Trekking in Bulgarian Rila and Pirin Mountains.

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Trekking in Bulgaria

Trip Summary

Bulgaria Trekking

Trek Map | Bulgaria Home Page

Few countries can rival Bulgaria's superb mountain scenery, and 35,000km. of trails on which to explore them. Its natural beauty and the rich diversity of fauna and flora are a natural asset treasured by the formation of no less than ten national parks. The Rila and the Pirin rival the alps with their rugged peaks, great ridges and panoramic vistas, yet the Bulgarian mountains are relatively little visited in comparison to their more famous European neighbouring ranges; here you can really appreciate the peace and tranquility, and enjoy a sense of breaking new ground.

Fish Lakes
Fish Lakes

We start with three days acclimatisation walks based at the luxurious four star Samokov Hotel in Borovets. On day three we walk up Moussala, at 2925m the highest peak in the Balkan Peninsula. The next few days are spent crossing the Rila Mountains spending nights in mountain lodges. En route we visit the famous Rila Monastery with its rich frescoes dating back to the 10th century. We carry our basic, personal equipment until we descend to Bansko, a charming town rich in history and fine traditional buildings, which lies between the Rila and Pirin. Here we again stay in a comfortable hotel from which we visit some of the magnificent mountains and lakes of the Pirin. On one of our two days here we make an ascent of the highest peak in the Pirin, Mt Vichren (2915m), just 10m lower than Moussala but equally dramatic.

In the Pirin

For the last few days we cross the Pirin again reverting to the mountain lodge system.

The downside of getting to such remote and attractive areas is that the amount of vehicle support is limited because road access is difficult or impossible, so you must be prepared to backpack. if you enjoy a real mountain challenge then this trip is for you.

Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery
The Bulgarian Pirin and Rila Mountains
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This partly vehicle supported trek provides a wonderfully varied trip that includes visits to the magnificent Rila Monastery. Crossing high mountain ridges, walking through beautiful forests and past many lakes we work our way across the Rila and Pirin. In between the mountain sections we enjoy staying at some of the most luxurious hotels in Bulgaria, making up for the more spartan conditions ecountered in the mountain lodges. In hotels en-suite twin bedded rooms are provided. Mountain lodges vary considerably and some only provide dormitory style accommodation. We use homes in a village.

Outline Itinerary
Day 1Arrive in Sofia. Drive to Borovets and and the luxurious **** Samokov hotel with its swimming pool, saunas, bars and many other facilities. This is our base for three nights.
Day 2Walk to the Chakur Voivoda lodge at over 2000m, then on to the Sarugyol lakes (Sarugyolis comes from the Turkish word meaning "yellow lake") set amongst meadows of yellow flowers surrounding them in summer. We then hike up Shatara peak, 2495m, before returning to Borovets.
Day 3
We use the Gondola system to help us on our way to reach Moussala, 2925m. Return to Borovets.
Cross the Rila mountains visiting Rila Monastery en route. This section is not vehicle supported until day 7. On day 8 we reach the ancient and beautiful town of Bansko and a comfortable hotel, our base for three nights.
Day 9Climb Vihren, 2915m, from our Bansko Hotel.
Day 10Walk by Todorini Ochi peak then down to the Vasilashki Lakes, some of the most picturesque alpine lakes in the Pirin mountains. Back to Bansko.
Cross the Pirin mountains. No vehicle support.
Day 14A short walk to our waiting vehicle then a short drive to Rohzen monastery, set amid a fantastic panorama of eroded landscapes. Famous for its beautifully carved altar, the monastery church has stained glass windows, murals and fine icons. From here we drive to Sandanski, one of Bulgaria's best known spa towns. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel Sandanski, a **** - with swimming-pool.
Day 15Return to Sofia, depart.

Bulgaria Trek
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ALW 13/3/03