THE SEVEN RILA LAKES, RILA MOUNTAINS

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As everyone who is searching for “what to see in Bulgaria” you probably noticed that in many articles it is recommended to visit The Seven Rila Lakes. Jewels in the crown of Rila Mountains, this group of glacier lakes attracts many tourists throughout summer as they became easily accessible after the chairlift was built. You can convince yourself in the pristine beauty of the area by taking a day-tour to the Lakes. Each lake is named after its most characteristic feature. The highest one (at 2500m) is called Salzata (“The Tear”), from where we have a bird’s eye view over all seven lakes, as well as the surrounding outcrops and deep valleys; the next one in height carries the name Okoto (“The Eye”) after its oval form; Babreka (“The Kidney”) is the lake with the steepest shores of the entire group; Bliznaka (“The Twin”) is the largest of all; Trilistnika (“The Trefoil”) has an irregular shape; the shallowest lake is Ribnoto Ezero (“The Fish Lake”) and the lowest one is Dolnoto Ezero (“The Lower Lake”; 2100m), where the water that flows out of the other lakes is gathered to form the source of Dzherman River.
Weekends are very busy in summer. If you wish to avoid crowds plan for visiting during a week day.

GUIDED & SELF-GUIDED hiking options are available to choose from (check the “Prices, Dates & Remarks” tab for details)

We will start the day early in the morning with a transfer towards Panichishte resort (1,45hrs) from where we board on the chair lift for a 20min ride. We will encounter the divine nature by exploring the lakes one by one. Located on a terraced terrain, we will gently start an ascent, as the lakes revel to us one after the other. Each lake is named after its most characteristic feature. The highest one (at 2500m) is called Salzata (“The Tear”), from where we have a bird’s eye view over all seven lakes, as well as the surrounding outcrops and deep valleys; the next one in height carries the name Okoto (“The Eye”) after its oval form; Babreka (“The Kidney”) is the lake with the steepest shores of the entire group; Bliznaka (“The Twin”) is the largest of all; Trilistnika (“The Trefoil”) has an irregular shape; the shallowest lake is Ribnoto Ezero (“The Fish Lake”) and the lowest one is Dolnoto Ezero (“The Lower Lake”; 2100m), where the water that flows out of the other lakes is gathered to form the source of Dzherman River. Sitting by the shores of Babreka (“The Kidney” Lake) we will learn more about the white brotherhood, established from the Bulgarian philosopher and spiritual teacher Petar Danov. It gathers many of his followers in August exactly here, to celebrate the inner peace and harmony with nature. From the highest located lake Salzata (The Tear Lake 2500m) we will have a breathtaking view towards all of them. On the way back we will descent down to the chairlift using most of the time a different path, thus completing the full circuit around all seven lakes.

Total transfers time: 3-3,30hrs (+40min lift ride)
Hiking specifics: 4-4,30hrs (without breaks); 9km; +500m/-500m;
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).


Price (guided tour):
From 40 Euros/person (days with Special Offer); Other days: 1 pers: 138 Euro; 2 pers: 79 Euro pp; 3 pers: 58 Euro pp; 4-7 pers: 49 Euro pp;
Price (self-guided tour): 120 Euro/car (group of 1-4 persons); 160 Euro/bus (group of 5-8 persons)
* The rates above are per person based on the number of people in one reservation (guided tour) or per group (self-guided tour).
** The tour is not private and the group may comprise customers booked under several reservations, each with a different number of people (incl. guided and self-guided option). We aim to keep the total group size for the guided tour not exceeding 12 passengers (normally 4-8).
*** 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:
Transfer from Sofia to Panichishte resort and back; English-speaking guide (guided option); Detailed route notes in English and maps (self-guided option; 1 set of route notes and 1 map per reservation)
Price does not include: Return chairlift tickets, meals, tips.
Food: there are two huts on the way, selling basic meals. However we may not be able to stop there (for example if weather conditions are worsening) so a lunch pack prepared at home might be the best option for you or raw nuts/fruits/energy bars. In case of good weather we may enjoy the food we have taken at a viewpoint above the highest lake.
Best period: mid-June – mid-September (possible until mid-November and also in May – contact us for details on weather conditions and lift working time)

SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR


Had a great tour at last

5.0 rating
October 6, 2018

Read the original review on TripAdvisor
The tour was absolutely amazing and one of the toughest hikes I have ever made. Our guide Todor (I think that is his name) was really nice and told us a lot of the history.
What I hope will be improved is the communication regarding the pick up location. I booked via Get your guide and on the booking confirmation it only said that one will meet at the Nevski Cathedral. Since this is a big building, I wrote an email to traventuria, with a sattelite Google image attached. In the screenshot of the Cathedral I highlighted the bus parking lot in front of the cathedral, asking them to confirm or correct my assumption. They replied that yes, this was the meeting point. So I got there 15 minutes ahead as they wanted me to, waiting. No bis, no other people there. At 07.00 am I was going to call traventuria what happened and in this moment they called me, asking where I was. I explained and they told me it’s behind the Cathedral… Thank you! They should definitely tell this to their customers. However, I am happy they called and not just drove off without me.

WorldIsMine2013, Moncton, Canada

The most beautiful place with a great guide

5.0 rating
September 28, 2018

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We had only 2 people with the guide, ToTo on 25th September. The 2 people who booked did not show up. When we arrived at the base of the chair lift. It did not operate so we had to use 4-wheel drive. ToTo needed to call back the company to confirm that the company paid the additional cost (15 leva one way). We needed to wait a bit of time until the 4-wheel drive had two more people. So had an additional experience to go to the top of the chair lift. Then we started to walk the rocky trail (the long trail) to the 1st three bottom lakes. It was close to the 3 lakes. Then we had a little snack break at one of the 3 bottom lakes. Toto told us some interesting local stories about rocks around the lake. Then, we climbed slowly to see all the lakes. The climb was quite steep but Toto was very patient with stops so that we could have a short breathing space. Finally, we arrived at the top (not really the top) but the top that you can see all 7 lakes. It was fantastic, clear sky with a great view, although the strong chilly winds made you feel very cold. So we went back to the Kidney lake for the lunch break. Afterwards, we went downhill with some part of the trail was very rocky with loose stone. I fell once but Toto gave me a hand to climb down some tricky path. Once we got to the bottom, we finally had the chair lift down the hill. It was the first time having a open-top chair lift. It was quite scary for me, and I dropped my umbrella and the walking pole when the chair lift started going down. Luckily, the man at the chair lift picked them up and transported them back at the chair behind me. So far, a very unique experience with chair lifting. Overall, we were very lucky that the lakes were not full of people. Especially we were the only persons at the bottom 3 lakes, so very quiet and peaceful. Once again thanks for the great tourist guide, Toto (hope I got his name correct).

Pui Yee Connie Tang, United Kingdom

Amazing outdoors experience!

4.0 rating
September 26, 2018

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I had an amazing time with this tour; the tour guide was extremely nice, spoke good English and even shared some of his food with me. There was information provided throughout the whole visit and the time spent in the van was less than advertised, which was great! My only request is that there would be more and longer breaks for pictures (around 1 hour more worth of tour), but I understand that for most people that’s negligible.

Bruno Coelho, Portugal

Tough hike with a great guide - Meto

5.0 rating
September 2, 2018

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I did this hike last 23 August 2018 with Meto as our guide. I opted for a hotel pick-up and he was right there on time. Throughout the duration of this activity, from the hotel picked up, the almost 2 hrs drive to Rila Lake, the actual activity, Meto was there guiding us, supporting us. You can sense his passion for his country, he offered us fruit and sweets to regain our stamina.

Elma Aquino, United Arab Emirates

Tough hike but incredible views and wonderful guide

5.0 rating
August 23, 2018

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We did the one day hike around the Rila Seven Lakes. It was a pretty tough hike (2.5 hours up, then 2 hours down) but the views were incredible and it made it feel like you’d earned it! Wear good shoes and optional layers for sure ? Bring food because there’s nothing to buy, but you can top up your water bottle along the way at beautiful natural fountains. If you can I recommend doing the tour in August so you can see the “White Brotherhood” (not like it sounds!) festival campers who believe the mountain cleanses them are doing fascinating folk dances dressed in all white. We had Petar as a guide and he was lovely – patient, knowledgable and very proud of his country! There were only 6 on our group which was wonderful.

Ait Azzi, Morocco

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