Kosti village ecotourism: Trail to Raykov Vir waterfall

To the “Raykov Vir” Waterfall is one more hiking trail, near the lovely village of Kosti – a destination for ecotourism and rural tourism. In fact, we learned about this short and easy route from the “Rhododendron ponticum Festival” which in 2019 took place right here – in the village of Kosti, nearby Tsarevo city on the Black Sea Coast.

Like the route leading to the “Kazancheto” waterfall, this one will also take you to a small secret waterfall, and along the way will see in many places the rare plant and symbol for Strandzha – the Rhododendron ponticum.

How to get to “Raykov vir” Waterfall near Kosti village in Strandzha – map, route and GPX file  
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Route description

Distance: 1.6 km one way

Displacement: 50 m

In this hike, it is a good idea to equip yourself with hiking shoes or sneakers, long trousers, insect spray and water. In case you visit this place in the summer or the spring, there is a danger of ticks, so take the necessary precautions. Also in the summer – it’s possible to meet whole swarms of annoying flies typical for Strandzha mountain. So it is advisable to wear a hat and dark glasses that could somewhat protect you. The road is wide and through dense forest, and the Forestry vehicles probably use it.

It starts from the very square of Kosti village, where is the magnificent 100-year-old church “St. St. Cyril and Methodius.” There can park a car. In case you don’t have it, you can come by bus from the town of Tsarevo. For more information about the timetable of buses – http://avtogaratsarevo.eu.

After that, have to go in the north towards the outskirts of the village, passing several rural yards.

Ecotourism in Kosti village
Ecotourism in Kosti village – the eco-path to the waterfall. Open areas with views of the surrounding hills, as well as shady valleys with small streams are alternating

As can be seen on the pictures, on our way to the waterfall, we crossed in several places small streams, stepping on the stones in them.

One of the streams that we crossed
One of the streams that we crossed on the way to the waterfall
Another stream with Rhododendron ponticum
Another stream with Rhododendron ponticum

Rhododendron ponticum

We also came across several tall shrubs with a rare and law-protected plant – Rhododendron ponticum. Indeed, to see them blooming, as in the attached photos, you should come here in early May.

The tallest Rhododendron ponticum we noticed on the way to the "Raykov Vir" waterfall
The tallest Rhododendron ponticum we noticed on the way to the “Raykov Vir” waterfall
Rhododendron ponticum (Strandzha Green) a rare plant that is forbidden to tear and protected according to the Law in Bulgaria. In Europe, It is found only in Strandzha and the Caucasus in natural habitat. The flowering is in May.
Rhododendron ponticum close up

Guesthouses in Kosti village


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Waterfall “Raykov Vir”

The waterfall itself lays to the left of the dirt road. In fact, it is entirely invisible, and you could very possibly omit it. Initially, we skipped it, but thanks to the GPS, we realised our mistake and went back. At the waterfall, you go down by a narrow, steep path.

Comparatively to the “Kazancheto” Waterfall, “Raikov vir” is higher, splitting the jet into a couple of smaller ones, which finally gather again in one.

 "Raykov Vir" waterfall close up
“Raykov Vir” waterfall close up
Inflowing into thr pool
Raikov Vir waterfall from afar. Unfortunately, it is not visible well because of the tree branches.

Silkosia Reserve

As a matter of fact, the area where is the waterfall lays on the periphery of the Silkosia Reserve. It is the oldest Reserve in Bulgaria. Therefore, the destination is suitable for ecotourism. Silkosia Reserve was declared as such in 1933. The reason for this was:

“… because of the particularly valuable and rare forest tree species, as well as the native shrub and grass vegetation, which are of great interest from the dendrological, floristic, phytogeographical and ecological point of view …” (Excerpt from the Order).

Since the reserve is strictly regulated, every kind of human activity is prohibited. There is only one hiking trail that crosses the reserve and is allowed by the MOEW for walking, but upon our visit to the area in 04.2019 we found it to be at all not suitable for tourism – it is completely overgrown with grass and shrubs. Its beginning and end are along the road connecting the Balgari village and the Kosti village, and it is 700 m long.

Indeed, the only way to get an idea of ​​the natural resources of the reserve is walking along the trails on its periphery. This trail is one of the routes, and the start of the other is from the asphalt road connecting the villages Balgari – Kosti. It leads to “Diado Valcho” and Protected area “Briar root.”

An information board in Bulgarian at the beginning of the route

According to the information board, some of the plants that inhabit the area of ​​Raykov Vir are Firethorns (Pyracantha Coccinea), Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Black Sea holly (Ilex colchica), Salvia cistus (Cistus-salvifolius-L.), medlar (Mespilus). We had not the opportunity to shoot them here, but if you follow the links, you can see pictures of some of them in our archives taken at other hikes.

Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca)
Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca) that we came upon on the way to the waterfall. Protected species according to the Biodiversity Act

Preservation of nature

The entire area where is the eco-trail lays into the territory of Strandzha Nature Park and the European ecological network Natura 2000. Also, it has a forest status. Therefore some rules should be observed when visiting to protect natural resources.

To put it briefly – do not throw away waste, do not tear plants, do not light a fire, no camping, and let the place look like you’ve found it!

For more details, or in case you intend to carry out particular activities other than a tourist walk, the full text of the laws can read here.

  1. Strandzha Nature Park – current prohibitions and regimes ( the page of Bulgarian “Executive Environment Agency”)
  2. Bulgarian Forestry Act

What else can see near Kosti village

  1. Kosti village and the 14 brothers oaks. On this link will find additional information about Kosti village, as a destination for ecotourism and rural tourism, as well as photos of the old wooden houses and the church, which is one of the most beautiful in Strandzha mountain.
  2. The second option is the “Kazancheto” Waterfall in “Bogorodishki dol” area. There you can also see the Rhododendron ponticum
  3. A third opportunity is to visit “Diado Valcho” Peak and Protected area “Briar root” near the Silkosia Reserve.

Continue the trip

In case you drive in the west direction to Malko Tarnovo, you can pop in the villages of Balgari, Kondolovo and Gramatikovo for other opportunities for ecotourism and historical landmarks as well as see old wooden houses – representatives of the Strandzha architecture style.

In case you drive in the east, towards the Black Sea, you can visit the area “Marina Reka” for one more hiking trail past lovely forest with rare plants that. After that can continue to the Black Sea resorts TsarevoVarvaraAhtopol or Primorsko (north) for other landmarks, beaches and lovely seascapes.

USEFUL: To get a quick and easy idea of ​​where these places are – see the destinations marked on our Google map. There all the landmarks we’ve written about, are marked as tags with links.

Offers for hotels nearby in Tsarevo city


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