Lake Berovo is about 7 km out of the center of Berovo.
It is not a natural lake, but a reservoir with a big dam.
We went to see the lake and to cool down during a hot summer day. Unfortunately, the lake is not really suitable for sunbathing and swimming, because the shore is steep and overgrown and cannot easily be reached.
Fortunately, we found a little beach on the shore opposite to the dam.
This is a 19 km round trip from the recreational village Suvi Laki to the Ograzhden Peak and back. The height difference about 680 m, but total climbing is more. This hike was prepared for us as a GPS file by Noir from http://www.mkdmount.org/, for which we are very thankful!
Suvi Laki is located half-way the road from Berovo and Strumica, so we left Berovo in the morning, did the hike, and went to our accommodation in Strumica, the Monastery of the 15 Martyrs of Tiberiopolis.
Suvi Laki is a village with about 450 weekend homes where people come to rest and enjoy the nice nature.
The hike goes from Suvi Laki to "Point A", then from Point A to the Ograzhden Peak and back to Point A, and then from Point A to Suvi Laki.
We parked the car next to the road in Suvi laki. The first 1.5 km are back uphill in the direction of Berovo, there's a spring next to the road. The next 4 km are steeply uphill over a 4x4 track through the forest, a bit monotonous. After that the view and surrounding gets better.
Just below the peak there were two horses next to a natural spring in the ground. Several people where picking blueberries near the top, which is a good business in this region, since the berries just grow in the wild and are sold for quite a good price!
We had lunch at the Ograzden peak at some 1742 m above sea level and then started to walk back to Point A. Unfortunately the road suddenly was blocked by several sheep dogs, which were barking and running at us if we came too close. We yelled for the shepherd, but nobody came to our rescue...We decided it would be wiser not to provoke the dogs, so we had to do a detour and walk around the dogs in a big circle. That was harder than it sounds, because the vegetation was rather dense, but we managed to get on the right track again. A GPS device can be very helpful in such cases!
The part from Point A back to Suvi Laki is the most rewarding part of the hike: Downhill, great views, beautiful landscape, we met a shepherd with his cows and calves in the mountains, a scene that looked really serene (this shepherd one was so friendly to call off his dogs at least!).
In Suvi Laki there's a small shop next to the road where we had an ice-cream before we walked the last part uphill along the road back to our car.
The church in Suvi Laki is dedicated to St Cyril and Methodius and was built between 2007 and 2009, sponsored by the weekend house owners.
See the link below for the GPS file of this hike.
Budinarci is a small village that you will pass on the way from Kocani to Berovo. It is about 10 kilometers from Berovo.
The town has many old houses and a very rural feel and look. Some of the houses are just used as stables for e.g. goats.
We saw this village from the road and had a short stop. There turned out to be an old church as well! The Church of St George dates from 1854. The church key allegedly weighs almost 1 kg.
Unfortunately the church was closed and the man who was allowed to open it was out of town.
We wanted to have a further look through this village with its unique rural architecture from the 18th century, but we where overwhelmed with invitations to drink coffee with the locals, who were very persistent (in a very friendly way). Because we were in a hurry to get to Berovo, we had to escape from the locals and get back in the car without having a better look at Budinarci...
Iliya Markov Popgeorgiev (1805-1898), better known as Ilyo Voyvoda (military commander) or Grandfather Iljo Maleshevski, was a revolutionary from the region of Macedonia, who is considered a national hero in both Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia.
He fought against the Ottoman occupation.
The sign at the monument says: "With respect and gratitude for the liberational works of grandfather Iljo Maleshevski, 1805-1898. Born in the house that used to stand on this place".
The shores of Lake Berovo are pretty steep and do not offer a good place for sunbathing or swimming.
We found a small beach on the shore opposite to the dam. This actually is an old road that was flooded when the dam was build, so the shore is more shallow here and you can lie there and walk into the water instead.
I took a refreshing swim here at the beach, but left the water after spotting a water snake. Later some local kids came by and told us not to swim there because of dangerous currents. I don't think it's dangerous unless you go far from the shore, but I'll leave it up to you if you go for a swim...
It is a 2.2 km walk from the dam to the beach, you can check the GPS track I made of this walk at the website below.
Like in many cities, the tourist information office is located in the town hall.
They can e.g provide you with an English booklet about the history of Berovo and a map with 5 hiking trails in the surroundings.
The tourist office is at the top floor of the big white building at 11th Oktomvri, a bit out of the center of Berovo.
In case the museum of Berovo is closed, you can also try here to have somebody open it for you...It worked for us, after they made a lot of phone calls!
At the Berovo Tourist Information Center you can get a free map with 5 hiking trails in the surroundings. A description of these trails can also be found on the website of Hotel Manastir, see the website below. I did not do any of these trails, and I don't know if they are marked well. You probably best hire a local guide!
The descriptions of the trails are:
Transversal trail which bands the most southern and the most northern part of the malesevska area. It stretches from Prevedena 1200 till the top Kadiica 1932 in total length of 45 kilometers climbing on altitude variation of 730 meters above sea level with oscillation of maximum 800 meters altitude above sea level on minimum 5 kilometers. Time – taken to pass the trail is 12 hours. Because of the length and the transversal character of the trail it is recommended to hire local tourist guides. The places for pause are in village Dvoriste sheepfold near Karaula Divna, motel near dethrone of Klepalska Reka, in the vicinity at Ravna Reka.
Prevedena (1200) alternative clamber of Palazija (part of Strumica)/ clamber till the top Ograzden (1746), variation of (860), 3-4 hours dismount to village Dvoriste (920) altitude variation of (860) dismount in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Clamber to top Babin Cukar (1406) variation (480) time – taken to pass 1.5 – 2 hours. Dismount 200 meters till Zamanicka Reka and climbing till Karaula Divina (1366) blunt dismount till Klepalska Reka and gradually clamber through m. v Dabavec, Cemerikov Preslap, Ravna Reka, Pobien Kamen, Cengino Kale (Fortress) – the most eastern spot of R.Macedonia 1748 m altitude above sea level, where from along the border line with R. Bulgaria propels with insignificant oscillation till the highest top Kadiica with 1932 m altitude above sea level.
Streches from Berovsko Ezero (1000) via Babin Cukar (1403) and village Ratevo (920) till the final destination Berovo (840).
Total length is 21.5 kilometers.
Time – taken to pass the trail is 6 – 7 hours.
The trail goes through more sheepfolds and is recommended accompaniment of local tourist guides.
Places for pause – Berovsko Ezero, Sheepfold near Babin Cukar, village Ratevo and Berovo.
The highest altitude variation of clamber is 400m altitude above sea level with insignificant oscillations and gradually climbing. At the beginning there is tourist settlement Berovsko Ezero with primary clamber of 100 meters till top Saban and goes through plateaus vivid forest areas of white pine which gradually changes in to beech woods via Babin Cukar and returns through the extensive pastures and the rear forest on pine in the village Ratevo till Berovo.
Berovsko Ezero via Pecov Cukar 1490, Breza 1443, Ravna Reka, Parkac till Berovo. Total length of the trail is 25,6 kilometers. Time – taken to pass is 7 hours. The trail goes through more sheepfolds and is recommended accompaniment of local tourist guides. Place for pause – Berovsko Ezero, sheepfold Breza, Ravna Reka and Berovo. The trail goes through beech and pine woods.
The hiking trail from Berovo (Juovec) – Tourist settlement Ablanica to Berovo Lake is realized in the frame of the project “Along grandfather trails”. The trail is 6 km long and passes by meadow and forest area below the centennial pine, beech and oak trees. You can find a lot of herbs and wild fruits along the trail. There are two places for rest. The trail is suitable for mountain biking.
This is the trail which passed Damjan Gruev running awey from the Turkish soldiers (asker) in 1906. Petlec is the place where he was killed i.e. committed suicide. The trail is long 15 kilometers. Time – taken to pass is 5 hours. The trail is located from village Rusinovo 830 via Petlec 1250 lower of the top which is 1350 and returns back in village Rusinovo.
This male monastery is located just outside of Berovo, along the road towards the lake. Presveta Bogorodica Balakija means Holy Mother - East Friday
The church was built in 1972-1975, on the foundations of two ancient earlier churches.
Every year on 28th August, the holy assumption of the great virgin Mary is celebrated here and allegedly thousands of people come to visit.
The church of the Monastery of St Archangel Michael was built between 1815 and 1818.
A legend tells that the Ottoman occupiers allowed the church to be build under three conditions:
1) It had to be built below the road so it could not be seen
2) It had to be built in 40 days
3) The priest Peco had to give his youngest daughter, Sultana, to the sultan's harem
They managed to built the church with everybody's help within 40 days by working day and night. When the Ottoman governor came to look after 40 days, he saw that the church was above ground level, and instantly killed three church elders in front of the church. To make things worse, Sultana had fled, and her father Peco was thrown in jail, hoping that Sultana would come and visit him in jail. He was released after three years.
The Ottoman governor was killed later by Macedonian freedom fighters ans Sultana returned to Berovo.
The women's monastery was built 20 years after the church. The first nuns were the daughters of priest Risto, who had married the oldest daughter of priest Peco!
The museum is located in a nice building from the late 19th century, close to the town square. This building used to be a school.
It consists of one big room with several posters (in Macedonian) about the wars and revolution in Macedonia.
There are also a reconstruction of a Macedonian room, some costumes, tools etc. The pictures summarize most of it.
It was very hard to have the museum opened, since the responsible person was on holiday (as was the case with most sights we wanted to visit this year!). Finally, in the town hall somebody managed to call somebody who opened the museum for us. The museum was so small that we were out within 15 minutes...
Especially if you don't read Macedonian, it is not worth to go through the trouble of having it opened. But if it's open, do hop in!
Nikola Petrov Rusinski (1875-1943) was a revolutionary and socialist. He was a member of TMORO, the Secret Macedonian-Odrian Revolutionary Organization.
The texts on the statue says "Only with organized internal military forces we can free Macedonia" and "All Macedonia is my birth land"
Dimitar Popgeorgiev Berovski (1840-1907) was a revolutionary from Macedonia.
In 1876 Berovski was one of the leaders of Razlovtsi uprising.
Some of his belongings are kept in the Museum of Berovo.
The church Rozhdestvo of Preveta Bogorodica, or Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, was built in 1912 and consecrated in 1922.
The bell tower was built in 1930.
The view from the restaurant is so restful and calming, particularly if you are eating delicious food :) The lake is an artifical one, created by a dam.