Our nature creates amazing landscapes and delightful forms, not only above but also below the earth. There is a different and pure beauty in each of them. If you are curious and thirsty for new and unusual places to visit around Bansko and Razlog, we have selected the 10 most memorable caves in this beautiful region, located at the foot of Pirin. Let’s start our virtual walk!
Bansko and Razlog – places rich in many caves
Before we introduce you to the most captivating caves you can visit, let us tell you a little more about the unknown side of Bansko and Razlog first. Thanks to the many water sources, especially rivers, in the bowels of the earth, there are now many caves close to the cities. Most of them cannot be accessed unless you are an experienced speleologist or climber. Many of them are difficult to access without specialized equipment, and quite often, they are abysmal, meaning that the entrance to the cave looks like a precipice through which you have to enter.
In the records of caves at the Bulgarian Speleological Federation, you can find nearly 100 caves located near Bansko, and at least 60 more in the area of Razlog. Each one of these caves has a different depth, width, altitude, and humidity. This makes the locations of the two settlements extremely interesting from a geologic point of view. It is only in such places where one can thoroughly examine what happens in the depths of the earth, what chemical processes have an impact on the water, how it is being enriched in minerals, and last but not least – what life exists in them. In the past, they have been shelters and even home to many ancient people and animals. That is why they continue to attract us to this day with their exceptional and magnetic attraction.
Top 10 of the most impressive caves around Bansko and Razlog
We already mentioned that not all caves in the region of Bansko and Razlog are accessible to ordinary visitors who do not have the skills and equipment to reach them. Don’t worry though, our collection has selected some of the most remarkable caves that you can access quite easily.
One tip – no matter what time of year you decide to visit the caves, dress warmly as they all maintain constant temperatures ranging up to no more than 10 ℃, and be sure to wear closed shoes with a stable grapple sole. Most inland formations are humid or wet, and in the absence of good shoes, you are likely to slip, injure, or fall, and this is the last thing you would want to happen to you, especially during your vacation.
So, here is our list:
The Snezhanka (Snow White) Cave
Snezhanka Cave was discovered by accident in 1961 by a group of cavers. Its length is only 145 m., and its annual temperature is constant – 9 °C. The Novomakhlenska River has created and shaped the cave the way we know it today. Its halls are filled with stalagmites, stalactites, columns, draperies, and sinter lakes. The largest stalactite is 1.27 m long. Inside, you can see the Udder Hall, the Great Hall, the Music Hall, the Magic Hall. The last one has a coating of snow-white crystal sinter, in which the water and the specific conditions have sculpted a figurine reminiscent of the heroine of fairy tales. Now you know where the name of the cave comes from. In the middle of the cave, you can see round hearths, where objects from the Early Iron Age and animal bones were also found. It is said that the Thracians used it as their refuge. The cave provides shelter during the hibernation period for a number of rare species of bats. The Snezhanka cave is located near the town of Peshtera, but you can still quickly reach it by car from Bansko.
This cave is extremely beautiful, and although it is not very close to Bansko, it is worth taking your time if you have the motivation and the means to visit it. Lepenitsa Cave, also known as Dionysius Cave, is a horizontal three-storey white marble cave. It was declared a ‘natural landmark’ in 1962, but it’s been barely 10 years since the second dry floor has been opened to visitors. The cave is not suitable for every visitor, as it does not have the necessary safety measures. That is why in order to enter the cave, you need the right equipment (appropriate shoes, safety helmet, headlamp) and a guide. Only small groups of up to 10 people are allowed.
The Caves area
The name speaks for itself – in its territory, you will see many caves stacked in one place. Since 2013, the place has been suitable for rock climbing. The Peshterite area is located almost 4 km away from Bansko. You can either walk the distance on foot or drive on the road to Banderitsa Hut.
The Bayuvi Dupki consists of 16 caves located near Razlog in a reserve of the same name. Most of them are abyss caves and if you decide to go for a walk around the Bayuvi Dupki-Djindjiritsa reserve, you will find out why the picturesque area is named this way.
Haramiyska dupka Cave
Haramiyska Dupka is located near Trigrad, which makes it part of the Trigrad Cave Region. That is also where the rivers Vacha, Buynovska, Trigradska, Muglenska, and Shirokalashka flow. They contributed to the formation of the cave. Remains of primitive people have been found in it. You can see replicated models at the very beginning of the cave. You can reach its entrance from the exit point of another cave – the Devil’s Throat. The Haramiyska Dupka is a passage cave, and to enter it, you will need special equipment provided by the experienced guides responsible for the tours. If you want to visit the Haramiyska Dupka, you should book an appointment in advance because the cave is not open for standard visitors.
The Sharaliyska Cave is difficult to access, so you need equipment and an experienced guide. It is located near the village of Ilindentsi. Due to the increasing interest in it, in 2013, the cave was pronounced a natural landmark. The main reason for that is protection of the rare species of bats that begin their hibernation from the beginning of December to the end of March on the territory of the cave. You can easily reach the Sharaliyska Cave from Bansko by car.
In our article about the 15 historical sites in and around Bansko that are worth visiting, we told you about this well-known cave, but we can not miss the opportunity to mention it here as well. It is named after Valchan Voyvode, who is said to have been the wealthiest Bulgarian voivode. According to some myths about him, his legendary robberies brought him 10 tons of gold. It is said that he hid his fortune in the cave and the surrounding area. People also tell stories of how all wounded hajduks from his 72 detachments hid in a specifically adapted sanatorium to heal their wounds.
Boychova Dupka Cave
The cave is located in the Boychova Skala area, near the village of Logodazh. Although Boychova Dupka has been explored and mapped for a long time, it could not be entered safely due to the lack of infrastructure. It is currently being built so that every fan of underground adventures can enjoy it. Many representatives of the flora and fauna have been found in the cave, and numerous interesting karst formations have been preserved in its galleries. For this reason, it has been declared a natural landmark and is on the list of protected sites in Bulgaria. It won’t take you long to drive there from Bansko, and although the cave is still not quite suitable for visits, the area is picturesque and worth a visit.
Manoilova Dupka Cave
Manoilova Dupka, also called Manoilova Cave, is a cave located near the village of Ribnovo. It is 2175 m long, which makes it one of the longest caves in Bulgaria. It is located on the lower slope of the Ribnovsko spruit. The cave has two floors, and they branch inwards, 300 meters after the entrance. The lower floor is inaccessible as the waters of the Ribnovsko spruit pass through it. Near the village of Ribnovo they come to the surface, forming their karst springs. The water floor is a complex of corridors, small halls, waterfalls, and thresholds. In less than an hour, you can reach the village of Ribnovo from Bansko and visit the Manoilova Cave.
This cave impresses neither with its size nor depth. It looks more like a niche, but the area in which it is located makes the Hannah cave magical. The view from its entrance is exceptionally fascinating. The cave is just above the Banderitsa hut, but you can easily miss it, as it seems to be hard to spot. You should follow the path to the right of the bungalows and then turn immediately to the left, passing behind them. You will see markings for the Vihren hut. It is good to ask someone from Banderitsa hut to guide you. This is one of the caves near Bansko, so be sure to take your time to see it.
Our virtual journey through the underground beauties of the region of Bansko and Razlog is coming to an end. We hope you find this list of 10 caves valuable and intriguing. If you are wondering where to stay in the area to visit all these natural landmarks, the doors of the Balkan Jewel Hotel are always open for you. With us you can enjoy a first-class vacation with breathtaking views of the Pirin, Rila and Rhodope mountains in cozy and stylish apartments, studios, and even our luxury chalets. Our complex has a spa, swimming pools, and a restaurant with excellent cuisine. The best thing, however, is that you can even bring your pet with you!
Welcome to the Balkan Jewel Hotel! We are looking forward to seeing you!