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High Peaks of Bulgaria

from $1,549.00

Ascend Bulgaria’s two highest peaks

  • Reviews 11 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Challenging
    7/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the High Peaks of Bulgaria.

South-western Bulgaria is dominated by two dramatic mountain ranges, the Pirin and the equally imposing Rila. We begin in the Pirin Mountains, trekking across glacial moraines and high passes and attempting an ascent of Mt Vihren (2914m). Moving on to the Rila Mountains, we visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then cross the mountain range, through ancient forests to the glacial lakes for which these mountains are famed. We conclude by summiting Musala (2925m), the highest peak in south-eastern Europe, before returning to Sofia.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners included
* 7 nights in comfortable tourist-class hotels offering twin rooms with private facilities
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs.

 

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (not available on this tour)

Highlights

  • Ascend Bulgaria’s two highest peaks
  • Enjoy the well-preserved flora and fauna of the ‘Pirin’ and ‘Rila’ National Parks, with varied birdlife, brown bear, wolves and a wealth of alpine flowers.
  • Visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Sample Bulgaria’s tasty national cuisine and outstanding regional wines.
  • Trip can be combined with Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains (TDB)
  1. Day 1 Start Bansko

    We recommend that time your arrival to join the airport transfer from Sofia Airport (inquire for timings), as the journey time is 2.5hrs and a private transfer will be costly. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome briefing and discuss the week ahead and answer any questions. *Molerite Hotel or similar*

  2. Day 2 Hike across the Todrina Porta pass (2500m) via Vasilashki and Bandersihki lakes.

    Having hiked up the Demyanitsa Valley, we start a long steady climb which takes us first past the Vasilashki lakes, then two more small but beautifully formed lakes known as the ’Eyes of Todorka’. Eventually, we cross over the high pass Todorina Porta (2,500m), an outstanding viewpoint, before descending steeply via the Bunderishki lakes to the Vihren hut where we will be picked up and driven on down to our base. This evening dinner is not included, leaving you free to choose your own place to eat from the many traditional inns and restaurants in the town.*Molerite Hotel or similar*

  3. Day 3 Ascent of Mt. Vihren (2914m), the highest peak in the Pirin Mountains.

    Today we will attempt an ascent of Mt. Vihren (2,914m), the highest peak in the Pirin National Park and the second highest in Bulgaria. Beginning from the Vihren hut, our walk takes us steadily up into the dramatic Golyam Kazan cirque which lies directly beneath Vihren’s towering 400-metre high north wall. Here, as well as enjoying breath-taking mountain scenery, we can also find several beautiful endemic alpine flowers such as the delicate yellow ’Pirin Poppy’. From the cirque, a long exciting scramble takes us up white marble rocks to the summit, which on a clear day offers a wonderful panorama over the entire Pirin range. There follows a steep descent back down to our bus for the return to Bansko. Once again this evening’s dinner is not included, leaving you free to choose your own place to eat.*Molerite Hotel or similar*

  4. Day 4 Visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and walk in the surrounding nature reserve.

    Leaving Bansko, we transfer to the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as visiting the monastery itself, we will also have a pleasant walk in the surrounding forests which have been designated a nature park. During our walk we will have the chance to visit a couple of isolated chapels and a cave which are closely associated with the intriguing life story of St. Ivan Rilski, a local hermit who was to become the patron saint of Bulgaria. Our accommodation for this night will be a hotel conveniently located in the beautiful Rilska Reka valley, just a short drive from the Monastery.*Hotel Gorski Kut or similar*

  5. Day 5 Panoramic hike through the heart of the Rila Mountains.

    Whilst our luggage is transferred round the mountains by road, we make a long demanding trek through the heart of the Rila National Park. Our route leads us up and over one of the highest and most imposing ridges in the Rila Mountains. Finally rejoining our bus on the other side of the range, we transfer to our hotel in the small village of Govedartsi, where we will be based for two nights.*Family Hotel Djambazki or similar*

  6. Day 6 Ascent of Mt Malyovitsa (2729m).

    Today we explore the region at the head of the Malyovitsa Valley and attempt an ascent of Mt. Malyovitsa (2,729m), one of the highest and most imposing peaks in this part of the Rila Mountains. The whole walk offers stunning views, as well as an opportunity to observe an interesting variety of typical alpine birds. We then return to our hotel in Govedartsi for a second night. *Family Hotel Djambazki or similar*

  7. Day 7 Ascent of Mt Musala (2925m); transfer to Sofia.

    Having checked out of our hotel, our goal for today is Mt. Musala (2,925m), the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula. To accomplish the ascent as a day walk, we will use the cabin-lift from Borovets which will take us up to a starting altitude of about 2,300m. The route to the summit is well-graded, winding up past a succession of sparkling glacial lakes around the shores of which one can find blooming the endemic ’Rila Primrose’. We then end the day with a short 90 minute transfer to Sofia, where we will spend our final night.*Hill Hotel or similar*

  8. Day 8 End Sofia.

    Our tour ends after breakfast.

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Where you stay

Hotels

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable tourist-class hotels offering twin rooms with private facilities. The hotels are 2 to 3 star in the Bulgarian system of classification, but rooms are clean and comfortable. Single accommodation is not available on this trip.

Eating and Drinking

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners are included in this trip.

Breakfast will usually include tea or coffee, bread, jam, honey and cheese, yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as ‘katmi’ and a rice-based dish called ‘rodopski klin’.

Most days lunches will be packed. Consisting of bread, cheese, salami, hard boiled eggs, salads, fruit and biscuits. The evening meals will either be taken at the hotels or local restaurants and will consist of typical Bulgarian cuisine.

On two evenings whilst in Bansko, dinners have not been included to offer you the opportunity to choose your own place to eat from the many traditional inns and restaurants that are available in the town.

Vegetarians and Vegans: Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for. However, it is extremely difficult for vegans, as dairy produce and eggs form the staple part of the diet in this region, and occur in the vast majority of meals. Therefore we recommend that you bring some supplementary items.

Please note, special gluten-free products are not available, so those clients with wheat/gluten intolerance should, if needed, bring with them something to replace the local bread and pastries that make up the breakfasts and picnic lunches

This trek has been specifically designed to provide a strenuous walking holiday in remote and largely untouched landscapes that offer broad vistas and immense scenic variety. The route is Activity Level 5 as the walking is rugged, frequently attains altitudes above 2500m and climbs some of the highest peaks on the Balkan Peninsula.

Many days are challenging, involving steep and often sustained ascents and descents, with between 5 to 8 hours walking. The terrain is typically rough and rocky and frequently involves crossing moraines and boulders, with the occasional easy scramble.

The trip is ideally suited to those who relish the challenges and beauty of a wilderness environment, yet prefer to sleep in a comfortable hotel bed at night and experience the culture and cuisine of a fascinating area. Overnight stays will be in hotels at the foot of the mountains and on most days a short transfers in our own private bus will take us to the start and finish of the walks. 6 days walking with vehicle support; altitude maximum 2,925m; average 2,000m.

Note: We also offers a lighter 8-day centre-based walking holiday in the Rodopi Mountains (Trip Code: TDB). On some dates, it is possible to combine the two trips to make a fantastic 15-day itinerary. Ask a member of our sales team for details.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Amazing panoramas, head earned.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top after a 1400m ascent on a 22km day. Tough, but ooooh so rewarding!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Maria was excellent. Well organised, very safety conscious (counting her "ducklings" at regular intervals to make sure all was well) and aware Of the differing speeds and technical ability of the group. All one would wish for in a leader. Possibly would have benefitted from the presence of an assistant. Marshalling 15 people of varying abilities in such harsh terrain seemed a stretch to me.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are well prepared and fit. The advertised walking times were always exceeded by at least an hour and a half so prepare for long slow ascents and arguably over hasty descents to compensate for the time "lost."
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip summary on the website states six dinners are included (whilst the detailed notes say five) it is in fact five so you will have an extra dinner to pay for if you relied on the summary. Bulgaria however is inexpensive so this whilst irksome ( especially as it has gone unaddressed for several trips) is not a material calamity.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

BULGARIAN NATIONAL PARKS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoyed the penultimate walk especially winding up through several lakes over snow to peak. Surprised by good quality of hotels. Also managed to see the final set of Wimbledon after walk(avoiding the stress of the first two sets!) in hotel restaurant. The Bulgarians were accomodating of our enthusiasm.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Competent,organised ,charismatic and likeable. Introduced us to Bulgarian culture in imaginative way. Won`t spoil it for others by telling his stories!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was anticipating searing hot temperatures but the mountain walks were reasonably cool(some snow about) which was a blessing for ascent. 
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only reservation was missing a quick tour of Sofia at the end due to half the group being on early flight. The final hotel was upmarket but unfortunately some of us didn`t get to enjoy it as we left 4am.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Hard but Worthwhile

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to complete the "longest" trek in the middle of the trip. Plus stunning views
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Validimir was excellent. A really good treking leader and lots in funny and interesting stories to keep us amused.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not underestimate how hard this trip is physically. There are lots of steep sections over boulders. I have dodgy knees. I have done other treking holidays and never had a problem but this time I had to miss some of the days to rest my knees. Having said that this is good trip if you do need to rest since it is centre based so you can just have a day of relaxing.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Great walking holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final ascent of Vihren was very impressive with a huge limestone summit that looked spectacular in the sun.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent both on and off the mountain.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst all the paths can be walked, the rocks require concentration to not slip over. The days are long particularly the ridge walk which ends with an added forest walk to the nearest road.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Perhaps spend another day in Sofia, as the group flight was very early and I enjoyed the city.

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Fantastic hiking

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wednesday was the toughest day, 22km with 1400m elevation gain. It was long and steady - totally manageable. Getting to the high point of the ridge that day after almost 4 hours of ascent was very rewarding. And it was awesomely beautiful.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was the best leader we've ever had. He was fun, knowledgeable, caring and organized. He managed the group so well, keeping the perfect pace for everyone.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had participants from the ages of mid-20s to mid-60s. Everyone was fit and all were fine with the challenge. The trip was great because no one was falling behind. Be ready for a challenging week.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bulgaria is a beautiful country and this trip was fantastic.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
July 3, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
N/A
July 17, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
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July 31, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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August 14, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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August 28, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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September 11, 2021
Available
$1,649.00
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