The Pirin is perhaps Bulgaria’s most picturesque and most alpine mountain. The rocky outcrop known for its marble and granite peaks and rich flora and fauna is listed by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site. The Pirin has over 60 peaks rising to over 2500m/8200ft, with the highest, Vihren (2914m/9560ft) the target of one of our treks. The routes transit ridge crests or weave among Cirques dotted with crystal-clear blue glacier lakes and offer an exceptional variety of incredible views.
Note that this tour has high difficulty and is only meant for people with previous experience in high mountain/Alpine hiking, including tracing rocky slopes, handling rough terrain, passing remains of snow-drifts, possessing adequate reaction in foggy or stormy weather conditions etc. Very good physical fitness is necessary.
/The order of the walks may be changed for logistical reasons./
Day 1: Sofia – Bansko
We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to Bansko where you will spend the next four nights (transfer time is appr. 2,30-2,45hrs). Each day you will have transfers to the beginning of the trailhead and back later in the afternoon. During the holiday you will be able to explore two different parts of the Pirin Mountains: the Karst regions around Mt. Vihren, comprising mighty cliffs and steep slopes (and housing the century-old spruce forest of the Yulen Reserve) and the more green areas around Mt. Polezhan and Mt. Bezbog (where you could find also numerous glacial lakes).
Days 2-4: (final details with the order of the walks in Pirin Mountains will be available inside your tour program, which will be emailed to you prior to your arrival in Bulgaria)
A: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Banderishki Lakes Cirque – Demyanitsa River – Bansko (6-7hrs; 16km; +615m/-1215m)
Pre-arranged transfer brings you up to the Vihren Hut (appr. 30min) where you set off on a hiking trek through the pretty Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes. From there, you go across into the neighbouring valley and the Todorini Ochi Lakes and thence through the thick spruce forests of the Yulen Nature Reserve on to the valley of the playful Demyanitsa River. Stunning sceneries will be expecting you behind every corner.
Easier and shorter version is also available for that day in case of bad weather conditions or if you don’t feel confident enough for the original route above. Loop walk among the lakes in the Bunderishki Lake Cirque will take you to all five of them, where you can have rest on their shores and enjoy the serenity of the rocky outcrops around you.
B: Bansko – Mount Polezhan – Bansko (5hrs; 7km; +770m/-770m)
Today, you visit one of the Pirin’s greenest parts near the Bezbog Hut (transfer time each way: 0,50 hrs). The car will drop you off at Gotse Delchev hut, from where you need to board the chairlift to Bezbog hut. This is the setting-off point for an extraordinarily panoramic walking trek to the Polezhan summit (2851m/9354ft). The summit offers perhaps the most wonderful view in the Pirin, with no fewer than 17 lakes visible, including the largest and deepest glacier lake in the mountain: the Popovo Lake.
Again easier walk is available if you wish to relax that day before the hardest Day 4. Instead of climbing Mt. Polezhan, you can continue on to Popovo Lake and spend the day there. (3hrs of walking; 7,6km/4,72miles; climbing and descending 396m/1299ft). . Or of course you can combine both hikes (12,50 km; 5,30hrs).
C: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Mount Vihren – Vihren Hut – Bansko (6-7hrs; 8km; +960m/-960m)
Time to attempt the Pirin’s premier summit, Vihren (transfer time each way: appr. 30min). You trek through the Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) area beneath the breathtaking sheer 300m/1000ft 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. (6hrs of walking; 7,3km/4,5miles; climbing and descending 960m/3150ft.). On the way back to Bansko you can stop for a short visit to the oldest Bulgarian tree – the Baikushev’s Pine Tree (more than 1300 years old, situated just above the road).
Day 5: Bansko – Sofia
Transfer from Bansko to Sofia Airport in connection with your flight (appr. 2,30-2,45hrs).
Rila Monastery (UNESCO) extension: Depending on your flight times on the way to Bansko on Day 1 or on the way to Sofia on Day 5 you can make a detour to visit Rila Monastery (UNESCO). This detour will take appr. 2,30-3hrs (incl. 1-1,30hrs free time to explore the monastery and its museum on your own; no guiding and entry fees included) and will cost 60 EUR (group of 1-3 pers.), or 95 EUR (group of 4-8 pers.). Please let us know at the time of booking so this extra can be added to your reservation on time.
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.
Limited time offer:
Price: 435 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 70 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Solo travellers supplement: 280 € (incl. sgl. room supplement)
Rent of hiking poles: 20 €/person
Best period: mid-June – mid-September.
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers for the daily treks as per itinerary (pre-defined/fixed schedule of the daily transfers, which you need to follow); accommodation in 3-star hotel incl. breakfast; en-suite rooms; GPS tracks; detailed route notes in English and map.
Price does not include: extra meals and drinks; chairlift tickets; medical insurance (make sure it has adventure sports coverage); entry fees and personal expenses.