Rila-Pirin Track/La traversee Rila-Pirin
The National Parks of Rila and Pirin
This trip offers an original discovery of South West Bulgaria. The crossing of the Rila and Pirin massifs - it is a classic itinerary and well-liked by all hikers. The hikes in a splendid and very preserved nature alternate with the visits of the most beautiful sites (natural and cultural) of the country and with the pools in mineral water. The regions and landscapes are very varied: blue lakes, Orthodox monasteries and picturesque villages, limestone cliffs, granite and sand, panoramic peaks and flowering meadows, very beautiful forests of beech and conifers. Many meetings with the inhabitants. To discover again: Melnik's fairy chimneys, the songs and the magic music of bagpipes, traditional cuisine, Bulgarian wines and rakia.
Highlights and accents: Discovery nature and culture, meetings with locals, minibuses available and luggage transport, Bulgarian guide who will make you discover his country with passion. Climbing the highest peaks of Rila and Pirin: Mount Mousala 2925m, Maliovitsa 2729 m and Mount Vihren 2914 m - highlights of the Balkans.
Famous places, monuments and cities: the Great Rila Monastery founded in the 10th century (inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List), the 2 most beautiful Bulgarian National Parks, the new ski resort Bansko, the site of climbing of Maliovitsa, known as the Bulgarian Chamonix, the circus and lakes of Banderitsa, the smallest town in the country - Melnik (listed site, Rojen monastery, the capital Sofia.
D1 – Flight to Sofia. Welcome at the airport of the Bulgarian capital built at the foot of Mount Vitosha (2290 m). Transfer 95 km to the Rila mountain. Installation in a hotel in the village of Beli Iskar.
Rila National Park
The Rila mountain, with Mount Moussala (2925 m), is the highest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula. In the language of the ancient Thracians (the first inhabitants of the Balkans, an indigenous population) Rila, means - the full mountain (rich) of water. Indeed from here leave the biggest Bulgarian rivers Maritsa, Iskar and Mesta. 180 glacial lakes in the National Park, in winter a remarkable snow thanks to the continental climate and its exposure (optimal conditions for snowshoeing and ski touring). 5 nature reserves protect rare and endemic species of flora and fauna.
D2 - Mount Moussala 2925 m. After a short morning transfer (30 '), we arrive at the first ski resort in Bulgaria - Borovets (built in 1935). By cable car, we gain altitude to the summit Yastrebets (2400 m), from where we continue on foot in the beautiful circus Moussala. Several altitude lakes on the course. In the afternoon, climb Mount Moussala (2925m) the highest point of the Balkans. From the summit, beautiful panorama. Back and overnight at Maliovitsa for 3 nights in a chalet (1700m above sea level) or guest house/family hotel in Govedartsi village( 1150 m). Walking time: 5 h 30 ; Total Ascent/descent + 600 m;-600 m
D3 – Ascent of Mount Maliovitsa 2730 m. Early departure for a second hike in the Rila National Park. 6,30h hiking to the Pic of Maliovitsa (2729 m) overlooking the western Rila Mountains. The landscape is beautiful and impressive in all seasons. Return to the chalet at the end of the day (about 6,30 hours of walking, Total ascent/descent: +1000m/-1000m, where we will taste traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
D4 - Great day hiking in the famous Seven Rila Lakes Region dominated by the granite peaks of the Rila. In the morning, we walk from our hotel to the central part of the massif, via the Green ridge. Climb to the Green Stone (2550 m) and then we follow this beautiful ridge that offers us beautiful views. In the afternoon, we go down through the forest and the Urdina Reka bridge, still in the National Park. In the late afternoon we reach the Maliovitsa region, emblematic for Bulgarian mountaineering. Return for our last night in Maliovitsa (about 7h walk, +1000 - 1000 m ascent/descent).
D5 – Jonchevo lake (2000m) - Strashno lake (2465m) - Popova Cape Pass(2520) – Rila monastery (1460m). We leave Maliovitsa direction south to climb a pass at 2520 m which leads us into the valley of the Monastery of Rila, the largest Orthodox group in the country, whose foundation dates back to the 10th century. Accommodation in a family hotel a few kilometers from the monastery, the visit being scheduled for the next day (6 hours of walking, +800 - 1000 m ascent/descent). Transfer to Bansko/Dobrinishte. Installation in a hotel for 2/3 nights in Bansko or Dobrinichte.
(Optional)D6 – Visit Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rich in a remarkable collection of icons, the interior architecture is extraordinary. 1h30 transfer by vehicle via Blagoevgrad, to reach Bodrost station (1500 m), starting point for a short hike of about 2 hours to Makedonia Hut at 2160 m. Always south, we cross an imposing ridge that we follow up to 2400 m altitude. Then descent to the village of Dobarsko (1050 m), while admiring the majestic silhouette of the Pirin who stands in front of us. Visit the Dobarsko church (17th century) which is one of the richest in its decoration. Night in guest house with views of the peaks of the Pirin (7 hours walk, +900 - 1300 m ascent/descent).
The mountain of the Slav gods. The name Pirin comes from Peroun - the main god of the Slav pantheon. This more alpine and wild massif, shelters the brown bear and the wolf. Highest point: Mount Vichren (2914 m), a superb pyramid of limestone and marble. In the Pirin National Park: 120 glacial lakes, cirques and deep valleys, panoramic ridges, beautiful endemic coniferous forests, very wide variety of birds.
D6 - The second largest mountain in Bulgaria, of very alpine character, the Pirin is also a national park classified by UNESCO World Heritage. In the morning, short transfer (40 min) to Gotse Deltchev hut (1400 m). From there, by chairlift, you gain altitude to the chalet Bezbog (2240 m). Easy ascent from the top Bezbog (2645 m) which offers us a beautiful panorama and then descent on the big lake Popovo ezero. Swimming possible. In the afternoon we return to Dobrinichtè. Relaxation and superb pool in mineral water. Same accommodation. 5 h; + 600 m
D7 - Great step in loop through the karst part of the massif of Pirin. Transfer of 30 min and departure on foot from the refuge Vihren (1950 m) for hike to the summit of Mount Vihren (2914 m) in 6 hours round trip, or a further walk towards Koncheto - a knife-edge ridge at an elevation of approximately 2,810 metres. Same accommodation as the day before, free dinner. Visit of the small town of Bansko (museum, icon gallery, Orthodox churches). Accomodation in the same place.
D8 – The 6 lakes trail. After a short transfer to the hut Vihren(1950m) we will climb the Todorka Pass at 2600m high through the Banderitsa lakes. We descent by the Todorka lakes and Vasilashki lakes to the Demianitsa hut at 1900m high. Walking time: approx. 7 h, Total ascent/descent: +700m/-1000m.
D9 - Early departure for the Banderica Porta pass (2450 m). We descend down the southern slope that leads us to the small village of Popina laka (1300 m). The vehicle picks us up, transfer about 50 km to reach the small town of Melnik nestled at 400 m deep in a gorge with its old typical houses. Melnik is also the capital of Bulgarian wine. About 6 hours of walking, + 600 - 1200 m of unevenness. Night in a charming hotel.
D10 - In the morning, visit of the city and last small walk (2 hours, + 200 m of ascent) towards the monastery of Rojen, the largest of the Pirin region. Founded in 1217, it has two remarkable wooden sculptures: the iconostasis and the lectern. We leave the south of Bulgaria before noon. Lunch on the way. Arrival in Sofia around 15h. Free dinner.
The course of this program is given as an indication. It can be modified or adjusted according to technical criteria, safety requirements or weather conditions. In this case, only those in charge of the guiding are authorized to take the necessary decisions.