The Vitosha Mountain TV Tower is one of Sofia’s most recognizable landmarks due to its prominent position a little more than halfway up Vitosha, the mountain massif right by Sofia’s center. The TV tower is affectionally called Kopitoto (Копитото) – “The Hoof” – by locals, because it was built on a rocky formation shaped like a hoof. With its base at the altitude of 1,348 meters, the TV tower has a dominant position in Sofia’s skyline and can be seen easily on any clear day from the city center.
At a massive 186 meters tall, Kopitoto is the second tallest TV tower in all of Bulgaria. The first is the Rousse TV tower, located near the border with Romania in the town of Ruse. Kopitoto is one of two TV towers in Sofia; the other is in Borisova Gradina Park and stands at a relatively short 106 meters. Built in 1985, made of reinforced concrete with a decidedly Soviet aesthetic, Kopitoto has the strange feeling of looking both futuristic and like a blast from the past at the same time.
But the actual Kopitoto TV tower is not the most interesting part of the view, in my opinion. There are several reasons why making the trip to Kopitoto TV tower is so worth it.
For one, I loved the view of the city center framed by the old chairlift, which stopped being operational in 1992 and has since been abandoned.
Another interesting point to check out is the old building that used to be where the chairlift terminated, but it’s since been shut down. Now, the exterior, as well as the interior, is covered in tags, making it an interesting spot for those curious about urban exploration and graffiti.
Be careful if you enter because there are often broken beer bottles on the ground — I don’t recommend entering unless you have closed-toe shoes. If you go up for sunset, be sure to be careful if you remain after dark.
Facing the city, there are great views over the foothills of Vitosha mountains if you walk a bit to the left. There are some rocks where there are great places to pose for photos — I mean, you’ve got to take some photos of one of the more Instagrammable places in Sofia while you’re here!
Note that I went in early March after a huge snowstorm — so depending on the time of year that you go, there may or may not be snow (it is at 1,348 meters, after all). If you do go when there is snow, please be careful, as the rocks near the edge of the viewpoint are quite slippery when wet with snow and there’s no safety features because #Bulgaria.
Still, if you walk carefully, there are countless places to get a great photo!
The easiest way to reach Kopitoto is via car, which is how I got there. It’s only a short drive from Sofia center – it took about 20 minutes from where I was staying in the Strelbishte neighborhood and would probably take about 30 minutes from the center. Taxis will take you to Kopitoto and back, but it will cost you a decent amount — I’d expect it’d cost about 50-60 lev (25-30 euro) roundtrip, including waiting time. If you are planning on doing a day trip that involves renting a car, like a trip to Saeva Dupka or Troyan Monastery, I’d recommend adding Kopitoto to your itinerary — especially if you can get there for sunset, which is supposed to be epic!
It is possible to get there via a combination of public transportation and walking, but you’ll be walking a while! To get there via tram, take the 5 to the end of the line (Knyazhevo) and walk up the mountain until you see Kopitoto. At nearly 200 meters, it should be pretty hard to miss! I haven’t made this hike though, so I can’t speak to it personally. I’ll update this post if I do (or please leave a comment if you’ve made the hike yourself!) However, don’t do this for sunset, as it wouldn’t be safe to walk down the mountain in the dark. And of course, you could always try your luck hitchhiking back down to the city once you’ve made it up there.
There are a few mountain huts nearby serving simple food like kofte (meatballs) and bob chorba (bean soup), as well as beer – of course. Momina Skala and Planinenets huts both serve food and are about a 30-minute walk or 15 minute drive from Kopitoto.