Many of the routes in the Bulgarian Mountains are marked. Their purpose is to help the tourists for easy orientation and to make their excursions safe even in bad weather conditions


bulletThe paths leading to tourist chalets and shelters, summits, fountains, springs, lakes, waterfalls, caves, natural phenomena, historical monuments and other sightseeing are marked
bulletMost frequently the marking connects towns or villages with chalets and chalets in between
bulletWith proper placement of tourist marking special training for excursions to the appropriate object is not necessary
bulletThe marking signs must be placed so that they can be easily visible from the both sides of the path:

Proper placement of tourist marking-1   Proper placement of tourist marking-2

bulletUsually the tourist marking marks the shortest and the most suitable paths, passing through safe, beautiful or remarkable places
bullet MAIN PRINCIPLE: In case of losing the marking on unknown route one have to get back to the last noticed sign and from there to start searching the marking


bulletThe summer routes are marked mainly with band marking. It consists of three horizontal contiguous strips, as the middle is the main orientation color and the side strips are for attracting attention. There are four orientation colors: red, green, blue and yellow and for attracting color is used the white one. Yet old marking might be seen and in it the attracting color is the yellow one:

Band marking (yellow, red and green) - dimensions         Blue band marking


The professional band marking may be distinguished for that it is made with stencil on static objects (trees, building walls, rocks, stones etc.), with the following dimensions:

Stencil for drawing tourist band marking on static objects - dimensions

bulletRecently very frequently ready metal three-color signs are used nailed to the trees
bulletThe red color, as it attracts attention very well, is used for marking ridge routes and the rest colors – for marking secondary routes. The three international routes, passing through Bulgaria – E-3, E-4 and E-8 are marked entirely in red. For additional specifying the route small square yellow signs with inscription E-3, E-4 or E-8 and an arrow pointing the direction are used as well:

Small square yellow signs with inscription E-3 ( E-4,  E-8)
bullet "Black strip between two white ones" marking is not tourist, although it looks like it and is of the same size:

Black strip between two white - no tourist signs

bulletAnother marking sign is the arrow. Most often it is a sign pointing not only the direction but also the final place where the marking leads. There are two different types of signs: yellow with black letters (the old ones) and white with black letters (the new ones):

Left and right signs - dimensions

bulletSometimes the arrow is made with stencil and paint, with the following dimensions:

 Stencil for drawing arrows with paint - dimensions

bulletThere are indicative boards in front of the chalets, on the starting points as well as on important crossroads. They show graphically with schemes the important tourist objects, the distance between them and the color of the marking:

Indicative board
bulletMarking of crossroads with band marking is done with the next two ways:

Marking of crossroads in one directions:
Marking of crossroads in one directions


Marking of crossroads in two directions:
Marking of crossroads in two directions

bulletOn the mountain ridges there are the so-called pyramids – stone heaps, put by tourists or shepherds for orientation in bad weather conditions during the summer or for choosing a route in technically complex section. In some places there are some variants for one route marked thus, so the right choice is perplexed
bulletIt is recommended to use the winter marking during the summer in bad weather conditions although in most of the cases it is connected with bigger displacement
bulletOn some of the new tourist maps the colors of the marked tourist routes are pointed. Because of the many mistakes (in the colors, in the right route layouts; there are non-marked routes pointed on maps as marked and vice versa etc.) we recommend the tourists not to pay serious attention to it


bulletThe winter marking consists mainly of metal rods (pipes of 1,5 to 2 inches; 1 inch = 2,54 cm) steady fixed into the earth (at least on 60 cm) and concreted. The rods are painted with oil paint in contrasting to the snow black and yellow strips with width 20 cm:

The winter marking with metal rods - dimensions

bulletThere are some exceptions as the winter marking from Musala Chalet to Musala Summit, where the abandoned metal rails serving as pillars of the former phone line to the summit are used as rods now:

Musala Summit with the former phone line

Musala Summit with the former phone line

bulletThe metal rods mark routes in the open mountain parts as well as routes passing from forests through big open places (glades, cutting areas)
bulletThe winter marking is made along routes with no or small avalanche danger – for more details see the extremely valuable "Winter Mountain Guide" by Asparuh Markovski
bulletIn Vitosha Mountain some winter routes are marked with marking rods with placed in their upper end triangular sign with a number indicating the number of the rod on the route
bulletIn some marked with metal rods routes in Bulgarian mountains are placed so-called azimuth signs. Each sign points how far the previous and following rod, and the direction to them. Some of the newer signs shows also the number of the rod and its neighboring rods:

Azimuth signs of the route: Malyovitsa Chalet-Strashnoto Ezero Shelter

Azimuth signs of the route: "Malyovitsa Chalet-Strashnoto Ezero Shelter"


bulletScheme depicting all placed on a route azimuth signs is called azimuth scheme:

Azimuth scheme in the last part of the route: Lovna Chalet–Rilski Ezera Chalet (through Zla Bara Area)

Azimuth scheme in the last part of the route:

 "Lovna Chalet–Rilski Ezera Chalet" (through Zla Bara Area)


bulletThe existing winter marking is mapped but these azimuth maps are not commonly used
bulletIn certain parts in the Bulgaria mountains the winter marking is in bad condition, on many places the rods are broken or cut by "enterprising" hosts
bulletThe following monitory signs for avalanches and avalanche valleys are used as well:

Monitory sign for avalanch     Monitory sign for avalanche valley

Top of the Page

Copyright © 2000-2013 by Krassimir Novakov, Translation by Marina Nikolova.
All rights reserved. Last modified: 01-01-201