Spring in Stob village and the beautiful Stob pyramids, Bulgaria

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A walk among lilacs and surrealistic views created by nature

We woke up that Saturday morning and decided that instead going to the park we should spend the weekend in some Bulgarian village, among serenity and pure nature. We were looking for a place near Sofia where our 3-year old daughter can play freely on the streets and enjoy the songs of birds. That weekend took us to Stob village – a nice small village near Blagoevgrad, some 100 km south of Sofia.

Lilacs on the Stob Pyramids, Bulgaria
Lilacs on the Stob Pyramids
A fun fact is that according to the administrative division of Bulgaria, Stob village falls in the region of Kyustendil, which is some 60 km away. However, the nearest city is Blagoevgrad, just about 10 km away.

Stob pyramids are a relatively popular tourist attraction among Bulgarians. One of the reasons is that they are on the main road to Rila Monastery and many people stop for a while to see them, too. However, we prefer slow travelling and visiting one site at a time and this time decided to go only to Stob and enjoy the village. So the evening caught up just under the pyramids, staring at them with admiration and some scream from little Anna who was afraid that she would fall on the steep path.

Stob pyramids at the end of the day, Bulgaria, Rila mountains
Stob pyramids at the end of the day

Stob villahge, where the name of the pyramids come from

Today the village of Stob falls a little behind the shadow of the town of Rila and Rila monastery. However, it is supposed that once it was a larger ancient city. In late 19th century historian Konstantin Josef Jireček visited the village and noted the remains of a fortress tower. However, today there are no remains and it is thought that the tower was destroyed by an earthquake in early 20 century. Nowadays Stob village is inhabited by around 600 people and looks cute. There is even a new playground in the centre.

Stob village on sunset
Stob village on sunset

Where to stay in Stob village – Argacho guest house

Our decision to spend the weekend only in Stob proved a right one. We stayed in the wonderful guest house Argacho which is just at the centre of the village. The host Peter welcomed us with a huge smile and explained that he rarely welcomed Bulgarians there. We still cannon find a proper reason for that – maybe Bulgarians just do not consider Stob as a stay-the-night destination.

It was quite interesting that we were the only guests of the house on a Saturday night. But it was just great for us because we were really looking for some quietness. Peter prepared us a modest but delicious traditional Bulgarian dinner – tarator, Shopska salad and meatballs and it was a great escape from the city life. It was a wonderful time, a great escape from the busy city life. Unfortunately it was too cold for the outdoor pool but I believe it will be wonderful in the summer there. We left with very warm feelings and will honestly recommend this house as a place to stay in Stob village.


The tales about the churches in Stob

Peter did not miss to tell us the story about the church in Stob. The church that is standing today in the village is named after St. Procopius and has a stone with inscription “1373 year”. The church is located just next to the parking of the Stob pyramids eco trail. This is the only church in Bulgaria named after this saint. St. Procopius is known as a patron of beekeepers and newlyweds. So it is said that the stone with the inscription once belonged to an older medieval church built in 1373 that existed nearby. It is said that it was destroyed from the Ottomans because it was illegal for a Christian church to stand above houses and mosques in the village.

St. Procopius church in Stob Village, Bulgaria
St. Procopius church in Stob Village, Bulgaria

But what exactly happened to the old church and how the stone found itself in the new one is still unclear. According to one tale, the old church was fully destroyed and the stone with the inscription was then brought to the new church to demonstrate continuity. Another legend say that the local people moved the whole church, stone by stone.

A view to the church in Stob village
A view to the church in Stob village

It is only known that today’s church dates back to the 19th century.  And some ruins from an older building can still be seen in the Tsarkvishte area, several hundred metres up.

Stob pyramids

Stob’s pyramids are located some 100 km south from Sofia on the road to Rila Monastery and are an easy escape from the big city. If you are wondering where to go for a day trip from Sofia, this is a wonderful idea.
The Stob pyramids are also very beautiful when seen from the air.
The Stob pyramids are also very beautiful when seen from the air. Thanks to Stefan for this photo.

Honestly, we spent a lot of time wondering what to write about the pyramids. It is not because we did not know anything about them. It is just that the most important facts are widely known and a little boring. But let’s mention them before we proceed. The Stob pyramids are pyramid-like formation in the sand rocks near the village of Stob. They formed under the influence of erosion and change constantly. They are very similar formation to the beautiful Melnik pyramids. There are also many legends about them but we prefer sticking to facts and just enjoying what mother Nature has done.

The beautiful Stob's pyramids, a wonderful destination for a day trip from Sofia
The beautiful Stob pyramids, a wonderful destination for a day trip from Sofia

The Stob pyramids are a wonderful place to run away from the negative thoughts, enjoy the beauty of the nature, make some fitness. The eco trail is not long and is suitable even for amateur tourists. It takes about 30 minutes in one direction or an hour in total to hike the trail. Along the path there are many benches and gazebos so you can have rest at any time and enjoy the beauty around in the meanwhile.

Stob pyramids, Bulgaria
Stob pyramids
Anna and Maria enjoying the view
Anna and Maria enjoying the view

A walk by the Stob pyramids with children

It took us almost 2 hours with 3-year old Anna to walk the trail and return. However, we are proud that we walked to the end despite it was a little dangerous at some points. The trail is not difficult but you need to be careful – it can be steep and narrow and at some points you should literally crawl among the rocks.

On the ridge of the pyramids
On the ridge of the pyramids

When you reach the more beautiful part of the trail, you will notice signs that the path can become dangerous and fences can be missing. So if you are scared of heights or are walking with very young children, you might want to stop. As I said. we managed to walk the full path but it was a challenge and even scary to bring little Anna through some parts.

The return by the steep path is another thing you should be careful about, because there are screes.

However, even if you cannot walk the whole path, do not be sad about it. Every part of it is beautiful and the most important thing is that you had a great time enjoying these beauties. Isn’t it?

People on their way down from the top of the trail
People on their way down from the top of the trail

How to find the Stob pyramids eco trail

Just next to the church in Stob village there is a large parking lot from where the path to the pyramids starts. Parking is free but there is an entrance fee to the pyramids of 2 BGN per person. There is also another trail going down, below the pyramids, but it is not that picturesque. However, it is suitable for disabled people or other people that are not fit enough for longer walks.

Before taking the path up, be sure that you bring a bottle of water and a hat in the warm seasons. You can buy drinks and food from the small shop at the parking lot.

Walking up the path with a 3-year old child was a challenge both for us and her. We were both a little concerned at some points and little Anna was truly scared that she could fall, especially on the way down. However, despite she got really tired and really fell once, she kept great memories and is still telling everyone that she went to the mountain, fell down, hurt her elbow and became a hero.

The cemetery of Stob village
The cemetery of Stob village

And a small wine detour – Medi Valley winery, Smochevo village

Very close to Stob village is one of our favourite wineries – Medi Valley. On our way to Stob we stopped by to buy a few bottles from their latest wines, including the pink traminer that is perfect for the summer. We strongly recommend this winery if you are a wine tourist or just a wine lover. It is just a few minutes drive from Stob, in th nearby Smochevo village.

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