Rila-Pirin 1000+ Challenge

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Day

Sofia

On the first day of your trip you’ll be collected from your hotel in Sofia or Sofia airport and driven to the first location of your walking trip in Bulgaria – the town of Bansko.

Bansko

While a busting ski destination during winter, now you will find Bansko a charming quiet town that is worth visiting and exploring for a while – the old stone houses and the church, the small museums and the lively main square with mountain view. If you have time do not miss the Sunday open market where locals (and not only) from the region offer their products. Bansko also has a good choice of traditional restaurants, some bars and other entertainment. The natural thermal pools of the nearby villages of Dobrinishte and Banya are easily accessible. Accommodation at a quiet family hotel in the center of Bansko for 3 nights – double/twin ensuite rooms and delicious homemade dinner.
Day 1
Itinerary

Day 2: Mount Polezan

2851m ;4:30hrs ↝6.3km ↑595m ↓595m

Gotse Delchev Hut

First day up the mountains. About 40 min transfer will take us to Gotse Delchev Hut at around 1400m above sea level. There is a chair lift service up to 2240m near Bezbog Hut, the starting point of the trek for today.

Mount Polezan

The highest point for today is Mount Polezan, the fourth highest peak in Pirin. It is a particularly panoramic peak, with views towards the main mountain ranges in the region – Rhodopes, Rila, Pirin and some Greek mountains are clearly visible in good weather. Lift back down and transfer to Bansko, some free time to look around the town.
Day 2
Itinerary

Day 3: Mount Vihren & The Marble Ridge

2914m; 9:30hrs ↝15.3km ↑1500m ↓1660m

Mount Vihren

This is your most challenging day. The route goes through the highest peak and the main ridge of Pirin, crossing the famous Foal ridge. Close to the Edellweiss flowers, the chamois and with endless panoramas of the mountains in all directions. The day starts with a 20 min transfer up to the starting point above Bansko. An 800 m ascent will take us to the col between the highest peaks of Pirin – Vihen and Kutelo. First we climb Vihren, then, returning back to the col, we will climb the peak of Kutelo and further follow the ridge towards The Foal.

The Marble Ridge

The Foal is the dream of every local mountaineer and hiker, a 300 m knife sharp part of the ridge. It is well secured with a metal railing and no specific equipment or technical skills are required to cross it, but good stamina, focus and lack of strong fear of heights. Further we continue along the ridge and finally descend to Yavorov Hut, one of the best mountain huts in the country. Accommodation in dormitory rooms. Please note the main luggage is not transported on that day, so we should bring a toothbrush, а towel and spare clothes with us.
Day 3
Itinerary

Day 4: Yavorov Hut – Rila Monastery

1720m ;4:00hrs ↝10km ↑200m ↓700m

Yavorov Hut

This is a more relaxing day after the big ridge day and before our next challenge. Today we have a 2h pleasant ascent through the beautiful forests of Pirin down to the meet point with our transport. 1:45h drive will take us to the area of the Rila Monastery – the biggest one in the country and a UNESCO site.

Rila Monastery Nature Park

We will stop for lunch by one of the local fish farms. Further 30 min drive to the start point of our afternoon hike through Rila Monastery Nature Park, famous for its biodiversity and forests. We will visit the cave of the founder of the Rila Monastery – Ivan Rilski, and will finally descend back down to the monastery. Visit and accommodation at a nearby family hotel.
Day 4
Itinerary

Day 5: Baucher & Green Ridge – Govedartsi

2600m ;9:30hrs ↝21.6km ↑1650m ↓1300m

Rila Monastery

We start our hiking day from the gates of the Rila Monastery. We follow a winding old horse trail through the broadleaf trees, the pine forests, near the shepherds settlements and the alpine meadows of the high parts of Rila.

Baucher Ridge

All the way up to the Razdela Pass at 2600 m, from which we can enjoy the view of the famous Rila Lakes area from above and away from the mainstream of visitors.

The Green Ridge

Further we descend down via the Green Ridge.

Govedartsi

We reach a point close to Govedartsi village – our next location. Accommodation at a family hotel for 3 nights.
Day 5
Itinerary

Day 6: Mount Malyovitsa

2729m | 7:00hrs ↝13.7km ↑1000m ↓1000m

Mount Malyovitsa 2729m

We attempt the most beautiful prominent peak in the Rila Mts today – Mount Malyovitsa. 25 min transfer will take us to the starting point at 1760 m, at the border of the Rila National Park. The walking trail follows Malyovitsa River and after about an hour we reach Malyovitsa Hut.

Dear's Lake

Further up the valley the route follows the easiest terrain in order to reach the Dear`s Lake, located at 2480 m. The last section up to the top takes less than an hour – we reach the main ridge, with clear views towards the Rila Monastery at the bottom of the valley south from us, as well as the Pirin Range, Vitosha Mountains, large parts of the Rila Mountains and Musala Peak.

Govedartsi

After we reach the peak of Malyovitsa, we walk back on a similar path, drive to the hotel in Govedartsi.
Day 6
Itinerary

Day 7: Mount Musala

2925m | 6:30hrs ↝14.4km ↑650m ↓650m

Borovets

The natural finish of our walking adventure in Bulgaria is to climb its highest peak – Mount Musala. This morning, a 30 min transfer will take us to the ski resort of Borovets, where we take the Yastrebets gondola lift up to nearly 2400 m.

Musala Hut

We start hiking with 1h of nearly flat terrain until we reach Musala Hut.

Ledeno Ezero Hut

The next stage is up to Ledeno Ezero Hut, located at the foot of Musala, at 2700 a.s.l.

Musala Lakes

We follow a marked tourist trail winding through the bottom of the glacial valley, near the blue Musala Lakes.

Mount Musala

Last effort will take us up to the peak – around 45 min of walking a steep zig-zagging trail up to the top of Musala.

Govedartsi

Same way back to your hotel in Govedartsi for a last third night there.
Day 7
Itinerary

Day 8: Departure

Option 1

Main one, calculated in the cost – we will drive you from Govedartsi straight to Sofia airport or Sofia city centre. The ride takes less than 2h. We can drive you to Sofia on the previous evening, after climbing Musala and change the last night in Govedartsi with accommodation in Sofia. Please send us a request via our contact form for the additional cost.

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Option 2

We can extend the itinerary with a day of self-guided cultural & historical exploration of Sofia plus an additional night there. We will offer you a great way to get to know the city self-guided.

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Equipment Needed

hiking boots with ankle support or waterproof trainers with stiff sole plus trekking poles
rainproof/windproof jacket with hood
quick dry type long-sleeved trousers
a thin down jacket or a fleece layer
rucksack 25-45l
sun protection – lotion, glasses, hat
rain protection – rucksack cover or raincoat
a pair of thin gloves and a warm hat
personal first aid kid – any medicines you take, blister kit
trekking poles highly recommended
water bottle – 1-1,5l, snacks
in case you have a hut accommodation in your itinerary: although nearly all huts provide bedsheets, we recommend you use your own travel liner.
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