the Simeon lift, 150 meters after that through a dangerous “chikan” with a narrow bridge, after which the slope increases even more (-8% to -16%).
1000 meters after Dudov Preslap, you reach a dangerous and very steep (for cyclists) descent along several sharp serpentines. The first turn is right (former intersection). This very steep descent (-20% to -28%) leads to the valley of the Old River and the Simeonovsky Lakes. The descent, after the serpentines, continues quite steeply (-17% to -24%) along a rocky path on the right bank of the river. Soon (250 meters) the route crosses the river via a ford or a bridge (optional).
Here the slope slightly decreases (-12% to -22%) and 500 meters after crossing the river the descent ends (6760 meters from the stage and 89750 meters from the starting point). There is usually an intermediate post with organic products here.
The route quickly turns into a horizontal lane, which, with a left turn, changes its trajectory in the west direction. After 560 meters you cross an asphalt road, and after another 230 meters of slight descent (-4% to -6%) you enter the “Mound” villa area. The descent (-3% to -10%) along “Tsar Mihail Asen” Street continues for 480 meters, where a ford across the Skakavitsa River is reached with a fork on a dirt road to the left. The road continues with a slight incline (-2% to – 6%) through a forest (630m) to the “Milkova koria” cottage area, where it turns into “Akademik Sanders” street. This street is followed for 760 meters mostly downhill (-2% to -6%) until reaching the Dragalevtsi cobbled road – Aleko hut. Cross it diagonally and take the small street “Grigori Mnih” (past a fence, a stone wall). After 320 meters, the street makes a right turn, and the route continues straight (path on the left of the street) and crosses the Dragalevska river via a narrow iron bridge. Immediately after the bridge, on the left, a short (80 meters) but steep (+12 to +14%) ascent begins, diagonally on the slope, to Dragalev Lake. The last support post is located there (92,890 meters from the starting point).
9th stage – 7,180 m
Dragalevtsi – FINAL
It heads west past the lake and immediately after that it climbs, slightly to the left, through the forest. Soon the route becomes a wide avenue and passes near a horse stable. This climb (+4% to +10%) is 680 meters long. This is followed by a 120m descent (-4% to -8%) and another ascent (320m +7% to +16%), in the last part of which the route turns from an alley into a street (dirt road). A short, very steep ascent follows, the road crosses the small Drenovichka creek (by bridge or ford). The street (“Pod Gorata” street) crosses the border between the forest and the last houses of the villa area above Dragalevtsi.
Near the first houses is the highest point of this stage (924m above sea level). Accordingly, the street goes into a long descent (1280 meters, -5% to -13%) with two more horizontal sections. This descent ends relatively steeply (-9%) and with an obstacle (for bikes) – a wooden bridge with a step! The road (here is a street) becomes quite wide again. The next climb is 270 meters (+4% to +10%).
There is another descent (670 meters, -8% to -14%) – steeper and with more dangerous rocks and ditches (often flat tires)! The last 500 meters
the final descent starts with a short (150 meters) steep bair (+6% to +14%), you pass the last houses of the “Boyana” district and after several fluctuations in the slope and pavement you reach a steep section – the beginning of the long 2500m final descent. So far 3900 meters from the stage.
The rather steep (-12% to -18%) and stony descending lane with exposed roots soon turns into Živata Voda Street (concrete/dirt road) and exits onto the asphalt Kamenno Zdanie Street, where it turns left (west). 180 meters further on, you reach the paved “Pop Evstati Vitoshki” street, on which you turn right and down – stick to the straight direction and/or along the right forks of the street. After 250 meters there is an intersection with a more main street, which is crossed carefully and 50 meters after it, turn left along Vodenichnitsa street with stone slabs through a small park (300 meters -10%). Exit onto the asphalt pavement of the boulevard – to the right (100 meters) you reach a traffic light and with two crossings you reach the asphalt bicycle-pedestrian alley (known from the first meters after the start). The descent along this lane is about 1000 meters, after which it smoothly leaves to the left, parallel to the metal fence of the “Boyana residence” across the meadow (180 meters). This is how you enter the asphalt local road, on which you reach the final straight.
The final arch is being built in this area. The final point of the route is in front of the entrance to the National History Museum (100,070m).
- All support points located between the above-described stages of the “Vitosha Tour” are built by the organizers of the “Vitosha 100” event only for the days when the event takes place! During the rest of the year, food and water can be found and purchased in most of the towns the route passes through. Water fountains along the route are rare, and some of them often run dry!
Compiled by: Niki Orlov Sofia 03.2023