The ‘Smilyo’ shelter

The Smilyo shelter is located in a less visited area of the Vitosha Mountain, on its southern side, between the villages of Yarlovo and Chuipetlyovo.

It is a small wooden building set on a concrete fundament with big windows looking southwards. Inside there are a wood-burning stove, a table and benches big enough for 8-10 people. Next to the stove there is an improvised bed on which 2 people can more or less comfortably spend the night.

Schematic map of the area next to the mountain shelter Smilyo

There are many paths and trails that can take you to the shelter. Two of the shorter options start respectively from Yarlovo and Chuipetlyovo. Both of them are marked and easy to walk but in both cases reaching the starting point from Sofia without a car may proof to be somewhat difficult. The more interesting way, the one that will allow you to get to know Vitosha Mountain better and also to enjoy the views towards the distant ridges of the Rila Mountains, follows the route of the European long-distance path E4. On Saturday and Sunday when there is a bus connection between Sofia and Aleko you can shorten the walk and start from directly from Aleko (1820 m). If you are looking for a good, long hike then you shall start from Dragalevtsi (a southern suburb of Sofia) and climb all the way up to Cherni Vrah - the highest peak of the mountain, 2290 m. To do that you need to take bus 64 to the center of Dragalevtsi (bus station kvartal Dragalevtsi) and from the square above it to follow the white-red-white markings of the E4 route. After few hours of steady climb you will get to the top. From there walking will become easier. The trail goes gently down till it reaches the peak of Yarlovksi Kupen. After that it steeply descents the south slope of the mountain. Because this area is rarely visited you may be able to glimpse from afar some wild animals like deers or on rare occasions even bears. Soon after the steep descent the trail merges with a dirt path which passes through a beech forest and reaches the meadow where the Smilyo shelter is built.