Peaks And Lakes Of The Pirin & Rila Mountains
Enjoy Bulgaria’s most picturesque alpine treks, climbing the Balkans’ tallest summits: Musala (2925m/9596ft) in the Rila and Vihren (2914m/9560ft) in the Pirin. Our route crosses huge national parks with broad alpine meadows and serrated summits, glacier lakes, stone rivers, encountering rare plant and animal life. The programme includes a visit of the Rila Monastery, listed by UNESCO and one of Bulgaria’s best-known sights.
The walking treks are rather arduous and suited to very fit people experienced in alpine walking. The hiking programme is based in two main centres (one each in the Pirin and the Rila), allowing the routes to be additionally adapted to group specifics, and to be undertaken with only a small backpack with a day’s supplies of water, food, and clothing. There are sufficient alternative walking routes in case of bad weather.
You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.
Day 1: We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to Bansko at the foot of Mount Pirin (appr. 2,45hrs).
Day 2: Chair cable car to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m/9354ft) which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes, including the largest Popovo Lake (30m/100ft deep). Polezhan is the 5th highest summit in the Pirin. It is surrounded by three Cirques with three groups of lakes - Disilishki in the north, Polezhanski in the south and Strazhishki in the west. We use the classic route trough the northeast ridge, which is not difficult or too steep, except of the last 20-minute stage of the summit. (5hrs of walking; 8km/5miles; climbing and descending 650m/2100ft)
Day 3: Today, we visit one of the most picturesque parts of the Pirin: the Banderishki Lakes Cirque. Many trekking routes cross this beautiful area. We pass among some of the 16 glacial lakes, revealing one by one as we climb the terraces. The walking trek through the Todorina Porta takes us directly to the Yulen Nature Reserve, from where, by way of the Todorini Ochi (Todora's Eyes) Lakes, we descend into virgin fir groves to the Demyanitsa Hut. From here, we follow a shady path along the Demyanitsa River. (6-7hrs of walking; 16km/10miles; climbing 700m/2300ft and descending 1100m/3650ft)
Day 4: The target today is Mount Vihren: Bulgaria’s second-highest and the Pirin’s highest summit. Breathtaking views offer themselves to us as we climb through the Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) area bounded by the 400m/1300ft tall northern face of Vihren. Today you will explore the Karst parts of Pirin, which are also home to the endangered Edelweiss, the elusive Wallcreeper and the shy Balkan Chamois (wild goats). (6-7hrs of walking; 9km/5,5miles; climbing and descending 1000m/3300ft.)
Day 5: We bid farewell to Pirin and set off for Rila. Our first stop is the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the most famous and largest Christian monastery in Bulgaria. The exceptional frescoes in the central church form a gallery of masterpieces of Renaissance art and could be considered a Bulgarian analogue of the frescoes of the Sistine chapel. Thence, we proceed to the Panichishte Resort, where we visit the Skakavitsa Waterfall (70m/230ft) before supper or simply ramble in the shady woods near our mountain lodge. (3-4hrs of walking; 7km/4,5miles; climbing and descending 300m/950ft)
Day 6: We go by cable car to the foot of the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque. Trekking past the Lakes (each named after their most characteristic feature, like The Kidney Lake, The Twin Lake, The Trefoil Lake etc.), we continue along the crest where we enjoy further stunning views towards the Urdini and Elenski Lakes and the Rila Monastery in its deep valley beneath us. Passing the Malyovitsa Summit (2729m/9088ft, known as the cradle of Bulgarian rock climbing and mountaineering), we descend into the valley of the same name and settle into a family hotel at the village of Govedartsi. (7hrs of walking; 18km/11miles; climbing 800m/2600ft and descending 1200m/3960ft)
Day 7: Today, we climb the Balkans’ highest summit: Musala (2925m/2596ft). A cable car takes us from the Borovets Resort to the setting-off point for the trek. The serrated wall of Musala never leaves our sight as we ascend through stone rivers and past glacier lakes and alpine huts. The genuinely impressive view from the peak to the surrounding mountains offers a deserving end to the whole adventure. As we celebrate with a cup of fragrant herbal tea, we can enjoy the summits of all major mountain ranges in Bulgaria – Balkan, Sredna Gora, Vitosha, Rhodopes, Pirin and of course – Rila. (6hrs of walking; 13km/8miles; climbing and descending 750m/2460ft)
Day 8: Transfer from Govedartsi to Sofia Airport (appr. 1,30hrs).
Notes: you may book additional nights in Sofia before or after the tour, or book day trips with us to culture centres like Plovdiv, the Bachkovo Monastery, Koprivshtitsa, Starosel, or Veliko Tarnovo.
Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper.
Hiking time: hiking time only is mentioned on each day (not including stops for pictures, picnics, breaks etc.!); these are based on an average hiker's speed of 4-5km/hr on flat terrain, additional 30min for each 300m elevation gain, and a backpack weighing not more than 10-15% of your body weight. Still this varies a lot on the terrain, the group size and the hiking experience of each client within the group.
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GUARANTEED DEPARTURES FOR 2017:
June 24th (limited places)
July 01st (limited places)
July 08th (limited places)
July 15th (limited places)
July 22nd (request availability)
July 29th (limited places)
August 05th (limited places)
August 26th (request availability)
September 02nd (limited places)
September 09th (limited places)
> If none of these dates suits you, you may consider booking our self-guided trek in the Rila and Pirin, covering almost the same trails
> PRIVATE GROUPS can be accommodated on any other date during the season; 6 or more should book as a group to take advantage of the below price
Best period: mid-June – mid-September
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation and catering according to the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; cable car tickets, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: museum entrance fees; extra food and drink; mountain maps; travel/medical insurance.
Limited time offer:
Price: 510 €
Already saw a tour with similar program and price? Give us a chance to convince you why our offer is much better!
Single room supplement: 90 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person