Bulgaria: Trekking through the mountain range Rila

Price: 200 $
Duration: 7 days
Next: 21/06/2018

Bulgaria: Trekking through the mountain range Rila


Rila is the flagship of Bulgarian mountains. It is the highest range in Bulgaria, though small (ridge stretches from east to west only for sixty kilometers). It looks impressive with its rocky peaks, steep abysses, alpine meadows and beautiful lakes. Numerous beautiful mountain lakes emphasize the name “water mountain”, as Old Thracian “Roula” meant the same, however it was changed into Rila by the Slavic. During our journey we will also see one of the symbols of Bulgaria – Seven Rila Lakes.

Middle-height ridges from two thousand to two thousand and six hundred meters do not require wearing warm clothes. During trekking through Rila mountain range we have to climb the highest peak of the Balkan Penninsula and the entire Southeastern Europe – Mount Musala (2925 m). Another interesting occasion will be a visit of the famous Rila Monastery – the main shrine of Bulgaria.

Price includes:

  • guide service
  • using common camp gear (tents, camp tools, kitchen equipment, first aid kit)
  • meals during the campaign (hot breakfast and dinner, lunch as a snack (meals in a café are extra paid)
  • overnight stays in a tent during the tour
  • insurance
Additional charged:

  • plane tickets
  • rental of sleeping bag and mat, backpack
  • meals in the cities (restaurants, shops)
  • transfers between cities (near 20 EUR)
  • fee for a tent placement near a hut – 1,5 EUR/person
Day 1. Route: the town of Sapareva Banya – Skakavitsa hut, distance – 10 km, elevation per day +1200 m
The instructor meets the group in the town of Sapareva Banya in the morning. Interesting fact is that the town has Europe’s hottest geyser (water temperature 1030С). Hot geyser water is used to heat houses. Out tour starts there and in a day the group gets to river Skakavitsa and puts up tents not far from the hut with the same name.
Day 2. Route: Skakavitsa hut – Waterfall Skakavitse – Rila lakes – Ivan Vazov’s hut, distance –13 km, elevation per day +1300 m, -850 m
There is a picturesque waterfall Skakavitse not far from the place of our stay. It is about 70 m high. In the morning we make a radial hiking to it, and continue the route. It is the most spectacular day as we will go to the famous Seven Rila Lakes. We will also go past a ski lift, so if you want, a way can be slightly shortened. But if you choose to hike you have to wait for the rest of the group at the top.
Seven Rila Lakes are of glacial origin, they are located at an altitude from 2100 to 2500 m and are incredible beautiful. Those lakes are the most visited in Bulgaria as they are considered to be a symbol of the country. They occupy quite a large area and are over 35 meters deep. Each lake has its own name: Dolnoto (the Lower Lake) – the lowest lake, is about 2095 m above sea level, Rybnoto (Fish Lake) – the shallowest one, Trilistnika (the Trefoil) – of irregular shape and with low shores, Bliznaka (the Twin) – the largest one, Babreka (the Kidney) – has the steepest banks, Okoto (the Eye) – perfectly oval-shaped (it is the deepest circle lake in Bulgaria, 37,5 m deep), Salzata (the Tear) – has such a name because of crystal clear water. On the way up there are fabulous views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Interesting fact is that the Bulgarians consider the place nearby seven lakes to be sacred, both Orthodox and other pilgrims come here and worship.
Day 3. Route: Ivan Vazov’s hut – mount Damha (2669 m) – mount Dodov Vrah (2661 m) – mount Malak Mermer (2562 m) – mount Golyam Mermer (2589 m) – traverse mount Malovitsa (2729 m) – Malovitsa hut, distance – 14 km, elevation per day +800 m, -1000 m
We will climb several peaks: the mount Damha with a great view of the lake Patsynata, walking along the ridge and climbing Malak Mermer and Golyam Mermer and traversing mount Malovitsa. There is a view of the whole mountain range and in case of a good weather you can also see the highest peak of the Rila range – m. Musala. From the top of Malak Mermer Rila Monastery is seen – the main shrine of Bulgaria. This friary has a rich history since X century. In 1983 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. To visit the monastery we have to make a one day radial hike, so if you want to get there, you should plan it in advance in the city Dupnitsa.
Day 4. Route: Malovitsa hut – lake Strashno – a tourist hut named Koblino Branitse – mount Vodni Chal (2683 m) – Ribni Ezera (Fish Lake) – Ribni Ezera hut, distance – 20 km, elevation per day +450 m, -1200 m
Today there is a long route, that is why we start quite early. From Malovitsa hut we climb to a group of beautiful lakes with so-called scary lake (Strashno) surrounded by rocky shores. From the highest point of the mount Vodni Chal you can see the lake Smradlyvo (Smelly). Although the names are not very pleasant, those lakes are extremely picturesque with beautiful landscapes and steep mountains behind. The overnight is near Ribni Ezera in the hut with the same name.
Day 5. Route: Ribni Ezera hut – mount Vapa (2528 m) – mount Kovach (2634 m) – Grynchar hut, distance – 17 km, elevation per day +820 m, -750 m
Climbing the rocky ridge we conquer peaks Vapa and Kovach. From the top of Kovach you can see the Beli Iskar water-power station, which is located at an altitude of 1900 m above the sea level. It has also one more task – to collect rain and melt water in order to prevent flooding.
Day 6. Route: Grynchar hut – mount Yurushki chal (2769 m) – Golyam Bliznak(2779 m) – Malik Bliznak(2777 m) – mount Musala (2925 m) – the tourist hut Everest, distance –14 km, elevation per day +1100 m, -900 m
The main goal of the day is climbing the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula. Climbing is along the ridge through the mountains Yurushki chal, Golyam Bliznak and Malik Bliznak to the top of Musala. According to some studies the name “Musala” goes back to the times of Ottoman Empire, and comes from the Turkish “Mus Allah,” “a prayer top.” Interesting fact is that from 1949 to 1962 it was called “Stalin’s peak”. At the top there is a weather station. There is a belief that from the top of Musala you can see the Mediterranean Sea, the landscape does not make this possible though.
After climbing the peak we start descending. That day we will also see the most high-altitude lake in Europe – Ledenoto with a tourist hut nearby.
Day 7. Route: the tourist hut Everest – town of Borovets
There is only a three-hour walk to civilization, to the town of Borovets, so we can sleep a bit longer. Borovets is the oldest and the largest ski resort in Bulgaria. There you can buy souvenirs as our trip ends. It takes only one hour to get to the capital of the country Sophia by public transport from there.

More information about the equipment preparation:

Personal clothing:

  1. Trekking shoes
  2. Spare shoes
  3. Trousers, 2 pairs
  4. Shorts
  5. Socks – thick and thin ones, 2-3 pairs
  6. T-shirt – 2-3 pieces
  7. A light sweater of a thin fleece or something like that
  8. A warm sweater
  9. A windbreaker jacket
  10. A raincoat
  11. A panama hat/a bandana/a cap and gloves
  12. Hats and warm gloves
  13. Spare underwear and swimsuits

Personal gear:

  1. A backpackRental
  2. A sleeping bag and padRental
  3. Utensils (a plate, a spoon and a cup)
  4. Waterproof sacks
  5. Flashlight
  6. A flask or a bottle of water
  7. Personal first aid kit
  8. Personal hygiene items
  9. Sunglasses
  10. The documents, money, cell phone

  • What shoes to wear in the rock area?
  • How is accommodation arranged during the tour?
  • What is a “hut” in Bulgarian mountains?
  • How to reach the starting point of the tour?
  • How to return to Sofia?
  • How much money do I need for the trip (except the tour price)?
  • What are the likely additional costs?
  • Do I need to take a personal first aid kit?
  • Is it possible to change the program?

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