Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hiking in the Rila Mountains: Rila Monastery to the Seven Rila Lakes

I’ve seen more of Bulgaria than almost every Bulgarian I know. That doesn’t mean I know Bulgaria more than they know Bulgaria, but it does give me a perspective they don’t have. And it’s cool to be able to take Bulgarians to places in Bulgaria that they’ve never been, which is exactly what I did back in July in taking some friends on a hike from the Рилски манастир (Rila Monastery) to the Седемте рилски езера (Seven Rila Lakes) and the Скакавишки водопад (Skakavitsa Waterfall). Here are some photos from the hike.

The first part of the hike was an uphill slog through the forest. Eventually, the forest opened up to views of the surrounding mountains.

One of the coolest things we saw on the first day of the hike were these tiny houses built into the hillside. In the middle of nowhere, the houses undoubtedly are without electricity and running water. It can't be an easy life, particularly in winter.

Our first night was spent in Хижа Иван Вазов (the Ivan Vazov Hut). It was a steady, seven hour, uphill hike to the hut from the monastery.

The area around the hut was fairly scenic.

But it paled in comparison to the Seven Lakes.


  1. You are an exceptional photographer.

  2. great photos indeed!
    i'm planning on a hike in bulgaria in september, would like to start in the monastry in rila and from there hike for some 6 days, and than return. do you think i'll find places to sleep on the way easily?
    any suggestions for planning the trip?

    1. Thanks for the kind words. You should have no problem planning a route and finding places to sleep. One good resource with respect to places to sleep is this site: . Good luck and have fun!

  3. Thanks!! We booked our flight (21 sept) to Sophia. Plans changed a little bit, we plan to go to Pirin mountain area in stead. I checked out the website, thanks it's very useful.

  4. Brian the trip looked amazing. Is it possible to do what you did in 2 days? Do you suggest a guide is needed?

    1. You can do it in 2 days, and you do not need a guide.