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  • Author: Hanna Ollos
  • Date Posted: Feb 2, 2021
  • Category:
  • Address: Sofia, Bulgaria

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1935 with the aim of preserving 783 ha of the well-protected turf communities in the subalpine zone of Vitosha mountain. The strict conservation regime prohibits all management activities within the territory.

Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve is the largest high-mountain peat complex in Bulgaria with hundreds of moss and algae species. The turf surface is up to 2 m thick, increasing annually by approx. 1 mm.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 350 ha Torfeno Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a big potential to expand Torfeno Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 700 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Vitosha Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Torfeno Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area 27 079 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness 350 ha (with potential for enlargement to 780 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness The area is a unique example of high-mountain peat formation, including endemic, rare and endangered species.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area approx. 1 000 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness 24 000


The peat complex of the Torfeno Branishte Wilderness lies on the northern slope of Vitosha mountain comprising the parts of Big Plateau and the Kapaklivets Plateau between the peaks of Cherni Vrah (2 290 m) and Ushite (1 906 m).

Over 300 species of moss and 500 species of algae occur in the peat reserve and several Balkan endemics can also be observed. There are also two insectivorous plants – Balkanian butterwort and common sundew, moreover, the unique globe flower, also known as Vitosha tulip can be observed. For avian representatives this zone is an important trophic base, especially for some representatives of falcons, which hunt on the ground.

The sub-Alpine zone is an important habitat for the endemic Balkan subspecies of the Balkan horned lark and the subspecies of alpine accentor.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

 The access of tourists to Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is only allowed on marked trails. Vitosha Nature Park, however, is the most visited protected area in Bulgaria with over 2.5 million visitors every year. Currently the overall length of paths and trails the park’s visitors can follow is over 300 km.

The tourist trails are well-marked with different colours according to the trails. In the open plateaus of Vitosha, metal poles signalise the way to go, thus supporting orientation during the winter months.

Contact details

  • Torfeno Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Vitosha Nature Park
  • Address: Bulevard “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 22,
  • Postal code city: 1000, Sofia
  • Phone: +359 02 856 51 52
  • Website:

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