Snowshoeing in Rila & Pirin Mountains
Summary: RIla and Pirin are the two highest and most popular mountains of Bulgaria. Each of them with altitude of almost 3000m are the perfect place for a great winter adventure. The Rila Mountains is famous for its beautiful alpine peaks, Malyovitsa and Musala, for its numerous glacial lakes and its magnificent conifer forests. Pirin, on the other hand, is part of the Natural World Heritage , protected by UNESCO, mainly for its exceptionally rich ecosystems and vasts century-old forests. It is known for its marble ridge, rugged peaks and the “Foal”. In winter time both mountains are covered in snow and offer immense possibilities for snowshoeing through forests and alpine scenery. This trip is a good combination between winter activities and touch with the local culture, history and traditions.
Technical level: good physical condition
Best period: January – April
Day 1: Sofia Airport – Sofia
Transfer from the airport to the hotel in the center of the city.
Day 2: Govedartsi – Mechit Hut (Rila National Park)
Morning transfer from Sofia to Govedartsi village. We will start our first snowshoeing day walking up to Mechit Hut. The area has nice views towards the highest part of Rila and the valley of Govedartsi. Accommodation in Govedartsi for 2 nights.Walking time: +/- 500m; 5h
Day 3: Malyovitsa – Wild Boar Lake (Rila National Park)
Short transfer of 20 minutes to Malyovitsa training centre 1760m. A loop walk into the remote area of Razdavitsa Ridge. We visit the isolated Wild Boars Lake, located at the foot of the highest peaks of the area – Kupenite, Lovnitsa. Return to the car and transfer to Govedartsi. Walking time: 5-6h, +600/-600m
Day 4: Rila Lakes – Banya (Rila National Park)
Early start, drive from Govedartsi to Panichishte area in Rila Mountains – 1,15 hours. Chair lift up to 2140 m. 3-4 hours walk around the lakes. We start walking along the Dry Ridge until we reach the Kidney Lake. Further we descent near the Trefoil Lake, the Fish Lake, the old Seven Lakes Hut and above the Bottom Lake back to the starting point. Lift down to Pionerska Hut. Optional stop at the thermal pools of Sapareva Banya. Transfer to Bansko region 2:15 hours. Accommodation in Banya. Walking time: +/- 350m; 4h
Day 5: The century-old forest of Semkovo (Rila National Park)
Transfer to Semkovo ski area 50 minutes. A loop walk in the magical forest of Semkovo. In the afternoon an option to explore the hot mineral springs of Banya or to visit Bansko. Folklore dinner with traditional bulgarian songs at one of the guest houses in the area. Accommodation in Banya. Walking time: +/- 500m; 5h.
Day 6: Bezbog Hut-Bezbog Peak (Pirin National Park)
Transfer to Gotse Delchev Hut. We will ride the chairlift up to Bezbog Hut – 2200. The walk to Bezbog Peak – 2653m is above the treeline. The views from the top of the mountain are spectacular and include all the Pirin Mountains, as well as much of Rila and Rhodope Mountains. Accommodation in Banya. Walking time: +/- 450m; 4-4:30h
Day 7: Banya-Rila Monastery-Sofia (Rila Monastery Nature Park)
Today we will visit Rila Monastery – the most important and the biggest in Bulgaria – 2 hours transfer from Banya. The architecture from 14th and 19th century, the atmosphere and the views towards Rila Mountains make this place special for every visitor. Short walk in the area to the grave of St. John of Rila – the monastery founder. Transfer to Sofia – around 2 hours. Dinner and overnight in Sofia. Walking time: +/- 150m; 1:30h
Day 8: Sofia – Sofia Airport
Today we will make the walking tour of the capital of Bulgaria.
- hiking boots – waterproof and warm, to cover the ankle, with stiff sole, compatible with your crampons;
- water and windproof jacket with hood;
- water and windproof pants;
- warm hat, thin pair of gloves and a pair of warm mittens;
- thermal underwear, light down jacket or a warm fleece;
- sun protection – sun cream, sun glasses, sun hat;
- snowshoes and trekking poles – we can organize hire;
- water bottle or, preferably, flask – 1l;
- snacks, lunch pack.