Adventures / Wild Hikes

8-Day Hiking through the Bulgarian Mountains

Explore Bulgaria’s most spectacular scenery – from glacial lakes to alpine meadows - and stay in comfortable family-run hotels

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Trip Ref #8547

Adventures / Wild Hikes

8-Day Hiking through the Bulgarian Mountains

Explore Bulgaria’s most spectacular scenery – from glacial lakes to alpine meadows - and stay in comfortable family-run hotels

DURATION

7 nights

LOCATION

Bulgaria

ANNUAL LEAVE

6 days off work

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Sofia Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

Completing this will be a challenge, so it's only recommended for fit and experienced hikers.

Get off the beaten path and experience Bulgaria’s remote and rugged landscape

Explore the beautiful Pirin and Rila mountain ranges - considered the Alps of the Balkans

8 days of guided travel, 6 days of alpine hiking and 7 nights in friendly family-run hotels

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Rachel, August 2019

    Stefka was a fantastic guide who kept us fully informed about each of the hikes and was very knowledgeable.

    Anne, July 2019

    Nadia Karastoyanova was an excellent guide, she was very knowledgeable about the mountains and the history of Bulgaria. She looked after us very well. The accommodation and food were good. Getting to the top of the mountains and completing the walks was very satisfying and climbing up the highest mountains of the Balkans was a bonus! The scenery was spectacular and we enjoyed seeing several new species of birds and butterflies.

    Justin, August 2019

    Our guide knew all the secret little trails around the mountains so we saw more than other groups on similar tours. Amazing local food and a good group who felt like family after seven days.

    Anne, July 2019

    The scenery, the wildlife and getting to the high tops of the mountains were great.

    Fiona, July 2019

    The walking was fantastic, lovely scenery, guide excellent at managing the group.

    Tayfun, July 2019

    Our guide Nadia (Nadezhda) was great, organization and quality of hikes also.

    Graham, July 2019

    The guide and the scenery were great.

    Liz, July 2019

    Great hiking and scenery, great group and our guide Nadia was friendly and looked out for us all!

    Tay, June 2019

    No frills booking and well-organised logistics from arrival at the airport, to every day scheduled activities and departure. Greater with our guide Kamen, he is very knowledgeable and brings the group together. Especially commendable for his love of his country and nature, he is a great guide and a true nature lover. Totally respect him.

    Magda, June 2018

    The guide was really good, no request was a bother and he was really good at telling us all about Bulgaria. He even arranged a wine tasting! Hotels were lovely, and except 1 (1 night only), hosts were really good and food delicious. I could not have asked for a better holiday.

    Included

    Guides

    Experienced, English speaking guides

    Accommodation

    7 nights in three-star, family-run hotels and guest houses

    Meals

    All your breakfasts and dinners

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Sofia Airport

    15:30 on Day 1

    Ends

    Sofia Airport

    09:30 on Day 8

    Transfers

    You'll be picked up on arrival and dropped off in time for departure. Feel free to book any flight that lands up to 30 minutes before the scheduled time. If you wish to arrive earlier, you can get a taxi (15 mins) into Sofia and your host can pick you up from your accommodation. You are free to book any departing flight that leaves after 11:00.

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Sofia from airports across the Uk and Europe.

    What about all the carbon?

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2 – Day 7

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 8

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Bulgarian food has a strong Mediterranean influence. Popular dishes include shopska (like a Greek salad), moussaka, pastries, stuffed vine leaves, sausages, cured meats and hearty stews. Common ingredients are yogurt, cheese, legumes and vegetables. You will be dining at a variety of restaurants, hotels, pubs and wineries. All dinners and breakfasts are included in the tour price.

    What is the accommodation like?

    The Mountains

    You'll stay in small, three-star, family-run hotels and guest houses. These typically feature ensuite rooms with private balconies, an onsite restaurant that serves traditional Bulgarian food, Wi-Fi and stellar mountain views.

    Upgrades

    Solo travellers automatically stay in their own single room, however, If you're travelling as a couple or with other people and would like to share a twin/double room please let us know when booking - especially if you do not book together.

    Day 1

    Bansko

    Travel to the town of Bansko at the foot of Mount Pirin (2.5hrs). Check into your hotel and head out for dinner and a chance to discuss the adventure ahead with your guide and the rest of your team.

    Day 2

    Polezhan summit

    Hiking

    8km · 650m up · 650m down

    Ride the cable car to the Bezbog Hut and start your hike to the summit of Mount Polezhan (2851m,) home to some incredible view over 17 blue alpine lakes. Return along an equally scenic route and then head back into town for dinner. 1 hour vehicle transfer today.

    Day 3

    Banderishki Lakes Cirque

    Hiking

    6-7hrs · 16km · 700m up · 700m down

    Remember those beautiful alpine lakes? Time to visit some of them. The trail will take you over Todorina Porta (2702 m) into the Yulen Nature Reserve and past Todorini Ochi (Todora’s Eyes.) Descend through groves of fir trees and finish the day with a walk along a shady riverside path before another traditional Bulgarian meal. 40mins vehicle transfer today.

    Day 4

    Mount Vihren

    Hiking

    6-7hrs · 9km · 1000m up · 800m down

    Ascend through the dramatic Golem Kazan (Giant Cauldron) beneath the sheer face of Mount Vihren (2915 m). Your guide will point out endangered edelweiss, rare wallcreeper and hopefully some shy Balkan Chamois. Enjoy the view from the top and then return to your hotel for a last night in the Pirin range. 40mins vehicle transfer today.

    Day 5

    The Rila Range

    Hiking

    3-4hrs · 7km · 300m up · 300m down

    Head for your second mountain range, the beautiful Rila, stopping off at the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some exceptional frescos. Check into your guesthouse in Panichiste and take an optional hike to the Skakavitsa Waterfall (70 m,) explore the nearby woods, or just relax. 3 hours vehicle transfer today.

    Day 6

    Seven Rila Lakes Cirque

    Hiking

    7hrs · 18km · 800m up · 800m down

    Take a cable car to the start of the Seven Rila Lake Cirque and hike all day through a landscape of crystal lakes, jagged ridges and alpine meadows. Ascend Malyovitsa Mountain (2729m) and drop into Malyovitsa Valley, where you’ll spend the night at a locally owned guesthouse in the village of Govedartsi.

    Day 7

    Mt Musala (2925 m)

    Hiking

    6hrs · 13km · 750m up

    Time to climb the highest peak in the Balkans - Mount Musala (2925 m). Ride the cable car ride from the Borovets Resort to the trailhead and ascend past rivers, lakes and mountain huts to the summit. Enjoy the views and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve just accomplished before descending back to Govedartsi. 1 hour vehicle transfer today.

    Day 8

    Back to Sofia

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading back to Sofia in time for your flight home (1.5hours transfer).

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What do I need to bring?

    Bags

    • Daypack for hiking
    • Waterproof liner for backpack

    Clothes

    • Hiking boots (worn-in)
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Waterproof trousers
    • Breathable wicking layers
    • Fleece jacket or similar
    • Buff or neckscarf
    • Lightweight trousers/shorts / skirts
    • T-shirts, underwear & socks
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunhat
    • Something to sleep in

    Other

    • Universal travel adapter
    • Power bank or solar charger
    • Passports (and visas)
    • Travel Insurance documents
    • Earplugs
    • Suncream
    • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
    • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
    • Alcohol hand-gel
    • Reusable water bottle x1 ltr (2 of these if you have room)
    • Energy bars and snacks

    Hiking Poles

    Payable Before Departure

    Hiking Poles

    single room in 3* Sofia hotel incl. breakfast and transfer to the airport.

    Payable Before Departure

    single room in 3* Sofia hotel incl. breakfast and transfer to the airport.

    Per Person

    twin/dbl room in 3* Sofia hotel, incl. breakfast and transfer to the airport,

    Payable Before Departure

    twin/dbl room in 3* Sofia hotel, incl. breakfast and transfer to the airport,

    Per Person

    Completing this will be a challenge, so it's only recommended for fit and experienced hikers.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    The high peaks in the Rila and Pirin Mountains see high temperatures of just 6 – 10 °C in the summer. The valleys are much warmer with temperatures around 18 - 22 °C. Nights are significantly cooler and monthly rainfall ranges from 47 – 121 mm, though on average just 6 – 9 days each month are rainy. June is the wettest month of the summer.

    You'll need to bring all your luggage with you, however on each day of hiking your main luggage can be left in the accommodation, or left with the transfer vehicle and driver depending on the day of the trip. You will only need to have a daypack for each day of hiking.

    We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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