Ascend Bulgaria's two highest peaks
South-western Bulgaria is dominated by two dramatic mountain ranges, the Pirin and the equally imposing Rila. We begin in the Pirin Mountains, trekking across glacial moraines and high passes and attempting an ascent of Mt Vihren (2914m). Moving on to the Rila Mountains, we visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then cross the mountain range, through ancient forests to the glacial lakes for which these mountains are famed. We conclude by summiting Musala (2925m), the highest peak in south-eastern Europe, before returning to Sofia.
7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners are included in this trip. Breakfast will usually include tea or coffee, bread, jam, honey and cheese, yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as 'katmi' and a rice-based dish called 'rodopski klin'. Most days lunches will be packed. Consisting of bread, cheese, salami, hard boiled eggs, salads, fruit and biscuits. The evening meals will either be taken at the hotels or local restaurants and will consist of typical Bulgarian cuisine. On two evenings whilst in Bansko, dinners have not been included to offer you the opportunity to choose your own place to eat from the many traditional inns and restaurants that are available in the town. Vegetarians and Vegans: Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for. However, it is extremely difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs form the staple part of the diet in this region, and occur in the vast majority of meals. Therefore we recommend that you bring some supplementary items. Please note, special gluten-free products are not available, so those clients with wheat/gluten intolerance should, if needed, bring with them something to replace the local bread and pastries that make up the breakfasts and picnic lunches
Fly to Sofia. On arrival in the late afternoon, we transfer 2 hours 45 minutes to our hotel in Bansko, an atmospheric mountain town at the gateway to the Pirin Mountains, which will be our base for the next three nights. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome briefing and discuss the week ahead and answer any questions. *Molerite Hotel or similar*
Having hiked up the Demyanitsa Valley, we start a long steady climb which takes us first past the Vasilashki lakes, then two more small but beautifully formed lakes known as the 'Eyes of Todorka'. Eventually, we cross over the high pass Todorina Porta (2,500m), an outstanding viewpoint, before descending steeply via the Bunderishki lakes to the Vihren hut where we will be picked up and driven on down to our base. This evening dinner is not included, leaving you free to choose your own place to eat from the many traditional inns and restaurants in the town. *Molerite Hotel or similar*
Today we will attempt an ascent of Mt. Vihren (2,914m), the highest peak in the Pirin National Park and the second highest in Bulgaria. Beginning from the Vihren hut, our walk takes us steadily up into the dramatic Golyam Kazan cirque which lies directly beneath Vihren's towering 400-metre high north wall. Here, as well as enjoying breath-taking mountain scenery, we can also find several beautiful endemic alpine flowers such as the delicate yellow 'Pirin Poppy'. From the cirque, a long exciting scramble takes us up white marble rocks to the summit, which on a clear day offers a wonderful panorama over the entire Pirin range. There follows a steep descent back down to our bus for the return to Bansko. Once again this evening's dinner is not included, leaving you free to choose your own place to eat. *Molerite Hotel or similar*
Leaving Bansko, we transfer to the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as visiting the monastery itself, we will also have a pleasant walk in the surrounding forests which have been designated a nature park. During our walk we will have the chance to visit a couple of isolated chapels and a cave which are closely associated with the intriguing life story of St. Ivan Rilski, a local hermit who was to become the patron saint of Bulgaria. Our accommodation for this night will be a hotel conveniently located in the beautiful Rilska Reka valley, just a short drive from the Monastery. *Hotel Gorski Kut or similar*
Whilst our luggage is transferred round the mountains by road, we make a long demanding trek through the heart of the Rila National Park. Our route leads us up and over one of the highest and most imposing ridges in the Rila Mountains. Finally rejoining our bus on the other side of the range, we transfer to our hotel in the small village of Govedartsi, where we will be based for two nights. *Family Hotel Djambazki or similar*
Today we explore the region at the head of the Malyovitsa Valley and attempt an ascent of Mt. Malyovitsa (2,729m), one of the highest and most imposing peaks in this part of the Rila Mountains. The whole walk offers stunning views, as well as an opportunity to observe an interesting variety of typical alpine birds. We then return to our hotel in Govedartsi for a second night. *Family Hotel Djambazki or similar*
Having checked out of our hotel, our goal for today is Mt. Musala (2,925m), the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula. To accomplish the ascent as a day walk, we will use the cabin-lift from Borovets which will take us up to a starting altitude of about 2,300m. The route to the summit is well-graded, winding up past a succession of sparkling glacial lakes around the shores of which one can find blooming the endemic 'Rila Primrose'. We then end the day with a short 90 minute transfer to Sofia, where we will spend our final night. *Hill Hotel or similar*
Fly back to London **
* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners included * All accommodation * Transfers for group flights
Pretty much a faultless trip.
This was a great opportunity for some proper hiking along pristine trails in the Balkan high country. Routes almost to ourselves, with a mix of terrains and environments from deep forest and river valley, to high meadows, glacial moraines and narrow ridges. Plenty of flora and fauna to discover along the way, against a backdrop of incredible scenery.
A great weeks trekking in Bulgaria's Pirin and Rila mountains reaching high passes, through ancient coniferous forests, walking through spectacular meadows hosting many wild plants and butterflies, passing glacial lakes and some good ridge walking and the ultimate challenge - ascending Bulgaria's highest, Musala (2925m)
The trip is very much a level 5 treking trip rather than a walking trip. Be aware some of the climbs are very physically hard.
Great trip in high Bulgarian mountains. A fantastic sense of achievement in completing all the walks and summitting the peaks. Wonderful views throughout. Walking is tough and should not be considered for someone with little walking experience day 2 walk and penultimate days walk are tough due to the terrain
This was my first group walking holiday and I am pleased to say it exceeded my expectations. The itinerary for the trip is excellent, including a couple of peaks I knew I wanted to visit (Vihren and Musala) and several other walks I would probably not have stumbled across and which were all really enjoyable. The walk up Malyovitsa was a particular highlight, and the preceding day crossing the Rila mountains was also stunning. Overall there was a nice variety of scenery and types of walking (forests, lakes, valleys, ridges, plateaux) and a nice 'flow' to the week's itinerary as we moved from one area to the next. I enjoyed not having to think about logistics and simply enjoy the walking and the company of the group. The hotels were all very pleasant and we were very lucky with some superb weather too!
This was a great walking holiday in mountains that were not busy or developed in the same way of the alps. There was no technical climbing, but some scrambling and even rocky paths. The days were long, but with bus support we did not have to camp so could shower and relax in the evening.
A great week with long days rewarded with amazing vistas and sweeping panoramas.
One of the best weeks walking in mountains we have experienced. The scenery was breathtaking. The people were extremely friendly. The walking was challenging and very rewarding. We will remember the summit days of Mount Vihren, Mount Malyovitsa and Mount Musala for a long time.
Great walking with a great group of people.Vlademir lead the group very well, keeping everyone involved. His extensive knowledge of local sights & customs kept us all informed throughout the holiday. Loved the traditional Bulgarian hotels. The movement from place to place was well organised & Vlademir ensured we kept to a tight schedule. We were also blessed with great weather apart from a couple of hours on the seven lakes walk when we were bombarded with hail & thunder.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
|29-Jun-2019 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|29-Jun-2019 for 7 Nights||Land only||
|13-Jul-2019 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|13-Jul-2019 for 7 Nights||Land only||
|17-Aug-2019 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|17-Aug-2019 for 7 Nights||Land only||
|14-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|14-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights||Land only||
|15-Aug-2020 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|15-Aug-2020 for 7 Nights||Land only||
|12-Sep-2020 for 7 Nights||Flight inclusive adult Flight Included||
|12-Sep-2020 for 7 Nights||Land only||
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