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The riddles of the Rila Mountains

€595 per person

Mount Rila is considered Bulgaria’s best alpine tourism site, offering a huge diversity of marked hiking trails of varied difficulty levels. Two large international tourist trails (the Е4 and the Е8) cross the mountain. The Rila offers not only the Balkans’ highest peak (Musala, 2925m/9596ft), but also plentiful glacier lakes (more than 180, in fact!), deep river valleys, broad alpine meadows, and diverse flora and fauna. The Rila National Park is the largest of Bulgaria’s three national parks and one of Europe’s largest.

The tour includes all transfers, including pick up from Sofia Airport. The walking treks are rather arduous and suitable for people experienced in alpine trekking. Paths are well marked, in addition clients receiving maps and detailed descriptions of the routes in English. Some of the days offer opportunities for choosing between different hiking options, depending on weather and clients’ fitness.

A day trip to the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO heritage site and probably the most famous tourist attraction in Bulgaria is a natural extension of this tour, which many clients prefer to book with us. This involves an extra night in Sofia which is normally appreciated by everyone, allowing also more time to explore the capital.

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

  • Destination
  • Duration
    8 Days I Level: 3/4 (of 5)
  • What is included
    Transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; 3* and family hotels; en-suite rooms; breakfast every day; supper on Days 2 to Day 4 incl. (options to have supper outside your hotel in Sofia and Borovets resort are numerous); Luggage transport; Detailed English descriptions of routes; Tourist maps of the Rila; GPS tracks; Emergency hotline.
  • What is not included
    Cable car tickets; extra food and drink; medical insurance; personal expenses.
  • Best period
    mid-June, July, August, mid-September
1
Day 1: Sofia Airport - Sofia center
We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to a city center hotel.
2
Day 2: Sofia - Vitosha Mountains (Cherni Vrah Peak) - Govedartsi village (RIla Mountains) (16,50km, 5-5,30hrs,+690m/-1120m)
A panoramic walking route takes you across the crest of Mount Vitosha, including climbing the local high point of Cherni Vrah (2290m/7513ft) as a prelude to the arduous, yet more picturesque hiking treks across the Rila. Along the way, you cross the broad alpine meadows of the Torfeno Branishte Nature Reserve, dip into old spruce groves and follow a path to the stone rivers of the Zlatni Mostove (The Golden Bridges) natural feature. From here, you are transferred to the Rila Mountains and the village of Govedartsi for three overnight stays.
3
Days 3-5: (in the afternoon of Day 5 you will be transferred to Borovets resort; final details with the order of the walks will be available inside your tour program, which will be emailed to you prior to your arrival in Bulgaria)
A: Govedartsi circular trail (5,30-6hrs; 20km; +720m/-720m): A circular route through the low parts of the Rila above Govedartsi prepares you for more difficult hiking treks to come. Rambling along the path, you enjoy a fascinating kaleidoscope of changing landscapes and wonderful panoramas of rocky peaks and deep valleys in the Malyovitsa part of the mountain.
B: Govedartsi – The Seven Rila Lakes – Govedartsi (6-7hrs; 16-18km; +1100-1300m/-1100-1300m): A shaded path through the Rila’s ancient spruce forests takes you up to the alpine parts of the mountain and the Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. Located at between 2100 and 2500 metres (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.
C: Govedartsi – Malyovitsa – Scary Lake/Yonchevo Lake or Mount Malyovitsa – Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (5,30-6hrs; 12-15km; +880-1040m/-880-1040m): Today’s route takes you to the beautiful Malyovitsa Valley and thence high over the alpine peaks sheltering the secretive Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. More enthusiastic mountaineers may opt for an alternative hiking trek to the Malyovitsa summit which offers incredible views over the nearby crests and peaks of the Rila.
4
Day 6: Borovets - Maritsa River Valley - Borovets (8,10-29,40km, 2-8hrs, +20-1261m/-255-1261m)
Today, you can opt between a brisk morning walk (combined with an afternoon visit at the King's hunting residence in Borovets) and a rather longer (yet not steep) hiking trek to another less-visited part of the Rila. The route passes through ancient coniferous woods and continues along the Maritsa River valley, gently climbing to the Royal hunting lodge at Saragiol, from where you return to Borovets along a different route (or use the chairlift to cut the mileage down to 25km).
5
Day 7: Borovets - Mt. Musala - Borovets (14,20km, 5hrs, +690m/-690m)
The attempt on the Balkans’ highest summit Musala (2925m/9596ft) is left for the ultimate day. The hiking is not particularly arduous, yet is particularly panoramic, with the rocky face of Musala visible the whole time while you transit a number of Cirques, glacier lakes and mountain shelters. The view from the peak to surrounding uplands and peaks is head-turning.
6
Day 8: Borovets - Sofia Airport (or extension to Rila Monastery (UNESCO); check the Rates & Remarks tab for details)
Transfer to Sofia Airport (1,30hrs drive).

TOUR LOCATION

Price
595 Euro per person in twin/dbl room
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement: 115 Euro
Solo traveler supplement: 410 Euro (incl. also sgl. room supplement)
Tips
Daily departures between mid-June and mid-September. October may also be possible, but skipping the climb to Mt. Musala as the lift involved there will not be operational after mid-September (contact us for details about the substitute options). Most tourists prefer to call on the Rila Monastery on their way to Sofia, or to have more time to see the capital by booking one or two extra overnight stays there (scroll down for details).
Accommodation
3* hotels and family pensions; en-suite rooms; breakfast every day; supper on Days 2 to Day 4 incl. (options to have supper outside your hotel in Sofia and Borovets resort are numerous).
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 Borovets on Day 8 > transfer to Rila Monastery > 1,30-2hrs free time to explore the monastery > transfer to Sofia > overnight in 3* centrally located hotel (incl. breakfast); not included: lunch and dinner on Day 8, airport transfer on Day 9, guiding services).

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