Rila is like a chunk of the Alps set upon the Balkans. Delight in an amazing adventure in Bulgaria’s largest national park. Among the numerous jagged summits rising to over 2700m/8900ft stands the Balkans’ highest peak Musala (2925m/9596ft). Rila, an old Slav word meaning Water Mountain, looks like a stormy sea of mountain crests and summits traversed by deep gorges amid which huddle over 180 glacier lakes, the Seven Rila Lakes being just the best known of them.
Day 1: Sofia – Govedartsi
We meet you at Sofia Airport and take you to the village of Govedartsi, where we shall have four overnight stays.
Day 2: Govedartsi – The Seven Rila Lakes – Govedartsi (6-7hrs; 16-18km; +1100-1300m/-1100-1300m)
Today, we tour the famous Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. A shady path takes us through an enchanted spruce forest to the alpine part of the mountain whеre the Lakes are. In good weather, the views from the highest part of the route to the Lakes, which fall below us, are impressive.
Day 3: Govedartsi – Malyovitsa – Scary Lake/Yonchevo Lake or Mount Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (5,30-6hrs; 12-14km; +880-1040m/-880-1040m)
The Malyovishka River valley is the starting point for our climb to the Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake or else to the summit of Malyovitsa (depending on group fitness). Either trek is particularly beautiful and picturesque, opening up unexpected surprises from the alpine area of the Rila.
Day 4: Govedartsi – Borovets – Mount Musala – Borovets – Govedartsi (6hrs; 14,50km; +690m/-690m)
Today’s adventure is dominated by Musala, the Balkans’ highest peak at 2925m/9596ft. The entire route passes Cirques, lakes and mountain shelter huts, with the rocky face of Musala in view the whole time. Once there, the view over a sea of jagged ridges, peaks, and valleys is truly something you will never forget.
Day 5: Govedartsi – Sofia
Transfer from Govedartsi to Sofia Airport.
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 and hiking experience of each client.
Notes: all hiking treks are tailored in terms of difficulty to each individual group; overall, the terrain means they are rather arduous. The itinerary offers opportunities for extensions involving additional overnight stays at Govedartsi or Sofia to allow day trips to the Rila Monastery, Plovdiv, Koprivshtitsa, the Rozhen Monastery, Melnik, or elsewhere.
Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper.
Price: 420 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 60 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Best period: mid-June – mid-September.
Group size: Min. 4 persons
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation and catering as in the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; chair lift tickets and all local taxes.
Price does not include: extra food and drink; mountain maps; medical insurance; entry fees and personal expenses.