If you are attracted by the beautiful mountain nature and you are looking for a calm and quiet place to spend an unforgettable weekend with family or friends, then in the Rila Mountains you can find many places that offer good conditions for camping. One of them is camping “Zodiac”, which offers a great opportunity for complete relaxation in the majesty of Rila.
Information about Camping Zodiac
Camping Zodiac is located in a centuries-old pine forest amidst the majestic nature of Rila. It is surrounded by several breathtaking high mountain peaks, and the air itself is crystal clear. This place is more than just a camping. It is suitable for fans of active holidays in the mountains and eco-tourism.
With an area of 7000 sq. km. Camping Zodiac is a overall complex, which consists of a hotel, lawns for caravans, barbecue and restaurant-garden.
The hotel part of Camping Zodiac includes 23 beds, and the capacity of the camping area contains a total of 40 caravans and 40 tents. There are also bungalows with a capacity of 30 people, which are equipped with spacious bedrooms, TV, private bathroom and other amenities for a full mountain holiday.
To all its guests who arrived with the caravan, the campsite offers the opportunity to use electricity, as well as its own bathroom and toilet.
The camp’s restaurant offers its guests a variety of local specialties based on traditional recipes from the region, as well as delicious dishes for fans of healthy cuisine and a rich menu of drinks.
The restaurant has a capacity of 50 seats and has indoor and outdoor areas. The outdoor area includes a beautiful garden with barbecue with a total capacity of 250 seats, which makes it an excellent place for various festive events and family and / or company celebrations.
The complex also includes a terrace that overlooks the crystal clear waters of the Rila River, as well as a spacious playground for the little ones. There is also free parking for guests traveling by car.
The region itself is suitable for visiting in any season, as the local nature offers beautiful views at any time of the year.
What does it offer?
The campsite is open from April to October, and one of its main advantages is that it is a starting point for many tourist routes in Rila, as well as trails leading to the Rila Monastery.
Other sights and entertainment in the region
However, the things that the campsite offers are not limited to this. There are other interesting places near it, which you should visit, if you have enough time during your trip.
While you are in the region of camping Zodiac , be sure to visit the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, which is the only cultural monument of its kind in Bulgaria.
The emblematic Rila Monastery is located only 2 kilometers from Camping Zodiac. In addition to being an important religious center for the entire Orthodox world, the monastery is of interest to the lovers of history and religion with its rich repository, including a large number of valuable manuscripts, documents and books, as well as a wide range of artifacts such as icons, murals, coins, wands and weapons.
There are also library and an ethnographic museum. The number of volumes and manuscripts in the monastery is over 32,000.
One of the artists who painted the frescoes of the Rila Monastery is Zahari Zograf himself, and some of the graduates of the monastery are Neophyte Rilski and Paisii Hilendarski.
One of the most impressive things that every visitor to the Rila Monastery is good to see is the hand of St. Ivan Rilski, the Hrelov Tower, the cross of Raphael, as well as the Church of the Nativity of Christ, which is the largest monastery church in Bulgaria.
The cave and the tomb of St. Ivan Rilski
Camping Zodiac is located 1700 meters from the grave of one of the most famous Bulgarian saints – St. Ivan Rilski. On the road leading to it there is a signpost and a large icon of the saint on the left side of the road, so it is unlikely to miss it.
The pedestrian path starting from the sign to the tomb of St. Ivan Rilski is steep and full of stones, but fortunately it is short. On the tomb there is a small temple built of stone called “Assumption of St. Ivan Rilski ”or“ The Old Postnica ”.
This temple is kept as part of the Rila Monastery. There is a tomb in which the remains of St. Ivan Rilski were placed after his death before being moved to Sofia.
The cave of the famous Bulgarian saint is located 4 km from the Rila Monastery. There are clear markings on the road to it, so it is not difficult to detect the place.
The cave itself is located on the right side of the stone temple, and to its entrance lead steep stone steps, on both sides of which you will see countless notes containing prayers of religious, inserted into the crevices of the rock. In it the saint spent the last 12 years of his life in solitude and fasting.
Inside the cave itself is dark and narrow. There is a stone bed with icons of the saint and a candle, at the bottom of the cave there is a wooden staircase leading to a narrow vertical tunnel in the rock, where is the only place in the cave through which the sunlight enters.
According to the common belief, the cave has a magical power and it allows only sinless people to pass through the gap on the other side of the rock.
The tomb together with the cave of St. Ivan Rilski are considered as an energy places. Religious people believe that here in this holy place every prayer comes true.
After visiting them, you can visit the spring with healing waters, which is located about 100 meters from the church of St. Ivan Rilski also has a fountain built on it. According to believers, every visitor to this place must drink of the healing water.
If you continue to the path of the holy spring, after a few meters you will find the rock on which the famous saint offered his prayers. On the rock, there is an icon of the saint.
The Cross eco-trail
The Cross Eco-trail is a suitable place for those of you who like long walks in the mountains. The route of the eco-trail is circular and the tour lasts about an hour. Its end point is a large cross, which is located on top of a high rocky hill.
From the top you can enjoy beautiful views of the nearby hills and canyons, as well as parts of Rila.
At the beginning of the eco-trail there is a turnoff where you can leave your car. On the route, there are several separate places with benches and gazebos , where tourists can stop for a rest.
The dry lake
To see more breathtaking views in your mountain trip, you can visit the area Kirilova Polyana, which is located about 8 km. from the Rila Monastery.
Several tourist routes start from the area, one of which leads to the Dry Lake. In addition to offering beautiful views of the surrounding area, the lake is a starting point for several waterfalls that are also worth seeing.
One of the waterfalls near the Dry Lake is located a few meters from its left bank. It is characterized by its impressive size and high water level. The path leading to the waterfall is paved, but steep. However, anyone can reach the waterfall, whether advanced or novice mountaineer.
By its type, the Dry Lake belongs to the landslide lakes, and that is why it is shallow and prone to swamping. Its name comes from the fact that during the warm months the lake dries up completely. Another interesting fact about it is that it drains into underground soils instead of into a river or stream.