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High Peaks & Lakes of the Rila & Pirin

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.8 Read 8 reviews
  • Hiking high trails above the tree-line, easily reached by road, chairlift and cable car
  • Paths to Musala, Polezhan and Vihren mountain summits, past lakes and rock cirques
  • Enjoying warm hospitality, relaxing in Jacuzzis and saunas at small, family-run hotels
  • Indulging in delicious, hearty home-cooked food— local salami, cheeses and wines
  • Spotting tiny Edelweiss flowers and herds of Balkan chamois on jagged dolomite rock faces
Explore the majestic peaks of the Rila and Pirin mountains as you follow the high trails through authentic Bulgaria—past jagged peaks and glistening lakes. Reach lofty trailheads by road, cable car and chair lift as you trek through some of the Balkans’ most spectacular alpine scenery, including the region’s highest summits. Stay in traditional and charming family-run accommodation, where you’re assured of a very warm Bulgarian welcome, comfortable en suite rooms, hearty locally-sourced home-cooked food and very quaffable local wines. Begin with a three-night stay at Govedartsi, close to the Rila National Park, from where a cable car will whisk you up to the trailhead so you can explore the highest peak in the Balkans—Musala—an incredible 2925m! Your trip will continue in Bansko, where you will stay for four nights in Bansko, amongst the cobbled streets of the old town — the ideal base from which to explore the Pirin.
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What To Expect

Experienced hikers will relish exploring Bulgaria’s panoramic high peaks, lakes and authentic villages. If you’ve completed (and loved!) treks such as the Tour du Mont Blanc, walking on the Isle of Skye or the High Dolomites, you’ll love Bulgaria’s trails which follow high above the tree line. You’ll be glad you discovered this Balkan gem!

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Multi Centre Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking holiday

Ideal if you have an interest in:

National Parks & Trails, Alpine & Mountains

Featured in our collections:

  • Classic

Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes daily walks of between 7.5 and 16 km and ascents of up to 1000m following footpaths, tracks and rough mountain paths. Some of the ascents and descents are steep and can be exposed so require a good head for heights and surefootedness in places. You should have a good level of walking fitness to get the most from this trip and be an experienced mountain walker.

Navigation

We supply you with turn by turn route notes and detailed maps so you will have no problem following the route each day. You will be walking in the high mountains and the ability to navigate with a map and compass in the event of bad weather is essential.

Accommodation Information

We specifically select your accommodation to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay in Bulgaria. You will stay for 3 nights in a traditional pension, and 4 nights in a 3* hotel. They offer comfortable rooms with en suite bathrooms, a warm welcome, traditional hospitality and delicious local food and drink.

Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the accommodations listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided.

Meals

A delicious breakfast is included each morning. Most accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch - this should be requested on arrival. Dinner is not included as you can eat at the hotel or a local restaurant each night.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Unfortunately, this tour is not available to solo walkers due to the remote nature of some of the walks.

Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point before, during or after the walk. We particularly recommend a stay in Sofia - please contact us for arrangements or choose to add extra nights when booking (through 'options').

Included
  • Accommodation for 3 nights in a comfortable pension and 4 nights at a 3* hotel—in an en suite room.
  • 7 Breakfasts.
  • 3 Dinners (at Govedartsi).
  • Luggage transport as per itinerary.
  • People transfers by car as per itinerary on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.
  • Return airport transfers from/to Sofia Airport on arrival and departure days.
  • Detailed route descriptions with maps and a pre-departure information pack.
  • 24-hour assistance by phone.
Excluded
  • Flights to / from Sofia Airport.
  • Lunches, dinners (except for at Govedartsi) & snacks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Cable cars and chair lifts mentioned in the itinerary; payable locally - around EUR10 total per person.
  • Personal equipment and expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport (if available) should you need to skip a stage.
Extras
  • Additional nights during the trip.

When To Go

This tour is available to start from mid-June until mid-September. Starting on a Tuesday-Saturday only; as for the climb to Mt. Musala a cable car is needed (which doesn’t operate on Monday or Tuesday); should you wish to start this tour on different days of the week (i.e. Sunday to Monday) it may be possible to rearrange the program and visit  Pirin before Rila—please contact us for a tailor-made itinerary. 

Time of Year

This trip is available from Mid June to Mid September as there may be snow on the ground earlier and later in the year. July & August are considered the best times to hike in Bulgaria.

Getting to the Start

By Air - Sofia Airport is located 8.5km from Bulgaria’s capital city. Many low-cost airlines fly into Sofia Airport including Easyjet and Wizz Air, as well as airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways.

From the airport: Airport transfers are included in the itinerary; from Sofia Airport to Govedartsa on Day 1, and from Bansko to Sofia Airport on Day 8. If you wish to extend your stay in Sofia then we can also make arrangements for transfers from Sofia to the airport, so that your journey is as smooth as possible.

Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sunhat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking with us that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Sofia Airport. Transfer to Govedartsi Day 2 Musala Summit, Rila Mountains 8 miles / 13 km Day 3 Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes 10 miles / 16 km Day 4 Transfer via Rila Monastery to Bansko, Pirin Mountains Day 5 Polezhan Summit, Pirin Mountains 7.5 miles / 12 km Day 6 Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes 10 miles / 16.5 km Day 7 Vihren Summit, Pirin Mountains 5 miles / 8.5 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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