|DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 1090
|DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: January-March
TOUR TYPE: Guided
Nothing could be compared with hiking around the winter wonderland and exploring the majestic beauty of peaks scratching the sky. You do not need to be very experienced when taking the winter adventure of snowshoeing. Join us in our one-week long trekking to most impressive mountains in Bulgaria – Vitosha, Rila and Pirin. The warm-up snowshoeing walk in the less challenging Vitosha mountain will prepare us for the raw beauty of the alpine-like chains of the highest ridges not only in Bulgaria but at the Balkan Peninsula as well. A reasonable amount of thrilling snowshoeing experience, flavoured with interesting facts about the culture and history of the country and last but not least – a local cuisine that will make you lick your plate out!
The program is moderate to difficult, however, depending on the weather and snow conditions it may happen that your guide changes some of the itineraries if they seem to be risky. It is suitable for people in good physical shape, although walking with snowshoes is easy to learn, it might be tiring if you are not well prepared for the loading.
Day 1: Sofia
Meeting at Sofia Airport and transfer to a centre-based hotel for the first overnight in Sofia.
Day 2: Sofia – Vitosha Mountains – Govedartsi (4-5hrs; +150m/-600m)
We start our snowshoeing walking adventure in the most visited mountain from the citizens of Sofia – Vitosha. During the winter there are several ski zones that attract some of the people but most of the trails are not visited so we will feel the serenity of walking across the flat crests of the mountain, rewarded with spectacular views across. The trek starts from Aleko Hut (1810m), passes through Torfeno Branishte Natural Reserves and ends by the rocky rivers of Golden Bridges. After the hike, we will be transferred to the charming village of Govedartsi, located in the outskirts of Rila mountain.
Day 3: Govedartsi – Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (5hrs +550m/-550m)
After delicious breakfast, we depart towards the Malyovitsa resort (30 mins drive in each direction) where our next snowshoeing hike will start and end. We head off towards Yonchevo Lake (2013m), which during summer attracts a lot of tourists by its green shores. After we exit the dense woods through which we are going to walk, we can admire a great panorama of white peaks around. Going back to the car will be in a different way, through an enchanting coniferous forest.
Day 4: Govedartsi – Borovets – Icy Lake Refuge – Borovets – Govedartsi (5,30 hrs; +650m/-650m)
Another short transfer will take us to the starting point of our next snowshoeing trekking across the white wilderness of Rila mountain. After 30 mins (each direction) we will reach the popular ski resort of Borovets where we board on the cabin lift. It will take us closer to our target of the day – the highest located lake in the Balkans – The Icy Lake (2710m). It is so close to the premier summit of the mountain range Musala (2925m) but the climb after the Lake requires crampons so we are going to admire the peak from underneath its majestic white figure. We return the same way to our accommodation in Govedartsi to enjoy well-deserved rest.
Day 5: Govedartsi – Panichishte – The Seven Rila Lakes – Bansko (5-6hrs; +400-500m/-400-500m)
A farewell hike around the world-known group of glacier lakes in Rila – Seven Rila Lakes and at the end of the day we will greet another majestic mountain range – Pirin. After we say goodbye to our friendly hosts in Govedartsi, we depart on a 1-hour ride towards Panichiste resort from where we will star our snowshoeing hiking. Using the chairlift, we will reach a mountain hut, and soon one by one we will proceed further towards the highest located lake – The Teardrop (2500m). Even though covered with thick snow and being no visible, the area around the lakes remains very enchanting and we will easily lose track of time. After the hike, we continue towards Bansko, another famous Bulgarian ski resort. (1 hr and 50 mins drive).
Day 6: Bansko – Mount Bezbog – Bansko (4-5hrs; +500m/-500m)
Today we will encounter the marvellous beauty of Pirin mountains, heading towards a peak whose name is translated as No God. If you are curious about how it gained this name, don’t be shy and ask your guide! A short car transfer will take us to a chairlift (30 mins each direction) which will help us reach a mountain hut with the same name as the peak. It is a very popular destination with free-riders and as we are moving with the chairlift, we will see many of them, sloping down the powder snow. From the top of Bezbog Peak (2645m), we will have a jaw-dropping panoramic view towards the rough sea of white-covered peaks.
Day 7: Bansko – Rila Monastery – Sofia (2hrs; +100m/-100m)
Every adventure comes to an end but ours will be remarkable. After all of the efforts, we put into snowshoeing across most challenging mountains in Bulgaria, we will devote some time to the cultural and historical importance of one site, listed in the UNESCO Heritage list. After a healthy breakfast, we depart towards the largest monastery complex in the country – Rila Monastery. Huddled in the winter embrace of an ancient forest, the majestic walls are towering above magnificent buildings among which the main temple and a medieval watchtower. Established in the 10th century from the first Bulgarian hermit St. Ivan Rilski, this Holy Cloister preserved through the centuries of foreign rule our religion, culture, language, and traditions. A short walk towards the cave of the Saint or around the Pyramids of Stob will allow us to say goodbye with the divine nature of Bulgaria. Gala dinner in a restaurant in Sofia.
Day 8: Sofia
Sofia city – Airport (transfer is approx. 30 mins)
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-star/family hotels (en-suite rooms) incl. breakfast and dinner; 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