The best of the Rhodopes and Mount Rila

€740 per person

This walking tour, a combination of our classic unguided treks in the Rhodopes and the Rila, takes in the best of the two as regards routes, natural phenomena, and contact with local people. Beginning with the lower, rounded crests of the mountain of Orpheus, you will gradually move across to the arduous steep slopes and rocky outcrops of the Rila. You will have the opportunity of visiting natural and cultural sites such as the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave (considered one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful), the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge with its 350m sheer walls, the Shiroka Laka architectural reserve, Bulgaria’s second-largest monastery at Bachkovo, the Old Town of Plovdiv (an architectural and historical reserve) and many others.

The tour includes all transfers, including pick up from Sofia Airport. Hiking treks are of medium and high difficulty. Paths are well marked, with clients receiving maps and detailed descriptions of the route in English.

  • Destination
  • Duration
    9 Days I Level: 3/4 (of 5)
  • What is included
    Pick up/drop off at Sofia Airport and all other transfers according to the itinerary (pre-defined/fixed schedule of the daily transfers, which you need to follow); Family hotels/pensions; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper.; Luggage transfers; Detailed route descriptions in English; Tourist maps of the Rhodopes and Rila; GPS tracks; Emergency hotline.
  • What is not included
    Cable car tickets; cave entry charges; extra food and drink; travel/medical insurance; personal expenses.
  • Best period
    June, July, August, September
Day 1: Sofia Airport - Lyaskovo (or from Plovdiv Airport for a small fee)
Meeting at Sofia or Plovdiv airport (pick ups from Plovdiv/Plovdiv Airport against extra fee of 40 EUR; landing time: at 15:00 at latest). Single timed transfer from Sofia will be organized in case of overlapping bookings (departing Sofia at 15:30 at latest). Transfer you to the village of Lyaskovo (2,45hrs drive): a fascinating place combining the beauty of the mountain and the warmth of Rhodope hospitality.
Day 2: Lyaskovo - Yagodina/Yagodina Cave/Eagle's Eye viewpoint - Trigrad (3-5,30-6,45hrs; 9,50-16-21km)
Today you can choose between two main treks (incl. options to extend them additionally): Shorter (9,50km; +565m/-355m): A 40min transfer takes you to the entry of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave: one of Bulgaria’s longest caves, which you can opt to view. Once finished with the cave tour, proceed for Trigrad village through a colorful kaleidoscope of landscapes that immerse you in the idyll of rolling crests, forests, and valleys. Longer (16km (+1070m/-750m) or 21km (+1385m/-1065m): A 30min transfer takes you to the trailhead where a moderate but nice ascent through gardens and woods brings you up at the crest of the mountain. Enjoy the breath-taking views from the famous Eagles’ Eye observation platform. Then you descend down to Yagodina village, from where you can make a detour to visit Yagodinska Peshtera Cave or head straight for Trigrad village. *Those who chose the shorter option, can extend their hike with a visit to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge (with its 350m high vertical cliffs) and the Dyavolskoto Gyrlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave (housing the highest underground waterfall on the Balkans, 42m high), both near Trigrad. Visiting these sights is a must, and can be done also in the afternoon of Day 3 or Day 4 by those, who opted for the longer treks on Day 2.
Day 3: Trigrad - Zhrebevo - Trigrad (18,3km, 5-6hrs, +700m/-700m)
Magnetic sights follow each other on a really enjoyable circular hiking tour around Trigrad, with the authentic village of Zhrebevo at its distant end. Legend has it, the village was named after a stallion which shielded it from trouble and strife. Along the route, you observe the entry to the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge and enjoy the wonderful panorama to surrounding parts.
Day 4: Trigrad – Kesten/Vodni Pad – Trigrad (5,30hrs; 17km; +670m/-760m)
Today, starting with a 10min transfer to the trailhead, you enjoy a particularly pleasant walking trek to the bordering with Greece villages of Kesten and Vodni Pad (until recently within a closely guarded strip proscribed even for those living down the road; you will see remains of the barbed wire border fences, meant to prevent people from escaping to Greece in the years during the 45yrs long communist rule in Bulgaria after WWII). A circular trail takes you up panoramic crests, through pine and beech forests dotted with green meadows and smallholdings, sheltered valleys, and traditional stone houses. The valley of the Trigradska River takes you back to Trigrad.
Day 5: Trigrad - Shiroka Laka - Bachkovo Monastery - Plovdiv - Govedartsi
Time to leave the Rhodopes for the Rila. Today is intended to relax you, with many stops at heritage sights, beginning with a walk along the cobbled streets past the stone houses of Shiroka Laka. You then stop at the Bachkovo Monastery with its miracle-working icon of Virgin Mary, while the afternoon you spend in the Old Town of Plovdiv. You reach the village of Govedartsi in the early evening. It will be your base for the next four overnight stays in the Rila.
Days 6-8: (final details with the order of the walks in Rila Mountains will be available inside your tour program, which will be emailed to you prior to your arrival in Bulgaria)
A: Govedartsi – The Seven Rila Lakes – Govedartsi (6-6,30hrs; 17-19km; +1200-1310m/-1200-1310m): Today you will encounter the pearls of Rila Mountains – the world-known Seven Rila Lakes. It is a group of glacier lakes, each with an unusual shape, resembling a body feature or telling a story with its name. During summer weekends this place is very busy so your circular trek will be off the beaten path for a while and you are not going to use the chairlift, where the big crowds are gathering. Hiking upon terraces, bit by bit the stunning beauty of Rila will reveal itself and when you look down from the highest lake you will be rewarded with a divine panorama of the Lakes below. The lowest located one is at 2,100m and the highest one at 2,500m.
B: Govedartsi – Malyovitsa – Scary Lake/Yonchevo Lake or Mount Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (5,30-7hrs; 12-14km; +880-1040m/-880-1040m): You start the day with a short transfer to the Central Mountain School at Malyovitsa Valley (20 mins driving time). From there you follow uphill Malyovishka River, running through giant fir trees and surrounded by mighty rocky peaks. Soon your trail will elevate above the tree line and the trekking will end up by the crystal-clear waters of The Scary Lake (2465m). Jagged peaks are reflecting in the waters and fulfil the eyes. For the adventurous hikers, there would be an option to climb Malyovitsa Peak (2729m) the cradle of the Bulgarian rock-climbing and mountaineering. From the top, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Rila Monastery, nestled in the warm embrace of a green forest.
C: Govedartsi – Borovets – Mount Musala – Borovets – Govedartsi (6hrs; 14,50km; +690m/-690m): The last day of this independent walking tour will let you climb on the “rooftop of the Balkans” – the highest summit in Rila and the whole Peninsula – Musala (2925m). A short car transfer will take you to ski resort Borovets (25 mins driving time) from where you board the cabin lift. The path will pass by some mountain huts, the cold waters of glacier lakes and a shelter where you can stop for a short break before the last ascend. Despite being the highest summit the trek is not difficult except this last stage of the trail. Your efforts will be compensated by jaw-dropping scenery of the sea of mighty peaks. In clear weather, you would be able to admire the crest of Rhodope mountain from where you started your trekking adventure, as well as the ridges of Rila, Pirin and Balkan mountains.
Day 9: Govedartsi - Sofia Airport (or extension to Rila Monastery (UNESCO); check the Rates&Remarks tab for details)
Transfer to Sofia Airport (appr. 1,30hrs drive).


740 Euro per person in twin/dbl room
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement: 125 Euro
Solo traveler supplement: 520 Euro (incl. sgl. room supplement)
Daily departures between mid-June and mid-September. October is also possible with a change of the program of Day 8. Many people prefer to visit as a detour Rila Monastery (UNESCO) on their way to Sofia (scroll down for details).
Family hotels/pensions; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper included.
Extension to Rila Monastery (UNESCO)
95 € per person (in a group of 2 persons or more sharing a double room; single room supplement: 30 €) (included: pick-up from Govedartsi on Day 9 > transfer to Rila Monastery > 1,30-2hrs free time to explore the monastery > transfer to Sofia > overnight in 3-star centrally located hotel (incl. breakfast); not included: lunch and dinner on Day 9, airport transfer on Day 10, guiding services).

Send an enquiry about this tour

    The reservation confirmation you will get right after placing an order only confirms that your booking is received and an agent has started working on it. It doesn't mean your tour is guaranteed! Wait to hear from us with final confirmation before booking flights or making any other arrangements, related to your holiday. The dates as listed below do not correspond with real-time availability!