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Fotinski Waterfalls - an extreme but also a very beautiful place to visit

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Fotinski Waterfalls - an extreme but also a very beautiful place to visit

Fotinski waterfalls are one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have visited, but also one of the most challenging. They are located in the Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria near the village of Fotinovo. They are 3 in number and are about 6-7 meters high, and the tallest about 16 meters. The walk to them is 3-4 km long and will take you about an hour, but the beautiful scenery and the noise of the river will definitely make it feel like just a moment.

How do you get to the trail start?

The starting point for visiting the waterfalls is the village of Fotinovo. There we leave the cars, and for the waterfall we will have to walk for about an hour along an (initially) pleasant forest path along the river.
We traveled from Sofia on the Trakia highway. We took the exit towards Pazardzhik, and from there to Peshtera and Batak before reaching Fotinovo.

You can also travel by train to Peshtera station (Sofia - Peshtera is about 3 and a half hours) and from there by bus to the village of Fotinovo.
/ Check the current data of BDZ and Peshtera bus station to be sure of your trip /

How did you get to the falls?

The path started near a small farm in the lower part of the village - it is marked in google as "Path to Fotinski waterfalls - beginning part" - see here. From there, you go down a bit and before the river you turn left on a dirt road. The path at the beginning is extremely pleasant and easy. It is suitable for adults and children. The road guides you and you won't have much hesitation about the route - most of the time you move around the river and you can enjoy the lapping of the water.
Not long after the start we reach this beautiful bridge (above), but our path does not go over it and continues along the path to the left.
The path goes and winds along the river with a slight ascent. At one point you'll reach a gazebo with a first aid kit and an information sign next to it. Here the pleasant walk ends and the extreme part begins. This is what a sign with the inscription translated into "It was easy up to here".
A little further down, the trail forks in two. To the left for the first Fotinski waterfall, and to the right for waterfalls #2 and #3.

We're going for #1 because... that's what the order is for. This path turned out to be quite steep and slippery, and in its last part it was almost impossible to descend without ending up on your ass at some point. There is a rope that helps you go down to the pool of water below the waterfall. Before the rope there is a panoramic platform, which is on a narrow path, but the view is very good.
** Consider your strengths and skills well, because the path is dangerous.
The path to Fotinski waterfalls #2 and #3 is a bit more pleasant. It winds along the serpentine and descends well below the level of the gazebo. Then you cross a small wooden bridge and you can reach the waterfalls. To get to them you need to walk on stones, which can be quite slippery depending on the season.
But the view is definitely worth it. Even if the camera blurs your photos from the water splashes.
To the right of the wooden bridge leading to waterfalls No. 2 and No. 3 there is a path marked "View of waterfalls" (Изглед водопади in Bulgarian). It climbs a little higher and gives you a spectacular view of the falls from a little further away.
You have plenty of time to enjoy this beauty... and prepare for the uphill on the way back to the gazebo.

Is the path steep? Are there scary sections?

Most of the time the path is easy and pleasant, but to be honest in some places it is not secured well enough. There are no railings on the bridges and the last part of the route is very steep. A rope was placed on the descent to the first waterfall, which definitely helped.
If you visit the falls try to wear shoes with a good grip and poles if you are used to walking with them. In rain, the path becomes difficult to climb due to its slippery surface.

How high are the falls?

The first waterfall is about 6 meters high, the second about 16, and the third about 7. (Depending on the point of view, the second and third may be interchanged)

When is the right time to visit?

Spring is the best season for the falls, but I think that by early summer you will be able to enjoy the full beauty of these falls. We visited them in the last days of May and the amount of water was impressive.

How long does it take?

Depending on your pace, prepare about 4-6 hours for the trek, breaks, photos and everything as it should be. With moderately good fitness levels, I think you can manage in about an hour one way (a bit more on the way back as it's uphill) and maybe another hour to enjoy the falls and take pictures.

Are there water fountains along the way?

Yes, there are quite a few water fountains along the trail where you can fill up on water. I would still recommend that you carry enough water, especially on warm days.

Is there a comfortable picnic area?

There are gazebos along the trail to the falls and just before the steep part, so you can stop for a rest and a snack. For example, we hid in the gazebo where the paths for 1 and 2, 3 waterfalls diverge, because we got a strong downpour. It turned out to be quite effective for protection from the rain.

On which river are the waterfalls?

I guess you looked at the name and.. yes, this time the assumption is correct - the river is called Fotinska. The interesting thing about her is that I could not find any information on the Internet about the origin and length of the river.

Can I bring my dog?

You certainly could, but make your judgment based on your dog's breed and age. They are 4x4 and will make it easier to navigate difficult places, but if they are elderly or clumsy they may struggle to climb.
Our dog is a pinscher of about 3 years old and was very happy to run up and down the steep path so as not to lose sight of any of the group.

On the way back, she was travelling under my raincoat, as she is not a big fan of the rain. Luxury, right?

What's interesting nearby?

Nearby, I recommend you to stop by Ravnogor village and explore "Bekovi skali", "Chervenata skala" and Sveta Nedelya peak. They are incredibly beautiful and relatively close to each other.

If you have time, you can also stop by the Snezhanka cave near the town of Peshtera.

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  • Avatar
    Десислава Цветанова , March 28 reply

    Много хубав маршрут. Само не съм сигурна, че има автобуси до Фотиново. Поне когато ходих преди 3 години нямаше. Но пък от Равногор има също приятна пътека, която е 15 км в посока до водопадите ????

    • Avatar
      Mitko on Trip, April 08 reply

      Писах на автогарата в Пещера и се оказа, че такава линия вече не се обслужва за съжаление. Дано да я пуснат отново някой ден, защото това място заслужава да се види от повече хора.

  • Avatar
    Из България, March 28 reply

    Изключително красиво местенце!

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