Bulgaria,  Hiking

River Gorges, Jacuzzis and Bagpipes: A Weekend in Yagodina

Yagodina is a small village hidden up in the mountains in southern Bulgaria. It turns out that the road there is an adventure in itself…

Buynovo River Gorge

Is this the most epic road in Bulgaria? We’d bet on it! To reach Yagodina from Melnik, you drive though one of the most impressive gorges we’ve ever seen: the Buynovo River Gorge. Either side of the road are towering, vertical mountains and steep drops revealing crystal clear waters below. It’s a well-maintained, albeit narrow, road but overhanging cliffs and evidence of landslides make it a definite adventure!

It takes about 20 minutes from leaving the main road to reach Yagodina village. On the way, you may (as we were) be flagged down by some guys in 4x4s. Thinking there was some issue with the road, we pulled over… After trying several languages, we were finally able to make out with my very basic Russian that they were actually trying to sell us a ride up the mountain. Apparently walking isn’t so popular in Bulgaria! We travelled on a Saturday and the road was quite busy – it’s a popular spot for families on the weekend and the road can get a bit hectic!

Where we stayed in Yagodina

Our guesthouse for the 2 nights was the lovely Guesthouse Milka. I can totally recommend staying here. It’s a small family-owned business which is clearly doing very well as they are building a big extension.

They provide delicious breakfast and an evening meal for an extra cost. Our room was 41 EUR a night with private bathroom and balcony looking out onto the valley and woods. They even have a private jacuzzi for hire at 15 EUR an hour (an offer we were more than happy to accept)! The dining room is on the top floor and has tables, comfortable sofas, a rocking chair, a cozy log burner and a balcony. It made a great workspace as well for a few hours :). The WIFI was surprisingly fast, considering the location!

The family are lovely and welcoming people. Their son even put on a short performance of traditional Bulgarian bagpipes one evening and we danced around with the other guests.

Yagodina Things to Do

There is plenty to keep you occupied for a weekend in Yagodina including the Yagodinska Cave, Devil’s Path Ecotrail and an ethnographic museum on tar production. In the next valley, there’s another view point, the Devil’s Throat Cave and Trigrad Waterfall. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we only were able to do the walk up to Eagle’s Eye.

View from the back of the Guesthouse Milka, where the path to Eagle’s Eye starts

Eagle’s Eye Walk from Yagodina Village

The hike starts from the back of Guesthouse Milka and is pretty self-explanatory – it takes you to the top of the hill where there is a look-out point. The hiking trail is visible on AllTrails and it’s a well-trodden path so no getting lost! There’s a lovely little shelter a short distance into the hike which has a fireplace. The footpath is steep in places but not long, or challenging if you’re relatively fit. There were a few families with children who were not so keen on the ordeal!

The top gives you some fantastic views of Yagodina and the surrounding area. We shared the experience with a few goats who were happily perched on the edge. You can make the walk a loop by continuing down the track which the 4x4s use. The track is definitely not one you could do in a normal car! It was a bit annoying having the vehicles going past all the time but there is enough space for everyone.

There are not a lot of lunch options in the village so I would probably recommend bringing food. We ended the walk with lunch and a litre of Ayran at Hotel Yagodina. It wasn’t the best trout I’ve ever eaten but wasn’t bad either.

All in all, we really enjoyed our stay in Yagodina, we just wished we had allowed more time for exploring! It’s a very peaceful place and there are plenty of activities to do nearby.

A Road Trip through Southern Bulgaria

Check my other Bulgaria Posts for other off-the-beaten track destinations on Southern Bulgaria

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