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Sofia Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Sofia Outdoor activities

Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

1. Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

Dramatic landscapes and breathtaking alpine sceneries, centuries old pine forests and rugged mountain peaks make the Seven Rila Lakes circuit one of the most beautiful areas in the Rila Mountains National Park. Enjoy a gentle snowshoe walk in the picturesque Seven Rila Lakes area followed by relaxation in the thermal water pools of Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, fed by one of the hottest springs in Europe. All this within a day tour from Sofia. Your guide will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel in Sofia for a wonderful journey to the Rila Mountains. You will arrive within 1.5-hours to Pionerska Mountain Hut from where you will take a chairlift to Rila Lakes Hut, situated high above the tree line at 2150 meters above sea level. The walk will begin from the hut in the direction of the Kidney, the third of the Seven Rila Lakes. Along the way, admire breathtaking alpine sceneries of jagged peaks and frozen mountain lakes. After a short break and a cup of warm tea at the lake, you will head toward Rila Lakes Hut and descend via the chairlift to the van and have a short transfer (20 minutes) to Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, where you will be able to relax deeply in the thermal pools fed by hot spring waters.

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

2. 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.

The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

3. 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 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.

Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

4. Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After an approximately 2-hour drive, you will reach Lovech. From there you will begin exploring the old quarter of the city. You will walk through the small cobbled streets, traveling back in time as you admire the typical 14th-century houses. You will then take a detailed trip to the Vassil Levski Museum, before continuing your walk to the Hisarya Fortress. The last site in the town to which you will pay attention is the famous Covered Bridge, a masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture which was built by Master Kolio Ficheto. Following the bridge, you will continue your trip with a 20-minute drive to your next stop, Devetashka Cave. Once there you will have some time to walk around the stunning cave, and will proceed to the Krushuna Waterfalls (a 20-minute drive from Devetashka Cave). There you will discover a unique natural wonder where you can take a walk through the beautiful forest and along the stream that has formed this beautiful cascade of blue waterfalls. Following this waterfall visit, your tour will then end with drop off at your point of origin.

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Shuttle Day Transfer

5. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Shuttle Day Transfer

The meeting point for the minivan is behind Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, near café La Cathedrale – you should be there at 7:45. The van will have a sign “Rila Lakes & City Tour” on the front. The departure is at 8 am. You will travel on a scenic road for about 1.5 hours to the mountain resort of Panichishte. There you will continue with the lift. The traveling time with the lift is 20 – 30 minutes. And after that, if you have booked the self-guided option, you will start on your own the hike around the lakes, or if you have booked the guide option, the guide will escort you during the hike. Usually, it takes about 2 hours to walk in each direction. You will be given a total of 5.5 hours to go around the lakes so at 15:30 at the latest you should board back the lift and at 16:00 you should be back at the parking where the driver will expect you for the trip back to Sofia. The estimated return in Sofia is at 18:00.

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

6. 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.

From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

7. 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. 

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What people are saying about Sofia

Daniel our guide was wonderful from start to finish and deserves so much praise. We were picked up promptly from our hotel in a very comfortable car and taken firstly to the caves then the waterfalls and finally pretty Lovech. Daniel was full of interesting stories and cultural/ historical facts for us. The tour felt very relaxed and Daniel was very considerate to our needs. Super great lunch recommendation in Lovech “Tavern Varosha” must go there! :) The caves were stunning as was the waterfall. 2 great natural examples of Bulgaria’s hidden beauty and the visit to Lovech felt magical as it feels like a hidden gem in a hidden gem of a country. Great great tour made all the greater by our super guide Daniel. Highly recommend it. A wonderful day full of natural beauty, history, culture and food. Visit Bulgaria! And do this tour :) top marks :) Thank you Daniel and Bultrips

Vasco was an outstanding guide. He took us to the 7 Rila lakes explaining everything to us in detail, there we took the chairlift that took us to the mountain (€13 round trip) and then proceeded to snowshoeing (very tiring). After that we went to a nearby restaurant and finally to the spa where we allowed ourselves some relaxation. Really worth it!!!

Hi, sofia is a splendid city, with historic buildings, and very poor narrow streets, but the inhabitants are humble and kind-hearted people, like ka sistra guides, I don't remember its name because translated into Iraqi it was WELL,, prepared, patient from this date experience, unique landscapes ❤

Peter was great and managed to make it work for the diverse group he had and also worked with the misty weatjer we had and change the program to suit. Thank you Peter

Excellent experience and so much fun! I would highly recommend and I look forward to revisiting In the summer months to enjoy another experience