One of the best hikes in the whole of Bulgaria.
Rila National Park is found in the West of Bulgaria and hosts a whole range of footpaths for those looking for an adventure. It truly is one of the best places to go hiking in Bulgaria. Musala (2,925.4 m (9,598 ft) the highest peak in Bulgaria can be found in Rila national Park and can be best accessed from the Borovets Ski Resort. Rila is a 1 hour 40 minute drive from the capital of Sofia and can be accessed all year round.
This 20km hike is straight uphill from leaving the car park until you get about two hours in and above the tree line. From here the scenery opens up and you can watch the horses graze as you make your way over the juniper covered grassland towards the rising ridgeline.
The ascent becomes a lot more gentle now as you get closer to the base of one of the highest points of the route, Kaboul 2543m. Here you need to trust the map as it will guide you to the start of the footpath through the rocky terrain and up the steep edge onto the ridge. Once upon the ridge, the view opens up and you can take in a 360 degree view of the mountains of Bulgaria.
Traverse the ridge and enjoy the views of the seven lakes from above. From here you will see the zig zag path that you will be taking down to get to those lakes. Once down you will see more people as many just take the ski lift up to the lakes and back again. We did this hike mid week in October and there were still a fair few people around who had taken the lift.
Meander through the lakes until you find yourself at the ski lift, take the track under and follow through the woods until you meet a ski run. Here you have options but we just took the track to the left which led us all the way back to the car park. This part of the walk was beautiful, as the birds were singing as dusk approached. There was not another soul in sight or within earshot and it was the perfect way to end the walk.
Length: 20.9km (about 13 miles) Start Altitude: 1610m
Highest Points: Kaboul 2543m, Otovitsa 2712m and Razdela 2603m.
Total Elevation: 1,225m
Parking is available at the ski lift, however we started our walk at this location.. (Park4Night #254110) where you can sleep in your campervan. There is a water tap there but as it is directly from the ground I would advise using a water filter bottle, (like Water2Go).
The route can be viewed on our account here: https://strava.app.link/zrDG7qkn0ub
Top Tip: The best places to visit in Rila National Park:
- Rila Monastery
- Borovets Ski Resort
- Skakavitsa Waterfall
- Seven Lakes