Vitosha, Rila & Pirin - the great winter adventure (snowshoeing trek)
Revel in the beauty of nature amid winter. Sense the calm of winter magic in two of Bulgaria’s best-loved mountains: the Vitosha Nature Park, Rila and Pirin national parks. Our snowshoeing trek passes old mountain forests, high plateaus, steep slopes and valleys, tiring us pleasantly before an evening spent in a peasant family hotel with a glass of red wine with appetizing local specialities. The itinerary includes a call at one of Bulgaria’s most renowned sights: the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery.
Snowshoe walking appears easy fun, yet calls for some stamina because any walking through snow can be tiring. Even if you have not tried this type of locomotion, you will rapidly get used to using the poles and snowshoes on thick, fluffy virgin mountain snow. The programme is moderate to difficult and suitable for people in good physical shape. Depending on the weather and snow cover, your guide may change the proposed routes.
Day 2: Today, we traverse Vitosha: the most popular destination for Sofianites. Starting from the Aleko Hut, we shall trek along the crest of the mountain through the Torfeno Branishte Nature Reserve to the famous Zlatni Mostove (Golden Bridges) stone rivers. We then transfer for overnight in a cozy family-run pension in the village of Govedartsi, Rila Mountains. (4-5hrs of walking, climbing 150m/490ft and descending 600m/1970ft)
Day 3: After breakfast we transfer to the nearby resort Malyovitsa. From there we start climbing up towards Yonchevo Lake. As we walk out of the woods we will enjoy the panorama to the neighbouring peaks and deep valleys of Rila. Eventually we walk down through an old coniferous forest to get back to Govedartsi village. (5hrs of walking, climbing 400m/1310ft and descending 400m/1310ft)
Day 4: Today’s aim is to get to the foot of Bulgaria, and the Balkans’, highest summit: Musala Peak (2925m/9594ft). We climb to the starting point of the route by cable car from the Borovets Resort and then continue snowshoeing to the highest mountain refuge in Bulgaria - The Icy Lake. At this point the rugged summit of Musala will be facing us from a very close distance. Then we turn back along the same route to overnight at Govedartsi again. (5 hrs of walking, climbing 500m/1640ft and descending 550m/1640ft)
Day 5: A brief transfer takes us to the Panichishte Resort where we board a cable car to the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque for a full tour. Though frozen and covered in thick snow in winter, the area remains rather pretty. Our day ends in a cosy family hotel at the famous ski resort of Bansko in Pirin Mountains, where we stay for the next two nights. (5hrs of walking, climbing 350m/1150ft and descending 350m/1150ft)
Day 6: Another short transfer takes us above Dobrinishte resort to board the chair cable car to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Popovo Lake which will be deeply frozen at that time but the route there and back offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin. (4-5hrs of walking, climbing 300m/984ft and descending 300m/985ft)
Day 7: Low-altitude snowshoeing among some of the typical villages, lying at the hollow among Rila, Pirin and Rhodope mountains, (incl. visit to the famous church in Dobarsko village). Later today, on the way to Sofia we visit also one of Bulgaria’s top tourist attractions: the Rila Monastery listed by UNESCO. The latter is the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. The 20m high walls shelter impressive cloisters, a church, and a chapel with unique murals and museum collections. Gala dinner and overnight in Sofia. (2-3hrs of walking, climbing 100m/330ft and descending 100m/330ft)
Day 8: Transfer to Sofia Airport.
Dates, Prices & Remarks
Yes, ski holiday in Bansko, Borovets or Pamporovo
Try skiing and snowboarding in the best resorts in Eastern Europe, or in the sunniest one or in the oldest one in Bulgaria. In the links above you will find details for hotels, transfers and ski services (ski and snowboard equipment hire, ski and snowboard school, lift passes etc.) in each of the three resorts.
Accommodation and luggage transportation:
Three-star and family hotels; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper.
Group size: Min. 6 persons.
Single room supplement: 100 €
The price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation and catering as in the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; hire of snow shoes and poles; cable car tickets and all local taxes.
The price does not include: museum entry charges; extra food and drink; mountain maps; medical insurance; personal expenses.