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Peaks and lakes of the Pirin and Rila mountains (8 days)

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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 program 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 program is based in two main centers(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 (the SPA resort Sapareva Banya may also be used as a place to stay overnight). (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).

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.

Accommodation:
three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURES FOR 2018: 23/6, 30/6, 07/7, 14/7, 21/7, 28/7, 04/8, 18/8, 25/8, 01/9, 08/9

Limited time offer:
Price: 510 € per person in twin/dbl room
(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

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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.

“Trekking in the Pirin and Rilas Mountains Bulgaria”

The service provided by Traventuria was professional from collection in Sofia to drop off in Sofia at the end. The treks were excellent, challenging and offering stunning scenery. The hotels used as bases in the Pirin and Rilas mountains were perfect. The guide, Mitko, was endlessly enthusiastic and guided the group with a high level of professionalism and skill. He was highly informative on every aspect of the mountains, the regional geography, the history, the religious structures visited, the produce, cooking, music of each area. He went to great lengths to cater for the needs of individual I would be very happy and excited to join Traventuria in future for other activities

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“A fantastic experience”

Nellie Chukurlieva was the best guide ever. Apart from giving us a unique experience with slow, thoughtful yet challenging climbs, she shared vast knowledge on the mountain, on history and culture in a calm, friendly and unintrusive way. Her choice of treks and her care for us and for the whole project were exemplary. She as a friendly and warm relationship with business partners and colleagues all over the area where we stayed. After the week spent with her, we spent another week with our family in the vicinity. Her recommendations were very welcome to share with the family too. A memorable holiday. Please thank Nellie again and make sure that she knows how much she is worth! Kind regards, Theodora and Laurence Broyd

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“Pirin Rila week hike”

I have just completed the Pirin Rila Traventuria hike from 29 July to 5 August. My guide was Mitko. The hike was sensational. The mountains were spectacular, forests were enchanting. Every day something new without it being too much. Mitko the guide challenged us, made us laugh, taught us about Bulgarian history and culture and is passionate about exploring and respecting the environment. He has given me a lifelong passion for hiking!

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“Bulgarian Mountains”

A great trip through the Pirin and Rila mountains. Traventuria and the guide Mitko were helpful and well organised. The week Trekking in the mountains gives you the opportunity to see the highlights of the region, the 7 Lakes, Mt Vihren, Rila Monastery and the highest mountain in the Balkans, Mt Musala.
I am looking forward to my next trek in the Rhodope.
Thank you Mitko and Traventuria.

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“Bulgaria trekking holiday”

To Whom It May Concern,
I just completed your Pirin to Rila trip today and I couldn’t even wait until I arrived home to tell you how impressed I was with your company.
I have visited many countries with various companies but never experienced anything as incredible as what i did with your company.
The itinerary was perfectly thought out and each day surpassed the one before. I loved the fact that the group was small. It added a real personal touch and made me feel like I was trekking with family.
As for our guide, I cannot say enough great things about Alex. He is an amazing ambassador for your country. He was incredibly knowledgeable, charismatic, thoughtful, helpful and always went above and beyond the calls of duty to make sure everyone was happy. Nothing was ever a problem for him to do and he always did everything with a smile. He is obviously passionate about his work.
I really cannot thank you enough for giving me the most incredible memories of your beautiful country.
I am leaving Bulgaria with a heavy heart but I am sure that I will return in the future.
From the bottom of my heart thank you for this inspiring experience.
I wish you every success for the future.
Go raibh mile maith agat.
Karina Johns

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“Fantastic guided tour with Alexander Serafimov”

At the end of August, my son went on a guided hike of the Rila and Pirin mountains in Bulgaria with Traventuria Ltd. Here is an account of the tour from his perspective:

Tour guide: Alexander Serafimov (Alex). Alex was an absolutely fantastic tour guide. He was knowledgeable about the mountains both in terms of flora and fauna. His English was immaculate (first language Bulgarian) but he also proved his multi-lingual abilities plenty of times on the tour! Overall, the best tour guide I have ever had.

The tour at a glance: the tour went through both the Rila and Pirin mountain ranges, of which I completed 3 of the main peaks (Polizhan, Musala and Vihren) as well as the beautiful 7 Rila Lakes. We were a small group (6 individuals, all English speaking). It was without doubt the most enthralling journey each day, with the scenery changing ever so often. Lush forests, rocky mountains and sharp faces met us each day. Also note, that this particular hike is challenging and requires a great deal of fitness. In total, the tour lasted 7 days.

Extras: There were many extras that were thrown in that we did not even know we would be getting! 1. Guided tour through Bansko and Sofia with Alex, again very knowledgeable especially about the history of these places. 2. Almost every night we had dinner at a different restaurant and one night we had a traditional Bulgarian experience where we sang and danced through the streets of a small village! The restaurant decision is left in the hands of the tour guide by Traventuria and Alex did a great job of picking the best and most diverse places. 3. Cable cars, chair lifts, transfers all included without extra charge. 4. A goodie bag at the start of the tour. Importantly, none of these things came at any extra cost.

Overall: Traventuria was extremely well organised from the start. Alex was a star of a guide. The trek through the mountains was breathtaking. A must for any trekking enthusiast.

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“Excellent hiking trip through the best peaks in the Balkans”

My partner and I did the peaks and lakes of the Pirin and Rila mountains with Traventuria. It was an incredible experience which was well organised by the company. From the moment I showed interest, Traventuria made every effort possible to help out and book the tour that was right for us. We scored Alex Serafimov as our guide! he was excellent, had incredible local knowledge and was overall a cool guy! The food was great, the transfers seamless and the mountains remarkable! would definitely recommend using Traventuria and asking for Alex!! 🙂

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“Every detailed taken care of...”

I joined the Rila and Pirin Mountains tour. Excellent! A great selection of hikes in the two mountain ranges, a very competent and well informed local guide/driver team, good hotels and restaurants along the way and ALL details taken care of. This was my first visit to the mountains of Bulgaria and I had a wonderful tour thanks to the company’s well planned programme. Highly recommended.

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“Excellent hike!! highly recommended”

Our hike in the Pirin and Rila mountain reserves was wonderful! Organization was tip top. Our guide, Ani, was superb! She was an interesting person, very knowledgeable, very friendly and a great pleasure to spend time with. She paid attention to all details and took care that everyone’s needs in the group were catered for. We really felt we were in good hands. The scenery is great and on most days we had the great expanses to ourselves. The only day on which we meet other hikers was on the hike to Musala. The cultural part of the trip was also very interesting. It was a great experience and I would recommend it to any serious hiker. You need to be in reasonably good shape as some days are quite long. But if you are, I don’t think you can do better. This sounds like a review a friend writes 🙂 but it is not. We basically meandered into this hike and were very glad we did so. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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“Brilliant guided hiking”

This was our first guided hiking tour (Hiking Trek in the Pirin and Rila Mountains) and first experience of Traventuria. What can I say? They have set the bar very high! It was wonderful!
The guide (Alex) was warm and welcoming right from the very beginning. The guide was very organised, informing us of the plan everyday, so we were aware of what to expect. He went above and beyond what we expected as a guide, telling us all about Bulgarian history & culture as he guided us up mountains and by lakes.
Alex even guided us in the evening taking us to traditional Bulgarian restaurants, where people played traditional folk music and taking us to a village where two locals opened up a room in their house and served us delicious food.
It was an action packed week! I really felt that I got to know the country well, taking in not only one but two national parks in 8 days. I loved the trip and I loved Bulgaria!!!! Keep up the good work!!!

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“Nice trekking in Bulgaria for a week”

I’ve passed a beautiful week in Bulgaria,trekking in Rila and Pirin.
We’ve also visited the Monaster, spent some time in a beauty center and last day visited Sofia. Thanks to the helpfulness and the competence of our guide Mitko, we’ve had a beautiful holyday.

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“6 day Walking trip Pirin and Rila Mountains”

From our first contact with Ivailo in Dec 2014 to our drop off on 5th September everything about the organisation of this walking trip was perfect. Prompt responses to email queries etc left us confident that we were in good hands.Our collection by Alex, (what a superb guide) was on time,and the trip to Bansko was full of infomation, and left us fully prepared for the journeys ahead.There were 4 of us including Alex. 6 days walking in the wonderful Pirin and Rila mountains, was really amazing. These mountains have to be seen to be believed. Our evening meals in local restaraunts and houses showed us all that is good with Bugarian cuisine and culture. We will be returning. Thanks to Ivailo and Traventuria for organising this trip, and a special thanks to Alex our guide and Charley our travelling companion for making this adventure so enjoyable.

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"Pirin and Rila mountains a week of guided hikes"

My daughter and I booked the Pirin and Rila mountains guided tour.
A well organized and well thought of, a great friendly good English speaking local guide – Lyuben Grancharov, 11 charming hikers from all over the world: Australia, Sweden, Israel, UK and Italy. It was a week to remember. Not to mention the Bulgarian food and drinks, the culture. The contact person Ivalio from Traventuria was very helpful at the early contact stage in Emails – every bit of the program was fulfilled. I highly recommend Traventuria, those guys are professionals.

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"Guided hiking trek in Pirin and Rila mountains"

What a brilliant holiday! Very well organised, beautiful scenery, excellent guide, good camaraderie in the group, good food and hospitality/places to stay. It made a big difference in only having to carry a day pack since the rest of the luggage was taken care of.

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"Fantastic week of hiking in Pirin and Rila Mountains"

Traventuria did a great job of organizing a well balanced and sufficiently challenging week of hiking in the Pirin and Rila mountains. Lyuben, our guide was excellent, keeping our group of eleven on track and together both while hiking and in the evenings. Accommodation was basic but comfortable and the meals provided filling and enjoyable, especially when experiencing some of the local specialities. Spectacular mountains, beautiful lakes and a huge variety of alpine flowers made this a hiking trip to remember.

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"Hiking in Pirin & Rila Mountains"

An amazing experience, well organised and full of variety, great simple hotels and food. Guide was fantastic. Thoroughly recommend to anyone who wants challenging walking and spectacular scenery on a very well managed trek.

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"Pirin & Rila Mountains"

My first trek of its kind in Europe and I had the time of my life for the whole 6 days. Kamen our guide was great! His friendly disposition and knowledge of his country along with his stamina made each day very enjoyable and challenging. The hotels we stayed at were all really nice and the food delicious! The trip was so very well organised and I can only recommend Traventuria highly. It is my pleasure to write this review – Bulgaria is one very beautiful country for sure! Thank you Ivailo and all at Traventuria.

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"Peaks And Lakes Of The Pirin & Rila Mountains"

We engaged Traventuria to do a private tour for 6 of us. It was a week’s hiking in the Pirin and Rila mountains. We had a fabulous time. Our guide, Maya, was informative and lovely. We stayed in three little hotels along the way. They were comfortable and the food was consistently good. We also sampled some good restaurants along the way so we had plenty of variety. This trip was similar to those offered by the big adventure travel firms but at half the price. Amazing value for money. The Bulgarian mountains are beautiful, similar to the Alps. I would definitely recommend the mountains in Bulgaria with Traventuria – go before the crowds discover it!

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"Successful Hiking Week in the Rila and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria"

We, 15 hikers had an excellent hiking week in Bulgaria and really enjoyed what was professionally organized by Traventuria. The selection of tours, the hotel, the food were quite to our liking. As for our Guide: we are all full of praise. We always felt safe because of his confidence, expertise and honest kindness. Transfers to the trailheads and back to the hotel were not too long, all with good drivers and organized vehicles, so we could let ourselves entirely on fun and relaxation.

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"Hiking trek in the Pirin and Rila mountains"

I did the hiking trek (8 days) with Traventuria and everything was perfect organized. Our Guide Orlinko was friendly, knowledgeable, professional and enthusiastic about sharing all his knowledge and experience with us! I can highly recommend Traventuria to everybody who likes to go hiking in Bulgaria!

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“Excellent Trekking in Pirin and Rila Mountains”

We had a great holiday in Bulgaria, 6 days trekking in the Pirin and Rila mountains.
Everything was just excellent from the beginning when we looked for trekking in Bulgaria through Traventuria Web site, going through the very informative email exchange and finally the holiday itself.
The pickups from and to the airport and from Govedartsy were very accurate and comfortable and the drivers were very polite and gentle.
The guide, Kamen, is really great, very good, full of knowledge and very helpfull. We enjoyed him very much. The group members were very nice and it contributed for the entire trekking atmosphare.
And finally, Bulgaria mountains, Pirin and Rila, are excellent trekking areas with very beautifull views.
So, to summarize, we enjoyed it very much and definitelly will recommend others to do so.

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“Perfect service, great country”

If you wish to travel to the Bulgarian Rila and Pirin mountains for a week of hiking, do not hesitate : trust Traventuria. They have the perfect skills to organise and provide a perfect holiday. I was particularly happy with the high quality of the mountain guide, her skills to adapt herself to a somewhat heterogeneous group and her constant good mood; but also with the choice of restaurants and hotels. I cannot complain about a single thing and am contemplating going back next year.

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