Ledenika Cave was on my list of sights to visit during my trip to Northwestern Bulgaria and particularly the Vratsa Balkans. It is located 16 km from the town of Vratsa and its entrance is located 830 m above sea level.
You can reach Ledenika Cave by leaving the town of Vraza in the direction of Zgorigrad. Shortly before it there is a turnoff to Parshevitsa hut, which you have to take. In the middle of the road you will see another turnoff to the cave itself. In general, the road is very good and even in winter it is cleaned regularly. Only at the turnoff to Ledenika, even after the cleaning, there are snow drifts, as the road runs along the flat part of the Vratsa Balkans. You have to be careful driving there, but it’s nothing to worry about.
I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the area of the cave, which you will recognize by the building of Ledenika Hut. Not only was the road well cleaned despite the heavy snowfall, but also the fact that around the cave there is an amusement park with lots of facilities for children – cable car, climbing wall, playground and much more. The visitor center itself also looked very modern. As far as I understand, in 2005 the whole infrastructure around Ledenika Cave was renewated.
In the building of the visitor center itself you can warm up on cold winter days, see the models of the area around the cave, photos, 3D visualizations and 5D cinema, which are paid extra. There is a toilet and vending machine for drinks and snacks. There is also a separate part that looked like a cafe-restaurant, but may only work during the summer months because it looked closed in the winter and was only used by staff.
Places to stay in Vratsa region
The price for the entrance to Ledenika Cave is BGN 12 per adult (as of 03.03.2022). The entrance to the cave is only with a guide, and the talks are held every hour during the winter months. I guess in the summer they are more regular. In any case, there is a lot of entertainment in the area to waste some time with. The entrance to the cave is located on the other side of the visitor center and several rows of stairs lead to it. Which, unlike the road to the cave, were quite icy. I don’t know if the staff just can’t clean them because of the constant rain, but you definitely have to be careful how you step on them. In general, photos in the cave are prohibited, so their quality will not be great, as I had to take them without noticing the guide.
The cave itself is 320 meters long and has a total of 10 halls. It gets its name from the unique ice stalactites, stalactites and stalactites, which greet you in the first two halls. It is precisely because of this, the Ledenika Cave is worth visiting in the winter, as they melt during the warmer months, despite the constant temperature of 8 to 16 degrees. Even in March, when I was there, they were almost gone.
Places to stay in Mezdra region
The cave is extremely well decorated and I can easily confirm that it is one of the most beautiful caves I have seen. The most popular part of the cave is the Concert Hall, which is really huge. Every year it hosts underground concerts, which I guess are an amazing experience.
During the guided tour you will hear the standard for almost every cave likeness of some of the formations in fairy tale characters, celebrities and others, such as Santa Claus and Baba Yaga’s House. Ledenika Cave is home to 53 animal species, including the insect Svetlomrazets, which has died in sunlight so far. During the tour you will see many of the permanent inhabitants of the cave, namely bats. There is a small sinter lake in the cave, which is believed to fulfill the wishes of anyone who dips his hand in it.
If you have time after the walk to Ledenika Cave and travel in the direction of Mezdra through Lyutibrod, I would recommend you to visit the house-museum of Baba Iliytsa. It is located in the village of Chelopek, which is the starting point for the monument Okolchitsa.