When you take the road to the Devetaki Cave, on the way from Lovech to Karpachevo, bring your greatest beauty expectations along. Once you pass the impressive entrance arches and arrive at the spacious expanding gallery, forming the biggest karst cave at the Balkan peninsula, you have exceeded your expectations. If you happen to observe the sunrays stretching through the narrow karst openings with determination, strength and warmth to the green areas within… you will be speechless with emotions.
Stretching to 2 443 m, 20 400 square metres surface and height of 60 m, the Devetaki Cave is a natural wonder under protection, included in Natura 2000. The site is now a home to one of the biggest bat colonies in Europe. Thus there are some access restrictions. These do not apply to the daylight parts, but access is not allowed deep inside; in the dry gallery access is forbidden after the mound with arches from 25 May to 31 July. One more thing to take into consideration - please beware of the bats, do not wake or hurt them.
Each step down the metal ladder brings hesitation. Mixed feelings, fear of the unknown, coupled with adventurous enthusiam, the crawling coolness of the place together with the unfolding calmness and beauty of the cave. Garvanitsa is a vertical cave, situated 3 km from Karpachevo, on the way to Gorsko Slivovo village. The entrance is impressive, 40 metres deep. When the steps are over, you will find yourself at the bottom of the cave where the sun rays reach through the entrance above. If you decide to take a step further, however, the light is engulfed by drakeness. So, if you are looking for an adventure and want to explore deeper, you will need equipment and light. The area around the cave is well maintained with recreational spots - benches, pavilions, shelters. This is the site to visit if you like to combine nature and music - like the Jazz Under The Stars each June, or the folklore fair in September. You can find more at the Devetaki Plateau association: www.devetakiplateau.org.
The Big Curve (Canyon)
It is true that beautiful sites are in abundance in our small country. There are, however, some that steal your heart and take you back again and again. The Big Curve at the road climbing from Krushuna to Karpachevo is one of these spots. A deep abyss on one side that dazes you, the Danube valley, on the other to calm you down with its vastness and peace. Look up in the sky and you could see the couple of golden eagles, nesting at the vertical cliffs, or the rare sight of а black stork, trying to find its place around.
It is hard to believe that this magical site was used for garbage dump some ten years ago. Volunteers from the village and the Devetaki Plateau Association with the support of Letnitsa municipality managed to clean it and transform it into a viewpoint, called the Canyon.
Don’t start chasing after Futyo’s treasure, which he inherited by the village chieftan and buried somewhere deep in the cave. It would be waste of time and you would definitely miss the opportunity to enjoy the mystical experience getting deep into the cave following a long and narrow tunnel. A torch and wellies are a must, a local guide - strongly advisable. Futoyva cave, 3 km away from Karpachevo village, is reachable by off-road car or on foot. Experienced horse-riding instructors offer an even more challenging approach – do not miss the opportunity to get from Karpachevo to the cave on horseback – all your friends will envy you for your pictures after that. In order to make sure not to miss it, ask a local for directions as the entrance is hard to spot. One of the reasons why Futyo chose the cave as a hiding place for his money.
The Ladder/Stalbitsata cave
If you can afford to spend a whole day, huddled in the ideally round undeground gallery of the Stalbitsa cave, do not miss it. The only thing you will need is good weather and a loved one. This is a moment to share. The site is truly impressive. The cave is unique not only with its shape of a reverse funnel; the sun shines at a different angle depending on season and time. If you have taken a camera with you, your imagination would be tested by the evaporation in the cave, swirled in a wild dance with the light. A torch and wellies are a good idea if you want to explore further. The cave is reachable on foot, mountain bike or a car. It is situated 3 km west of Karpachevo and could be another horse-riding experience.
Even if you are among the lucky ones for whom the earthy pleasures are a common territory, at this place you would understand the Hesychasm monks who during 13-14 century founded their remote cloisters here. The monks have dug out rock cells and caves where they found peace for deep prayer, contemplation and meditation to search for God within their heart. It is clear that there was no coincidence for their choice - the incredible beauty at this natural marvel. Krushuna falls are by far one of the most picturesque waterfall with pristine water in Bulgaria and the largest water travertine cascade in the country.
Water springs from the Krushuna cave and forms a karst waterfall at 15-20 metres height, then passes through the cascade by a numberous thresholds, water pools, terraces and horse-shoe rocks around specific flora. Bridges and steps were constructed along the falls, making the site accessible. Here you you will not put your camera down, making memories.
Gradat Archaelogical site/ the Nobleman’s Castle
Standing before the walls of the fortress, reaching up to 3 meters, you cannot but wonder how 8-9 centuries ago, a famous nobleman had crossed the fields. The one that built that castle. The building was indeed impressive, which is visible by the remains of a wall and two churches nearby. The fotrified construction was build by ashlar masonry, well bonded by white mortar. The stories has it that it dates back to the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, ХІІ – ХІV century. The site is deliberately chosen - a natural defence is guaranteed by the 90 metres high steep cliffs reaching to Magar river to the north. The wreath of rocks opens a marvellous view towars the river valley and Alexander Stamboliyski reservoir. You can reach “Gradat” Archaelogical site by a marked dirt road, 3.5 km away from Kramolin village - a wonderful opportunity for a nice walk and may be a picnick.
Kakrinsko hanche - Kakrina Inn
If you have an interest in the near past of Bulgaria, the legacy and personality of Vassil Levski, one of the most revered heroes of the 19th century fight for freedom would have captured your attention. Kakrina inn is known as the place where Levski was caught by the Ottomans, still the inn is one of the historic sites where one can feel the Apostole of freedom’s spirit. Only 19 km from Lovech in the Kakrina village, you can visit the place that has been the Apostol’s and his comrades’ shelter during their revolutionary activities. The inn has been burned to the ground at the end of the 19th century. The reconstruction of the inn to its authentic look began in 1926 thanks to contributions from the local community and it opened doors as a museum in 1931 (working hours 8:30 – 12:00, 13:30 – 17:30 every day, phone: +359 6928 23 10).
Horse treks in the region are particularly interesting for two reasons. First, because of the hilly-flat terrain excellent for horse trekking, and second: the area is sparsely populated and riders can find places where no man has stepped for decades. The Devetaki Plateau reveals wonderful panoramic views of the Danube River Plain and the Osam River. For outright beginners, the hihgly qualified instructors offer hourly tuition with a cord, in coral. Advanced riders can make trips in different directions accompanied by a guide.