Things to do in
Rila National Park

Rila National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

Depart Sofia in the morning and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver. Journey in air-conditioned comfort to Panichishte in the beautiful Rila National Park. Get briefed on arrival by your driver, who will tell you the different options and routes you can take up the mountain. Ride the chairlift to the 7 Rila Lakes, where you will get 5 hours of free time to go on some amazing nature walks independently to experience the glacial lakes from different perspectives. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point and relax on the 2-hour drive to Rila Monastery in a deep valley of the Rilska River. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery complex is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural and historical monuments. Get 1.5 hours to explore the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria at your own pace. Then, return to Sofia in the evening and get dropped off at the meeting point.

From Sofia: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

From Sofia: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

Enjoy a full-day trek into the Rila Mountains to explore the most picturesque area near Sofia and one of Bulgaria's most beautiful natural sites, the Seven Rila Lakes.  This group of glacial lakes lies between 6,900 and 8,200 feet (2,100 and 2,500 meters) above sea level, surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys. Leaving Sofia, you will drive for 90 minutes to reach the Panichishte resort area, where you board the chairlift to the Rila Lakes mountain hut.  From here, continue on foot to explore the landscape and its majestic blue pearls – the Eye, the Tear, the Kidney, the Twins, the Trefoil, the Fish Lake, and the Lower Lake. The route is not difficult and can be altered on the spot depending on fitness levels or strength, following either more gentle routes or steeper gradients. Take your chance to explore the Blue Pearls of the Rila Mountains, and the Seven Rila Lakes. The local tour operator, Traventuria, was awarded a “Business Which Supports Biodiversity” certification by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation for its “Tours with a Cause” initiative.

7 Rila lakes and Rila monastery day tour from Sofia

7 Rila lakes and Rila monastery day tour from Sofia

The Eye, The Kidney, The Tear, The Trefoil, The Twin, The Fish, The Lower - these are the 7 Rila lakes. You will never forget the beautiful nature, the glacial lakes with crystal clear water and all unbelievable landscapes. After the hike the beautiful frescoes at Rila monastery are gonna wait for us to tell you the story about this holy place. !!!The starting point for the hike is reachable by chair lift at 2100 meters above the sea level and the upper view point to the lakes is at around 2550 meters. Hiking time is around 2 hours in direction. Wearing a hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, jacket are highly recommendable!!!

Unique experience to sleep in Rila Monastery

Unique experience to sleep in Rila Monastery

Very unique experience to stay overnight in Rila Monastery and touch the spiritual life of this sacred place! If you interested in this very special opportunity, please send us an enquiry and we'll arrange everything for you, including a private transport if you need such. Keep in mind you have to travel from Sofia to the monastery in Rila, which take around 3,5 hours by bus and 2,5 hours by car! The Cave of St. Ivan Rilski is a sacred place to visit and its only a very nice walk away - 3,4 km! PLEASE PLAN YOUR TRIP AT LEAST A WEEK IN ADVANCE AND DON'T DO LAST MINUTE RESERVATIONS TO AVOID ISSUES AND PROBLEMS!

Seven Rila lakes and Rila Monastery from Sofia one day tour

Seven Rila lakes and Rila Monastery from Sofia one day tour

Tha tour be about 11 hours, Rila Monastery is visited (1 hour and 45 minutes from Sofia) with a talk about the history (about 1 hour) back in the vehicle after about 1 hour and 30 minutes we are in the starting position and get on the lift from 1500 meters above sea level to 2000 meters (about 25 minutes in one direction as the ticket price is not included in the event 13€/25bgn.lv) from there is a view in the heart of Rila National Park the duration of the walk is about 3 hours, unique nature with a view of the lakes ,next back to the lift and about 1 hour and 40 minutes to Sofia by vehicle.

Seven Rila Lakes small group guided tour from Sofia

Seven Rila Lakes small group guided tour from Sofia

We depart from Sofia and drive for approximately 2 hours to the start of the hike from where we ascend 25 minutes by a 2-person chair lift to an elevation of 2000 meters. This is the starting point of our hike to 2500 meters above sea level. (NB, the price of the chair lift ticket is not included in the tour) Good physical fitness is required, and customers are responsible for carrying appropriate clothing and footwear for high altitude weather conditions. A 2 hour walk with breathtaking panoramic views of the lakes is then followed by a 30-minute lunch break. We then continue walking for approximately 1.5 hours before our return journey, again via the chairlift, to Sofia.

The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

Spend an extraordinary day hiking in Rila National Park, as you admire the incredible landscape of glacial lakes and mountain peaks. The Rila Mountains, located within the park, are the highest in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. On this full-day outing, you’ll see why the 7 Rila Lakes area is the most popular trekking destination in the Rila Mountains. Drive to the Pionerska hut and take the chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. From this point you’ll do a loop hike of the 7 Rila Lakes and discover the spectacular beauty of the lakes and the towering peaks. The first lake you’ll come to is The Kidney, followed by The Eye, the deepest lake in Bulgaria. Next is the highest lake, The Tear. At this point you’ll have incredible views of all the lakes, and the Balkan range in the distant background. After a break at the top you’ll continue exploring the rest of these lakes on the way down. Next is the largest lake, The Twins, followed by The Trefoil, The Fish Lake, and then The Lower Lake, which collects water from the other 6 lakes. Your trek ends at the Rila Lakes hut, where you’ll take the chair lift back to the Pionerska hut before heading back to Plovdiv.

Rila Monastery,,Cave Ivan Rilski,Stob pyram.tour From SOFIA

Rila Monastery,,Cave Ivan Rilski,Stob pyram.tour From SOFIA

A one-day tour to one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bulgaria in recent years, the Rila Monastery, a talk about the history of the largest monastery in Bulgaria /about 1 hour and 30 minutes/, a walk to the cave of St. Ivan Rila, the place where the construction of the monastery began / about 1 hour and 30 minutes / hiking. Visit to the natural phenomenon Stobski pyramids about 1 hour and 30 minutes, if desired, a visit to a restaurant with local food at the foot of Rila mountain. Duration of the tour 9 to 10 hours.

All activities

18 activities found
Sort by:

Rila National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

Depart Sofia in the morning and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver. Journey in air-conditioned comfort to Panichishte in the beautiful Rila National Park. Get briefed on arrival by your driver, who will tell you the different options and routes you can take up the mountain. Ride the chairlift to the 7 Rila Lakes, where you will get 5 hours of free time to go on some amazing nature walks independently to experience the glacial lakes from different perspectives. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point and relax on the 2-hour drive to Rila Monastery in a deep valley of the Rilska River. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery complex is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural and historical monuments. Get 1.5 hours to explore the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria at your own pace. Then, return to Sofia in the evening and get dropped off at the meeting point.

From Sofia: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

From Sofia: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

Enjoy a full-day trek into the Rila Mountains to explore the most picturesque area near Sofia and one of Bulgaria's most beautiful natural sites, the Seven Rila Lakes.  This group of glacial lakes lies between 6,900 and 8,200 feet (2,100 and 2,500 meters) above sea level, surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys. Leaving Sofia, you will drive for 90 minutes to reach the Panichishte resort area, where you board the chairlift to the Rila Lakes mountain hut.  From here, continue on foot to explore the landscape and its majestic blue pearls – the Eye, the Tear, the Kidney, the Twins, the Trefoil, the Fish Lake, and the Lower Lake. The route is not difficult and can be altered on the spot depending on fitness levels or strength, following either more gentle routes or steeper gradients. Take your chance to explore the Blue Pearls of the Rila Mountains, and the Seven Rila Lakes. The local tour operator, Traventuria, was awarded a “Business Which Supports Biodiversity” certification by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation for its “Tours with a Cause” initiative.

7 Rila lakes and Rila monastery day tour from Sofia

7 Rila lakes and Rila monastery day tour from Sofia

The Eye, The Kidney, The Tear, The Trefoil, The Twin, The Fish, The Lower - these are the 7 Rila lakes. You will never forget the beautiful nature, the glacial lakes with crystal clear water and all unbelievable landscapes. After the hike the beautiful frescoes at Rila monastery are gonna wait for us to tell you the story about this holy place. !!!The starting point for the hike is reachable by chair lift at 2100 meters above the sea level and the upper view point to the lakes is at around 2550 meters. Hiking time is around 2 hours in direction. Wearing a hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, jacket are highly recommendable!!!

Unique experience to sleep in Rila Monastery

Unique experience to sleep in Rila Monastery

Very unique experience to stay overnight in Rila Monastery and touch the spiritual life of this sacred place! If you interested in this very special opportunity, please send us an enquiry and we'll arrange everything for you, including a private transport if you need such. Keep in mind you have to travel from Sofia to the monastery in Rila, which take around 3,5 hours by bus and 2,5 hours by car! The Cave of St. Ivan Rilski is a sacred place to visit and its only a very nice walk away - 3,4 km! PLEASE PLAN YOUR TRIP AT LEAST A WEEK IN ADVANCE AND DON'T DO LAST MINUTE RESERVATIONS TO AVOID ISSUES AND PROBLEMS!

Seven Rila lakes and Rila Monastery from Sofia one day tour

Seven Rila lakes and Rila Monastery from Sofia one day tour

Tha tour be about 11 hours, Rila Monastery is visited (1 hour and 45 minutes from Sofia) with a talk about the history (about 1 hour) back in the vehicle after about 1 hour and 30 minutes we are in the starting position and get on the lift from 1500 meters above sea level to 2000 meters (about 25 minutes in one direction as the ticket price is not included in the event 13€/25bgn.lv) from there is a view in the heart of Rila National Park the duration of the walk is about 3 hours, unique nature with a view of the lakes ,next back to the lift and about 1 hour and 40 minutes to Sofia by vehicle.

Seven Rila Lakes small group guided tour from Sofia

Seven Rila Lakes small group guided tour from Sofia

We depart from Sofia and drive for approximately 2 hours to the start of the hike from where we ascend 25 minutes by a 2-person chair lift to an elevation of 2000 meters. This is the starting point of our hike to 2500 meters above sea level. (NB, the price of the chair lift ticket is not included in the tour) Good physical fitness is required, and customers are responsible for carrying appropriate clothing and footwear for high altitude weather conditions. A 2 hour walk with breathtaking panoramic views of the lakes is then followed by a 30-minute lunch break. We then continue walking for approximately 1.5 hours before our return journey, again via the chairlift, to Sofia.

The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

Spend an extraordinary day hiking in Rila National Park, as you admire the incredible landscape of glacial lakes and mountain peaks. The Rila Mountains, located within the park, are the highest in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. On this full-day outing, you’ll see why the 7 Rila Lakes area is the most popular trekking destination in the Rila Mountains. Drive to the Pionerska hut and take the chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. From this point you’ll do a loop hike of the 7 Rila Lakes and discover the spectacular beauty of the lakes and the towering peaks. The first lake you’ll come to is The Kidney, followed by The Eye, the deepest lake in Bulgaria. Next is the highest lake, The Tear. At this point you’ll have incredible views of all the lakes, and the Balkan range in the distant background. After a break at the top you’ll continue exploring the rest of these lakes on the way down. Next is the largest lake, The Twins, followed by The Trefoil, The Fish Lake, and then The Lower Lake, which collects water from the other 6 lakes. Your trek ends at the Rila Lakes hut, where you’ll take the chair lift back to the Pionerska hut before heading back to Plovdiv.

Rila Monastery,,Cave Ivan Rilski,Stob pyram.tour From SOFIA

Rila Monastery,,Cave Ivan Rilski,Stob pyram.tour From SOFIA

A one-day tour to one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bulgaria in recent years, the Rila Monastery, a talk about the history of the largest monastery in Bulgaria /about 1 hour and 30 minutes/, a walk to the cave of St. Ivan Rila, the place where the construction of the monastery began / about 1 hour and 30 minutes / hiking. Visit to the natural phenomenon Stobski pyramids about 1 hour and 30 minutes, if desired, a visit to a restaurant with local food at the foot of Rila mountain. Duration of the tour 9 to 10 hours.

Top Attractions in Blagoevgrad Province

Experiences in Rila National Park

Tours in Bulgaria

Things to do in Bulgaria

Other Sightseeing Options in Rila National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Rila National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rila National Park

Overall rating

5
(1 reviews)

We had a very nice and pleasant day trip. The guide Tsetso is great. He works for himself and gives this tour to a maximum of 6 people. We were lucky and had a private tour. This ensures that you have a lot of time everywhere and that you get all the information there is. You don't have to wait for everyone if you go with a full bus. He speaks good English and has a lot of knowledge. He has done this tour many times before, when he still worked for an organization. So he understands it. We enjoyed the view of the lakes. At the monastary we first received an explanation from the guide and then we had time to walk around ourselves. Had a great day!

The route is challenging and requires experience; significant slopes. The landscape is truly suggestive. Special credit goes to our guide Rudy, capable, helpful, kind and sociable, which is unique and rare in Bulgaria. It allowed us to see all 7 lakes and for those with the stamina and ability, the final gem, the summit with snow and a breathtaking view.

The tour of the Rila lakes and monastery with Radi was great - thank you very much. Although the walking pace was quite quick, we understood the reason due to time constraints to fit everything in. The view of the 6 lakes and nearby scenery was wonderful. The monastery was the largest one we have visited (and we have seen many).

Amazing trip for great value! Still need to get my refund on those trekking sticks that weren’t provided due to some malfunction on their system , would like it if that could be figured out soon. Our Tour Guide was very very very lovely! And the driver was amazing too. Thank you guys!

Amazing. Not to be missed if you don't mind the hike. Really worth it. Health did not permit me to get to last two lakes but views of first five incredible. Ski lift was also an experience. Our guide Radi was great.