Another popular hike in Bozhentsi area (besides Tryavna – Bozhentsi ecotrail) is the trail that connects Bozhentsi and Dryanovo monastery/ Bacho Kiro cave. It is suitable for beginners, as there are no steep hills, but it takes around 4 hours and a half in total (if you don’t stop often for breaks). I recommend doing the hike in spring, summer or autumn when the weather is nice.
You can start the hike from Dryanovo monastery/ Bacho Kiro cave or SPA hotel Bozhentsite relax (which is around 15 minutes away from Bozhentsi village by foot). I personally chose the second option as I was coming from the beautiful romantic village of Bozhentsi! To be more precise, in this case, the start of the hike is located on a road right behind the hotel – there you will find a map which illustrates the “green” trail. I highly recommend you make a photo of it, as it will serve you as a guide for the next five hours. Keep in mind that most of the trail is actually a dirt road.
The first thirty minutes you are going uphill, so you might get tired and stop for short breaks. During the first half an hour the dirt road splits a couple of times so you may wonder which way to go, but the map you took a photo of may be useful to you plus make sure you don’t walk for more than 5 – 10 minutes without seeing a green sign (white-green-white, to be more precise) on a tree or a stone.
Around one hour and a half after you start the hike, you will reach a big meadow where you feel like you are in paradise and you want to stop and enjoy the view. ATTENTION! After you enter the meadow, you will soon have to go right and enter the forest on your right side. There is a green sign on a tree on the right side but it is a bit far away so it is highly likely you won’t see it. In May 2019 there was barely any other sign to point out you should go right, so I left a couple of tree branches on the road - hopefully, future hiking fans will pay more attention. I personally kept going straight on the meadow so I eventually reached a road connecting the villages in the area (and you should NOT reach a road). As seen on the map at the beginning of the trail, you have to go on the east side of Trapeskovtsi and Tsvyatkovtsi villages (and not actually reach them or the road that connects them). So I had to go back and find the right way.
If you don’t get lost: You enter the forest on your right side and keep straight on a dirt road (you will soon pass a place where there is water so you can refill your water bottle, if the sink is not dry). Make sure to follow the green signs as from time to time the road splits or takes you to different meadows - always look out for green signs and make sure you don’t walk for more than 10 minutes without seeing a sign! Around 30 minutes after you go on the dirt road, you will suddenly have to go left and leave the dirt road. There is a green sign on a tree on the left side of the dirt road, but it was covered by tree branches. Thankfully, someone had left tree branches lying on the dirt road which were pointing left too.
This narrow path takes you through bushes (it is good if you have pants, not shorts) for around 15 minutes until you reach a big meadow. We already had experience with getting lost, so here we paid extra attention. Soon after you enter the meadow, you will have to go left (there are signs on your left too), enter a forest for a couple of minutes and then end up on another big meadow. Here you have to go up the hill (you should be able to see signs at the end of the meadow in the distance). This “hike” takes around 10 – 15 minutes until you reach the top of the hill.
From there the path is steep and takes you downhill for 20 minutes until you reach a river. A couple of minutes after the river you will also cross the road that connects Gabrovo and Tsareva livada. Once you reach the road, go left and turn right at the road which goes to Gorni Varpishta village. Here you should be able to see again a big map of the region and the green trail. Stick to the main road and enter the village. Once you reach the village, the road splits a couple of times but there are clear signs that you should stick to the right side. Close to the end of the village the road will split again and there is a green sign in the middle of both options ahead of you. Here you have to go left and reach a meadow with fruit trees (maybe plums) and follow the dirt road for about 15 minutes. There are signs, so again: Make sure you don’t walk for more than 10 minutes if you don’t see a green sign! While you walk on the plum tree meadow, you might be able to see Dolni Varpishta village on your left side.
After the meadow you cross a road and enter a forest. The path is well-trodden and in around 45 minutes you will reach the view point benches just above Dryanovo monastery and Bacho Kiro cave. There are two different view points there: The Love bench with an amazing view over Dryanovo monastery, as well as another bench (kind of old) that has a view over the monastery, the railway and the surrounding area.
At this point you will probably see quite many people who visit the monastery over the weekend. From these benches you have around 10 minutes to go down (you will hear the waterfall next to Bacho Kiro cave, so follow the sound of the river) and reach Bacho Kiro cave and Dryanovo monastery. There is a railway station at Dryanovo monastery (called "Bacho Kiro"), so you can easily go back home (make sure you check the train schedule in advance)!