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Visiting Strandja next April

Greetings from Chicago. Thank you so much for your wonderful website–it is so helpful and enjoyable. I will visit Bulgaria by myself from 25 April through 08 May in 2019 and would like to spend a large amount of time in the Standja region. Is it possible to explore the beautiful area via bus, or is a car necessary? I would rather not rent a car. I am interested in living like a local and I am learning Bulgarian so I can have a full experience. Can you tell me if there are any big (or small) festivals between 05 April and 08 May?

благодаря ви много,
Christopher Simons
Dear Christopher,

We are happy to hear you found the website helpful and enjoyable.

If you would like to spend some time in Strandja region at this time of the year the main dates for celebrations are:

– April 28 – Orthodox Easter: there is an interesting traditions that you may see in the small villages how we paint the Easter eggs and the rituals in the church.

– May 6 is a national holiday: this is the day of St. George. It is an official state holiday, as well as “Day of bravery and the Bulgarian army”

You may follow this site for updates about 2019: Strandja Fest Network.

– The most important festival is Festival of Rhododendron Ponticum – in May (the flowering period of the Rhododendron ponticum), in different settlements on the territory of Strandja Nature Park. It will take part May 9 – 12.

There are no other festivals or events that I can find during this time. But you may check on the spot.

This is the link of Strandja Nature Park. There is a lot of useful information here.

Yes it is possible to explore the beautiful area via bus, the car is not necessary but better check the time table of the buses from Burgas. Also you will be less flexible as the buses are not frequent to all the villages.

Musala Shelter

Hi, we are planning to climb Musala Mountain during Christmas Time. I am trying to book accommodation in Everest Musala Shelter, but I can’t find any contact details to the shelter. Is it possible too book it in advance? Is it necessary to book it or can we just climb and stay there for the night?


Hello Beata,

During winter the shelter is operating only on some weekends and is locked rest of the time, so it is necessary to contact in advance in order to book. you may use the following phone numbers: +35988 8590342, +35988 9881814


Hiking Cherni Vrah

Hey, just a quick question. My boyfriend and I are coming to Bulgaria at the beginning of December and I’m wondering if it’s okay to hike to the top of Cherni Vrah. Would we need waterproof hiking boots/snow boots? Will the temp be below freezing? Also about how long will it take to get to the top.
Thanks a lot!!!

Hi Shelby,

It is already winter up the mountains and there is some snow cover above 1800-2000 m. So you need proper equipment – waterproof hiking boots, water and windproof clothes. The temperatures might be below or around zero during the day in December, so carefully check the current weather forecast. In good weather its not a problem to climb the peak for about 2,5 hours, starting from Aleko Hut.


ski touring in march in Rila mountains


Im trying to plan a hut to hut ski tour in the rila mountains for the end of march. Which huts will be open? If there is no-one at the huts is it normal for 1 room to be left open for people to use, like in the alps ect. I’m not expecting much, just a room to sleep in. we will take sleeping bags, stoves etc. If possible I would prefer to stay in open huts as they are warmer, more comfortable and serve food. Also will the ski lifts still be running?

Many thanks,


Dear Rob,

It is a common practise here to leave a winter room open. There is some exclusions, like Musala and Ledeno Ezero huts, but at the other places you’ll find a roof and possibly some woods to heat. The huts that are usually open during winter – at least for the weekends – in Rila Mountains are: Rila Lakes, Ivan Vazov, Lovna, Seven Lakes, Malyovitsa, Musala, Ledeno Ezero, Chackur Voujvoda, Macedonia. Anyway, if you want to be 100% sure that a certain place is open, i.e. there is a hut keeper to host you, contact them in advance.


Rila lakes from Sofia

Read best time is Summer up to Sept. But too many people maybe spoiling… What aout mid November? Mostly concerned about weather conditions. How’d you describe the trek in terms of difficulty level? Want to walk around the 7 lakes and take as may pics as possible. If not experienced hiker, how many hours can the whole thing take? Doable on 1 day? Thanks so much in advance!

Dear Sandor,

The trip from the bottom lift station (the lift is not operating in November) up to the highest lake (near the main ridge) is doable for a day if you are in a good physical condition. You need to cover up to 1000 m up and down which is an average day walk for an experienced hiker. There is no any special difficulty, you just follow marked tourist trails.

Keep a close eye on the weather forecast as it is nearly winter up there and cold, windy weather and even snowfalls are possible. You need to be equipped properly – warm, water and wind proof clothes and be prepared to navigate yourself in poor conditions – low visibility, misty weather. So you need a map, compass, possibly GPS. Also mountain rescue insurance in case you have any troubles.

Bulgaria hiking in April?


We booked tickets to Bulgaria to do some hiking April 11-20. We are experienced hikers, but not in snow or winter conditions. We are trying to decide what is possible to do in Bulgaria at that time, whether we will need to get a guide…. Are any huts even open in the Rila Mountains in April, or can we only do small day hikes? What about Rhodopes?

My Buglarian friend told me we made a mistake, and that it is way too cold and impossible, but this is our only vacation time and we would really love to see the nature in Bulgaria! Any suggestion?

Hi Alla,

Here are some photos from the end of April, Pirin Mountains, 2 years ago: This year there is less snow, but in general in the highest parts of Rila and Pirin you should be prepared for winter conditions. It is not too cold in April usually, most probably you’ll enjoy nice spring weather, but slushy snow in the high mountains. Would not recommend you to do long trips there if you are not experienced in winter trekking and without the proper equipment. If you are, or if you want to go with a guide, there is some good trips to do. Most huts in Rila (the ones that are lower in the mountain) are open too.

Rhodopes is a better option for you, but in some parts there still will be some snow drifts and wet terrain probably (which in general is not a safety issue there, just uncomfortable). Plan about heights under 2000 m if you want to avoid snow conditions. Some photos from the Rhodopes, end of April: You’ll enjoy beautiful nature for sure:)

mont musala


i want to know if it’s possible to go on the summit of MT musala at the end of april ?

i need special equiment ? the refuge are open at this period ?


Hi Michael,

Usually there is snow in the high parts of Rila by the end of April, so be prepared for walking on snow. There is a chance you may need crampons for the last section – it depends on the current snow conditions. The refuge should be open, but would advise you to contact them in advance via phone.

Vitosha Mountain


I’ve read your blog on the Vitosha Mountain. I’m coming over in early June and would like to visit the Boyana Lake/Waterfalls and the top of the mountain. Is this possible on one route? Your blog says there’s numerous routes starting at the bottom going to each of the places but would I have to come all the way back down after visiting the waterfalls to then go up and reach the summit?



Hi Will,

There is a trail from the village of Boyana that goes near the Boyana Waterfall and than further up to the high parts of the mountain. You’ll need to make a short detour in the beggining to see Boyana Lake. Better take a map of the mountain to get orientated.

chair lift from gotse delchev to bezbog hut

we intend to hike in pirin in the end of june 2012 21/6-25/6).

can someone tell me if the chairlift from gotse delchev to bezbog hut (and back)operates in these dates and what is it’s daily schedule?



Hi arieb2,

Yes, the lift will be working on these dates, here you can find some more information about lifts schedules:

in our travel in pirin mountains this month we will stay in Tevno Ezero chalet.

can any one tell me if it possible to buy in this chalet food or meals ?

tks for your reply


Probably yes, but its a bit out of the season, so not sure there will be a hut keeper all the time – you can call at +359 896 68 84 67 and ask for the certain dates you’ll be there. And be prepared for some snow in the high parts:)

Public transport / group visit Malyovitsa


As I was looking for the opportunity’s of hiking in the Rila Mountains I came across this website. In july we will be visiting Bulgaria with a group of 10 young people. We are fully dependable on public transport.

I saw that Malyovitsa Hut was a good starting point for a hike to the Rila Lakes. I was wondering how we can get from Sofia to Malyvitsa by bus? I thought we could take a bus to Samokov? And are there any busses that go further? Or is’nt Malyovitsa accesable by public transport? If not, is there any other nice starting point for us, that is accesable?

Also, I was wondering if it’s nessecary to make reservations for the huts in july? And what is the best way t make such reservations?

I hope you can give me some answers,

Thank you,

Anna (Netherlands)

Hi Anna,

Starting point for Malyovitsa is the town of Samokov. The asphalt goes up to the so called CPSH Malyovitsa – area with a few hotels at the border of the national park. The hut is one hour away, reachable only by foot.

There is regular buses from Sofia to Samokov. The first bus from Sofia (7am) makes a connection with the shuttle to CPSH, which goes a 8.15 (driver waits for the Sofia bus). The only other shuttle for the day goes at 16.15. The problem is that its a small vehicle and sometimes busy in the high season, so no guarantee that it will be able to take a large group.

There is more regular buses (and they are usually bigger) from Samokov to the village of Govedartsi, which is on the way to Malyovitsa – you can also start hiking from there.

Another option is to start from the village of Sapareva Banya, where you can hire a minibus to take you up to Pionerska Hut (the bottom station of the lift to the Seven Lakes) and start hiking.

About the huts – in July and August it is mandatory to make a reservation for a big party, as it is the high season and pretty busy sometimes. You should call to the hut keepers directly by phone. The most popular ones have websites, where you can reach their contacts. Here is Malyovitsa Hut website: (only in Bulgarian, use Google Translate).

We also offer as a service a full planning of your trip – day by day, with routes descriptions, overnight stays, etc. If you are interested, reach me by email/contacts form on the website.

Any other questions are welcome.

All the best,


Family Hike (summer 2012)

Hello, we are planning to come to Bulgaria and would like to spend some time hiking and some time relaxing. We are 4 people, two adults and two teenagers, all in decent hiking shape. After doing some research, I was thinking that the area around Troyan might be nice, but would like to get some feedback on what areas are most scenic and interesting, without being too technical or difficult to travel to. Ideally, we would chose 4-5 days of hiking and 7 days of relaxation and travel. Also, is it necessary to have a guide for this type of trip? Thanks

Hello Grace,

Troyan is at the foot of the highest parts of Balkan Mountains, which are also the most popular and interesting parts to hike. In general, you wont meet any technical difficulties on the hiking trails (the only exception is Kupena peak above Ambaritsa Hut, where there is a safety railings, but its fairly easy to pass) and the difficulty level depends on your choice, as you can do shorter hikes around Troyan or go higher up in the mountains.

The most interesting and scenic route there is following the mountains’ main ridge for a few days. The advantage is that you climb the ridge for a day (which is the difficult part) and then hike without loosing too much height. In this case you have to stay in a huts, where the conditions are a bit rustic and it might be busy in the high season.

Its not necessary to go with a guide if you’re experienced enough to plan your trip. You can find a relevant map and gain more information about the routes when you go there. The weather conditions in the highest parts shouldn’t be underestimated, even in summer season.

4-5 day hiking Rila


We are planning a hiking tour in september from 4-5 days. We absolutly wanted to see the 7 lakes, the musala peak and the rila monastery. We were if someone could suggest a nice route including these. We got our own tents. After the hiking we were planning to go to plovdiv.

Perhaps you have any other suggestions we might wonna see?

Someone has a website were we could buy a good map for our hike trip?

Kind regards


Hi Bastiaan,

Here you can find maps of Rila Mountains. For Musala you’ll need Rila-east, for the other places – Rila-west map. You can include in your itinerary Mount Malyovitsa and Skakavitsa Waterfall as they are in the same area as the Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery. More information about these places is available in the website, “Where to Go” section.

Just to warn you that all the area is a National park and wild camping is forbidden. About the route – many combinations are possible, depending on the intensity you prefer and the exact amount of days you’ve got. It is possible to do Musala for a day from Borovets and than to hike from Malyovitsa area to the Seven Lakes, than to descent to the monastery for 2-3 days total.



Thank you for your reply. We didn’t realise we couldn’t camp there, since last year we were in Romania and it seemed to be no problem there!

So it’s also forbidden to camp next to shelters and huts?

Again, many thanks for your reply


Hi, it is forbidden in the territory of Rila National Park, no problem anywhere else, where its not a restricted area. By law you cannot camp next to the huts also, but in reality people are doing it, you just have to ask at the hut.

Vihren/Pirin walks


we are arriving i Sandanski the week 28 and want to walk in Pirin and go to the top of Vihren.

Is there trips from sandanski to Pirin and Vihren – or do we have to take an overnight in Bansko?

When we are in Sandanski – do you have like a touristcenter?

best regards


from Denmark

Hi Claus,

Form Sandanski you can take a short ride to Popina Luka and then hike for about 7-8 hours to Vihren Hut (+1300/-550 м.), starting point for ascents to Mount Vihren. On the next day you can go to the top, then take shuttle to Bansko. Here you can find description of the most common route to Mount Vihren.

For details about the transport, you can ask at the Sandanski tourist center – the address is: 1 Bulgaria square, Sandanski, phone: 074632403, email:



Comments 7

Dear Sir,
when will be the Gela Festival this year 2018 ?
Is the Pirin Pee Festival on the same day?
Rozhen Festival ?

Man ling, Ha

My friends and I will sleep in a hut in seven lakes, and at the next day, will spent whole day hiking in early August. I’d like to ask, what is the temperature of the lakes at night ? Also, the highest mt lake is abt 2.5km high, is it very cool up there? Should we need to bring sweater to keep warm at night and around the lake?


Best regards,



A friend and I are planning to visit Pirin (will stay in Bansko) and try to hike up some of it`s peaks (Vihren, Kutelo, Todorka…) in mid june this year. Is that a good time of year to hike and is there a way to predict snow conditions for that period? Any advice is very welcome!




    Hi, generally its a good period and snow is already nearly gone. Also depending on the weather in current days. You need to strictly avoid crossing any dangerous snow patches (possible mainly on the north side of Vihren) – just go around them.


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