Berkovski Balkan is famous for its raspberries, ripening in July and August. There is a large assortment of edible mushrooms in the pine and beech forests.
The town of Berkovitsa, located just a few kilometers away from Barzia Holiday Club, is the natural starting point for tourists to the Balkan mountain peak Kom. A short drive from the center of Berkovitsa to the “new hut”, as the locals call it, takes no more than half an hour. The road is relatively nice, (for Bulgarian standards), but it is narrow and requires maximum driver vigilance. The road passes through an exceptionally picturesque area: almost century-old beech trees rise up to the sky to cover the sun and provide thick cool shadow even on the hottest summer days. There are nice picnic areas on both sides of the road. The road itself crosses the river many times. You will also be able to enjoy several small waterfalls. The “new hut” is a possible starting point for a variety of hikes to the mountain top. Follow the trail marks carefully and go early in order to come back before night falls.
Trails and walks
If you are not into driving or just love the good old classic hiking in the woods, you can start following the trail marks leading to the Kom peak from the very town of Berkovitsa. The trail is not an easy one, after all you are climbing a mountain peak! Check the weather forecast, load your backpack with enough food and water, don’t forget your raincoat, and make sure that your camera and cell phone batteries are fully charged. Take a flashlight with you in case you lose the trail and you have to seek it in the dark. The climb from the town of Berkovitsa to the “old hut” takes an average of 5-6 hours. You’ll need another two hours from there to the peak.
Here is a lighter alternative – take a hike from the southwest corner of the Barzia village to the Ashiklar area – it’s a light two-hour walk that goes horizontally almost all the time. The route from the village of Barzia to the village of Pruskovitsa is on the existing road and it also takes about 2 hours.
The Klissura Monastery of “St. Kiril i Metodiy” is an active female monastery since 2008. Previously, since the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1240), it functions as a male monastic community. The monastery has been destroyed by the Ottoman invaders, but, finally, in the 19th century it has fully recovered. From the Liberation (1878) to the present day it is once again home to an active monastic life, preserving the old Orthodox traditions. In the monastery there is a working icon-painting workshop where the nuns draw icons, respecting the sacred canon of the ancient Ohrid school.
A scenic Eco trail
A picturesque eco trail starts from the town of Berkovitsa and moves along the Golyama Reka river. The duration of the walk is between 4 and 5 hours, with the highest elevation of the road reaching 890 meters above sea level, and a maximum displacement of 340 meters, making the whole trip extremely enjoyable even for unprepared tourists.
Forestry Experimental Facility“Petrohan”
In the village of Barzia there is also the Petrohan Forestry Experimental Facility, which is a training ground for the University of Forestry in Sofia. One can find Europe’s best beech plantations in its territory.
Take a hike to theKaleto Forest Park
Kaleto Forest Park rises above the northern part of Berkovitsa, at 515 meters above sea level. On the hill, as the name suggests, there are excavations of a fortress dating back to the Ancient Roman Empire. Kaleto (which is another word for “fortress”) offers a beautiful view of the Stara Planina ridge, the town of Berkovitsa and its surroundings. The Kaleto Forest Park provides almost all categories of tourists with the opportunity to go out in the nature and to enjoy some short-term active recreation.
The “Haidushki” Waterfalls are several small waterfalls 2-3 m high. They are located in the beautiful valley of the Golyama Reka river, 9 km. from the town of Berkovitsa. The waters of the Tsenkova, Slivka and Sredna Bara rivers are collected here. An old asphalt road leads to the waterfalls. It is suitable for cycling or walking.