The dam is one of the biggest dams in Bulgaria and it’s one of the most beautiful too. It’s located near the town of Batak. If you start your journey from Sofia and use a car you need to catch highway Hemus first, then to take the exit to Pazardjik, in fact entering the town from where you have to follow the signs to Dospat and Batak that reach the town of Peshtera. From Peshtera there are two options – get the road directly to Batak or the steeper and more curved road that passes through St. Constantine resort. No matter which of the two you select, it will be a right choice. In Batak you may stop for lunch, having a look around the town too- main landmarks there are the old church of Sveta Nedelya and the church in the center of the town. The Road to Batak was in poor condition few years ago, anyhow now it’s renovated so you’ll have no issues with it. There are one or two fishponds that are a good place to stay if you like fish. Another thing worth seeing is Snejanka cave. It’s about 3 kilometers away from the road connecting Peshtera and Batak. You may leave your car directly after you leave the main road or you may reach the cave with it. Anyhow both options will take more or less same time as the road upwards is a very narrow one and there are usually people walking in the middle of it. If you decide to reach it through St. Constantine you’d better have your camera prepared (the view of Peshtera from above is really nice) and your stomach too (many curves and fast ascent).
My first impression of the place, except for the above mentioned scenery, was the eastern part of the road, still brand new and clean (currently both no that good visible, because of the constructions there) - driving on it was a real pleasure. Apparently I was not the only one feeling like that- I saw a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, and few minutes later a police car there. Later on I was told that because of the great road, there are people who go there with the only aim to drive their sport cars or motorbikes. Of course, being risky both to them and to others on the road, police cars patrol around in attempt to prevent accidents. After leaving the car, I decided the view and the road would be perfect at sunset. We rented bikes and left. Tired of pedaling we went near the coast for a short rest. Seems many others were there before us considering the empty bottles left along with the other rubbish. Just briefly off the topic- you could use your tents here in the summer. Things to consider are the insects which are normally present in such proximity to water. I don’t recommend making fire because in the summer the grass is dry so you may imaging what could happen if you forget unattended your fire for a minute. Later, when I was back next year, we had a rubber boat in which we gave a round around the dam with the idea to see the sunrise. The sun unfortunately was hidden behind the the ridge allowing us to see it much later than what we expected, yet it was a great experience.
If it’s the first time to see the dam you will be most probably impressed by the sight as I was. Entering from Batak you’ll have an amazing view of bare hills, a desert island in the middle of the lake and coniferous forests visible to the north- those that you’ll see first, in case you enter from the St. Constantine resort. If you decide to enter from the far side of the dam you will reach a resort named Tsigov Chark.
Places where you can stay are grouped mainly in the already-mentioned Tsigov Chark and St. Constantine as well as Danoto resort. In recent years, construction around the dam is intense though at the moment the site still remains calm and pretty.
Besides the already mentioned cycling and boating, you may choose between sunbathing, staying around the pool, fishing, practicing other water sports. At St. Constantine resort you could also rent ski and enjoy the slopes during the winter.
Interesting places around the area:
- Snejanka Cave
- Jubileina cave
- town of Batak
- town of Peshtera
- Dospat dam, together with the other smaller dams between Dospat and Batak