In this article I will tell you about two landmarks – Pleven hut and the Cross in the area of Apriltsi, which are a hit destination for both locals and visitors to the resort town.
GPS coordinates start: 42.83924, 24.921146
GPS coordinates final: 42.83907, 24.9244
Distance: 16 min, 800 m total (to the landmark and back)
Degree of difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆
The tourist trail “The Cross” starts shortly after the center of Novo Selo, one of the four districts of Apriltsi (Novo Selo, Zla Reka, Vidima and Ostrets) and reaches the Cross (34-meter metal cross), one of the new symbols of the town.
The trail is very easy and comfortable to walk.
At the top, where the Cross is located, there are gazebos, benches, toys for children and of course an incredible view of Apriltsi and the powerful foothills of Stara Planina, Botev peak, Maragidik peak and Vidimsko pruskalo.
The metal cross was built by a local businessman on the occasion of 130 years since the April Uprising and 30 years since Apriltsi was declared a city.
We stopped at the church-monument “St. Vmchk. Georgi Pobedonosets”, turned a junk in motion and headed to the posture of the Cross hanging over us.
We passed the cemetery and the dug-in church “St. Petka Paraskeva“, where there was a sign for the eco-trail.
The road forked in two and we took the left, which was crowned with solar lamps.
On the path to the Cross on the right side there were signs telling about the last battles of the first revolutionary district of the April Uprising and the heroic end of the Novosel Uprising and Tsanko Dustabanski’s detachment.
The place is a favorite destination for a walk, especially at sunset with the exciting pictures of the remarkable landscape around.
In the evening, the Cross illuminates the entire city and reminds us of the urge for freedom of our ancestors and the revolutionary spirit of that historical era.
Takeover of Pleven hut
GPS coordinates start: 42.7506, 24.90523
GPS coordinates final: 42.7497, 24.8959
Distance: 55min departure, 45min return, 3.5 km total (to Pleven hut and back)
Elevation: 412 m
Degree of difficulty: ★★★☆☆
I have heard a lot about the difficult climb to Pleven hut from close friends and my daughter, who did it a few years ago with great care. Of course, as far as you can trust a teenager who does not like eco-trails and every walk in the woods is interesting, only if there are peers.
There are 3 options for reaching Pleven hut – winter, summer route and the eco-trail to the Water Holes cave, which is more bypass and can also lead to the hut.
On the advice of our friends, we made the summer route of departure and the winter route of descent from the hut. The offer to take spare T-shirts turned out to be valuable, because we will be a pool of water after the climb, as it turned out later.
The summer route is steeper, it literally leaves you breathless, the winter route is longer, the path is wider and the ascent is a bit smoother.
The starting point is a parking lot, about 4 km after Vidima HPP, in the Vidima district in Apriltsi.
There was a paid parking with a symbolic fee and free one, where the places of course run out faster.
The destination here, as with the Vidimsko pruskalo, turned out to be quite commercial and there were many cars, even in our relatively early arrival time – around 9.30.
The beginning of the trail is well marked for Pleven hut and Botev peak. We crossed a small river and took the road to the hut.
At the beginning, the path ran parallel to the Vidima river.
After about 10 minutes, we reached the deviation to the right for Pleven hut (summer and steeper route).
Characteristically, the path is well marked and surrounded by wooden railings and the steps are decently shaped.
In general, I don’t have many photos from this part of the route, because I was out of breath and I didn’t have the time to do them.
It struck me that there were many groups coming down from top to bottom and I watched them enviously, jumping lightly from step to step. I suppose there is a great interest in spending the night in the hut, it is unlikely that the people had tidied up so early and were already coming down from the goal.
A motivating message that gave us strength in our ranks was carefully pinned to a tree.
Relax in Pleven hut
We made the steep climb in about 38 minutes.
Out of breath, we quickly took up positions on the panoramic terrace with huge mugs in hand.
And the view was stunning!
So close and so real! You feel like a dwarf holding your breath in the bosom of the mighty mother nature.
The leader of Stara Planina – Botev peak rose like a giant on the horizon and proudly waved a finger at the daring who set out to conquer it.
Here is the place to say that I immediately understood why the hut is such a popular place.
Cozy atmosphere, nice and smiling hosts, rich and delicious menu – the hut definitely had a comfortable spirit.
The highlight of the hut is definitely the library, which is anything but a typical room for a hut and it looks like from the cover of modern interior magazine.
Stylish, clean, new and comfortable, she invited you to dive into her coziness and forget where you are.
The grand piano, the paintings, the audio and video equipment, the armchairs and the neat sofas complemented the elegant touches of the interior and fit perfectly into the natural style of the room.
We ate a mushroom soup, which is very typical for this area and incredibly tasty.
A souvenir photo in front of the cult logo of the hut, which crowned more than one or two photographs.
Return from Pleven hut
On the way down we went down to a small building, which was a medical center, and from there we turned left along the winter route.
From here we saw the deviation for the eco-trail to the cave “Water Holes”.
Down the steep part of the path was formed by a metal rope. After the descent we reached a bridge by the river Vidima and from there the last part to the beginning was smooth and without any effort.
It is no coincidence that Apriltsi has gained popularity as a resort destination. The Cross and Pleven hut are one of the most interesting destinations for walking and tourism.
I had some expectations from the hut, but they were definitely exceeded and I highly recommend it as a goal to conquer.
The extreme climb was a great workout, and the kitchen and the panorama were number one!
Another great destination in the region is: Vidimsko pruskalo.