Hiking in Bulgaria
Basic travel information
Bulgaria is familiar to Finns mainly as a Black Sea beach destination, but there is much more interesting in the country – for example, the highest mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, great historical World Heritage sites, millennial culture, and one of the cheapest prices in Europe.
Our hiking trip to Bulgaria takes you to the western and southwestern parts of the country, to the magnificent scenery of the Pirin and Rila mountains. We do day hikes in the mountains, in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, staying in local family hotels, exploring monasteries and enjoying local wines. On the way we will also get to know the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
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DAY 1 – HELSINKI – SOFIA
Flights via Istanbul to the Bulgarian capital Sofia, with arrival in the evening. We are staying in Sofia.
DAY 2 – SOFIA – RILA – BANSKO
After breakfast, we will take a walking tour of the sights of Sofia before being transported to the Pirin Mountains and the small town of Bansko, which is the most popular ski resort in Bulgaria during the winter season. On the way, we stop for lunch and explore one of Bulgaria’s historic World Heritage Sites, the Rila Orthodox Monastery. Dinner and overnight in Bansko. (UNDER)
DAY 3 – PIRIN, DEMIANIZA
In the morning, a car transfer to the Pirin Mountains, where we start the first actual day of the hike. The day’s hiking trail takes us to the Pirin Mountain Lakes area and further to the Demianiza Mountain Lodge. Along the route there are great views of the mountains and its small lakes of different colors. Total hiking approx. 6h, ascent approx. 600m, descent approx. 800m. We will return to Bansko in the evening. (UNDER)
DAY 4 – GREEN
In the morning, a car transfer to the Vihren Mountain Youth Hostel, from where we start the hike towards the 2914-meter peak of Vihren. From the top, in good weather, you can see a handsome panorama of the Pirin and Rila Mountains as far as the southern Rhodes Mountains in Bulgaria. When we reach the top, we return to the hostel, from where transportation back to Bansko. Hiking approx. 6.5h, ascent and descent 1000m. (UNDER)
DAY 5 – MELNIK
Today is a day off from hiking. Transport to the small historic town of Melnik, where we will get to know the history and sights of the area with a taste of Melnik’s local wines. In the afternoon transfer to our next destination, the Rila Mountains. Dinner and overnight in the village of Panichishte. (UNDER)
DAY 6 – RILA, SEVEN LAKES
Our hiking destinations for the day are Rila’s seven lakes (Sedemte Rilski ezera). Located at an altitude of 2100-2500 meters, these beautiful mountain lakes are the most popular hiking and trekking destinations in Bulgaria. We do about 6.5 hours of hiking to the lakes and back to Panichishte. Ascent and descent approx. 800m. (UNDER)
DAY 7 – RILA – SKAKAVITZA – SOFIA
Our last day of hiking in the Rila Mountains will take us to the beautiful waterfalls of Skakavitsa. After 5 hours of hiking (ascent and descent approx. 650m) transfer back to Sofia with free time, dinner and overnight stay. (UNDER)
DAY 8 – RETURN TO FINLAND
In the morning transfer to the airport and return flights to the home country.
MEALS: [A] BREAKFAST [L] LUNCH [I] DINNER
Group size: 10-20 people
The price of the trip includes:
- Flights to
- Airport transfers
- All transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees for guided tours
- Services of a Finnish-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking local guide
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport taxes
The price of the trip does not include:
- Travel insurance
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Food drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local airport taxes or possible exit fees not included in the ticket price
- Office expenses 10 € / person
Lunches on hiking days are excursion lunches.
The itineraries and order of the day program of the trip may vary: The local guide makes the final decisions about the routes according to the prevailing weather conditions and the condition of the group.
We fly to Bulgaria on Turkish Airlines scheduled flights, via Istanbul. The airline has the right to change its schedules, so do not book any connecting flights until you have received your flight tickets.
There are no actual fitness requirements for the trip, but the program is designed for anyone interested in hiking. The most important thing is that our customers feel that they have received the right amount of challenge for the trip. In Bulgaria, we move high in mountainous areas, the paths are narrow, rocky and partly unmarked. However, day mattresses are reasonably short and include plenty of rest breaks. The local guide makes decisions about the implementation of the day program according to the weather conditions, the condition of the group and the wishes. We recommend that you go for regular walks, for example, because the better your physical condition, the more you enjoy our hiking trips.
Typical hiking day:
Luggage is stored comfortably in the accommodation or in the vehicle during the trip, so during hikes you only need to carry your own daypack with the necessary accessories for the day such as a water bottle, sunscreen, camera, spare clothes, wallet and a small snack.
Finnish citizens do not need a visa to Bulgaria. A valid passport is required.
You need normal travel insurance for your trip. We recommend taking out travel insurance with cancellation protection.
The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian. There is also some knowledge of Russia, English and German. The tour guide and local guide will be happy to assist with interpretation if needed.
Bulgaria is an EU country but does not belong to the Schengen or euro area. The Bulgarian currency is the lev (BGN). Local currency can be exchanged or withdrawn on site from ATMs with the most common credit cards. There is full board on the trip, so the money is needed mainly for snacks, food drinks, gratuities and souvenirs and other purchases. The price level is remarkably low compared to Finland.
The climate in Bulgaria varies from the Mediterranean of the Black Sea coast to the continent of mountain areas. Summers are dry and warm, while winters are wetter and snowy in the mountains. Weather inland and in mountainous areas is often cooler and more unpredictable than the coast. Mountain areas are snow-free, usually from June to July until the end of September. Weather permitting, the best time to hike in the Bulgarian mountains is from mid-summer to late September.