The best of the Rhodopes and Mount Rila

This walking tour, a combination of our classic unguided treks in the Rhodopes and the Rila, takes in the best of the two as regards routes, natural phenomena, and contact with local people. Beginning with the lower, rounded crests of the mountain of Orpheus, you will gradually move across to the arduous steep slopes and rocky outcrops of the Rila. You will have the opportunity of visiting natural and cultural sites such as the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave (considered one of Bulgaria’s most beautiful), the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge with its 300m/1000ft sheer walls, the Shiroka Laka architectural reserve, Bulgaria’s second-largest monastery at Bachkovo, the Old Town of Plovdiv (an architectural and historical reserve) and many others.
The tour includes all transfers, including those from and to Sofia Airport. Hiking treks are of medium and high difficulty. Paths are well marked, with clients receiving maps and detailed descriptions of the route in English.


Day 1: We meet you at Sofia Airport and transfer you to the village of Lyaskovo: a fascinating place combining the beauty of the mountain and the warmth of Rhodope hospitality.
Day 2: A short transfer takes you to the entrance of the Yagodinska Peshtera Cave, where you will have the opportunity of enjoying its unique formations. From here, the route takes you through the pretty village of Yagodina and over the hills above it with their smallholdings, on to a thick fir forest that takes you to the edge of the Trigradsko Zhdrelo Gorge. That is where the Dyavolsko Garlo (The Devil’s Throat) Cave is located, with its highest underground waterfall in the Balkans. The next two overnight stays are at the village of Trigrad. (3hrs of walking; 9,30km/5,78miles, climbing 563m/1847ft and descending 354m/1161ft.)
Day 3: Today, a particularly pleasant circular route awaits you to the village of Vodni Pad hard by the Greek border which until recently cut across the village. Only a handful of people remain in the old stone houses. A colourful diversity of woods, meadows, smallholdings, crests, and rivers accompanies you on your way back to Trigrad. (5-6hrs of walking; 17,6km/10,9miles, climbing and descending 730m/2395ft.)
Day 4: Today’s hiking trek reveals to you another part of the Rhodopes near Trigrad. The distant end of the trek is the village of Zhrebevo whence you return to Trigrad along a different route. The tiny village charms with the hospitality of its people, its virgin nature, and its traditional occupations of farming, livestock rearing, and timber felling. (5-6hrs of walking; 18,3km/11,3miles, climbing and descending 700m/2150ft.)
Day 5: Time to leave the Rhodopes for the Rila. Today is intended to relax you, with many stops at heritage sights, beginning with a walk along the cobbled streets past the stone houses of Shiroka Laka. We then stop at the Bachkovo Monastery with its miracle-working icon of Virgin Marry, while the afternoon is spent in the Old Town of Plovdiv. You reach the village of Govedartsi in the early evening. It will be your base for the next four overnight stays in the Rila.
Day 6: A path winding through ancient thick spruce forests takes you beyond the upper edge of the forest to the magical Cirque of the Seven Rila Lakes. In the alpine zone at between 2100 and 2500m/6900 and 8200ft above sea level, this group of glacier lakes charms you with the magnificent views that open from the edge of the highest one. (5-6 hrs of walking; 18,7km/11,6miles, climbing and descending 1310m/4298ft)
Day 7: Following the Malyovishka River valley, you again rise above rocky peaks to reach the secretive Cirque sheltering the Strashno Ezero (The Scary) Lake. Fitter trekkers may opt to climb the Malyovitsa summit which offers incredible panoramas over surrounding crests and outcrops. (5-7,30hrs of walking; from 12km/7miles To 18,7km/11,6miles, climbing and descending from 880m/2887ft To 1600m/5249ft.)
Day 8: Today, you will attempt to climb the Balkans’ highest summit of Musala (2925m/9596ft). A brief cable car climb and a three hour trek take you past a number of Cirques, glacier lakes and mountain shelters on your way up. The views from the Musala over surrounding summits and crests are definitely something that will stay with you forever. (5-6hrs of walking; 14,20km/8,82miles; climbing and descending 690m/2264ft)
Day 9: Transfer from Govedartsi to Sofia Airport.


Dates, Prices & Remarks

>>> Extra day including visit to Rila Monastery
Stay one more day and visit one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery (UNESCO heritage site). Scroll down for prices.

family hotels/pensions; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper. Luggage is transported between accommodations.

Best period: mid June – mid September

Group size: Min. 2 persons

Price: 560 € (limited time offer)

Single room supplement: 100 €

The price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport and all other transfers according to the itinerary; accommodation and catering as in the itinerary; luggage transfers; detailed route descriptions in English; tourist maps of the Rhodopes and Rila; 24/7 emergency hotline and all local taxes.

The price does not include: cable car tickets; cave entry charges; extra food and drink; medical insurance; personal expenses.

Extension to Rila Monastery: 90 € per person (in a group of 2 persons or more sharing a double room; single room supplement: 25 €) (included: pick-up from Govedartsi on Day 9, transfer to Rila Monastery, a guided tour in the monastery (in English), entry to the museum in the monastery, transfer to Sofia, overnight B&B in 3-star centrally located hotel on BB, transfer to Sofia Airport on Day 10; not included: lunch and dinner on Day 9).