Sofia + Rila Mountains

Compared to the short break with hikes in Vitosha and Rila mountains, this one is concentrated on Rila Mountains only and includes more difficult to challenging hikes. Below you can check the options for routes in Rila Mountains and depending on your physical conditions you are welcome to make your choice among the variety of difficulty levels as described in the itinerary. Please note that as the starting points of all walking routes are very close to each other (and require about 1,15hr drive from Sofia to get there) some clients choose to stay in a comfortable family run pension in Rila Mountains for one night between days 2 and 3 in order to skip unnecessary transfers and enjoy a stay in a rural countryside (please check the remarks box on your right for more details). During days 1 and 4 you will still have enough time to tour on your own the city centre of Sofia and its most famous attractions (Alexander Nevski Cathedral, The National Theatre, St. Sofia church, The Council of Ministers, The Presidency, The Parliament, the ruins of the ancient city of Serdika (from the 5-6 C), The National Palace of Culture etc.).

As usual for all other short breaks the program below is flexible, so if you have any personal requirements or you want another itinerary adjusted to your exact flight times you are always welcome to discuss that with us.


Day 1:
Welcome meeting at Sofia Airport. Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 2-3: The day will start with an early transfer to Rila Mountains, where depending on your preferences you can choose among the below hikes:
> Option A: Hiking to The Seven Rila Lakes area
This is the largest cirque in Rila, with seven colourfully-named blue glacial lakes: the Eye, the Tear, the Kidney, the Twins, the Trefoil, the Fish Lake and the Lower Lake. A gradually ascending path, going through century old spruce woods will take us above the tree line in the alpine zone of Rila, where we will start exploring one by one the beauty of all of the seven lakes. (14km; 6 hrs; uphill/downhill walking: 750-1000/750-1000m)
> Option B: Hiking to The Scary Lake
Another wonderful walk awaits us today as we explore the Maliovitsa River valley and the cirques containing the dramatically-named Scary Lake and Yonchevo Lake. The track climbs over ridges and lakes with superb views of the surrounding summits. The Scary Lake derives its name from the loud peals of thunder resounding around the neighbouring peaks during a storm, in striking contrast to the tranquil green shores of Yonchevo Lake. (12km; 5-6 hrs; uphill/downhill walking: 900/900m)
> Option C: Climb to Mount Maliovitsa (2729m)
The upper end of Maliovitsa Valley reaches the crags of Maliovitsa Peak, which we can target today. The climb in its final parts is rather steep but the landscapes from the peak will deserve any efforts reaching it. In clear weather the panoramas to the surrounding peaks and valleys from here are really stunning. We can either turn back here and go back to Maliovitsa resort along the same route, or if you are really in a very good shape (and the weather conditions allow that) we can extend the tour as per below. (14km; 5,30hrs; uphill/downhill walking: 1000/1000m)
Extension: From Maliovitsa Peak we can continue along the scenic ridges of Rila Mountains, overlooking the cirque of The Seven Rila Lakes, the rough sea of summits around us and the lying deep down under us Rila Monastery. Then following the Green Ridge we descend back to Maliovitsa resort. This is the most difficult of all options. (Option C + extension: 23km; 7,30-8,00hrs; uphill/downhill walking: 1200/1200m)
> Option D: Climb to Mount Musala (2925m)
Climbing Mt. Musala, the highest peak in Bulgaria and on the Balkans, is no doubt a must-do hike (please note that this trek should be made in accordance with the working time of the lift, starting from Borovets resort, which will take us up to the starting point of the track). Despite some short steep parts this tour is not technically difficult and if you have succeeded with any of the previous options you won’t have problems making it to the top. The view from the peak is truly rewarding. Apart from the surrounding peaks of the Rila Mountains, you can make out the marble ridges of the Pirin Mountains, Mount Vitosha and the Sredna Gora Mountains, the green summits of the Rhodope Mountains and, last but not least, the long mass of the Balkan range. (14km; 5 hrs; uphill/downhill walking: 750/750m)
Day 4: Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.

*The program allows to be extended by booking additional nights in Sofia, which would allow the implementation of day trips to the Rila Monastery, Plovdiv, Koprivshtitsa etc. Please contact us for more details.

Hiking time: hiking time only is mentioned on each day (not including stops for pictures, picnics, breaks etc.); these are based on an average hiker's speed of 4-5km/hr on flat terrain, additional 30min for each 300m elevation gain, and a backpack weighing not more than 10-15% of your body weight. Still this varies a lot on the terrain and hiking experience of each client.

Walking difficulty: difficult to challenging walks for fit hikers with good hiking experience in Alpine terrains; please come prepared with suitable hiking boots and clothes for mountain trekking.

What does this mean? Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4


Best period: mid June-mid September
Group size: Min. 2 persons
The price includes: guidance in English, transfers to/from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all ground transfers as per itinerary, accommodation based on bed and breakfast (one dinner is also included if you go for the overnight stay in a family pension on Day 2)
The price does not include: lift tickets, other meals and drinks, medical insurance, tourist maps, tips, personal expenses

Accommodation in 3-star hotel:
> 320 Euro per person in twin room; Single supplement: 105 Euro
Supplement for stay in a family run pension (incl. dinner) on Day 2: 35 Euro

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