Sofia to Burgers, Bulgaria
Start: Mount Kom
End: Cape Emine
Distance: 434 miles (698 km)
Time: 20-25 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Surface: Mountain Trails, Dirt Tracks, Grassy Pathways
The Kom-Emine is Bulgaria’s most famous mountain trail. It follows the crest of the Stara Planina (Old Mountain), the country’s longest mountain range, and its name is derived from its start and end points; Mount Kom (6,614 feet/2,016 m), on the border with neighboring Serbia-about 50 miles (80 km) north of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia-and Cape Emine, Bulgaria’s “stormiest cape,” on the Black Sea coast.
The Kom-Emine crosses a land of ancient trails eked out by generations of farmers and peasants. Along goat tracks, cart tracks and trails made by sheep and wild horses, the Kom-Emine (the final leg of the international route E3) follows a labyrinth of pathways as best as it is able, and this is by no means the only way across. Don’t be too worried if you find that there is an acute lack of reliable maps, an odd thing considering the trait’s unquestioned popularity with Bulgarian hikers, or of signposts, which Seem better oriented for those heading west to east.
The Kom-Emine has an average elevation of 2,411 feet (735 m), and if you walk its entire length through the Stara Planina, you will scale, if you have the stamina, more than 100 peaks (or you can go around them. The trail takes around three weeks to walk in summer, and add a week to that if you choose a winter crossing. The end of its segments all finish within sight of a chalet or some other form of guest accommodation, and the Signage has been gradually improving. Anyway, it is the trait’s grassy ridges, forests of beech and oak, and herds of free-roaming horses, not its markers, that you’ll remember long after you are finished.