Rila Mountains Day Trip will allow us to quickly visit and enjoy on a bike this great mountain range, the highest on the Balkan Peninsula. The route is smooth, with gentle uphills and long pleasant downhills. The route has magnificent views towards the surrounding ranges as well as towards Razlog Hollow, where the town of Bansko is located. We’ll visit the Belitsa Brown Bears Sanctuary, where we’ll see its 26 inhabitants of the endangered Bulgarian Brown Bears, Dobursko Church and some beautiful small villages located in the foot of Rila National Park and on our way.
- The Brown Bears Sanctuary in Belitsa
- The famous Dobursko Church
- The beautiful villages with great views on the south slopes of Rila
Difficulty level: We grade this trip as Difficult. We’ll climb about 750 vertical meters while biking the 35 km long route. Very good physical condition required and basic downhill experience although there is no any technical sections on the way down. It is possible to downgrade to Moderate by using the transport to cut the main 550 m elevation section.
Best period for this trip is April to November.
From Bansko we drive straight (45 min) to Belitsa Dancing Bears Park – a sanctuary for “retired” Brown Bears used as a street attraction in the past. This is the start point for our bike trip.
The baby bears used to be stolen from their parents and trained to “dance” on the music of some traditional instruments like Gadulka. This was the way of making living for whole Gypsy families, before the official ban. The bear abuse is not allowed anymore and all the suffering animals were taken to the sanctuary to spend their last days in a protected environment, as their introduction back to the wildlife seemed impossible.
From the Bear sanctuary we head up to the small holiday area of Semkovo, located at about 1700 meters above the sea. We’ll climb about 700 vertical meters of elevation, before we stop for lunch at Semkovo.
After lunch a long descent (with some flat sections and a short uphill) along a dirt road will take us to Dobursko Village, located at about 1100 m, with great views towards the surrounding Pirin Mountains, Rhodopes and Razlog Valley. Visit to the Dobursko Church. 10 min climb and we get another great panoramic dirt road down to Gorno Draglishte Village, than further to Dolno Draglishte along the asphalt road. We may get a transfer back to Bansko from this point or bike the remaining km on the asphalt.
Contact us for any questions and prices.
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.