An intensive hiking & sightseeing program, which shows you the best of the nature and culture merits of the Rila Mountains: Rila Monastery (UNESCO) and the Cirque of The Seven Rila Lakes. The program doesn’t allow much free time on either site but it is quite enough to explore both places.
Difficulty: The hiking route is moderately arduous, with individual brief paths featuring steep inclines. Please bring along comfortable walking boots. Sandals and flip-flops are not accepted. Rain jacket might be useful in summer as heavy showers sometimes occur in the afternoons.
Total transfers time: 4,30-5 hrs
Walking time: 3,30 hrs (hiking time only; moderate difficulty)
Best period: mid-June – mid-September (possible also in late May and Late September through to October (incl.) (depending on the lifts working time; contact us for details)
Circular trek, starting from the Rila Lakes hut, going along the lower lakes up to the Kidney Lake, before descending back to the Rila Lakes hut (the highest two lakes will be skipped due to lack of time). (3,30hrs hiking time only; 4,5km; +200m; -200m)The tour begins with an early transfer to the Rila, followed by a brief cable car ride to the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque. The glacier lakes are at between 2100 and 2500m/6800 and 8200ft above sea level, with name fitting their shapes, like Babreka (the Kidney), Okoto (the Eye), and Salzata (the Teardrop). As we need to follow strict time schedule depending on your fitness we can either walk the whole trek around all lakes, or make the stroll shorter and skip some of them (normally the two highest ones). After the hiking around one of the Rila’s most remarkable and beautiful parts, we are transferred to the Rila Monastery: the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. The 20m/70ft high walls shelter impressive cloisters, a church, and a chapel with unique murals and museum collections.
Prices: 1 pers: 159 euro; 2 pers: 97 euro pp; 3 pers: 74 euro pp; 4-7 pers: 66 euro pp;
The price includes: Transfers throughout the tour (pick up/drop off at your hotel in Sofia); English-speaking guide; Chair lift tickets for Rila Mountains; Entrance to the museum in Rila Monastery;
Food: There will be no time for a proper lunch. Please come prepared with a lunch pack.
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.
"I highly recommend this!!!"
We (3 people) did the tour with Petar, an absolutely great, funny and nice guide! We had a wonderfull day, hiking in the morning – which took about 3 – 4 hours – with amazing views over the beautiful clear lakes and enjoying the diversity of the vegetation! Petar always knew the best spots for taking pictures 😉
In the afternoon we drove to the rila monastery, a must – see in bulgaria! Our guide told us a lot about the history of the monastery, bulgaria in general and he could answer all our questions. And he kept us from buying the wrong donuts (the traditional ones are much better 😉 )!
As I said, we can highly recommend the tour…its the only way to do these two highlights in one day and if you’re lucky and can do it with Petar, you’ll have a wonderfull day for sure!
"Great tour guide and fantastic hike"
Had a fantastic day with Todor, our tour guide, as we went for the Seven Lakes hike & Rila Monastery tour. Todor was very accomodating for everyone, making sure everyone was having a great time. Also very knowledgeable in every aspect of the tour. I had a great time on this tour, and would definitely recommend going on this tour if you want to go to the lakes and other parts of the country other than Sofia.
"Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery"
I had a pleasure to go and check out Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery with Petar Chakalov. The trip was perfectly organized from the very beggining to its end. The guide has huge knowladge not only about place we have visited but about Bulgaria in general, so he gave us many tips and recommend place worth visiting. This trip proved that bulgarian nature is just crazy and Traventuria knows the way to show it!
"Hike to Rila Monastery and Lakes"
I took a full day hiking tour to the Rila Monastery and Lakes with Traventuria. Maya was our guide for the day. Highly recommend the tour for solo travellers, and also a great way to meet people. Maya is a lovely company and has some great stories to share. She is an experienced guide, also very thoughtful and helpful throughout the trip with the group.
“Marvelous trip to the 7 Lakes and Rila”
We absolutely loved the day trip to the seven lakes and the monastery! It was worth the price. We had a great time, it was a nice trip in a small group and we were very lucky with our guide, Vasko. He was very nice and he taught us a lot, not only about the lakes and the monastery, but also about Bulgaria. He made the tour even more fun.
“Rila Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery Tour”
Wow! What a day. Our fantastic guide Martin picked us up from hotel at 7.30am and drove us to the Rila lakes where we walked with him for 4 hours. We then went on the the Monastery where Martin told us all about the history of this stunning sight. We got home at 8pm. Martin was not in a hurry to get us back to the hotel. He was discreet, professional, kind and polite. The perfect guide! Thank you Martin and thank you Traventuria.
“Great tour with a great guide”
We did the Rila monastery and Rila lakes combined tour–both were worth visiting, in very different ways. Our tour guide, Met, was incredibly knowledgeable about the mountains, the art and architecture of the monastery, and the history of Bulgaria. He was fun and generally a great guide. I highly recommend using Traventuria (especially if you can get Met as your tour guide) if you want a chance for both a beautiful hike and a beautiful trip to one of Bulgaria’s most transcendent and historic sites.
“Trip to the seven lakes and Rila Monastery”
My Girlfriend and took part in this 1 day trip to see the lakes and the Rila monastery. It was beautiful. Our guide for this was VASCO. He was fantastic, he was very knowledgable about Bulgaria in general and the lakes and mountains in detail. He let the group go at its own pace when needed and also got allowed us to go a bit faster when we could. I could not fault his ‘guiding’. Would 100% recommend his trip and Vasco in particular, to anyone who wants to see beautiful mountains and a super old monastery.
“Rila monastery, Rila lakes, Rila Mountains”
Absolutely amazing! We were impressed by the mountains and lakes as a site by itself, but our extremely competent and kind guide made the whole trip memorable and recommendable. Martin (guide) did a great job giving us information and knowledge of the sites, and because one in the group had a bad foot, he showed patience and had nothing against our later arrival back to Sofia. He gave us all the time we needed taking photos and helped us pointing out great spots for doing so background-wise. He is a guide without comparison, he is doing a terrific job, and made our day trip one of the best days on our entire interrail trip. Please, give our best regards to him 🙂
“Day trip to Rila lakes and monastery”
Amazing experience! Wonderful organization from start to finish.I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful nature of the mountain .The most exceptional that day was our guide Martin -i can”t imagine a better one.He is exceptionally kind,educated and professional and spending the day together was a joy.He is an outstanding hiker and knows a great deal about tracking.He was very considerate with the pace and conditions on the track and i learned so much about this beautiful country.Thank you Martin and Traventuria.
“A taste of hiking in Bulgaria, and the Rila Monastery”
Our experience with Traventuria and our guide Kiril was fantastic. We happened to arrive at the Rila Lakes on incredibly busy day, but our guide still found us a slice of peace and serenity in the hills. Kiril knew a huge amount about the lakes and the surrounding area. Having Kiril with us at Rila Monastery was invaluable. In addition to topics directly related to the tour, we talked at length at just about any topic that popped up, whether on the walk or in the car. I learned much about Bulgarian culture, politics, and national character. There is no doubt that these guys are excellent advocates for Sofia, Bulgaria, and the environment. If you only have a short window, this is a good way to get to know Bulgaria better–and the perfect way to see the monastery and another worthwhile activity in the same day.
“Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery tour”
We had an excellent day with this company and especially with our guide, Martin. He was right on time to pick us up, gave us really useful information throughout the trip and was easy to talk to. What was most useful was his hiking experience. We got some bad weather near the end of the hike and Martin helped us to decide to turn around before it got worse, and it did; it started pouring and even hailing at one point.
“Seven Rila Lakes + Rila Monastery tour”
I only had 2 days and wanted to stay overnight in the mountains. Travenuria was very patient and helpful over rounds of email in tailoring something to my wish. I ended up having an amazing time hiking in the mountains and then staying over-night at the Monastery (to be picked up by a different tour to Boyana church the next day). Huge credit goes to my guide Martin. Without him I would not have made it where I wanted to, or would have gotten terribly lost in the fog! Thanks again for a couple fabulous days.
“Hiking in Rila mountain & Rila monastery”
We booked a day excursion to Rila mountain & Rila monastery. Our guide, Simeon, was very friendly and knowledgable about the history of Rila monastery and Seven Rila lakes we visited. With only one day to spend sightseeing for Rila Mt. & Rila monastery it was a comfortable and economical way. Lunch was delicious – fresh fish in a local restaurant. I can highly recommend Traventuria to everybody who likes to go hiking in Bulgaria!
“Rila Monastery- 7 Lakes Tour / Vitosha Mountain tour”
I found Traventuria on internet and booked two tours (Day 1:Rila Monastery and 7 Lakes + Day 2: Vitosha Mountain) for 2 consecutive days, in the middle of our 4-day stay in Sofia. The booking went quite easy and confirmation came quickly. We were picked up at our hotel, perfectly on time both days.
The first day we went to the Rila Monastery which is a very beautiful place and worth visiting. Our guide explained us all he knew (which was a lot 🙂 and took us as well to a ‘bar’ to have typical Bulgarian donuts for breakfast. After that we drove to the the start of the 7 Lakes tour. Apparantly, we were in quite good shape so we did an extended route up in the hills which was incredibly beautiful (around 4 hours of hiking). I also found it very nice that most of the time we were just hiking, no chatting was necessary which allows you to enjoy the beautiful nature around you. We had our picknick while sitting on the edge of a cliff with the view over the lakes.
This day was quite tiring as they picked us up at 7.30am and were back at the hotel around 7pm, but it is it totally worth.
Next day we hiked up the Vitosha mountain with the same guide, had some tea with brandy in a wooden hut on top of it and saw all kind of vegetation on our way back down. The hike is much easier than the one into the Rila mountains, but remains nice due to the change between rocky mountain, forest, flowers etc.
We are very happy to have booked those tours, it offers a different way of learning the Bulgarian country, especially if you are found of nature, and I can highly recommend it to everybody!
“Rila Monastery & 7 Lakes tour”
I went on the Rila Monastery & 7 Lakes tour in one day, which started at 7am and ended about 7pm. It was a long day but very well worth it. If you have little time and would like to do the monastery and 7 lakes in one day, this is the best (or only?) option you have. Everything was very well organized and yet with no rush whatsoever-unlike on some organized tours! I had plenty of time to look around, taste some delicious Bulgarian yoghurt, take an endless number of photos and ask my wonderful guide, Simeon, a bunch of questions, which he answered happily (thank you, Simeon, you’re the best ;)). His knowledge was impressing and he took care of me perfectly well, even when an unexpected thunderstorm set in and we got soaked pretty quickly 🙂 This day was the highlight of my trip to Bulgaria and while it is expensive, unfortunately, you’ll have fond memories for a long time to come (and no, for the suspicious one out there: Traventuria didn’t write this comment themselves, hahaha).
“Seven lakes and Rila monastery - a pretty good full day trip from Sofia”
Perfect organization – which enabled us to do the hike in front of most of the others, no queues… Plus the background stories were really a great bonus. I got an impression of the local landscape and learnt something about Bulgaria. To have an educated, enthusiastic guide, with a deep knowledge of history and so being able to give an answer to all our questions is priceless – everything else you can buy using your credit card… Safe back home at our appartment in the evening – exactly at the time calculated 🙂