|DURATION: 2 days
PRICE: € 220
|DIFFICULTY: 2/3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: June-October
TOUR TYPE: Guided
If your time in Bulgaria is limited, then this two-day hiking guided program will match your schedule and feed your adventurous spirit with splendid views of the pristine area of Rila.
The hike will pass by the jewel in the crown of Rila mountain – The Seven Rila Lakes, each of them named after its unique shapes such as Salzata (The Teardrop), Babreka (The Kidney) or Trilistnika (The Trefoil). Definitely, the most beautiful part of our short hiking adventure will be traversing the green ridge of the mountain from where we can admire the stunning views towards many glacier lakes, deep alpine valleys, jagged peaks and in the distant – the majestic Rila Monastery (UNESCO) hidden in the mild embrace of verdant forest.
Our trail starts from the foothills of Rila, passing by small mountain huts, rivers, and lakes until we reach the highly situated Ivan Vazov hut where we will spend the overnight. The conditions in the hut are basic, so be prepared to sleep in dormitories on bunk beds, the bathroom facilities are also shared and situated only on the ground floor. Linens and blankets are available but for those who wish – you can bring your own light sleeping bags. Make sure you do not carry unnecessary stuff as the luggage will be on your back throughout the whole trek. Freshly cooked dinner and breakfast are offered in the hut but the menu is limited to omelettes, soup of beans or lentils, local baked specialities are offered as well. It is a good idea to carry some packed food such as nuts, energy bars or snacks. Reusable bottle for water which you can fill from the springs or from the hut.
If this is not enough to make you pack your things, then read the full itinerary below! We promise it will be your ultimate life-time experience!
Day 1: Sofia – Malyovitsa – Vada Hut – The Seven Rila Lakes – Ivan Vazov Hut (6,30-7hrs; 16km; +1320/-520m)
We start the day with an early morning transfer from your accommodation in Sofia to the Central Mountain Schoool Malyovitsa (1700 m) which will take us approximately 1 hr and 40 mins driving.
We will leave the car at а guarded parking lot, just make sure you won’t forget anything important or useful in the vehicle.
First, our trail descends to a small hut while passing through Malyovitsa and Urdina rivers. At the hut, we can make a short stop to recharge our batteries with warm herbal tea and something to eat as the big challenge is just in front of us! Our path will gently start gaining elevation and soon we will reach the first from the group of the Seven Rila Lakes, situated at 2100 m – Dolnoto ezero (The Down Lake). While hiking up and around the lakes, we will learn more about the world-known movement established by the Bulgarian philosopher and spiritual teacher – Petar Danov. The white brotherhood is a community of persons (also called followers of Petar Danov) who chose exactly Rila and its lakes for their annual gatherings where they practice a sequence of exercises to achieve inner peace and harmony! It won’t be a surprise “why here?” as you will feel on your own the pure tranquillity of this place while sitting by the crystal clear waters of each lake.
The jaw-dropping scenery towards the whole lakes is expecting you from the highest situated lake – The Teardrop.
Once we are readily admiring this marvellous vista, we continue ahead to our final destination for the day – the highest mountain hut in Bulgaria – Ivan Vazov (2300m). We will get some well-deserved rest as tomorrow will be a challenge as well!
Day 2: Ivan Vazov Hut – Mount Malyovitsa – Malyovitsa Hut – Malyovitsa (5hrs; 15km; +735m/-1320m)
We will enjoy our breakfast at the fresh mountain air while drinking strong coffee or fragrant tea! Then we set off towards Malyovitsa peak (2729m/8953ft) the cradle of the Bulgarian rock-climbing and mountaineering. The trail stretches over the crest of Rila and fulfils our eyes with stunning views towards Urdini Lakes and the pearl of the spiritual life in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery. We can enjoy a picnic when we reach the peak – it will be undoubtedly an extraordinary spot for lunch with 360° panorama that even the most famous restaurants could not offer such an experience. Our trek is to its end and we go on a long descending down back to our car. Some steep stages may occur right after we start going down from the peak. We will pass by the extraordinary shape of Elenino Lake, which looked from above, resembles a question mark. A short stop by Malovitsa hut will be a great chance to look behind your back and see the impressive figure of Malyovitsa Summit, mottled by the warm rays of the summer sun. From the hut ahead we enter in a dense fir forest where next to our path purls a river.
And here we are next to our car, ready to bid farewell with Rla mountains and its divine nature!
This is a tentative program which can be extended with one or two more days of hiking in the area, to include a climb to Mt. Musala (2925m) – the highest peak on the Balkans etc.
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.
> 2 persons: 220 €/person;
> 3 persons: 190 €/person;
> 4 persons: 155 €/person;
Price includes: guidance in English, private transfers to/from your hotel in Sofia, accommodation in dormitory in mountain hut with shared facilities;
Price does not include: meals and drinks (food and tea in the huts for the two days will cost appr. 10-15 Euros/pers.), medical insurance, tourist maps, tips, personal expenses;
Accommodation: Conditions in the hut are basic, rooms are dormitories with bunk beds, there are toilets available on the ground floor. Linens and blankets are provided, but you can bring your summer sleeping bag if you prefer. Food is freshly cooked and served, although there is no big variety – so you can bring food if it is something special – usually they have beans or lentils soup, omelettes, delicious cheese from a local diary, etc. It is suggested that you buy lunch pack from the hut for the second day or be prepared with nuts, energy bars, dried fruits, etc.
Best period: mid June-October
Joining the tour: The tour is organized on private basis only. There are no scheduled group departures, which you could potentially join individually.
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