VITOSHA, RILA & PIRIN – THE GREAT SNOWSHOEING ADVENTURE

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DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 690
DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: January-March
START/FINISH: Sofia
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.

SCHEDULED DEPARTURE DATES FOR 2022*: 29/01/2022; 05/03/2022; 19/03/2022

Limited time offer:
Price: 690 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 100 € (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 and catering as in the itinerary; 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.
Accommodation: three-star/family hotels; double/twin rooms with en-suite facilities everywhere; breakfast and supper included.
Best period: January – March

> * PRIVATE GROUPS can be accommodated on any other date during the season; 6 or more should book as a group to take advantage on the above price

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wonderful

5.0 rating
February 17, 2014

wonderful Winterland full of adventures
i’m impressed
so nice

Sonia Barbero

Great group

5.0 rating
February 11, 2014

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.

Jane Marie Price, Australia

wonderful trip to dream of

5.0 rating
February 11, 2014

This was a long-planned trip and we were very impatient with each passing day. After we landed at Sofia Airtport and met the driver, the great journey finally begins! The first hotel in Sofia was nice, centrally located and since we arrived at noon, we had plenty of time to explore the downtown area before the welcoming dinner with the other participants and our guide. The guide was gorgeous! Young women with nice sense of humor! The first hike we did was in Vitosha, which is the mountain everyone sees after landing in Sofia. The weather was nice, I could say a bit warmer for the winter. Later the day we departed towards Rila mountain and here the thrilling adventure stared. The hikes were adorable, full of fresh snow that fell during the night! We had a nice time in a teahouse after the trek and I am absolutely fascinated by the herbs! The dinners in Govedartsi the village were delicious and when we asked about packed lunch they immediately reacted in the next morning we were able to collect the packages from the reception. Pirin mountain was very challenging, it has a lot of visitors for skiing and snowboarding and less hikers like us. Bansko, where we stayed, was too crowded and noisy, probably perfect for parties, but we wanted to feel another atmosphere, so I am a bit disappointed by the city. Anyway, it did not affect our overall experience a lot and I could say that this was the best winter trip in my life! 

Rotem Tayar, Israel

Love the snow

5.0 rating
February 7, 2014

Great tracks at the snowy mountains. Good equipment and a professional guide. All the organisation with transport, hotels and food was just perfect. I will defo use it again.

Eleanor Brandly, Scotland

Amazing winter tour

5.0 rating
April 23, 2013

It was an amazing winter tour. The weather conditions were great at the time and we totally enjoyed it. The accommodation and the foods are superb, nice and friendly staff and a lovely guide. Recommend it.

Mattew Clarke, Ireland

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