The Seven Rila Lakes & Malyovitsa Peak ridge walk (2 days)


This two-day hike will take you in the most pristine and panoramic part of Rila Mountains – the sixth highest mountain in Europe. We will start with a hike to the remote Ivan Vazov hut passing by the crystal clear waters of each of the Seven Rila Lakes – the pearls of Rila Mountains, and continue with a superb traverse on the main ridge of the mountain, climb the symbol of Bulgarian mountaineering – Malyovitsa summit (2736m) and descend to the big glacier valley of Malyovitsa River. This trip is suitable for experienced hikers or people in good physical condition. Sometimes the ridge walk might be in clouds so prepare for cooler weather with warmer and waterproof clothes.

Conditions in the hut are basic, rooms are dormitories with bunk beds, there are toilets available on the ground floor. Linens and blankets are provided, but you can bring your summer sleeping bag if you prefer. Food is freshly cooked and served, although there is no big variety – so you can bring food if it is something special – usually they have beans or lentils soup, omelettes, delicious cheese from a local diary, etc. It is suggested that you buy lunch pack from the hut for the second day or be prepared with nuts, energy bars, dried fruits, etc.

Day 1: Sofia – Malyovitsa – Vada Hut – The Seven Rila Lakes – Ivan Vazov Hut (6,30-7hrs; 16km; +1320/-220m)
We start early from your hotel in Sofia with a 2-hour transfer to Malyovitsa mountain base (1700m) where we leave the car and set off for the hike. First we cross Maloyvitsa and Urdina river and descend to a small hut, where you can have a snack or tea and continue with and uphill walk through beautiful century-old coniferous forests. In about 3 hours we are out of the forest walking amidst the kingdom of the dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) and soon reach the first (The Lower) and second (The Fish) of the Seven Rila Lakes. Here we stop for a longer break and lunch and learn about the White brotherhood movement and its founder Peter Danov. Later we continue gradually ascending up to the top of the ridge passing by the crystal clear waters of the rest of the lakes – The Trefoil, The Twins, The Kidney, The Eye and the highest – The Teardrop. The panorama is great and we can climb a little bit more on a thin ridge from where we can see all of the Seven Rila Lakes. About an hour descend will bring us down to Ivan Vazov hut built in the beautiful grassy valley of Bistritsa River. We will have hot soup for dinner and spend the night in the hut enjoying the company of the friendly staff and maybe listen to their music performances.
Day 2: Ivan Vazov Hut – Mount Malyovitsa – Malyovitsa Hut – Malyovitsa (5hrs; 15km; +735m/-1320m)
After a hearty breakfast we set off for another exciting hike that will take us on the main ridge of the mountain. We hike up and down the ridge with stunning views to the pristine Urdini Lakes north, the charming Rila Monastery down in the river valley and the rugged and alpine Malyovitsa range summits. We have a great chance to spot Balkan Chamois on the slopes below or up on the rocks. Our highest point for the day is the symbol of Bulgarian mountaneering – Malyovitsa summit (2736m). Here we can have our picnic lunch and enjoy the stunning views of rocky peaks, steep bulleys and beautiful lakes. We end up the trek with a 2hrs descend through the deep Malyovitsa River valley, passing by Elenini Lakes and Malyovitsa hut.

This is a tentative program which can be extended with one or two more days of hiking in the area, to include a climb to Mt. Musala (2925m) – the highest peak on the Balkans etc.

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.

Walking difficulty: moderate walks with steeper ascends/descends now and then, suitable for hikers with good hiking experience; please come prepared with suitable hiking boots and clothes for mountain trekking;

2-3 persons: 199 €/person;
4+ persons: 155 €/person;

Best period:
Group size: Min. 2 persons

The price includes:
guidance in English, private transfers to/from your hotel in Sofia, accommodation in a dormitory in a mountain hut with shared facilities;
The price does not include: meals and drinks (food and tea in the huts for the two days will cost appr. 10-15 Euros/pers.), medical insurance, tourist maps, tips, personal expenses;

"Highlight of the trip"

A friend and I booked a 2 day guided hike, The Seven Rila Lakes & Malyovitsa Peak ridge walk, through Traventuria. It was a bit pricey per person for just two people, but it was absolutely worth the money. It was an outstanding experience. Our guide, Todor Nedkov, picked us up at the apartment we were staying at in Sofia at 7:00 AM on the dot. Todor was incredibly generous, kind, and knowledgeable. We unfortunately didn’t have the best weather (very, very foggy in the mountains, with rain in the afternoon and a risk of thunderstorms on the first day), so we had to rush a bit on the first day and shortened the hike on both days. Still, the landscape was absolutely stunning, and Todor worked with us to make the best plan considering the conditions. Once we reached the hut in the early afternoon on day 1, we were stuck inside the rest of the day with not much to do due to the rainy weather, so Todor gave us a Bulgarian history lesson, taught us some Bulgarian words, and helped us learn to read Cyrillic. On day 2, we skipped the Malyovitsa Peak because the thick fog would have obscured all of the views and instead hiked down a different route, stopping to see some of the herds of horses and pick wild blueberries, then descending through a beautiful forest. Since our shortened hike ended earlier than expected, Todor gave us some options to fill the rest of our afternoon, and ended up teaching us how to make the traditional pastry, banitsa. When he dropped us off at the train station, Todor went absolutely out of his way to help us change our train tickets to Varna, as I had inadvertently neglected to reserve a sleeping compartment for our overnight train trip. Despite the non-ideal weather, the hike was still absolutely the highlight of our 9 days in Bulgaria (although I loved everything we did!). Traventuria made it very easy to take on this challenging hike, giving me peace of mind that we would be safe and secure and simplifying my trip planning as they took care of all of the details. I would highly recommend using the company, as well as using Todor Nedkov as a guide.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor

“Fantastic Trekking and tours”

My partner & I recently returned from a trip to Sofia Bulgaria where we were lucky enough to spend two days trekking in the Rilla mountains guided by Orlin. The experience was wonderful; Orlin was helpful, fun and knowledgeable. We felt we were in very safe hands and could not fault our time spent on the mountains with him in such beautiful & breathtaking scenery. The guys at the Ivan Vasov hut were incredibly welcoming and we had a lovely stay, enjoying their lovely cooking, company and hospitality. We strongly recommend using Traventuria for hikes and tours. We also went on the day tour to the Rilla Monastry and Boyana church with Rusi who was also a superb guide, fun and enthusiastic, a pleasure to be with. We were given lots of interesting information and had such a fun & enjoyable day, thanks to all for providing such a brilliant service.

Click to read the original review on TripAdvisor