|DURATION: 4 days
PRICE: € 420
|DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: June-October
TOUR TYPE: Guided
For those who have a short stay in Bulgaria and want to experience as much as possible, we have created this short hiking program to the must-see locations in Pirin and Rila mountains. The program is suitable for people who are already in Sofia and for those who will continue their stay right after the end of the program. The first day of the itinerary starts with an early morning pickup and transfer to the Rila and the drop off on the evening of Day 4 could not be fixed with time so make sure you do not have a flight on the same day. This is a shorter version of our best-selling hiking trip Peaks and Lakes of Pirin and Rila Mountains. The treks are rather arduous, on rocky terrain, so previous hiking experience may be an advantage! Suitable equipment (such as hiking boots, waterproof jackets, and warm clothes) are a must! You will walk only with a small backpack with the most needed items, while your main luggage remains in the hotel or the vehicle.
You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.
Day 1: Sofia – Malyovitsa – Scary Lake – Yonchevo Lake – Govedartsi (5hrs; 12km; +900m/-900m)
We will collect you early in the morning from your accommodation in Sofia and together we depart towards Malyovitsa Central Mountain School (1 hr and 40 mins driving time). Here will start our first hiking trail. Today, we are going to admire the pristine beauty of this unique part of Rila mountain, in the borders of a National Park. Our trail is gently gaining elevation and next to our path are the rumbling waters of the Malyovitsa river. Soon we will reach the hut with the same name from where we can enjoy a splendid view of the mighty peak Malyovitsa (2729 m). Our trek will take us to the first incredible spot – Strashnoto ezero (The Scary Lake) hidden in the foot of jagged peaks. From there, we descend towards another lake passing through dense dwarf pine trees. As we dip into a dense forest, soon we will be back from where we stared. This trek will amaze us with an incredible change of scenery every now and then! The overnight we will spend in a small cozy family guest house, where you can try local specialties!
Day 2: Govedartsi – Panichishte – The Seven Rila Lakes – (Rila Monastery) – Bansko (3,30-4,30hrs; 6-9km; +400-500m/-400-500m)
After a healthy breakfast, we leave Govedartsi towards Panichishte resort (1 hrs driving time). We board on a chair lift to reach the starting point of today’s hiking trail to the famous Seven Rila Lakes. They are located at different elevations between 2100 m and 2500 m (6889 to 8202 ft). The Lake names indicate their extraordinary shape or tell a local legend. As we walk by the crystal clear waters of each one of them, we will be surrounded by mighty rocky peaks. From the highest lake Salzata (The teardrop) we can admire the picturesque view of other lakes lying below. The trail is circular and we have to use again the lift facilities to reach back our vehicle. If time permits we can stop along the way at Rila Monastery (UNESCO site). From here we move along towards Bansko – a famous winter destination, located in the foothills of Pirin mountains (transfer time is approximately 2 hrs from Panichishte resort).
Day 3: Bansko – Vihren Hut – Mount Vihren – Vihren Hut – Bansko (5,30-6hrs; 9km; +960m/-960m)
Morning transfer (30 mins driving time) will take us to the mountain hut from where we head off to our target of the day – the second-highest summit in Bulgaria and the highest one in Pirin mountain Vihren (2914 m). This hike is probably the most challenging one among the others included in the program but efforts of climbing it will be worthwhile! Its giant and majestic figure, built up from marble stones, is towering above many glacier lakes to the South and green lush valleys to the East. Our trail will pass by Golem Kazan (The Giant Cauldron) and will reveal to us the raw beauty of the mountain. Some endemic plants could be observed today and tomorrow, which are protected by the state and included in the borders of a National Reserve under the aegis of UNESCO. We go back the same way to enjoy delicious dinner in a local tavern.
Day 4: Bansko – Mount Polezhan – Sofia (5hrs; 7km; +770m/-770m)
The last day of our short hiking adventure will offer another bunch of splendid views across many mountain ranges. Pack your luggage after breakfast and hop on the board of the vehicle which will transfer us to a chair lift facilities. (30 mins driving time) We will reach the big mountain hut Bezbog with the calm waters of the lake behind it from where we start our hike. When we gain some elevation, behind our backs will be a picture that resembles a postcard – the hut with the lake in front surrounded by the intensive green color of the low grass. This trek is not as demanding as yesterday’s one except the last 20-30 mins before the peak itself. Polezhan Summit (2851 m) reveals marvelous scenery across many turquoise lakes and massive peaks! Definitely, the most impressive one is the Upper Gazey Lake or also known as the “Lady with the bun”. You would like to stay there as much as you can! The last stage of our journey will be a ride to Sofia (approx. 3 hrs ) where you will have time to flip all of the memories you made in your head in the past 4 hiking days.
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.
SCHEDULED DEPARTURE DATES FOR 2022: 19/6, 03/7, 17/7, 31/7, 28/8, 11/9
Limited time offer:
Price: 420 €/person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 40 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Rent of hiking poles: 15 €/person
Price includes: transfers to and from your accommodation in Sofia (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers in the itinerary; accommodation and catering according to the itinerary; English-speaking mountain guide; cable car tickets, and all local taxes.
Price does not include: museum entrance fees in case you decide to visit Rila Monastery; extra food and drink; mountain maps; medical insurance; personal expenses.
Best period: mid June – October
Group size: Min. 4 persons (if this requirement is not met for any of the dates, you will be given the choice to get a full refund 30 days before the tour starts, or to re-book for the same date for our classic 8-day tour with 15% discount: click HERE to check itinerary)
Private groups: we can accommodate a private group on any date within the best hiking period; contact us for a price offer;
Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper.
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