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


it was ok

3.0 rating
August 11, 2016

The lakes were beautiful but too crowded
We did not enjoy the time a lot because we were not able to enjoy the nature and taking nice photos
In the afternoon it became foggy
The guide was a nice man and he tried to make us feel better

Ye-jun Ho, Korea

Seven Rila Lakes Hiking Small-Group Tour from Sofia

5.0 rating
July 26, 2016

Read the original review on TripAdvisor
We had an absolutely fantastic time on this hiking tour. Our guide Martin was excellent, very knowledgeable, really enthusiastic and very helpful. The chair lift which usually takes people part of the way up the mountain was not working properly on the day of our tour (this is extremely unusual) so Martin asked everyone if they were happy to walk the extra distance on the hike. We all agreed and Martin was really great at helping everyone and making sure everyone was comfortable as we went along on the hike. The views along the route of the hike of the seven lakes were very beautiful and I was really pleased that we persevered with doing the extra hiking as it was absolutely worth the effort! I would not have wanted to miss this highlight of our short trip to Bulgaria! The chair lift had been fixed by the time of our descent so we were able to relax and enjoy the trip back down the mountainside. I would recommend this one day hiking trip to anyone who has reasonable fitness and has good walking shoes and shorts/trousers. It is cooler near the top of the mountain but the sun is very strong (in July when we went) so you need lots of sun protection cream, and I would suggest having a hat too. Take plenty of water – you can top up your water bottle on the mountain – and some energy foods. There is a hut which serves food at the beginning of the hike, but if you get hungry on the mountain you will need some food with you as you don’t reach the hut again until the end of the hike. Don’t miss this one day trip out of the city if you are visiting Sofia! Highly recommended!!

Richard, United Kingdom

Very plaisant hiking

4.0 rating
July 7, 2016

Read the original review on TripAdvisor HERE


Seven lakes of Rila. Very plaisant hiking, although some possibility of saving time for those who are in a hurry. Could be less recommendable when the weather condition is less in favour.

Tsutomu Koizumi, Belgium

Excellence! !!

5.0 rating
June 27, 2016

Read the original review on TripAdvisor HERE


I am not enough of a writer to describe the pleasure the day tour with traventuria gave me. It exceeded all my expectations. Maybe we wee lucky but we had a wonderful guide just for two of us. His timing at everything was perfect. Understanding and attendance made us feel very well looked after. Trip to Rila 7 lakes was very entertaining as well as conversation about Bulgaria in wider aspect. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of a person who took care of us ( he had one of the traditional Bilaran names) but I’m quite sure, that agency has more than a handful of amazing people working for them. Rila and Rila Monastery both were breath taking to explore and to hear about. Must do especially since its within “the reach by hand” from Sofia. I say just grab your camera, your water and go!

Odeta A, United Kingdom

Seven Lakes of Rila

5.0 rating
September 2, 2015

Read the original review on TripAdvisor HERE


1) The location
This is truly an exceptional place. If you go to Bulgaria, you have to visit this place (if you can physically, at least 4 hours of climbing and going down and some parts are steep). This is the best place I’ve been to in Bulgaria- it is very beautiful, the air is fresh, everywhere you look, you feel the need to take a picture!. It is very surprising that in travel guides about Bulgaria -such as lonely planet – this place is not presented as a Must see place. However, it is difficult to access, and hence, I had to rely on a local travel agency.
I went there at the end of August and the temperature was perfect. No clouds and I didnt need warmer clothes. Bring a good pair of shoes as some parts can be wet. Bring a bottle of water, food, a camera and cleaning wipes if you want to use the toilet in the hut next to the chairlift.
2) The guide
Our guide was Martin and it is obvious he likes his job and he has a passion for hiking. This was my first real hiking and he made it such a great experience that I’m looking forward to go on my next hike. He gives good clues about hiking as well. He is also very knowledgeable about the place. He gives a lot of information. He shows interest about his customers. It’s like going hiking with a friend and not with a regular tour guide. Also about this trip, I liked that we returned by a different way. Hence, we could see the lakes from different viewpoints.
3) The price
The only negative point about this trip is the price. It is very expansive. I guess this can be explained because we were only two doing the hike. However, the company should find a better way to group people together to lower the price. (I don’t know, you could book your trip online on a specific date with an alternative date and the company informs you about the cheapest date some days in advance)

Simon, Canada

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