Kaloyan Peychev/ May 5, 2020

The variety of mountain ultra marathons or ultra trail races in Bulgaria really increased in the last decade. This is probably due to the large number of interesting mountains spread around the country. Pretty much there are races in most of the higher mountains with distances up to 100 miles or 160 km and elevation gain up to 11 000m D+.

I will list the top ultra trails in Bulgaria which are also spread through the whole year, starting from May and finishing in November. If you are interested in specific races you can view the calendar for the season here, for example.

The Vitosha 100 or the Loop around Vitosha

Vitosha 100 ultra
The Vitosha 100

This is the oldest ultra marathon in Bulgaria and has been gathering competitors since the 70’s. We can say that it is a real classic among the mountain ultra trails that gather thousands of people every year. The terrain is very comfortable and you can participate with a mountain bike, running or both. The mixed discipline 100 + 100 km duathlon gets more and more fans in the last years. You can see the route of the race here.

Vitosha 100 route
Screenshot of the Vitosha 100 route. For interactive track see link above.

Persenk ultra 164 km

Beautiful Western Rhodopes
The beautiful Western Rhodopes

“Feel the spirit of the Rhodopes” is the official slogan of this race, which was first held in 2013. Starting in the centre of Asenovgrad at only 250m above sea level, the longest distance get a total of 7500m D+. Along the route you will witness spectacular views and some of the best places in the magical Rhodope mountain. There are also two shorter distances if you are not willing to run 164 km…

Total distance: 205934 m
Max elevation: 2065 m
Min elevation: 238 m
Total climbing: 8223 m
Total descent: -8155 m

Tryavna ultra 141 km

This spectacular trail started back on 2015 and quickly became a favorite race for the ultra marathoners. Part of the route climbs and goes on the main ridge of the Balkan mountain. The rewards are 360 degree panoramas in all directions. The large elevation differences make the route quite a challenge in dealing with July heat.

Buzludzha peak on the route of Tryavna ultra trail
Buzludza peak – highest point of Tryavna ultra 141km
Total distance: 143234 m
Max elevation: 1515 m
Min elevation: 432 m
Total climbing: 6927 m
Total descent: -6934 m

Pirin Ultra 160 km

The marble ridge and Vihren peak
The marble ridge and Vihren peak

Pirin Ultra – Run like no other! There are many words that can describe this mountain race, but probably the right ones are – steep, rocky, hard! Yes, this 100 miler definitely gets the title “The Toughest Ultra Race In Bulgaria”. And looking at the feedback from the participants probably it’s much harder than many competitions outside Bulgaria. It is not by accident that it’s a qualifying race for the Hard Rock 100. The shorter 66 km course was also an official stage of the Skyrunning world cup. From 2020 this stage will be replaced by the shorter Pirin Extreme 38 km course.