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Hiking trek in 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 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.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Pirin Mountains are the country's second highest mountain, considered also the most beautiful one. One can find here more than 170 glacial lakes and a large number of rare plants, including the edelweiss and the famous Baikusheva Fir, the latter almost 1,300 years old.
- Rila Mountains are the sixth highest in Europe, coming after the Caucasus, the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and Mount Etna. The name Rila is allegedly of Thracian origin and is thought to mean "well-watered mountain", owing to Rila's abundance of glacial lakes (about 200) and hot springs in the faulty areas.
- Rila Monastery is one of the most remarkable monuments on the Balkan Peninsula equally for its size, natural surroundings, architecture, wall paintings and ancient history dating back to the 10th century.

Dates, Prices & Remarks

 

SCHEDULED GROUP DEPARTURES FOR 2022:

18/6, 25/6, 02/7, 09/7, 16/7, 23/7, 30/7, 06/8, 20/8, 27/8, 03/9, 10/9



Accommodation: three-star (Bansko), tourist class/basic hotel (Panichishte) and family hotels (Govedartsi); double/twin rooms with en-suite facilities everywhere; breakfast and supper included.

Best period: mid June - mid September

Price: 595 € (limited time offer)

Single room supplement: 90 €

The price includes: accommodation and boarding as mentioned above; transfer to/from Sofia airport; English-speaking guide and private transfers throughout the tour; lift tickets; VAT and all local taxes.

The price does not include: maps (could be requested in advance when booking the tour), other meals, drinks, entrance fees, tips, personal expenses, travel/medical insurance.

Program

  • Day 1: Sofia – Bansko

    We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to Bansko at the foot of Mount Pirin (appr. 2,45hrs).

  • Day 2: Bansko – Mount Polezhan – Bansko (5hrs; 7km; +770m/-770m)

    30 min transfer to Gotse Delchev hut above Dobrinishte resort. Chair cable car to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m) which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes, including the largest Popovo Lake (30m 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 through the northeast ridge, which is not difficult or too steep, except for the last 20-minute stage of the summit. Descend and transfer back to Bansko (time permitting there is an option to try the local thermal pools of Dobrinishte that same afternoon).

  • Day 3: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Banderishki Lakes Cirque – Demyanitsa Hut – Bansko (6-7hrs; 16km; +615m/-1215m)

    Today, we visit one of the most picturesque parts of the Pirin: the Banderishki Lakes Cirque (30min transfer to the trailhead). 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. 15min transfer back to Bansko.

  • Day 4: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Mount Vihren – Vihren Hut – Bansko (6-7hrs; 8km; +960m/-960m)

    The target today is Mount Vihren: Bulgaria’s second-highest and the Pirin’s highest summit (the trailhead we reach again by 30min transfer). Breathtaking views offer themselves to us as we climb through the Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) area bounded by the 400m 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). We will do a circular climb of the summit and will eventually descend back to Vihren hut, where we will board the transfer vehicle for another 30min drive down to Bansko.

  • Day 5: Bansko – Rila Monastery – Skakavitsa Waterfall – Panichishte (3-4hrs; 9km; +390m/-390m)

    We bid farewell to Pirin and set off for Rila. Our first stop is the Rila Monastery (2hrs drive from Bansko), 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 analog of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Thence, we proceed to the Panichishte Resort (1,30hrs drive from Rila Monastery), where we visit the Skakavitsa Waterfall (70m) before supper or simply ramble in the shady woods near our mountain lodge (the SPA resort Sapareva Banya may also be used as a place to stay overnight).

  • Day 6: Panichishte – The Seven RIla Lakes – Mount Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (7hrs; 18km; +800m/-1200m)

    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, 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.

  • Day 7: Govedartsi – Borovets – Mount Musala – Borovets – Govedartsi (6hrs; 14,50km; +690m/-690m)

    Today, we climb the Balkans’ highest summit: Musala (2925m). A cable car takes us from the Borovets Resort to the setting-off point for the trek (We reach Borovets resort after a 30min transfer from Govedartsi). 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. Descend and transfer back to Govedartsi.

  • Day 8: Govedartsi – Sofia

    Transfer from Govedartsi to Sofia Airport (appr. 1,30hrs).

Departures and prices

DateDestinationSpots leftFrom price
18/06/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
25/06/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
02/07/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
09/07/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
6€635.00Book
16/07/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
23/07/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
6€635.00Book
30/07/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
06/08/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
20/08/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
27/08/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
03/09/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book
10/09/2022Hiking trek in the Pirin & Rila mountains
No flights included!
8€635.00Book