A wild race
What do you do when you have really short time and you want to go to the mountains? Well, you give up sleep and you just do it. We decided we wanted to go and see the Raysko Praskalo in the Central Balkan but we only had one day to do it. So we packed our bags and got to the last train from Varna to Kalofer at 11pm. At 5am the next morning after hardly any sleep we were in Kalofer and it all began…
Rayskoto Praskalo is the highest waterfall in the Balkans and its name literally means “Heavenly spray”. It’s 124m high, permanently flowing and is located under Botev Peak, the highest peak in the Balkan. It’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bulgaria and is definitely worth visiting. To see the best of the Rayskoto Praskalo though you’ll need to go during spring or autumn. If you hike there during summer, like we did, it won’t be that spectacular.
There are a few ways to reach the Raysko Praskalo. We chose the one that starts from Panitsite, near Kalofer. The easy way is to have a car, leave it at Panitsite and start climbing up from there. We didn’t have a car, so we needed to do it the hard way – from Varna to Kalofer train station with the train. Then we needed to walk about 4km from the train station to Kalofer itself and then another 5 to Panitsite. From there you need to follow the way to “Ray” ( Heaven ) hut. The waterfall is located right next to it.
The path is well marked so it’s easy to orientate. The walk to the hut will normally take around 4 – 5 hours and no technical mountaineering skills are required. You’ll walk between woods and open meadows from which you’ll get impressive views.
The end of the path is the hardest as you’ll need to hike up for about an hour. The effort is really worth it though. After reaching the top you’ll find yourself in a meadow with horses running around you. Then you’ll see hut Ray and Raysko Praskalo itself.
You’ll need to walk around 5 more minutes to the hut and then another 20 to the waterfall. The Raysko Praskalo isn’t very full in mid-summer as you can see so you should really consider going there in spring or autumn. But even like that, it’s amazing!
After seeing the waterfall I highly recommend staying at the hut. It’s a building with 120 dortoir places in rooms with 5, 7, 10 or more beds and it really is a heaven, especially after a long walk! The hut offers dinner, lunch and breakfast and you really should try the beans soup and the tea. You’ll meet some nice people there, you’ll hear a lot of stories and you may get to hear Bulgarians singing and dancing to our national music which is an unforgettable experience.
Sleeping in the hut costs around 6 Euro, a dinner should be around 5 Euro and breakfast – 2.50. You should consider calling in advance to check if there are free beds, especially if you’re a group and/or you’re going in high season.