* Hiking time: the given walking time does not include stops for pictures, picnics, breaks etc.!; it is conditional and generally based on an average hiker’s speed of 4-5 km/hr on flat terrain, additional 30 min for each 300 m elevation gain, and a backpack weighing not more than 10-15% of your body weight. Still this varies a lot on the fitness level, weather conditions, and the hiking experience of each client.
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The picturesque loop-shaped itinerary starts, from the upper station of the chairlift, near the Lowest lake. The trail passes along the Fish lake, the The Treofile lake, and the The Twin Lake, before reaching the Kidney. The steepest sector of the hike is between the Kidney lake, and the two highest lakes – the Eye, and The Tear, located at 2535 m altitude. After reaching the Lakes summit, the path goes back to the Kidney lake. The way back to the upper station of the chairlift goes through an almost flat terrain panoramic path, which offers many opportunities for observing some of the lower-located lakes, and taking photos.
This hike is moderately easy, but very rewarding and emotional! Do not miss it as this is an experience to be remembered for a lifetime!
7:00 AM: Departure from the parking in front of the entrance of La Cathedrale Restaurant, located behind the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. (Optional: hotel pick-up).
9:00 AM: Arrival at the bottom station of the Lift to the 7 Rila lakes.
9:30 AM: Arrival at the top station from where the hike begins.
3:00 PM: The hike ends at the upper station of the chairlift.
3:30 PM: Departure back to Sofia from the bottom station of the chair lift.
5:30 PM: The tour terminates at the parking behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral (optional: hotel drop-off)
*Note: all times are approximate, and might be changed, according to the weather, and traffic conditions and in case of longer lines at the chairlift.
*The walking time, shown on Google Maps is not relevant.
This is a self-guided tour, which means that there will be no mountain guide with you. Before the tour, you will receive a package, which includes a map, and a detailed description of the itinerary. We recommend that tour to hikers, who prefer to explore the lakes on their own, and by setting up their own walking pace, without being dependent on the pace of the other tour members. The average hiking time, excluding the photo stops, and a short sandwich break is about 4.5 hours, and strongly depends on the chosen pace.
The Seven Rila Lakes are located in the hearth of the Rila mountain. They are the ultimate choice for a single-day hiking destination from Sofia, and are undoubtedly one of the top nature attractions on the Balkans! The starting point of the trail can be reached from Sofia in about 2.5 hours (including the chairlift ride). All the lakes are located step-wise, one above the other. They are connected with mountain streams, and form a picturesque 400 meter cirque cascade. The itinerary gives you the opportunity to explore the beautiful nature, and wildlife of the highest mountain in Bulgaria only for a day.
DIFFICULTY AND WHAT TO BRING ALONG
The hike starts from 2095 m/ 6870 m above the sea level, and the highest point is at about 2550 m/8360 ft above the sea level. The itinerary is moderately arduous, with individual brief paths featuring steep inclines. The steep sectors are close to the highest point of the itinerary, which means, this part may be skipped in case you do not feel confident enough. The weather in Rila changes quickly and can go from warm and sunny to freezing cold in a matter of minutes. Please, bring along comfortable hiking boots! Sandals and flip-flops are not accepted. Raincoat and warm clothes might be useful in summer as heavy showers sometimes occur in the afternoons. Sunglasses and sunscreen, and a hat
We strongly recommend you to bring your own food for the hike. You can also buy basic food from the huts, located in the beginning of the trail (if the restaurants are open) but the service there could be rather slow, especially in top season. Mobile network coverage is available almost throughout the whole route.
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Prices: 25 euros per person.
+ Transportation with a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle throughout the tour. All transportation and parking fees. A driver.
+ A detailed description, and a map of the itinerary.
+ Pick-up from La Cathedrale Restaurant (back of Nevski Cathedral),
– Chair lift tickets – 20 leva per person (can be purchased on spot only).
– Food and personal expenses.
– Hotel pick-up (optional): 5 or 10 euros per reservation (not per person).
– Hotel drop-off (optional): 5 euros per reservation (not per person).
– Trekking poles hire (recommended if you have weak joints): 6 euros per person.
– Mountain guide (We also offer this hike with a professional mountain guide included.See: THE SEVEN RILA LAKES
*In case you have booked last-minute, and you do not have with you the proper equipment for the season, you can rent from us ski jackets, and ski pants at the departure. You can also buy trekking shoes, gloves, and hats. Note, that only cash payment is accepted, and that we may not have your size available!