|DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 1090
|DIFFICULTY: 3/4 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: January-March
TOUR TYPE: Guided
Revel in the beauty of nature amid winter. Sense the calm of winter magic in three of Bulgaria’s best-loved mountains: the Vitosha Nature Park, Rila and Pirin national parks. Our snowshoeing trek passes old mountain forests, high plateaus, steep slopes and valleys, tiring us pleasantly before an evening spent in a peasant family hotel with a glass of red wine with appetizing local specialities. The itinerary includes a call at one of Bulgaria’s most renowned sights: the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery.
Snowshoe walking appears easy fun, yet calls for some stamina because any walking through snow can be tiring. Even if you have not tried this type of locomotion, you will rapidly get used to using the poles and snowshoes on thick, fluffy virgin mountain snow. The programme is moderate to difficult and suitable for people in good physical shape. Depending on the weather and snow cover, your guide may change the proposed routes.
Day 1: Sofia
We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to the hotel where the group will overnight.
Day 2: Sofia – Vitosha Mountains – Govedartsi (4-5hrs; +150m/-600m)
Today, we traverse Vitosha: the most popular destination for Sofianites. Starting from the Aleko Hut (at 1810m a.s.l.), we shall trek along the crest of the mountain through the Torfeno Branishte Nature Reserve to the famous Zlatni Mostove (Golden Bridges) stone rivers. We then transfer for overnight in a cozy family-run pension in the village of Govedartsi, Rila Mountains.
Day 3: Govedartsi – Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (5hrs +550m/-550m)
After breakfast we transfer to the nearby resort Malyovitsa. From there we start climbing up towards Yonchevo Lake (at 2013m a.s.l.). As we walk out of the woods we will enjoy the panorama to the neighbouring peaks and deep valleys of Rila. Eventually we walk down through an old coniferous forest to get back to Maliovitsa along a different route. (5hrs of walking, climbing 550m/1800ft and descending 550m/1800ft)
Day 4: Govedartsi – Borovets – Icy Lake Refuge – Borovets – Govedartsi (5,30 hrs; +650m/-650m)
Today’s aim is to get to the foot of Bulgaria’s, and the Balkans’, highest summit: Musala Peak (2925m). We climb to the starting point of the route by cable car from the Borovets Resort and then continue snowshoeing to the highest mountain refuge in Bulgaria – The Icy Lake (2710m a.s.l.). At this point the rugged summit of Musala will be facing us from a very close distance, but as long as the last stage will require the use of ropes and crampons in winter we will have to skip this part. Then we turn back along the same route to overnight at Govedartsi again.
Day 5: Govedartsi – Panichishte – The Seven Rila Lakes – Bansko (5-6hrs; +400-500m/-400-500m)
A brief transfer takes us to the Panichishte Resort where we board a cable car to the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque (between 2100 and 2500m a.s.l.) for a tour among the lower five of them. Though frozen and covered in thick snow in winter, the area remains rather pretty. Our day ends in a typical family hotel at the famous ski resort of Bansko in Pirin Mountains, where we stay for the next two nights.
Day 6: Bansko – Mount Bezbog – Bansko (4-5hrs; +500m/-500m)
Another short transfer takes us above Dobrinishte resort to board the chair cable car to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Bezbog (No God) Peak (2645m high). Stunning panoramas of the neighbouring summits and ridges will be accompanying us as we make our way to the top. Transfer back to Bansko.
Day 7: Bansko – Rila Monastery – Sofia (2hrs; +100m/-100m)
We leave Pirin and transfer to one of Bulgaria’s top tourist attractions: the Rila Monastery listed by UNESCO. The latter is the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. The 20m high walls shelter impressive cloisters, a church, and a chapel with unique murals and museum collections. A short walk can be performed in the area to the cave of St. John of Rila (the monastery founder) or to the picturesque sandy pyramids of Stob. Then we continue on to Sofia, where we have gala dinner and last overnight.
Day 8: Sofia
Transfer to Sofia Airport.
Limited time offer:
Price: 1090 € per person in twin/dbl room (based on min 4 full-paying clients)
Single room supplement: 160 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation in 3*/family hotels; double/twin rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper; English-speaking mountain guide; hire of snow shoes and poles; cable car tickets and all local taxes.
Price does not include: museum entry charges; extra food and drink; mountain maps; medical insurance; personal expenses.
Best period: January – March
Joining the tour: this tour is organized on private basis only if the requirement for min group size is met (4 persons).
SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR
Snowshoeing in Bulgaria
The trip was brilliant!
From the accommodations, through the places we hiked and also – unbelievable delicious food! I really loved the sudhzuk, kapama and their traditional salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and cheese!
The hikes in Pirin were really impressive and also we had clear weather so we were able to see the winter wonderland in its full shine!
Thanks to Mitko, our guide, he was amazing! You would be very lucky to have him as a leader of the group – very informative, funny and also we felt in safe hands!
PERFECT WINTER TOUR
We were looking at alternative of skiing and we found this snowshoeing trip in Bulgaria. Never been there but after this memorable experience, it will be our most preferred and often visited destination! The e-mails with which we started the communication with Traventuria were answered very fast from their side and we were sure that we have to book the journey with them! The positive and communicative guide Alex make our trip unforgettable and we felt in the right hands for 7 days ahead! He even took us amazing pictures every time someone from the group asked. The accommodations were nice and warm, beds comfortable for a perfect sleeping after each tiring day! The food – strong and enough! The van – new and appropriate for the long transfer times (Sofia – Bansko for example). Greetings from Belgium!
I’ve had a perfect time in Bulgaria. Met a lot of people, all nice and friendly. The program is very professional selected, good tracks and very good guide. Thank you Traventuria team.
We were a small private group from the Netherlands. We have experience in winter mountain and we were quite well prepared and equipt for this tour. Despite that some of the hikes were challenging for us. But most of the time the weather was with us. When it wasn’t, our experienced guide was able to troubleshoot any unexpected situation. It was our second time in Bulgaria and the food quality didn’t disappointed us. Thank you!
I have visited Bulgaria two times during summer and once in the winter ( for skiing ) but never for snowshoeing. That was the main reason I decided to do something not typical for me and booked the trip. Of course, I was a little bit nervous a few days before arrival as I did not know what to expect from the guide, from the hike itself (would it be harder for me, or not) the accommodations, food (as I have special diet) and so on. Before even booking, I contacted the company ( I remember it was weekend) and I got a message that my request will be handled on Monday the latest but what a surprise, a customer agent contacted me the same day, a few hours later, answering to all of my questions! My first impression was that I can rely on their services so as soon as I got my flights booked, I reserved my place in the program. Being vegetarian and allergic to lactose, I have some difficulties eating outside and I was a little bit concerned about the menu, I did not want to eat only potatoes and rice, haha. Luckily, I got the chance to point my special diet during the reservation process and I could say that along the route on every place we ate there was a dish, specially prepared for me, and I did not get repetitive meals more than twice. Last but not least, walking with snowshoes is not a big deal, of course, I felt a bit tired the first two days but then I got used to it and it was perfect. I really loved every hike but my favorite one is the trail to Bezbog peak. From Rila Monastery, on the last day of the program, I remembered my first visit in Bulgaria back in 2015 and I felt nostalgic (good old days). The winter fairy-tale is as much impressive as being there during summer. Moreover, I could say that in winter there are fewer people and my pictures were better, haha. To summarize this – highly recommended!