Rila & Pirin Classic Tour

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Day

Drive time: 2.45 hours

Sofia

On the first day of your trip you`ll be collected from your hotel in Sofia or the Sofia airport and driven to the first location of your walking trip in Bulgaria – the town of Bansko. While it is 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 a mountain view. If you have time, do not miss the Sunday open market where locals (and not only) from the region offer their production.

Bansko

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 in a quiet family hotel in the center of Bansko for 4 nights – double/twin en-suite rooms and delicious homemade dinner. During your stay in Bansko, 2 of the dinners are arranged with the hotel, two are left to your own choice – we will recommend places to eat outside in Bansko.
Day 1
Itinerary

Day 2: Mount Polezan

2851m ;4:30hrs ↝6.3km ↑595m ↓595m

Gotse Delchev Hut

First day up in the mountains. About 40 min transfer will take us to Gotse Delchev Hut at around 1400m above sea level.

Bezbog Hut

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 very 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.

Bansko

Lift back down and transfer to Bansko, some free time to look around the town.
Day 2
Itinerary

Day 3: Vasilashki & Bunderishki Lakes

2588m; 7:30hrs ↝14km ↑1150m ↓650m

Bansko

This is your “Lakes” day. The route goes through a couple of valleys, where you will see quite a few of the numerous glacial lakes of Pirin. The day starts with a 20 min transfer up to the starting point above Bansko.

Demyanitsa Hut

Initially the large walking trail follows the crystal clear river of Demyanitsa through the forest until you reach Demyanitsa Hut near the border of Yulen Reserve.

Yulen Reserve

Further you enter the territory of the reserve which protects some of the oldest coniferous forests of Pirin, especially the so-called Bosnian Pine (Pinus Heldreichii) – impressive centuries-old pine giants.

Golyamo Vasilashko Ezero (The Big One)

The first steep ascent after the hut will take us above the forest line and up to the lowest one of Vasilashki Lakes – Golyamo Vasilashko Ezero (The Big One).

Todorini Ochi Lakes (The Eyes of Todorka)

Further on we slowly gain elevation following the valley and more and more views and lakes will open up in front of us. By lunch time we should pass near the two highest lakes in the valley – Todorini Ochi Lakes (The Eyes of Todorka) and reach the pass of Todorka.

Bundersihka Valley

The descend starts from the col on the ridge at nearly 2600 m – a zig-zagging trail leads us down to Bundersihka Valley at the foot of Mount Vihren.

Bunderishki Lakes

Another 5 lakes (Bunderishki Lakes) are located in this area and we will spot them all in good weather – The Long One, The Fish Lake, Muratovo Lake, The Frogs Lake and The Eye.

Vihren Hut & Bansko

After the initial steep ascend a gentle trail goes down to Vihren Hut – end of the trek for today. 30 min transfer back down to Bansko.
Day 3
Itinerary

Day 4: Mount Vihren 2914m

7:00hrs ↝8km ↑1000m ↓1000m

Bansko

Exciting day is in front of us – ascend of the highest peak of Pirin Mountains – Vihren Peak, the stone kingdom of the Balkan Chamois and the Edelweiss flower.

Vihren Hut

Transfer back to Vihren Hut, which is the starting point of the route today. The route is short in km but with steady incline and rocky terrain, so be well-prepared with walking sticks and good boots. Note: in case you have a fear of heights and rocky passages, we would recommend you follow the south trail only – up and down the same way. Otherwise the loop we suggest initially traverses the slopes of Vihren and we ascend from the north, where the last passage is a bit more technical (please read below), then we descend from the south back to Vihren Hut.

Big Pot

The ascending trail traverses the east slopes of Vihren until we enter the so called Big Pot – a glacially formed cirque which divides Vihren from the Marble Ridge, with impressive views towards the north face of Vihren.

Premkata Col

We ascend up to Premkata Col (possible detour to the Foal Ridge and back) and finally follow the markers up along the rocky slope of Vihren. This part of the trail requires a little scrambling and although it is not risky (secured by a metal chain) nor does it require any special skills, it is not suitable for people with a strong fear of heights.

Vihren Hut & Bansko

The descend from the top is on the other (south) side, until we reach Vihren Hut and get our transport back to Bansko.
Day 4
Itinerary

Day 5: Rila Monastery or the Seven Rila Lakes

Rila Monastery: 2:15h walk ↝3km ↑50m ↓300 OR Rila Lakes: 2,5 to 6h

Rila Monastery

A visit of the UNESCO site – The Rila Monastery with an optional short walking tour or a 5-hour tour around the Rila Lakes instead of the Monastery. Today we will change the region and move from Pirin to the Rila Range. After breakfast, a 2h morning transfer will take us to the world-famous UNESCO heritage site in Bulgaria – the Rila Monastery, for a visit and an optional hike with visit of the chapel and the grave of Ivan Rilski – the Founder.

Seven Rila Lakes in the Rila National Park

We also give an option to visit the Rila Lakes area and skip the monastery, according to your preferences. In this option a 2.5h drive will take us to the bottom lift station of the Rila Lakes lift, our start point of the hiking tour. There are 2.5 to 6h-long route options that include only the most famous lakes or the whole valley and the main ridge above. Afternoon 1:45h drive to the village of Govedartsi, your next location. Accommodation in a family hotel for 3 nights.
Day 5
Itinerary

Day 6: Mount Malyovitsa 2729m

7:00hrs ↝13.7km ↑1000m ↓1000m

Bansko

We are attepting 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.

Malyovitsa Hut

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 Peak of Malyovitsa

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 would walk back on a similar path, drive to the hotel in Govedartsi.
Button
Itinerary

Day 7: Mount Musala 2925m

6:30hrs ↝14.4km ↑650m ↓650m

Bansko

The natural finish of our walking adventure in Bulgaria is to climb its highest peak – Mount Musala.

Borovets

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 Lakes

We start hiking with 1h of nearly flat terrain until we reach Musala Hut. The next stage is up to Ledeno Ezero Hut, located in the foot of Musala, at 2700 a.s.l. We follow a marked tourist trail winding through the bottom of the glacial valley, near the blue Musala Lakes.

Musala Peak

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

Drive time: 1.45 hours

Option 1

The first option, calculated in the cost – we will drive you from Govedartsi straight to Sofia airport or Sofia city center. 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 for more information to find out 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. If you would like to purchase this tour package for 1 or 8+ people, please speak to us or fill out our form and we wll prepare a custom quote for you.

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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 sleeve 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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