Highlights of the Rila and Pirin mountains (4 days)

Multi-day & Extended Tours, Your accommodation in Sofia (please provide accommodation address) to Your accommodation in Sofia (please provide accommodation address)

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Tour description provided by Viator

Enjoy Bulgaria’s most picturesque alpine treks, climbing some of the Balkans’ tallest summits! Our route crosses huge national parks with broad alpine meadows and serrated summits, glacier lakes, stone rivers, encountering rare plant and animal life. The programme includes a visit of the Rila Monastery, listed by UNESCO and one of Bulgaria’s best-known sights.There are trails in the below itinerary, passing over stone rivers, so previous hiking experience in similar conditions would be good.This short hiking vacation is meant for people who already stay in Sofia (thus being able to start early in the morning on Day 1) and continue their stay in Bulgaria right after the tour (as they will be dropped of again in Sofia in the evening of Day 4).You walk every day with just a daypack. The rest/unnecessary luggage either remains inside the transfer vehicle, or in your accommodation.
ITINERARYDay 1: Early morning transfer from Sofia takes you to the beautiful Malyovitsa Valley and thence high over the alpine Cirques and small lakes, sheltering also the secretive Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. From there we descend to the Yonchevo Lake and finish the loop again at Malyovitsa resort. We stay overnight in a family-run pension in the nearby village of Govedartsi. (walking: 12km/7miles, climbing and descending 900m/3000ft.)Day 2: Transfer to Panichishte resort and a refreshing chairlift ride will bring us to the trailhead, exploring the Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. Located at between 2100 and 2500 metres (6900 to 8200ft) above sea level, these famous glacier lakes will charm you with their magnificent scenery which you can survey from the edge of the highest one. (walking: 6km/4miles, climbing and descending 500m/1700ft.). After a circular walk among the lakes we continue on to Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains National Park, where we will spend the next two nights. Time permitting on the way to Bansko we can make a short detour to the most famous UNESCO site in Bulgaria: Rila Monastery.Day 3: Pre-arranged transfer brings us up to the Vihren Hut (appr. 30min) where we set off on a hiking trek through the pretty Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes. Loop walk among the lakes will take us to all five of them. We can have rest on their shores and enjoy the serenity of the rocky outcrops around you. (7,5 km; 3,30-4,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 700m/2300ft)For hikers, that are really fit (sure-footedness is required as well), we have another option: to attempt the Pirin’s premier summit, Vihren (2914m a.s.l.). (8,50 km; 5,30-6,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 1000m/3300ft.).Day 4: Car transfer brings us above Dobrinishte resort, at Gotse Delchev Hut (appr. 40min). Chair cable car then takes us up to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m/9354ft) which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes. We use the classic route trough the northeast ridge, which is not difficult or too steep, except of the last 15-minute stage of the summit. (5hrs of walking, climbing and descending 650m/2100ft.). Arriving back to our car, we hit the road for a transfer to your accommodation in Sofia (appr. 3hrs).Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper.Walking difficulty: difficult to challenging walks for fit hikers with good hiking experience in Alpine terrains; please come prepared with suitable hiking boots and clothes for mountain trekking.

What’s included

  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Driver/guide
  • Hotel pickup
  • Hotel drop-off
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Coffee and/or Tea

What’s not included

  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Lunch
  • Gratuities

Itinerary

Day 1: Early morning transfer from Sofia takes you to the beautiful Malyovitsa Valley and thence high over the alpine  Cirques and small lakes, sheltering also the secretive Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. From there we descend to the Yonchevo Lake and finish the loop again at Malyovitsa resort. We stay overnight in a family-run pension in the nearby village of Govedartsi. (walking: 12km/7miles, climbing and descending 900m/3000ft.)
Day 2: Transfer to Panichishte resort and a refreshing chairlift ride will bring us to the trailhead, exploring the  Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. Located at between 2100 and 2500 metres (6900 to 8200ft) above sea level, these famous glacier lakes will charm you with their magnificent scenery which you can survey from the edge of the highest one. (walking: 6km/4miles, climbing and descending 500m/1700ft.). After a circular walk among the lakes we continue on to Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains National Park, where we will spend the next two nights. Time permitting on the way to Bansko we can make a short detour to the most famous UNESCO site in Bulgaria: Rila Monastery.
Day 3: Pre-arranged transfer brings us up to the Vihren Hut (appr. 30min) where we set off on a hiking trek through the pretty  Cirque of the Banderishki Lakes. Loop walk among the lakes will take us to all five of them. We can have rest on their shores and enjoy the serenity of the rocky outcrops around you. (7,5 km; 3,30-4,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 700m/2300ft) For hikers, that are really fit (sure-footedness is required as well), we have another option: to attempt the Pirin’s premier summit, Vihren (2914m a.s.l.). (8,50 km; 5,30-6,00 hrs of walking, climbing and descending 1000m/3300ft.).
Day 4: Car transfer brings us above Dobrinishte resort, at Gotse Delchev Hut (appr. 40min). Chair cable car then takes us up to the Bezbog Hut. This is the setting-off point for the hiking trek to the Polezhan Summit (2851m/9354ft) which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Pirin, over 17 stunning glacier lakes. We use the classic route trough the northeast ridge, which is not difficult or too steep, except of the last 15-minute stage of the summit. (5hrs of walking, climbing and descending 650m/2100ft.). Arriving back to our car, we hit the road for a transfer to your accommodation in Sofia (appr. 3hrs). Accommodation: three-star and family hotels; rooms with en-suite facilities; breakfast and supper. Walking difficulty: difficult to challenging walks for fit hikers with good hiking experience in Alpine terrains; please come prepared with suitable hiking boots and clothes for mountain trekking.
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