Why visit the Lovech area
In my 'Bulgaria section' you can find many more places to travel to!
The cave is at 20 kilometres northeast of Lovech, which, at its turn, is at 150 kilometres from Sofia. The Lovech area is one of my favourite in Bulgaria. It's not too far yet quite diverse. Even though that's how you could describe many regions, I have a special feeling for Lovech. I like the city a lot - it's nice and quiet and has a charming old town. A nice park along the Osam river and, of course, the covered wooden bridge in the center. Admitted, it's not too lively because unfortunately many people leave the area. That doesn't mean it's less attractive, the whole area around Lovech has many sights that are yours to discover. Especially northeast of the city, where you find the Devetashka cave and the Krushunski waterfalls. Surrounded by nature - fields and mountains nearby, with several rivers crossing the landscape, it's very varied and lovely to visit.
History of the cave
At the entrance, the cave is 35 metres wide and 30 metres tall. The cave widens to 40 metres at most. The 7 holes in the ceiling are just stunning. They are very large, especially compared to the eyes of the Prohodna cave. Devetashka cave stretches out for 2 kilometres.
The cave itself has been inhabited by humans for tens of thousands of years, starting from the Old Stone Age about 70.000 years ago. Cultural artefacts from as old as 6.000 years B.C. were found in this cave. Then, the cave was abandoned after being inhabited for all this time. It was rediscovered in 1921. Nowadays, the only inhabitants of the enormous cave are 15 species of bats, numbering about 30.000 in total. Then there's over 82 bird species in the area, of which several are included in the The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
During 2011, The Expendables 2 was filmed in the cave. Unfortunately, many bats fled the cave because of loud noises and flashy, bright lights. The authorities criticized the crew for breaking agreements and violating regulations protecting the cave. On the bright side, about a year after the cave was quiet again, most bats returned. The modern-day bridge across the Osam river, right before the cave entrance, was actually constructed for recording The Expendables 2. It was used by the crew to get the equipment across.
Once you're in the end of the cave, you'll see a part is blocked for visitors. This is where most bats are located. On the ground, you see wide circles of concrete that have no apparent use. During communism, the place was used for storage of petroleum and the circles explain the exact spot the containers stood. There used to be a narrow railway leading to the back of the cave for this purpose, now it's not visible anymore.
Parking is about a hundred metres from the cave entrance. Then the entrance fee is 3 lv as of July 2017. It's likely that, in June and part of July, the cave is closed for visitors because of the breeding season. I have not been able to confirm what dates exactly. You can easily get to Lovech from Sofia, by taking a bus from the Central Bus Station. After that, it becomes hard to get to the Devetashka cave. You could take a train to Doyrentsi or Aleksandrovo, on the Lovech - Levski line. Yet, you'll likely have to walk along the main road which is quite dangerous. There's two lanes and people drive fast. You might be able to hitchhike or take a bus. Fenix 2 has a line Troyan - Svishtov, which should take the main road past the cave. I am not sure of that however. Check at Lovech bus station when the bus leaves and if it takes the road to Levski. If you ask nicely, the driver might let you hop off at the cave. Alternatively, negotiate a deal with a taxi driver to visit the Devetashka cave and the Krushunski waterfalls. Best of all, take a car!
Where to stay and what else to see
Krushuna village has literally over 10 guesthouses so you should have no problem finding a place to stay. You may find them in Google Maps. The area is wonderful to stick around, quiet and with plenty of little known sights to see. Make sure to combine the Devetashka cave with a visit to the Krushunski waterfalls, Lovech city, possibly the Lukovit area and the Prohodna cave.
In front of the cave entrance, I saw a sign that showed all sights in the area. I had never heard of most of these places and am sure I will be back to discover them. For now, you may see the map in the album below or through this link.