The Seven Rila Lakes

The Seven Lakes are located in Northwestern Rila and are probably the most visited places in these mountains. Its popularity is due to the natural beauty of this group of glacier lakes, highest of which is located at about 2500 m. above the sea level. It is named The Teardrop because of its shape. The lowest one is called The Lower Lake (surprisingly) and is at 2100 m. elevation. Between them are located The Twins, The Eye, The Kidney, The Fish Lake and The Trefoil. The Eye is the deepest in the group, reaching a depth of 37,5 meters. The biggest as a surface area is the Kidney Lake.

 

The Seven Lakes are close to the Rila Monastery, Malyovitsa and the Skakavitsa Waterfalls areas, which gives numerous options for planning a few days walking route. Most of the visitors drive, take taxi or a shuttle from Sapareva Banya – a village in the foot of the mountains, 70 kilometres away from Sofia, famous with the hottest thermal geyser on the Balkans (103 degrees). The road from the village leads to Pionerska Hut (1585 m.), from where a chair lift operates all the year round and takes visitors up to 2150 m. elevation. Near the top station of the lift is build Rila Lakes Hut – more hotel-like accommodation.

 

Please, take a look at our itineraries on the Seven Rila Lakes:

 

Hiking near The Eye

Hiking near The Eye Lake

 

From this point it is possible to do a few hours walk around the lakes and go back – usually up to the Lakes Mount, placed between The Teardrop and The Eye lakes. Unfortunately too many people take this option in summer and the crowds may spoil the great views. There is a few other huts in the area, opened for visitors – these include the old Seven Lakes Hut, about an hour away from the lift station (offers rustic accommodation), Lovna and Skakavitsa huts and Ivan Vazov Hut, located high in the mountains and separated by the Seven Lakes cirque by Otovica Ridge, which is the only place where all the lakes are seen under our feet.

 

 

All the lakes seen from the main ridge of the mountain – Otovitsa Ridge

 

In every August, a large group of followers of the so called White Brotherhood organizes their biggest annual event in the area. This religious community is established at the end of 19-th century by Petar Dunov – Bulgarian, who immigrated to the United States short after the liberation of Bulgaria. A few thousand of his followers meet at the lakes, dressed in white, and perform a special ritual-dance, called “Panevritmia”, which is their way to worship the holly sun. Despite being quite interesting to see, they also contribute to the crowds in summer, so it might not be the best time to visit. When the snow falls, some of the slopes where tourist trails are traced become avalanche prone. A short drag lift near Rila Lakes Hut gives an access to the gullies of the Dry Ridge above the hut, which are popular terrain for off piste skiing. Nevertheless there is still options to visit the lakes for a snowshoeing walk in winter or to take an interesting day or a few days walk around in summer, avoiding the crowds.

 

Read more about our suggestions on how to plan a self-guided hike in the Rila Lakes area.

 

 

Author: Lyuben Grancharov

“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” (Augustine of Hippo). I enjoy filling up the page, called “Bulgaria”, both working as a guide and writing about the mountains of Bulgaria on this blog.