Hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing are popular in this part of the Rila Mountains, and Malîovitsa is the main outdoor base. A guide is heartily recommended for outdoor activities.

Skiing

Pint-sized but exceedingly pretty, Malîovitsa's ski area has five drag lifts serving its 4km of pistes, of which the longest run is 1200m. Rent equipment from the Central Mountain School.

Hiking

Malîovitsa's the base for one of Bulgaria's most popular hiking destinations: the Seven Rila Lakes (Sedemte Rilski Ezera). These glittering turquoise lakes, small but exquisitely beautiful, are strung out like jewels across rolling meadows in the central Rila Mountains. Domino's Rila map (1:50.000) isn't too detailed but it shows the main hiking trails; it's readily available from bookshops as well as souvenir and information centres in Borovets, Samokov and elsewhere.

From Malîovitsa village, first hike for about one hour to Hizha Malîovitsa (2050m). From Hizha Malîovitsa, it’s a seven-hour hike to Hizha Sedemte Ezera, an older hut with simple dormitories. Alternatively, a little further north is Hizha Rilski Ezera, 2135m. The Rila Mountains’ best hizha (mountain hut), it should be reserved ahead in peak summer.

From the Seven Lakes, it’s an easy one-hour walk downhill to Hizha Skakavitsa; alternatively, head south for Rila Monastery (a six- to seven-hour hike).

Another route to the Seven Rila Lakes from Malîovitsa is northwest via Hizha Vada and Hizha Lovna.

Rock Climbing & Mountaineering

With more than 200 summits above 1000m, it's no surprise this alpine area of jagged peaks and glinting lakes attracts mountaineers and rock climbers. Climbing here is only for the experienced; contact the Central Mountain School to hire a guide for rock climbing or other mountain activities. The best season is between mid-June and mid-September.