Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hike the Lakes and Mountains of Bulgaria

Explore the rugged Pirin and Rila Mountains – considered the Balkan Alps - and stay in family-owned hotels

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Trip Ref #8554

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hike the Lakes and Mountains of Bulgaria

Explore the rugged Pirin and Rila Mountains – considered the Balkan Alps - and stay in family-owned hotels

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Bulgaria

ANNUAL LEAVE

2.5 days off work

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Sofia Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You'll be crossing complex terrain for several hours a day, so a decent level of fitness is recommended.

Hike along jagged ridges and through alpine meadows to visit remote glacial lakes

Summit two mountains - Mount Vihren (2915m) and Mount Polezhan (2851m) and stay in family owned independent hotels in between hikes

Soak up a wild landscape that’s home to bears, ibex, eagles and falcons

All our reviews are verified

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

Valerie, May 2017

Fabulous country, people, scenery. Wonderful hospitality. Perfect organisation. Would highly recommend.

Tom, May 2017

What a brilliant holiday! Very well organised, beautiful scenery, excellent guide, good camaraderie in the group, good food and hospitality/places to stay. It made a big difference in only having to carry a day pack since the rest of the luggage was taken care of.

Sophie, May 2017

An amazing experience, well organised and full of variety, great simple hotels and food. The guide was fantastic. Thoroughly recommend to anyone who wants challenging walking and spectacular scenery on a very well managed trek.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

4 nights in comfortable, family-run hotels

Meals

All your breakfasts and dinners

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Sofia International Airport

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Sofia International Airport

Approximately 18:00

Transfers

You'll be picked up on arrival and dropped off in time for departure. Transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, so please let your host know your flight time. You will be dropped off at the airport on the last day at approx. 18:00, please book flights departing after 20:00.

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

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Bulgarian food is very Mediterranean in flavour. Popular dishes include shopska (similar to Greek salad), moussaka, pastries, stuffed vine leaves, 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, however, all dinners and breakfasts are included in the tour price, except the first night where you're free to experience the city's many restaurants for yourself. Most dietary requirements can be catered for, just let your host know in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Sofia

You’ll stay at the 3-star B&B Hotel Sofia Place (or similar) in the centre of town. The hotel features a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, a cosy lobby bar, free Wi-Fi, a sauna and a fitness centre. Breakfast is included.

The Mountains

You’ll stay in small, three-star, family-run hotels and guesthouses in a twin room. These typically feature en-suite, private balconies, an onsite restaurant that serves traditional Bulgarian food, Wi-Fi and stellar mountain views.

You will be staying in single rooms by default on this trip. If you're travelling as a couple or with other people and would like a twin/double room please let your host know when booking.

Upgrades

Day 1

Sofia

Travel to the buzzing city of Sofia and check into your B&B in the centre of town. Spend the evening exploring, taking in the sights and experiencing your first taste of Bulgarian cuisine.

Day 2

Hike the Malyovitsa Valley

Hiking

6hrs · 6km · 900m up

Head deep into the Rila Mountains and hike through a spectacular alpine landscape of flower-filled meadows and glacial lakes, including the brilliantly named Strashno Ezero (Scary Lake). Descend to Yonchevo Lake and complete the loop back to the trailhead before driving to the nearby village of Govedartsi, where you'll stay in a friendly family-run pension.

Day 3

The Seven Rila Lakes cirque

Hiking

4hrs · 6km · 500m up

Drive to Panichishte and take a cable car to the start of the Seven Rila Lake Cirque. Spend the day hiking through a world of jagged ridges, alpine meadows and glacial lakes that will take your breath away. Every step of the way the scenery is magnificent, especially when you reach the high point and look back over what you’ve just accomplished. From the trailhead, drive to the town of Bansko in the Pirin Mountains where you'll spend the next two nights at a family-run hotel.

Day 4

Hike Mount Vihren

Hiking

6hrs · 9km · 1000m up

Ascend through the dramatic Golem Kazan (Giant Cauldron) beneath the sheer face of Mount Vihren (2915m). Your guide will point out endangered edelweiss, rare wallcreeper and hopefully some shy Balkan Chamois. Enjoy the spectacular views from the top and then return to your hotel in Bansko.

Day 5

Mount Polezhan (2851m) and home

Hiking

5hrs · 8km · 650m up

Take the cable car to the Bezbog Hut and hike to the summit of Mount Polezhan (2851m) along the classic northeast ridge route. Enjoy a panoramic view of 17 blue, alpine lakes from the peak and then head back to Sofia in time for your flight home.

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

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack
  • Waterproof liner for rucksack or drybags

Clothes

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

Other

  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry out)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x 1 ltr
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

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

You'll be crossing complex terrain for several hours a day, so a decent level of fitness is recommended.

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, while the valleys are much warmer with high temperatures of around 18 - 22 °C. Nights are significantly cooler and monthly rainfall ranges from 47 – 121 mm, though only 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.

For current advice about travelling in Bulgaria, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

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.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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