Another easy escape to the mountain.
If you are in IKEA Sofia picking out what to assemble the next weekend, you might not know that instead of travelling through its labyrinths you could choose to hike around the mountain. This takes the same, if not less, effort with the villages of Bistritsa and Zheleznitsaa just a few kilometers away. Famous for the panorama views of Vitosha mountain and the Field of Sofia, they offer easy walks from one to another, or uphill towards Cherni Vrah (peak).
Zheleznitsa is right after Bistritsa, by the bus lines 69, 70 and 98. There is one particularly suitable spot for picnics, requiring a fifteen minute walk from Zheleznitsa, if you take a right on the first path just before the bridge at the entrance of the village. Besides chilling by the river while watching the southern face of Vitosha, you can also have your carpet washed in the river by local enterprising grandmas.
The paths are hard to miss, marked with yellow signs, starting from the center of the village (at the town hall), where the bus stops. For a hike, go straight by the yellow pillars which mark the way to Cherni Vrah. If you are looking for “a walk in the park” level, then turn hard right after the last houses (look for a sign), or just get off the bus at Aneva Cheshma stop. This will take you to the panorama path between Bistritsa and Zheleznitsa (length approx. 5km).