Poof-poof! Poof-poof! The wheels rattle in time, the passengers enthusiastically take their seats, the train leaves Septemvri for Dobrinishte. In case you have traveled with the Rhodope narrow gauge railway, you know very well what we are talking about. And if you haven’t – we definitely recommend you to do it.
The journey is long – about 5 hours, and the distance – 125 km. But every minute worths it. Traveling by narrow gauge train helps you to know Bulgaria closely – you see how many small and picturesque corners the country hides, magnificent landscapes will be revealed in front of you, and the trip will be imprinted in your mind as a fond memory.
It is no accident the traveling by train has become a real attraction. It is currently the only narrow-gauge railway in operation in the country, and many families choose to ride together. It is always extremely exciting for children to get on the narrow gauge train. To sit comfortably in the carriage, to look curiously through the windows, to carefully follow the pictures changing before their eyes.
Vacation in Bansko and Razlog: How to get there by train?
If you have planned a vacation in Bansko and you don’t have a car, choose the train to get around. Traveling by narrow gauge train is a real adventure. As we’ve mentioned before it is extremely interesting for children. We believe it would be also for you and you explorer Bulgaria and its beauties through children’s eyes.
Bansko and Razlog are among the final stops of the narrow gauge railway. It takes you nearly 4 and a half hours to reach Razlog and another 15-20 minutes to Bansko. But the long journey pays you back with magical views and a nice rest afterwards. The two cities are nestled in the embrace of Pirin and Rila and offer wonderful conditions for recreation all year round. If you are curious to know what the mountains have to offer during the warmer months, read our latest article. And for those of you who like to learn new things, we share a little more information about the narrow gauge railway itself.
For the most curious: 3 interesting facts about the narrow gauge railway
We have already mentioned this is the only narrow-gauge railway in the country. It has a track gauge of 760 mm. The most common gauge in Bulgaria is 1435 mm. As you can guess, the narrow gauge runs on a gauge, nearly twice as long as the standard gauge. On its way, it stops at 25 stops (total 27 with the starting and ending stations), and the average speed it develops is 25 km/h.
From September, it heads south, passes through the Chepinska river gorge, stops in Velingrad and heads to the highest station in the Balkans – Avramovo station (1267 m above sea level). From there it goes to the Razlog valley and stops in Yakoruda, Belitsa, Razlog and Bansko, after which it heads to its final station – Dobrinishte.
One of the stops of the train composition is Cepina station. There is also a home-museum of the narrow gauge railway. If you visit it, you would be able to see a rich collection of photos tracing how it was built and a timetable board from 1985. Volunteers have tried to preserve as much as possible the way the station office once looked, so you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an authentic setting from the last century.
For Unification Day: Amusement ride
This year, Bulgaria celebrates 137 years since the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. We suggest you use the day off and enjoy a narrow-gauge journey. What could be better than using the September 6 holiday to embark on an adventure from the city of Septemvri? We advise you to get tickets in advance, as usually many families decide to use the holidays to share moments together. You can find up-to-date information on timetables and ticket prices on the Bulgarian State Railways website.
Traveling on the narrow gauge railway is exciting for the people on all ages. If you decide to undertake one, you would definitely have pleasant memories to cherish for a long time. The range along the way can be lost in places, but you surely find yourself among the beautiful views and unique nature.