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Mount Rila is considered Bulgaria’s best alpine tourism site, offering a huge diversity of marked hiking trails of varying difficulty levels. Two large international tourist trails (the Е4 and the Е8) cross the mountain. The Rila offers not only the Balkans’ highest peak (Musala, 2925m/9596ft), but also plentiful glacier lakes (more than 180, in fact!), deep river valleys, broad alpine meadows, and diverse flora and fauna. The Rila National Park is the largest of Bulgaria’s three national parks and one of Europe’s largest.
A well-balanced program with half-day (or shorter) easy to moderate walks, offering more opportunities to visit also culture sites. The stress is on the Rhodope (Rodopi) Mountains (famed birthplace of mythical musician Orpheus), Mount Pirin (Bulgaria’s most beautiful mountain, named after the pagan Slav god Perun), Mount Rila (housing more than 200 glacial lakes and the highest peak on the Balkans – Musala, 2925m) and Mount Vitosha (Bulgaria’s most popular mountain destination due to its close proximity to the capital city of Sofia). We visit some of Bulgaria’s remotest and least-known parts, many of them until recently out of bounds for foreigners, and taste traditional local cuisine and hospitality. Famous sites of cultural importance are also included: Koprivshtitsa (museum-town, housing well-preserved architecture from the Revival Period), Plovdiv (the second biggest town in Bulgaria), Bachkovo Monastery, Rila Monastery (the most famous UNESCO attraction in the country), Shiroka Laka (architectural reserve), etc. An exceptional kaleidoscope of beautiful caves, deep gorges, alpine meadows, glacier lakes, monasteries, and museum villages with authentic old-time architecture.
The hiking program is moderately difficult and designed for people who would not be comfortable on very long and tiring treks, who would yet like to savor the best the landscape and local culture have to offer. Steep but short stages also occur along the trails.
Climb the giant of Rila, Mount Musala (2925m/9596ft), highest in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula, trace dramatic ridges, visit the world-famous UNESCO site Rila Monastery and thrill on the challenging climb to the Pirin summit of Mount Vihren (2914m/9560ft). Panoramic mountain views will take your breath away along an almost infinite series of trails to alpine meadows, rocky Cirques, remote glacial lakes and onto spectacular ridges and summits.
This trip is not suitable for novices as you’ll be trekking high above the tree line, amongst some of the most unknown and interesting mountains to be found in Europe. No rock climbing experience is needed and no “via ferratas” are present. It is meant for very well-trained hikers with ample experience of dealing with bad climate conditions up in the mountains (incl. fog, thunderstorms, etc.) and for people used to walk over rocky slopes, overtaking steep ascends/descends now and then. The terrain in the Pirin and Rila is alpine and includes trails over steep slopes, where sure-footedness is necessary on a couple of occasions. Small patches of snow may still be present on some of the trails until the end of July.
Enjoy Bulgaria’s most picturesque alpine treks, climbing the Balkans’ tallest summits: Musala (2925m/9596ft) in the Rila and Vihren (2914m/9560ft) in the Pirin. Our route crosses huge national parks with broad alpine meadows and serrated summits, glacier lakes, stone rivers, encountering rare plant and animal life. The program includes a visit of the Rila Monastery, listed by UNESCO and one of Bulgaria’s best-known sights.
The walking treks are rather arduous and suited to very fit people experienced in alpine walking. The hiking program is based in two main centers(one each in the Pirin and the Rila), allowing the routes to be additionally adapted to group specifics, and to be undertaken with only a small backpack with a day’s supplies of water, food, and clothing. There are sufficient alternative walking routes in case of bad weather.
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