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The best of the Rila and Pirin (4 days)


A relatively demanding tour, which is a shorter version our week-long bestseller “Hiking trek in the Pirin and Rila mountains”. There are trails in the below itinerary, passing over stone rivers, so previous hiking experience in similar conditions would be good.

This short hiking vacation is meant for people who already stay in Sofia (thus being able to start early in the morning on Day 1) and continue their stay in Bulgaria right after the tour (as they will be dropped of again in Sofia in the evening of Day 4).

You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.

(* you need to be in Sofia already before the tour starts, and stay there again after the tour ends; we can arrange for you the extra nights in Sofia and airport transfers if needed)
Day 1: Sofia – Malyovitsa – Scary Lake – Yonchevo Lake – Govedartsi (5hrs; 12km; +900m/-900m)

Early morning transfer from Sofia takes you to the beautiful Malyovitsa Valley and thence high over the alpine Cirques and small lakes, sheltering also the secretive Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. From there we descend to the Yonchevo Lake and finish the loop again at Malyovitsa resort. We stay overnight in a family-run pension in the nearby village of Govedartsi.
Day 2: Govedartsi – Panichishte – The Seven Rila Lakes – (Rila Monastery) – Bansko (3,30-4,30hrs; 6-9km; +400-500m/-400-500m)
Transfer to Panichishte resort and a refreshing chairlift ride will bring us to the trailhead, exploring the Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. Located at between 2100 and 2500 metres above sea level, these famous glacier lakes will charm you with their magnificent scenery which you can survey from the edge of the highest one. After a circular walk among the lakes we continue on to Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains National Park, where we will spend the next two nights. Time permitting on the way to Bansko we can make a short detour to the most famous UNESCO site in Bulgaria: Rila Monastery.
Day 3: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Mount Vihren – Vihren Hut – Bansko (5,30-6hrs; 9km; +960m/-960m)
Pre-arranged transfer brings us up to the Vihren Hut (appr. 30min) where we set off on a stunning trek towards the giant of Pirin – Mount Vihren (2914m). We trek through the Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) area beneath the breathtaking sheer 300m northern wall of Vihren, whose dolomite precipices offer shelter to rare edelweiss flowers and fretful herds of Balkan Chamois (wild goats). The views are genuinely overwhelming, yet they are just the prelude to the panoramas that open up from the summit over a sea of jagged peaks all around. We make a circuit around (and including) the summit of Vihren and return back to Bansko.
Day 4: Bansko – Mount Polezhan – Sofia (5hrs; 7km; +770m/-770m)
Car transfer brings us above Dobrinishte resort, at Gotse Delchev Hut (appr. 30min). Chair cable car then takes us up to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m) which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes, including the largest Popovo Lake (30m 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. Arriving back to our car, we hit the road for a transfer to your accommodation in Sofia (appr. 3hrs drive).

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: difficult to challenging walks for fit hikers with good hiking experience in Alpine terrains; please come prepared with suitable hiking boots and clothes for mountain trekking.

Limited time offer:
590 €/person in twin/dbl room (based on min 4 full paying clients)
Single room supplement: 55 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person

Best period: mid June – October
Price includes: transfers to and from your accommodation in Sofia (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation in 3-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and dinner; English-speaking mountain guide; cable car tickets, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: museum entrance fees in case you decide to visit Rila Monastery; extra food and drink; mountain maps; medical insurance; personal expenses.
Group size: Min. 4 persons (this tour is organized on private basis only; there are no scheduled group departures, which you could potentially join individually)