A Rila Mountains self-guided hut-to-hut trek
We’ll offer you a comprehensive guide about the Rila Traverse – a 7-day long trek that covers the most interesting parts of these mountains. Of course, in order to complete the trek independently, you need to be comfortable in navigating yourself in unknown mountains even in poor weather conditions – possible during the peak summer season also. To work confidently with a map and a compass. In the best scenario you’ll follow the well marked trails for a week without any problems, in the worst – you may get lost and need assistance form the local mountain rescue teams (112). Thats why, along with the proper equipment, you need to supply yourself with a valid insurance and have a mobile phone with you. For a relevant map of the area and a GPS map to download, please check the Maps section of our website. Read more about the self guided trips in Bulgaria we offer.
Why Rila Mountains?
- They are quite close to the capital Sofia – the main starting points at Borovets, Malyovitsa and Panichishte are only 1,15-1,5 hours drive from the city;
- Rila is the highest mountain on the Balkans with Mount Musala (2925 m);
- Rila Mountains host the biggest of the three national parks in Bulgaria – Rila National Park;
- Rila offers dramatic landscapes – glacial lakes, jagged peaks, old conifer forests and alpine meadows;
- Rila has unique flora and fauna – endemic and relict species and endangered animals like the Brown Bear, the Imperial Eagle, centuries old forests;
- There is a wide network of well marked tourist trails along with huts to stay for the night for a reasonable price;
- Learn more about Rila Mountains.
The most popular sights in these mountains are located in Central Rila – Mount Musala and in Northwestern Rila – Malyovitsa, The Seven Rila Lakes, Rila Monastery, Skakavitsa Waterfall. Check “Rila Mountains” section of the website for more info.
Best time to visit is between June and October, although in June you may expect dangerous snow drifts on some of the trails and in October you may have quite low temperatures during the night and even snowfalls are more possible. Both in June and October there is a bigger chance of rainy weather. July and August are the driest months but also most people visit during this time.
The trails are marked well in general, in white and coloured strips and parallel iron posts on some routes. Read our article about the markings here.
The accommodation is basic – dormitories, no shower at most places – but all of the huts would offer you a warm meal, so you’ll not need to carry something more than a day snacks and a travel linen. More info about the huts network. Camping is forbidden within the territory of the national park, so better leave the tent at home.
Here is the itinerary itself:
Day 1: Sofia – Borovets – the gondola lift up to Yastrebets Hut – Musala Hut (- Ledeno Ezero Hut, +1,15 hours);
Day 2: Musala Hut (or Ledeno Ezero Hut) – Mount Musala – Granchar Hut;
Day 3: Granchar Hut – Ribni Ezera Hut;
Day 4: Ribni Ezera Hut – Kirilova Polyana – Rila Monastery;
Day 5: Rila Monastery- Ivan Vazov Hut;
Day 6: Ivan Vazov Hut – Malyovitsa Hut via Mount Malyovitsa;
Day 7: Malyovitsa Hut – the parking lot of Malyovitsa – Sofia.
In order to visit the famous Seven Rila Lakes you may stay at Ivan Vazov Hut for a second night and do a circular walk around the lakes and back to the hut.
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.