I had originally made an “out-of-chronological-order” post about my trip to Belogradchik, which you can find here.
I loved it there so much that I could not wait to do it in chronological order. But there is some information I would like to add, specifically about getting there and back.
When I was researching this, I found out there was a bus. But the information was really lacking and completely conflicting. Now that I have been there, I can help.
At the Sofia bus station, I was told by the information desk that the only bus company that runs to Belogradchik is named Montana. The internet says there is a second company, I know nothing about this.
The bus leaves at 16:00. It runs seven days a week, even though some sites on the internet say it does not run on Sundays (I took it on a Sunday).
The Montana ticket window opens late on Sundays since they do not have any early buses going anywhere. I believe it opens at 11:30. I could not read the Cyrillic sign announcing this, so I spent a few hours trying to not have a nervous breakdown in front of the window, while wondering if it was ever going to open.
The bus was mostly empty. The seats were fancy and very comfortable. The air conditioning worked perfectly. We made a couple of stops where we picked up people who were just standing in the road, with no bus signs anywhere. We also had to stop for a herd of sheep crossing the road.
Here is the only clear picture I have of the scenery outside the window:
Belogradchik was the place I was the absolute most excited for on this trip. As we got closer and the rock formations came into sight, I wanted to scream.
Going back to Sofia from Belogradchik: I confirmed at the Montana ticket window that the only bus they have running back leaves at 6:00 am. The internet again, has a bunch of other information. I don’t know anything about anything else first hand.
I did not want to leave at 6:00 am because it meant I would need to spend two nights there in order to see the Fortress. I did not want to spend two nights in Belogradchik (side effect of having a full time job and needing to see everything RIGHT NOW as you are doing this only on vacation time).
So I decided to take the train back to Sofia. Advice: do not take the train back to Sofia.
The internet advises you to take the train from Vidin. There is a bus between Belogradchik and Vidin. I think this is terrible advice. Take the train from Oreshets. It is on the Vidin line, but closer to Sofia than Vidin, so less time on the train. I took a cab, it was shared with two other people (that the cab driver picked up at the bus station, after leaving me in the cab by myself for about fifteen minutes with no explanation). It cost me 4 lev, which seemed about right since I had read it was 11. So he must have charged each person 4.
The train ride is very long. I believe it was about 4.5 hours (the bus is only 2.5 hours) There is no air conditioning, it was hot and the train was PACKED. We also made some random stop for about half an hour, where everyone except me seemed to understand they could get off the train and get some fresh air.
I will never take a train in Bulgaria again.
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to post 3298473 pictures of Belodgradchik (even though you may have clicked the original link in the first paragraph of this post, which has lot of pictures in it) because BELOGRADCHIK DAMMIT.
This little guy followed me for a long time, barking at me. I asked him if he was going to bite my ankles. He then ran and got some backup in the form of a HUGE dog that was really mad that I insulted the little ankle biter. I wish I had Huge Dog’s picture. But he was HUGE and MAD.