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8-day Mountaineering in Bulgaria – Rila, Pirin & Rhodope Mountains

  • 8 days/7 nights
  • Min 2 - max 6
  • Rila, Pirin & Rhodope Mountains
  • English and German
  • Moderate to Strenuous
  • Hiking & Trekking

Tour the Rila, Pirin & Rhodope Mountains

Spectacular alpine landscapes, glacial valleys and lakes, wildflower meadows, picturesque small villages, and an abundance of thermal springs. These are just some of the highlights you will encounter and enjoy on this 8-day long Bulgaria Hiking Trip!

EXCEDO’s Pure Mountain Pleasure Bulgaria program is designed to show you some of the most pristine and peaceful landscapes that Bulgaria has to offer. Our hiking adventure will give you a taste of the diverse mountain landscapes and terrains you may encounter here. If you like even more experiences to choose between, take a look at our 7 Rila Lakes Hike – Bulgaria Trekking Adventure.

On this Rila, Pirin & Rhodope Mountains tour, we will challenge you with some intense hiking, but also spoil you with the typical Bulgarian hospitality, fabulous food, world-class wine and wellness time! Keep reading to learn more, and please get in touch if you have any questions. 


May – October

Time and location

We pick you up at a time and location of your choosing


Moderate to strenuous difficulty – several steep hikes. Route scale varies from T1-T3 with some demanding mountain hiking. You may find detailed info on EXCEDO’s Hiking Difficulty Scale here.


  • 7 nights in family hotels/guesthouses (2 or 3 stars - Bulgarian classification)
  • Mountain Guide
  • Mountains insurance
  • All transfers between destinations
  • 7 breakfasts; 3 lunches + 3 lunch packs; 2 dinners


  • Meals that are not explicitly mentioned as included
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities to the guide/driver and tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Maps


  • Spectacular alpine landscapes
  • Glacial valleys and lakes
  • Thermal springs and wellness
  • Guided tours of cultural sites
  • Staying with locals
Itinerary for this Rila, Pirin & Rhodope Mountains Tour

Day 1:Welcome to Bulgaria

Upon arrival in Sofia you will be greeted by our mountain guide.

Depending on the time of arrival, we might head to the city center for a walking tour of Bulgaria’s capital (could be done also on the last day).

“Grows, but never ages” is the motto of one of Europe’s oldest cities and capital of Bulgaria – Sofia … and not surprisingly so, given the city’s ancient history, dating back some nine millennia. Our informative and entertaining private walk through the heart of Sofia looks at the city’s turbulent and colorful centuries old history, all the way back to its Roman origin, but also covering its more recent events. Along the way we will have a look at the imposing Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Largo Square, the Bulgarian National Theater and the former Royal Palace, just to name a few.

In the afternoon we head to the village of Gorno Draglishte, huddled in a valley between the Rila and Pirin Mountain Ranges (2.5 h drive). Our hosts, Deshka and her notorious singing grandmas, will greet us with homemade food and rakia. You can expect a very eventful evening indeed!

Accommodations in the village of Gorno Draglishte.

Day 2:Between Two Giants

After a good night’s sleep and not too early breakfast, we will take it easy today. Our first stop is the nearby village of Dobarsko. We will visit the local medieval church there, which gained global fame thanks to two frescoes depicting Jesus Christ in something that looks like a spaceship.

After that we continue with a short, pleasant hike above the village into the forests of the southern Rila Mountains. In good weather our route offers a splendid view of the Pirin Mountain range across the valley. In the afternoon we will visit the one of a kind Dancing Bears Park – a rehabilitation sanctuary for rescued bears.

Walking time: 2h; +150/-350 m; T1 difficulty

Accommodations in the village of Gorno Draglishte.

Day 3:Rhodope Idyll

Today we embark on an easy hike in the western part of the legendary Rhodope Mountains.

First we will drive for about an hour and a half and enjoy some breathtaking views along the way until we reach the village of Osikovo, from where we hike an ancient Roman path to the village of Kovachevitsa – a living architectural monument with 250 years old houses, well preserved in their original condition. Surrounded by narrow cobbled streets and stone-tiled rooftops that almost touch each other, we take a break for lunch at a local guesthouse.

We say goodbye to Kovachevitsa in the early afternoon and head towards the town of Dobrinishte – a popular wellness destination at the foot of the Pirin Mountains (1.5 h drive). Along the way, however, we will make a short stop and visit the remains of an ancient Roman city.

Walking time: 1.5h, +/-150 m; T1 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness time in the town of Dobrinishte

Day 4:Pirin – the Bold and the Beautiful

After the light, warm-up hikes of the previous two days it is time to get serious.

Today we head to Gotse Delchev Hut above the town of Dobrinishte (a 30 min drive) from where we take the cable car for a 30 min ride up to Bezbog Hut (2200 m above sea level). Our goal is to reach the top of Mount Polezhan – the highest granite peak in the Pirin Mountains with its 2851 m, so be ready for some spectacular views of steep alpine slopes and glittering glacial lakes.

Walking time: 5-6 h, +/- 650 m; T3 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness time in the town of Dobrinishte

Day 5:A Mountain Journey Like no Other

Today we will enjoy a well-deserved break and embark on one of the greatest rail journeys on earth – Bulgaria’s last remaining narrow-gauge line through a scenic mountain pass separating the Rila and Rhodope Mountains.

We take the train from Dobrinishte around 10 am and get off at the highest train station on the Balkan Peninsula – the small and almost forgotten village of Avramovo (at 1268 m).

In the afternoon you will have some time for yourselves or you might decide to join us in trying some locally made yogurt, cheese, wild berries jam and honey and spend an afternoon on the shores of Belmeken Reservoir (at 1923 m) in the company of a beer or two.

Accommodations in the area of Belmeken Reservoir

Day 6:Rila – the Mountain of Water

Having had a good rest the previous day, we start our longest hike of the week early in the morning. First, we shall conquer Belmeken Peak (2626 m) and pass through Belmeken Hut (at 2225 m) in a picturesque and secluded part of the Eastern Rila Mountains, where we stop for lunch. From there we will slowly be making our way down the northern slopes of the mountain until we reach the village of Kostenets, prominent for its thermal springs and beautiful landscape (at about 800 m).

Walking time: about 7-8 hours, +700 m/-1600 m; T2 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness time in the village of Kostenets

Day 7:Rila’s Deep Blue Eyes

After breakfast, it is time for our last day of hiking. As no visit to the Bulgarian mountains is complete without seeing one of the most notable natural attractions on the Balkan Peninsula, the world renowned 7 Rila Lakes (the highest at 2535 m above sea level), that is where we are heading.

After a 1.5 h drive to the secluded mountain resort Panichishte, we will take the cable car to the Rila Lakes Hut (at about 2150 m). Our hike will take us past the shores of 6 out of the 7 glacial lakes, in what is believed to be one of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria.

Walking time: about 4-5 hours, +/- 400 m; T2 difficulty

Accommodations and wellness time in the town of Sapareva Banya

Day 8:Time to Say Goodbye

On our last day it is time to say farewell to the Bulgarian mountains.

We head back to Sofia (a 1.5h drive), where you will have the day for yourselves and might wish to visit some museums in the city or go shopping, as desired.

Departure from Sofia Airport or optional activities.

Map of our Bulgaria Mountain Tour

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Group Traveller

We had a great time in Bulgaria, thanks to Manuela and Yori our guides. We spend a week in various parts of Bulgaria. A very good combination of hiking, admiring nature, learning about culture and history. Yori was very patient with me lagging behind and slowing down the group (I was not feeling good due to bronchitis). He is very knowledgeable, tells good stories and makes nice lunches . We also met on our way very warm and helpful people like Malinka and Boris from Bansko (thanks to you again for arranging for me doctor’s appointment and for the special tea to cure my cough). Malinka makes very good banica, you must try and Boris is a master of home made liquors, be careful some are very strong and he offers generously.

30th June 2017