An intensive hiking & sightseeing programme, which shows you the best of the nature and culture merits of the Rila Mountains: Rila Monastery (UNESCO) and the Cirque of The Seven Rila Lakes. The program doesn’t allow much free time on either site but it is quite enough to explore both places.
The tour begins with an early transfer to the Rila (appr. 1,45hrs), followed by a brief 20-min. cable car ride to the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque. The glacier lakes are at between 2100 and 2500m above sea level, with name fitting their shapes, like Babreka (the Kidney), Okoto (the Eye), Salzata (the Teardrop), Trilistnika (the Trefoil), Bliznaka (the Twin) etc. As we need to follow strict time schedule, depending on your fitness, we can either make the whole circuit around all lakes, or make the stroll shorter and skip the two highest ones. After the hiking around one of the Rila’s most remarkable and beautiful parts, we are transferred to the Rila Monastery: the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment (1,30hrs drive). The 20m high walls shelter impressive cloisters, a church, and a chapel with unique murals and museum collections. We return to Sofia in late afternoon/evening.
Total transfer time: Appr. 5-5,30hrs (+40min chairlift ride)
Hiking specifics: Appr. 3,30hrs (without breaks); 6km; +400m/-400m;
Tour difficulty: the trek is considered as moderately arduous with some steep stages now and then. The terrain is rough so flip-flops and sandals are not acceptable. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Wind-/waterproofs are necessary just in case (general rule for all treks above the tree line irrespective of the season) and also a warmer middle layer (especially for the chairlift ride in the chilly mornings).
Prices: 1 pers: 159 euro; 2 pers: 97 euro pp; 3 pers: 74 euro pp; 4-7 pers: 66 euro pp;
* The rates above are per person based on the number of people in one reservation.
** The tour is not private and the group may comprise customers booked under several reservations, each with a different number of people. We aim to keep the total group size not exceeding 12 passengers (normally 2-8).
*** Promo rates may occur for some of the dates; scroll the Book Online tab to check if such are present around your travel dates.
Price includes: Transfers throughout the tour; English-speaking guide;
Price does not include: Chair lift tickets for Rila Mountains; Entrance to the museum in Rila Monastery;
Food: Due to the really tight schedule of the tour, there will be no time for a proper lunch, although such options are otherwise available in the Rila Lakes hut, and also around the Rila Monastery. Please come prepared with a lunch pack and the proper amount of water for the day.
Best period: June-October
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Rila Monastery and 7 Lakes tour
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I went on the Rila Monastery & 7 Lakes tour in one day, which started at 7am and ended about 7pm. It was a long day but very well worth it. If you have little time and would like to do the monastery and 7 lakes in one day, this is the best (or only?) option you have. Everything was very well organized and yet with no rush whatsoever-unlike on some organized tours! I had plenty of time to look around, taste some delicious Bulgarian yoghurt, take an endless number of photos and ask my wonderful guide, Simeon, a bunch of questions, which he answered happily (thank you, Simeon, you’re the best ;)). His knowledge was impressing and he took care of me perfectly well, even when an unexpected thunderstorm set in and we got soaked pretty quickly. This day was the highlight of my trip to Bulgaria and while it is expensive, unfortunately, you’ll have fond memories for a long time to come (and no, for the suspicious one out there: Traventuria didn’t write this comment themselves, hahaha).
Seven lakes and Rila monastery - a pretty good full day trip from Sofia
Read the original review on TripAdvisor
Perfect organization – which enabled us to do the hike in front of most of the others, no queues… Plus the background stories were really a great bonus. I got an impression of the local landscape and learnt something about Bulgaria. To have an educated, enthusiastic guide, with a deep knowledge of history and so being able to give an answer to all our questions is priceless – everything else you can buy using your credit card… Safe back home at our appartment in the evening – exactly at the time calculated
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