- Transfers to and from your accommodation in Sofia (on first/last tour date only)
- English-speaking mountain guide
- Cable car tickets
- Museum entrance fees to visit Rila Monastery
- Extra food and drink
- Mountain maps
- Medical insurance
WHAT TO EXPECT
This is a relatively demanding trekking tour of the highest mountains in Bulgaria. You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle or in your accommodation. The tour will pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Sofia.
Day 1 - Malyovitsa Valley
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, the tour descends to the Yonchevo Lake and finish the loop again at Malyovitsa resort. The tour stays overnight in a family-run pension in the nearby village of Govedartsi. (walking: 12km/7miles, climbing and descending 900m/3000ft)
Day 2 - Panichishte
Transfer to Panichishte resort and a refreshing chairlift ride will bring the tour to the trailhead, exploring the Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. Located at between 2100 and 2500 meters (6900 to 8200ft) 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. (walking: 6km/4miles, climbing and descending 500m/1700ft). After a circular walk among the lakes, continue on to Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains National Park, where you will spend the next two nights. Time permitting on the way to Bansko the tour can make a short detour to the most famous UNESCO site in Bulgaria: Rila Monastery.
Day 3 - Vihren Hut
The pre-arranged transfer brings you up to the Vihren Hut (appr. 30min) where the tour sets off on a hiking trek through the pretty Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes. Loop walk among the lakes will take you to all five of them. Have rest on their shores and enjoy the serenity of the rocky outcrops around you. (7,5 km; 3,30-4,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 700m/2300ft)
For hikers, that are really fit (sure-footedness is required as well), the tour has another option: to attempt the Pirin’s premier summit, Vihren (2914m a.s.l.). 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. (8,50 km; 5,30-6,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 1000m/3300ft)
Day 4 - Dobrinishte
Car transfer brings you above Dobrinishte resort, at Gotse Delchev Hut (appr. 40min). Chair cable car then takes you up to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m/9354ft), which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes, including the largest Popovo Lake (30m/100ft 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. Use the classic route trough the northeast ridge, which is not difficult or too steep, except the last 15-minute stage of the summit. (5hrs of walking, climbing and descending 650m/2100ft). Arriving back to our car, we hit the road for a transfer to your accommodation in Sofia (appr. 3hrs).
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.
Notes: You may book additional nights in Sofia before or after the tour, or book day trips with the tour to cultural centres like Plovdiv, the Bachkovo Monastery, Koprivshtitsa, Starosel, or Veliko Tarnovo.
Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper.