Sofia
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Our most recommended Sofia Hiking

The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

1. The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

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 from 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 you will 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, the Seven Rila Lakes.

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes Hiking & Thermal Spa Day Tour

2. From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes Hiking & Thermal Spa Day Tour

Explore the Seven Rila Lakes, the jewel of the Rila Mountains National Park and admire breathtaking alpine scenery. Escape the summer heat in Sofia and enjoy the refreshing mountain climate of the highest mountain of the Balkans. Join a pleasant, easy to moderate walk and relax deeply at the end of the day in the thermal pools fed by hot spring waters. All this within a day tour from Sofia. You will be picked up early in the morning from your hotel or address in Sofia for a wonderful journey in the Rila Mountains. Within 1.5-hours, you will arrive at Pionerska Hut (1520 meters), from where the group will take a chairlift to the Rila Lakes Hut situated above the tree line at 2150 meters above sea level in the Rila Mountains National Park. Here, the circular walk will begin passing by Ribnoto (The Fish), Trilistnika (The Trefoil) and Bliznaka (The Twin) Lakes. When the group reaches Bubreka (The Kidney) Lake, situated at 2282 meters above sea level there will be 2 options: the group can choose to take the long route or the short route. For the long rout, continue uphill passing by Okoto (The Eye) Lake, you will reach the Lakes Peak (2550 meters), offering you a great panoramic view of all the Seven Rila Lakes. Then, you will walk back the same way you came to Kidney Lake. For the short route, you will head towards the top station of the chairlift along a scenic route offering a great panoramic view of the Seven Lakes area. At the end of the hike, you will reach the Rila Lakes Hut and via the chairlift, you will descend to Pionerska Hut. The minivan will take you for a short transfer (approximately 20 minutes) to Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, famous for one of hottest thermal springs in Europe (~103°C). Enjoy and take the time to relax deeply after the walk in some the numerous thermal pools with temperatures of varying degrees from 15 to 45 °C. In the late afternoon, the group will head back to Sofia, where you will be dropped back off at your preferred locations.

From Sofia: Rila Lakes Trek with Transfers

3. From Sofia: Rila Lakes Trek with Transfers

Choose from a guided or self-guided tour option. Use a shared shuttle bus service which offers direct transportation from Sofia to the 7 Rila Lakes. The transfer starts with an early morning pick-up from centrally located meeting place in Sofia behind the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Meet your driver/guide for a comfortable direct journey to the Rila National Park. Arrive at the parking of the chair lift around 09:00 AM. Enjoy some free time for a self-guided tour of the 7 Rila Lakes area or follow your friendly mountain guide for the best routes around the lakes. You have more than 6 hours to explore this beautiful part of Rila mountain. Leave the parking of the chair lift in the afternoon and arrive back in Sofia city around 5:30 PM at the original central departure location.

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

4. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

This full-day tour is designed for active people wishing to combine a trek to natural wonders, with a tour of the most visited tourist attraction in Bulgaria, the magnificent Rila Monastery. Departing Sofia, you will head for the Rila Mountains, where you will enjoy a moderate hike through what is arguably the most distinguished area in the mountains, the 7 Rila Lakes. After a transfer of approximately 90 minutes, you will reach the region of Panichishte, where you will board a chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. Consisting of a group of glacial lakes, the 7 Rila Lakes is located at an altitude of between 6,900 feet (2,100 meters) and 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. Surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys, you will see spectacular views as you walk through its pearls, such as The Eye, The Tear, The Kidney, The Twins, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake and The Lower Lake. The route can be adjusted on the spot, following more gentle or steeper paths, depending on your fitness levels. Having visited all of the lakes, continue by car for approximately 90 minutes to Rila Monastery, the biggest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Behind the 65-foot (20-meter) walls lie impressive monastery buildings, including a church and a chapel with valuable murals. The monastery's most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th-Century Hrelyo Tower, the 5-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th-Century. You will also explore the monastery’s rich museum, containing a valuable collection of old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects and a library containing more than 16,000 books.

Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

5. Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

Your tour starts with pickup from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia at 8:00AM. After an approximate 1.5-hour drive, you will reach Plovdiv. Once there you will visit the highlights, such as the 1st-century Roman Theatre, the 2nd-century Roman Stadium, the oldest mosque on the Balkans, and an old pharmacy. You will then have the chance to take a walk through the Old Town where you can observe the typical Revival Period houses, museums, and narrow cobblestone streets. Scheduled throughout your itinerary are visits to 5 sites, as well as the top of the main hill which provides great views over the whole city. After you finish your exploration of Plovdiv, you will drive south to the Rhodope Mountain. This road is very scenic, and you will soon reach Vucha Dam where you will be picked by a boat before being taken to a place where you can enjoy lunch. Whist at this scenic location, you can also enjoy a nice walk up to the cliffs, a boat trip on the reservoir, and take the opportunity to hire a waverunner. At the conclusion of this unforgettable experience, you will head safely back to Sofia.

From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

6. From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

This tour starts with pick-up from your hotel. The transfer to the foot of the mountain takes approximately 20 minutes. You will see the great symbol of Sofia rise above you as you draw near. The hike begins with Boyana waterfall, which with a height of 15 metres and an elegant setting is the most beautiful on the mountain. After the waterfall you will see a typical hut, Momina skala. You will have time to relax before the groups continues to Kamendel from where you will see Sofia from above. On the way down to the city you will visit Boyana lake. Then its time to return to Sofia where the tour ends at your hotel. 

Musala Peak, Rila Mountains: Full-Day Hiking Tour from Sofia

7. Musala Peak, Rila Mountains: Full-Day Hiking Tour from Sofia

The majestic heights of the Balkans await you on this hiking day-tour to Musala Peak; the pinnacle of the Rila mountain range with its 2925-meter (9596 feet) summit, 6th highest in Europe. Wander a path leading above deep gorges, past 150 crystal-clear glacial lakes, in a panorama of crests extending before you like a stormy seascape. Starting the day early from Sofia, transfer to the famous Borovets Resort, and ride the gondola lift to neighboring Yastrabets summit. From here the hike begins as the path leads towards Musala Peak via stops at the Musala chalet, and Ledeno Ezero(icy lake) mountain shelter, and onto the last stage of the trek to Musala Peak. Rest and take in the surroundings before returning on the same route. Witness the breathtaking mountain panoramas, and pristine lakes on this moderate difficulty hike; for anyone in good physical condition with a passion for supurb vistas.

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Shuttle Group Day Trip

8. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Shuttle Group Day Trip

The Seven Rila Lakes are just 1 hour 30 minutes away from the capital Sofia, which makes them a great day trip in the nature. Discover all seven of the lakes  and how they have their own name which reflects its typical shape or characteristics. Gaze at the stunning emerald green of the water as you relax in the peaceful countryside. Relax en route as a comfortable minivan takes you to the Panichishte Resort Cable Car which goes us to the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque. See a different side to Bulgaria as you enjoy the hike around the lakes. 

From Sofia: Belogradchik Rocks Full-Day Tour

9. From Sofia: Belogradchik Rocks Full-Day Tour

Take a day trip to the northwestern corner of Bulgaria to see the Belogradchik rocks, located in the Balkan Mountains. You will drive 2.5 to 3 hours from Sofia until you reach this area. The rocks are grouped in various formations and are made up of primarily sandstone. In 2009, they were nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Many rocks have fantastic shapes and are associated with interesting legends. They are often named for people or objects they are thought to resemble, and on your tour, your guide might share some of these stories while pointing out the specific rocks and their names. The Belogradchik Rocks have also been declared a Natural Landmark by the Bulgarian government and are a major tourist attraction in the region. At the top of a hill near to some of the rocks is also a medieval fortress, known as the Belogradchik Fortress, built when the region was part of the Roman Empire. You will have the opportunity to visit the fortress and behold its well-preserved and menacing facade. Later, you will also be taken to the nearby Veneca cave, an incredibly beautiful cave with modern colorful lights. All entrance fees are included in the price and there will be time to stop for an optional lunch, which is not included.

Seven Rila Lakes Hiking Day-Tour from Sofia

10. Seven Rila Lakes Hiking Day-Tour from Sofia

The Seven Rila Lakes have a glacial origin and they are located on different terraces from 2,100 meters to about 2,500 meters above sea level. The Seven Rila Lakes are one of Bulgaria’s 100 national tourist sites. Expect breathtaking views of Lower lake (Dolno ezero), The Eye (the deepest high-altitude lake), The Tear (Salzata), The Kidney (Bubreka) on this tour.  The Seven Rila Lakes is the most popular and easy-access option for the ultimate scenic hike. They are located in Rila Mountain, about 90km south of the capital Sofia. After a 1.5-hour drive, an open-chair lift takes you directly up for about 30 minutes from the parking lot to the hike's starting point – Seven Rila lakes hut. The place is fairly modern, it offers a good variety of food and rooms to stay, although a reservation is required well ahead of time. The loop hike from there takes about five hours and it is not very difficult, except for some uphill parts to the top two lakes. If you take this hike, your reward will be an unforgettable feast for the eyes and senses. Please note that getting to the view points takes at least two hours of walking each way.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sofia

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 113 reviews

Wow wow wow. This trip made our holiday ! Can’t say enough about George - what a guy ! So knowledgeable and a beautiful soul ! George took us off the beaten track with a beautiful hike to the eyes god cave - such an adventure ! Nectari the black monk at the monastery was so hospitable and the stalactites and mites in the Saeva Dupka was unbelievable- this tour is incredible 10/10. George’s kindness showed us how warm Bulgarians are ! Most enjoyable moment - all of it. Loved watching the bouldering in the caves. This is an absolute must of a trip - top top notch. Can’t say enough. Book book book this one

Velko was a perfect guide. He was intelligent, interesting and had a real enthusiasm for his work. The caves were great. The first a huge cavern where we explored the valley and walked to a very old tiny monastery. The second was an awe inspiring cave full of dramatic stalactites and stalagmites. Lunch was an authentic Bulgarian affair - can recommend the beef soup! The monastery was on a remote hill and was very atmospheric. We went at the end of March and we had all the attractions to ourselves. Highly recommend.

It was an unforgettable experience. One of the most magical moments of my life, near the sky and under the clouds , on the top if the gorgeous mountains.

What a fantastic experience thanks to Dobrin, a truly exceptional guide.

The guids are excellent. Pro, with a lot of knowledge.