7 reservoirs in Bulgaria, which are worth seeing: fishing, meditation, gorgeous photos

7 reservoirs in Bulgaria, which are worth seeing: fishing, meditation, gorgeous photos

Many people associate vacations in Bulgaria exclusively with the sea beaches or the ski resorts. Indeed, these are the most popular tourist destinations. However, you’ll fall in love with Bulgaria even more when you visit the shores of its numerous lakes and reservoirs located in the mountains, forests and plains. Calmness and beauty, closeness to nature, a fascinating process of fishing – all this delivers a lot of pleasure. This type of holiday can be very comfortable as well if you stay in a good hotel and eat in a restaurant.

In addition to 46 fresh and salt lakes in Bulgaria there are 134 artificial reservoirs with fresh water, which are not inferior to natural reservoirs in beauty, and are much larger in size than them.

All the reservoirs in Bulgaria were created in the second half of the 20th century by erecting dams in the floodplains of rivers. After construction, new reservoirs have been filled with freshwater fish that are found in them to this day. The banks of the reservoirs, especially those located near large populated areas, have a developed infrastructure and are the favorite vacation spots of local residents and, of course, tourists. On average, one night on the lake in a guest house costs 15-20 euros, in a hotel, depending on its’ stars - from 40 euros per room.

We’ll tell you about the largest reservoirs, on the banks of which there’s a place to stay for the night and eat freshly prepared fish, enjoying the incredible views of nature on the terraces of restaurants.

  1. The Batak reservoir

Location: Western Rhodopes, Pazardzhik Region

Nearest major city: 19 km from Velingrad

Height: 1108 meters above sea level

Year of construction: in 1959 on the Matnitsa River

Dimensions: length about 9 km, area - 22 sq. km, Maximum depth 34 m


The lake is part of a chain of water cascades that are used to supply the entire region with electricity. The water temperature during the year varies from 13 to 18 degrees. By renting a boat, you can swim to the island of Golak and take a few beautiful panoramic shots. On the southern shore of the reservoir there is a small ski resort Tsigov Chark that’s filled with fishing, clean mountain air and water sports lovers even during summer. On the banks of the reservoir there are numerous campgrounds and guest houses, as well as hotels with good restaurants - for every taste and budget.

Restaurants with a view of the Batak reservoir

  1. Reservoir Vacha

Location: on the border of three regions - Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, and Smolyan

The nearest large city: 10 km from the small town of Krichim and about 30 km from Plovdiv

Height: 540 meters above sea level

Year of construction: construction of the dam on the Vucha river was completed in 1975

Dimensions: area - about 5 sq. km, length about 10 km

This reservoir ranks first in Bulgaria for the height of the dam - 144.5 meters, which is comparable to the 35-storey skyscraper. The lake provides drinking water to Plovdiv region and is used for irrigation. Many pontoons of various sizes are installed in the middle of the lake. On one of them there’s a fish farm, on the other you may find cottages, which are usually rented by tourists and fishermen. Boats, catamarans and jet skis are also abundant.

  1. Dospat reservoir

Location: on the border of Pazardzhik and Smolyan regions

Nearest major city: Smolyan 80 km

Height: 1200 meters above sea level

Year built: 1969 on the river Dospat

Dimensions: length 19 km, width 3 km, area 18.3 sq. km

Perhaps this mountain lake is the most beautiful artificial pond in Bulgaria. The local scenery is beautiful at any time of the year. No wonder the surroundings of the reservoir Dospat are called Balkan Switzerland. The lake is full of fish, mushrooms and berries grow in the coastal forests, the air is crystal clear and filled with the scent of pine trees. On the lake there are several fish farms. In addition to fishing, horse riding and cycling are available here, and there are biathlon tracks and orienteering as well. In summer, children's environmental schools and camps are open. Cooks in local restaurants are very respectful of traditional recipes, which means you can try real Bulgarian cuisine here.

You can do it in these places

  1. Zhrebchevo reservoir

Location: border of Stara Zagora and Sliven regions

Nearest major city: Nova Zagora 17 km

Height: 269 meters above sea level

Year built: 1966 on the river Tundzha

Dimensions: area 25 sq. km

The process of creating this reservoir, like some others, was accompanied by rather dramatic events. The reservoir is named after the village of Zhrebchevo, which was located on this site, which, along with two more villages - Zapalnya and Dolno Panicherevo - was flooded, and hundreds of villagers were forcedly settled all over Bulgaria. It should be noted that the history of these villages had counted several hundreds of years before the socialistic leadership decided to erase them from the map of Bulgaria. Former residents of Zhrebchevo and their descendants, however, don’t want to forget their roots, keeping in touch with each other and gathering annually at the reservoir to remember their homeland. As a historical reminder, the remains of the temple of St. Ivan of Rila, the only surviving building in the village of Zapalnya, rise above the water. The spectacle is fascinatingly mystical!

Anyway, the reservoir has been the main source of drinking water in the region for more than half a century, providing the habitat to large fish - carp and catfish, which grow here to gigantic sizes, as well as the wintering ground for many species of waterfowl, many of which are listed in the Red Book.

You can admire lake views by visiting these places

  1. Reservoir Kardzhali

Location: region Kardzhali

Nearest major city: Kardzhali 3 km

Height: 331 meters above sea level

Year built: 1963 on the river Arda

Dimensions: area of ​​16.4 sq. km, length 20 km, width 1.3 km

The reservoir is distinguished by a high (103.5m) dam, which has a unique structure and rises directly above the city, being the object of photo-tourism. The accumulated water is used to produce electricity for the entire region. The huge irregular body of water with high banks has many bays that attract fishermen by rich catch. The lake has an excellent base for practicing rowing and water-powered sports. Hotels, campgrounds, floating restaurants take tens of thousands of tourists annually and are the favorite vacation spot for the residents of Kardzhali and neighboring settlements.

Restaurants on the banks of the reservoir Kardzhali

  1. Tsonevo reservoir

Location: Varna region

Closest major city: Provadia, 27 km, Varna, 60 km

Height: 185 meters above sea level

Year built: 1974 on the river Luda Kamchiya

Dimensions: area of ​​17.3 sq. km, length 30 km

The third largest artificial reservoir in Bulgaria was created primarily for industrial water supply. Used as a place for recreation and fishing. At the western end of the lake, close to the Aytos-Provadiya highway, there is a natural phenomenon called Wonderful Rocks. On the shore directly from the lake grows a dozen pointed peaks about 50 meters high, similar to the towers of a fairytale castle. These limestone mountain formations owe their shape to the effects of wind and water. Be sure to take a picture of this fantastic landscape!

Lunch overlooking the lake can be ordered at these restaurants

  1.  Iskar reservoir

Location: Sofia Region

The nearest large city: Samokov 14 km, Sofia 45 km

Height: 817 meters above sea level

Year built: 1954 on the Iskar River

Dimensions: length 10.9 km, width 3.38 km, depth 75 m, area 30 sq. km

It is the largest in volume and area artificial reservoir in the country. Design work on the construction of the dam began in 1947. During construction, several villages had to be sacrificed, and their territory is now located at the bottom of the lake. After commissioning, the dam was the most ambitious structure in Bulgaria at that time and was named after Stalin. The main function of this reservoir, in addition to the production of electricity, was and remains the water supply for the capital.

There is a lot of fish in the lake. Fishing does not stop even in winter when the lake is covered with ice. On the picturesque shore of the reservoir passes the highway connecting Sofia with the town of Samokov and the ski resort of Borovets.

Here are a few places on the banks of the Iskar reservoir with an excellent menu and views.

Read about what kind of freshwater fish can be caught in the reservoirs of Bulgaria:

Bulgarian English trasliteration English Latin
Бабушка Babushka Common roach Rutilus rutilus
Балканска пъстърва Balkanska pastyrva River trout Salmo trutta fario
Бял амур Byal amur Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella
Бял толстолоб Byal tolstolob Silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix
Бяла мряна Byala myarna Common barbel Barbus barbus
Бяла риба Byala riba Zander Sander lucioperca
Дъгова пъстрва Dagova pastyrva Rainbow trout  Oncorhynchus mykiss
Каракуда Karakuda Crucian carp Carassius carassius
Костур Kostur European perch Perca fluviatilis
Лин Lin Tench or doctor fish Tinca tinca
Платика Platika Common bream Abramis brama
Скобар Skobar Common nase Chondrostoma nasus
Слънчева риба Slancheva riba Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus
Сом Som Catfish, sheatfish Silurus glanis
Уклей Uklei Common bleak Alburnus alburnus
Черна мряна  Cherna myarna Barbus peloponnesius Barbus peloponnesius
Шаран Sharan Common carp Cyprinus carpio
Щука Shtuka Pike Esox lucius

Restaurants located on the shores of the reservoirs of Bulgaria

Enjoy your stay!


Read also:

Where are the best wineries in Bulgaria and what kind of wine do they make

How to mushroom in Bulgaria. The store vs the forest?

Sirnitsa - Bulgarian Shrovetide. Folk customs and rituals.

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