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16
Ke Classic
Ke Classic
Holidays

Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria

Bulgaria, Rila Mountains
16 reviews
Available Departures: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

8 days from

US$1,100

without flights
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

Trekking holiday in the Rila and Pirin mountains of Bulgaria with time to explore Sofia and Rila Monastery

Trip Code: BUL
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria

Highlights
  • Summit the big Bulgarian four - Vihren, Kotelo, Maliovitsa and Musala
  • Go off the beaten track on the spectacular Marble Ridge
  • Remote trekking via the Pirin Ridges to the atmospheric Dark Lake
  • Wander through Sofia and visit UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 8
  • 6 days trekking
  • Max altitude - 2925m
  • Join In Sofia

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 1 nights Hotel
  • 5 nights Guesthouse
  • 1 nights Mountain Hut / Refuge
Overview

Rugged, wild and dramatic the Rila and Pirin mountains of Bulgaria have some of the most breath taking and remote mountain scenery in Europe. With a wonderful mix of Greek and Ottoman influences, this fascinating country manages to combine jaw-dropping trekking with wonderful hospitality. We kick off KE style with a superb ascent of the country's highest peak, Mount Musala (2925m) before traversing the magnificent Rila Mountains via the Seven Lakes. After the second Rila peak of Maliovitsa (2730m), we transfer through spectacular scenery and visit the fantastically located UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rila Monastery. Next we leave the Rila Mountains and head to the striking Pirin Mountains where we follow ridge-top paths and traverse alpine meadows up to the shores of the atmospheric Dark Lake.


This wonderful location is a highlight of the holiday as we stay in a remote mountain refuge, surrounded by amazing scenery. Finally we leave the best till last with an ascent of magnificent Vihren (2917m) before attempting Kotelo (2911m) along the airy Marble Ridge. Bulgaria never disappoints so if you're looking for one of Europe’s greatest “off the beaten track” destinations, an unforgettable mountain journey and a true cultural experience, then KE's Trekking the Ridges and Summits of Bulgaria is the only choice.

This is a wonderful mountain journey with significant amounts of ascent and descent on most days. Trails are predominantly good but you need to be prepared for sections of stony ground and boulders which will be encountered. Other than the Marble Ridge (which is optional) there is very little exposure on either the ridges or summits and any exposed sections are cable protected. For the Marble Ridge a via ferrata harness is provided for extra security. Each day you'll walk for an average of 6 to 10 hours and therefore need to be physically prepared for the trek. This holiday is suitable for experienced and fit hillwalkers looking for an excellent week's mountain walking in an undiscovered part of Europe.

Why KE?

A genuine small group experience in Europe's undiscovered mountains. Pioneered by KE over 12 years ago, this holiday offers the ultimate off the beaten track mountain experience with all the elements for a KE classic – airy ridges, dramatic peaks and full mountain days plus an excellent European city. Want to know more? Call Emily our Bulgarian Expert!

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Itinerary

Meet at the group hotel in Sofia. A single timed transfer from Sofia Airport is provided. If your flight arrives in the morning it is very easy and low cost to get a taxi from the airport to the group hotel. Time permitting, a must see in Sofia is The Crypt Icon Museum in the Aleksander Nevski Cathedral which holds the largest collection of Orthodox icons in Europe.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

D

Our first trekking day and the opportunity to ascend the country's highest peak Mount Musala (2925m). After leaving the city, we head for the Rila Mountains by transferring (1.5hrs) to Borovets, Bulgaria’s most famous ski and alpine resort. We use the gondola lift from the centre of town to ascend approx. 1000m (up above the forest) to Jastrebec. After around 90 minutes of level walking we ascend steadily to reach our first mountain hut of the trip, the Musala Hut. From here we head to the summit along the bouldery and cabled north ridge. On reaching the summit we’ll take time to admire the breath-taking panorama and take our first Bulgarian Summit Photos! At 2925m, Musala is the highest peak in Bulgaria.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

800 M

Descent

900 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

13 KM

Today starts with a short transfer to the Vada Hut (1465m) from where we begin our traverse of the Rila Mountains via the picturesque Seven Lakes. The footpaths are well graded as we trek upwards through a series of lakes to the open summit of Razdela (2620m), which offers splendid views over the Urdinite lakes and to the summit of Mt. Maliovitsa (2729 m), our goal for tomorrow. After taking in the panorama of the whole Maliovitsa region, we descend via the "Zeleni rid" (or Green ridge), initially on gentle grassy slopes before the trail descends steeply down into the valley of the Urdina river. Shortly after, we reach the start point of our walk, the Vada hut, for our short transfer (40 min) back to our hotel in Samokov.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1200 M

Descent

1200 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs trekking

Distance

17 KM

Today we set our sights on our second peak - Mount Maliovitsa. A national mountain so well respected, that its North Face is the symbol of the Bulgarian Alpine Association. A short drive (30min) takes us to the small alpine ski resort of Maliovitsa, where during the times of Communist Bulgaria, the country's only mountain leader school was situated. The first part of our walk starts gently as we follow the valley to the Maliovitsa hut (1960m). From here the real ascent begins as we initially zig-zag our way up to Elenino Lake (2470m). On reaching the lake we continue ascending up onto the main ridge and a further 10min takes us onto the summit of Mount Maliovitsa (2729m). The view from the summit is well worth the effort as we gaze across the Rila Mountain Range. We re-trace our steps for the descent back down to Maliovitsa where we pick up our transport and drive to UNESCO Rila Monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage site is situated at 1147m and one of Bulgaria’s most celebrated.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1050 M

Descent

1050 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

14 KM

The jagged and rocky peaks of the Pirin Mountains present an altogether more rugged environment than our previous days of trekking. After breakfast we take a short transfer to the Doze Delchev Hut to begin our 2 day trek deep into the Pirin Range. We can leave the bulk of our belongings at our hotel but will need to pack a couple of extras into our day sacks, as tonight will be spent in a remote, high mountain hut. From Doze Delchev we take advantage of the chairlift up to the hut at Lake Bezbog before beginning our walk to the largest of the Pirin lakes – Popova. t on view. Ascending through dramatic high valleys with rocky ridges and late-lying snow patches, we eventually arrive at the hanging valley of Tevno Ezero, or “Dark Lake”. Our overnight accommodation is a pine built mountain hut (.2500m) in an idyllic setting beside the Tevno Ezero Lake. The hut offers simple but clean and comfortable accommodation. There is a large attic with approximately 30 bed spaces. Each space has a mattress bedding.

Accommodation

Mountain Hut / Refuge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1040 M

Descent

260 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

10 KM

Today is all about ridges, and we leave the comforts of the hut behind and walk through a high col, the Mozgoviska Porta. From this point we follow an undulating, sinuous ridge with seriously spectacular views. The terrain varies from alpine meadow to rough and rocky ground. We trek through a beautiful mountain landscape of peaks, sparkling streams and lakes. Finally we arrive at the Vihren hut, from where we transfer to our accommodation in Bansko.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

390 M

Descent

930 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

12 KM

The distinctive peak of Vihren is an obvious objective for today and many find Vihren more rewarding than Musala. To ascend Vihren we return by road to the Vihren hut. From here we ascend steeply at first through forest opening out into meadow affording us fine views of Vihren’s towering west face. From here the well-marked trail ascends steadily, before we make a short, steep scree scramble, followed by a steady climb to a col. Here we make the exciting, optional return traverse of the Koncheto, Marble Ridge. The Koncheto is a genuine knife edge ridge. A traverse across the ridge to the summit of Kotelo (2911m) is an exposed and airy undertaking, although aided by a fixed wire cable for support and solid rock underfoot. Via ferrata harnesses giving extra security are provided locally (and must be carried on this day). For those not wishing to make the 2 hour round trip traverse of the Koncheto it is possible to wait at the col and enjoy the extensive views. Back at the col, on a clear day, we will be rewarded with a magnificent 360º panorama of not only the Pirin and Rila Mountains, but also the lesser known Rhodopi Mountains and on occasion even into Greece and Macedonia.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1200 M

Descent

1200 M

Time

8 hrs trekking

Distance

11 KM

Your holiday ends after breakfast. A single timed group transfer will depart Bankso early morning and is due to arrive at the airport mid-morning.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Peaks Peaks
Airport Airport
Direction Direction
Trek
Transfer

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • Single timed airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Vehicle support throughout the trek (except Day 6)

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Tips
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure - drinks and souvenirs etc


TRAVEL TO YOUR DESTINATION

If flying from the UK there are low cost airlines available to the start and from the end of your holiday.

To benefit from full financial protection, ease your holiday planning, and avoid dealing with airlines, we can book scheduled flights from the UK as part of a flight inclusive package. Scheduled flights are usually more expensive that low cost alternatives, however potentially less stressful if your flight is cancelled or delayed. If you book flights through KE Adventure Travel we will offset the carbon of your flight.

The group will meet at the hotel in Sofia.

Single timed Airport transfers to/from Sofia Airport are provided.

Anyone may join the group transfers by prior arrangement. Travelling as a group or on public transport saves energy. If this is not practical, we can provide private transfers at an additional cost. Taxis are also available.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals are included in the holiday price.

Breakfasts are generally continental in style with a mixture of muesli, yoghurt, jams, honey, bread, cheese and ham, with occasional eggs, cucumber, tomato, tea and coffee.  Lunches will be a simple, but filling picnic lunch carried by the guide or shared amongst the group to carry each day.  They will usually consist of ham, cheese or tuna sandwiches with fruit and a cereal bar.  In the evening we will enjoy a three course meal which generally starts with a mixed salad followed by pork, chicken, beef with potatoes and vegetables cooked Bulgarian style.  Desserts may be ice cream, baklava, local cakes etc.  Vegetarian and other special diets can be catered for, although choices are usually limited but adequate.  All meals are included in the trip price but you may wish to buy additional snacks for the trekking day.  On most days we will come across a mountain hut where we can buy a hot or cold drink and light snacks.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

We will spend 1 night in a centrally located hotel in Sofia, 5 nights in guesthouses in Samakov and Bankso, and 1 night in a mountain hut.

All hotel and guesthouse rooms are twin share and en-suite. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired with another single client of the same sex.

At the Tevno Ezero mountain hut accommodation will be dormitory style, with shared facilities. Sleeping bags are not required as blankets are supplied, however you may wish to carry a sheet sleeping bag. Mountain huts in Bulgaria are basic, with washing and toilet facilities being particularly rudimentary. However, the atmospheric location of the Tezno Ezero hut makes this an unmissable experience and more than compensates for modest facilities.

Single rooms are available for a supplementary cost (not available at the mountain hut). If you are planning to extend your holiday, additional nights at the group hotel in Sofia are available on request.

The group will be led by a professional and qualified tour leader.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude.  During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres.  Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at high altitude.  You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

Approximately £75 - £100 (or equivalent in euros or dollars) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of currency rather than travellers cheques, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Bulgaria. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). There are ATM’s at Sofia Airport, Samokov and Bansko. Note that the local currency is the Bulgarian Lev.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group.

Baggage will be transported between overnight stops (except on Day 6) by the support vehicle.  A 35 litre rucksack should be adequate for the two day trek into the Pirin Mountains.  There is no weight restriction other than that imposed by your international carrier but we do ask you to limit your luggage to one piece plus your day pack.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Sofia Airport. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Sofia. These include Easyjet who have flights from London & Manchester, and Wizzair who have flights from London and Ryanair who have flights from Stansted. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

Europe

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

The unit of currency in Bulgaria is the Lev.

Getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.

You should be aerobically fit and comfortable with walking 4 - 7 hours for consecutive days. Hill walking, with a good amount of ascent and descent, is the best training. Running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardiovascular fitness and stamina.

From July to September the weather is generally very good. We can expect daytime, valley temperatures of between 18ºC and 28ºC in August, dropping to 12ºC to15ºC overnight. September and July temperatures can be a few degrees cooler. Temperatures will also be cooler at altitude, but usually very pleasant for mountain trekking. For our night at the Tevno Ezero hut, outside temperatures can be close to freezing. As with any mountain area there is the risk of some poor weather, with rain and wind. There is always the possibility of encountering occasional late lying snow in gullies, particularly in July. But we should encounter mainly clear and sunny days even in September. This area usually enjoys a very pleasant and stable climate in summer.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • The Rough Guide to Bulgaria.

  • Lonely Planet. Bulgaria.

  • The Mountains of Bulgaria. Julian Perry (Limited descriptions of our route).

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

The following checklist should help you with your packing.   As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You should bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts

  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Warm jacket (down)

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Sunhat or cap

  • Sunglasses

  • Warm Hat

  • Daypack 30 litres

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including for lips)

  • Water bottles x2 1 Litre (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets
  • Sleeping bag liner (for the night in the hut)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Small Towel

  • Antibacterial hand wash

  • Small padlock (to lock your bag)

  • Lunch box (highly recommended to avoid plastic bags and squashed fruit)

  • Mug or cup (as opposed to using throw away plastic cups in mountain huts)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium) painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles

  • Gaiters

  • Trainers to travel in and for the huts

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Shorts

  • Earplugs (Especially if you are not the one snoring)

  • Insect repellant

  • Camera

  • Travel clothes

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

 

NB. A via ferrata harness will be provided locally to all clients who wish to take part in the Marble Ridge traverse. This will be provided on the day of the walk to Marble Ridge (day 7) and will need to be carried in your own daypack for that day only. It will not take up much space, and will weigh a max 1.5kgs.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 from 16 reviews

An amazing trip ★★★★★

An excellent trip walking on beautiful mountains. I was really impressed with the Bulgarian mountains and surprisingly quiet. The walking was tough going at times but really enjoyable Our guide Ivo was as good as ever (we me before on Mount Olympus) Yes I would definitely go back to Bulgaria

By Andrew Whitehaven | 05 October 2023

Stunning scenery, fabulous walking and vegan and vegetarian friendly! ★★★★★

Some trips exceed expectations, and this one most certainly did! My first trip with KE and I can thoroughly recommend it. It was a full-on packed agenda for the week, strenuous walking with lots of scrambling, traversing across boulder fields and the fantastic marble ridge! The scenery was absolutely stunning, it really is a beautiful country. Our guide, Rossen, was great and made sure I was well catered for with tofu, vegan cheese, vegan bars and chocolate for the packed lunches. He even made u s a wild mushroom risotto for dinner using wild mushrooms foraged from the woods. The 2 day trip with an overnight stop in the mountain hut is well worth it, it's lovely to see the sun setting and have a few beers by the lake (bring beer money). A most fabulous trip with lots of great memories, highly recommend it.
By Julia Chesterfield | 20 September 2022

A fantastic opportunity to experience the ridges and summits of Bulgaria ★★★★★

An excellent trip which worked smoothly from start to finish. From airport pick-up to drop-off everything worked like clockwork - thanks to Ivo our guide who had superb knowledge both of local history and the particular mountain environments that we were visiting. Great variety of walks, remote lakes, fungus filled forests, airy ridges and high peaks combined to make this a memorable week. The ascent of the Marble Ridge using via ferrata kit was the high point of a most enjoyable week.

By Gillian YORK | 15 September 2022

A fun and challenging introduction to Bulgaria ★★★★★

This was my first visit to Bulgaria and I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to this diverse and beautiful country. The mountain scenery is stunning and the relatively uncrowded walking paths are a real treat. Each day was topped off with very reasonably-priced drinks, a great meal—as a vegetarian I was particularly impressed with the quality and variety of salads that were served—and very comfortable accommodations. In comparison to other KE trips I’ve been on, I thought this trip’s dif ficulty rating was slightly too low, but I can’t be sure it wasn’t at least partially due to a lapse in my own fitness level. The terrain was quite rugged at times, which added to the challenge, but also provided interesting and fun variety to the walks. Overall, despite the demands, the hiking was some of the best I’ve experienced and I was sad for the holiday to end. Ivo, the local KE guide, is a knowledgeable and personable tour leader, and he did a fantastic and well-organized job of showcasing the highlights of Bulgaria’s Rila and Pirin Mountains. His professionalism is well-balanced with words of wisdom and good humor.
By Katherine Washington | 26 June 2022

Spectacular hiking, good itinerary, great guide, and delicious food ★★★★★

This was our first trip with KE and I’m so glad we went. We really appreciated the thought and preparation that went into creating such a great hiking experience with comfortable lodging and delicious and satisfying meals at the beginning and end of each day. The scenery was absolutely amazing! The hikes had challenging but manageable elevation gains and the distances were perfect. Time in the van getting to and from trailheads each day was very reasonable. Ivo, our guide was extremely capable , knowledgeable, and clearly knew the area very well. Plus, he told hilarious jokes and great stories. I would recommend this trip to anybody interested in experiencing full days of challenging hiking with stunning alpine scenery and then coming back to a comfortable space to rest each night after a delicious meal.
By Andrea LEWISBURG | 01 September 2019

Traveller Reviews
4.8 out of 5 from 16 reviews

An amazing trip
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An excellent trip walking on beautiful mountains. I was really impressed with the Bulgarian mountains and surprisingly quiet. The walking was tough going at times but really enjoyable Our guide Ivo was as good as ever (we me before on Mount Olympus) Yes I would definitely go back to Bulgaria

By Andrew Whitehaven | 05 October 2023

Stunning scenery, fabulous walking and vegan and vegetarian friendly!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Some trips exceed expectations, and this one most certainly did! My first trip with KE and I can thoroughly recommend it. It was a full-on packed agenda for the week, strenuous walking with lots of scrambling, traversing across boulder fields and the fantastic marble ridge! The scenery was absolutely stunning, it really is a beautiful country. Our guide, Rossen, was great and made sure I was well catered for with tofu, vegan cheese, vegan bars and chocolate for the packed lunches. He even made u s a wild mushroom risotto for dinner using wild mushrooms foraged from the woods. The 2 day trip with an overnight stop in the mountain hut is well worth it, it's lovely to see the sun setting and have a few beers by the lake (bring beer money). A most fabulous trip with lots of great memories, highly recommend it.
By Julia Chesterfield | 20 September 2022

A fantastic opportunity to experience the ridges and summits of Bulgaria
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An excellent trip which worked smoothly from start to finish. From airport pick-up to drop-off everything worked like clockwork - thanks to Ivo our guide who had superb knowledge both of local history and the particular mountain environments that we were visiting. Great variety of walks, remote lakes, fungus filled forests, airy ridges and high peaks combined to make this a memorable week. The ascent of the Marble Ridge using via ferrata kit was the high point of a most enjoyable week.

By Gillian YORK | 15 September 2022

A fun and challenging introduction to Bulgaria
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was my first visit to Bulgaria and I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to this diverse and beautiful country. The mountain scenery is stunning and the relatively uncrowded walking paths are a real treat. Each day was topped off with very reasonably-priced drinks, a great meal—as a vegetarian I was particularly impressed with the quality and variety of salads that were served—and very comfortable accommodations. In comparison to other KE trips I’ve been on, I thought this trip’s dif ficulty rating was slightly too low, but I can’t be sure it wasn’t at least partially due to a lapse in my own fitness level. The terrain was quite rugged at times, which added to the challenge, but also provided interesting and fun variety to the walks. Overall, despite the demands, the hiking was some of the best I’ve experienced and I was sad for the holiday to end. Ivo, the local KE guide, is a knowledgeable and personable tour leader, and he did a fantastic and well-organized job of showcasing the highlights of Bulgaria’s Rila and Pirin Mountains. His professionalism is well-balanced with words of wisdom and good humor.
By Katherine Washington | 26 June 2022

Spectacular hiking, good itinerary, great guide, and delicious food
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was our first trip with KE and I’m so glad we went. We really appreciated the thought and preparation that went into creating such a great hiking experience with comfortable lodging and delicious and satisfying meals at the beginning and end of each day. The scenery was absolutely amazing! The hikes had challenging but manageable elevation gains and the distances were perfect. Time in the van getting to and from trailheads each day was very reasonable. Ivo, our guide was extremely capable , knowledgeable, and clearly knew the area very well. Plus, he told hilarious jokes and great stories. I would recommend this trip to anybody interested in experiencing full days of challenging hiking with stunning alpine scenery and then coming back to a comfortable space to rest each night after a delicious meal.
By Andrea LEWISBURG | 01 September 2019

Excellent introduction to Rila and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This was an excellent walking holiday in Bulgaria. The Rila and Pirin Mountains are beautiful with high alpine lakes, nice meadows, and stark rocky terrain. Trail included lots of boulder fields as well as very rocky uneven trail most of the time and due to recent rain and late season snow lots of water crossings and wet trail going up the side of streams. Overnight hut was small with 2 long continuous sleeping areas but acceptable for the night, toilet outside and down the hill. Monastery was w ell worth a visit. Compared to previous trips I have taken with KE- the difficulty/rockiness of the trail and length of day spent on trail (6-9 hours) I would rate this more than a 6 on the KE scale.
By Lisa Portland | 09 July 2019

Great walks, great guide, well organised and with good accomodation and food
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The guide was excellent, he maintained a slow pace, with very short steps, especially on the steepest assents and it's worth noting that if you are directly following the guide you will use less energy. The walk is graded 6, i.e. suitable for fit weekend hill walkers, which I think is fair and in fact, given the slow pace of the guide, no walk is harder than the assent of Snowdon, or Helvellyn, but the days can be much longer (8-9 hours). Having said that, there are a few sections of boulder fie lds and some scrambles where you need you to be very careful. I would say walking poles, or at least one pole, are essential, unless you are extremely agile and fit. There is always the risk of thunderstorms and lots of wide steams to cross, so for dry feet, waterproof boots are the best option.
By Nigel Tarporley | 03 July 2019

Very well organized and rewarding
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A challenging and happy time Would recommend it highly

By Allan waverley | 25 September 2017

Excellent trip from start to finish
★ ★ ★ ★

The itinerary was well thought through, the trip was well described in advance. An excellent challenging trip with a first class guide. Thoroughly enjoyable.

By John Kenley | 11 September 2017

Wonderful walking, great accommodation and a brilliant guide
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is a brilliant trip and offers excellent value for money. The scenery is absolutely stunning and the accommodation used is excellent throughout. The guide (Ivo) is very knowledgeable and his organisation was excellent throughout.

By Adele Belper | 31 August 2017

could be better walking holiday
★ ★ ★
Pros - Delicious food in abundance in nice restaurants accompanied by live Bulgarian music - Good selection of hotels and restaurants. High standard and comfortable accommodation. I really appreciate the fact that I did not have to share my room with anyone else - Good value for money in general. Car supported trek is a real advantage - Beautiful, pristine scenery in Pirin National Park - Itinerary is set up to make the most of the two national parks (although it does not allow for any spare/fre e days in case of bad weather or to do some shopping) - Long days walking sometimes in excess of 8-9 hours with good photographic opportunities - Good bunch of like-minded, enthusiastic trekkers and adventure seekers (especially on Marble Ridge day..) Cons - I am glad that we spent only one night in Bulgarian mountain hut. The huts are very basic with limited toilet facilities and range of product on sale. I was disappointed that none of them sell any postcards in the twenty first century - Although itinerary looks great on the paper it does not allow for any spare days in case of bad weather for the main highlights listed by KE (Musala peak, Rila seven lakes and Marble Ridge). I am very disappointed with the fact (and not only myself) that we lost pretty much everything in Rila National Park. The weather was absolutely awful with a rain, mist and very limited visibility consequently we could not see anything. It is easy to put the blame on the mother nature however without spare days and flexibility this situation is likely to happen in Bulgaria even in July. After 3 days we moved to Pirin National Park in accordance with the rigid itinerary. - Sadly, there was an awful incident at the farewell dinner on the last night which made the trip turn sour. Although our guide is experienced, knowledgeable English speaking mountain leader he appears to lack social skills, diplomacy or conflict solving skills. One of our fellow trekker wanted to order a beer following very long day on the marble ridge. Our group were sitting at the table around 7.30pm waiting for the last participant. Ivo said no orders were allowed unless our group is 100% complete. Pierre questioned that and asked the waiter for a bottle of bier. While the waiter was walking away Ivo called him and asked to cancel the order. Following this decision, a real argument erupted between those two. Pierre decided to leave the dinner follow by one lady in tears as she apparently could not stand a tense atmosphere at the table. Her husband also followed her, leaving the rest of the group in a state of shock. I understand that Ivo is a strict guide who never changes his mind, however we are fully grown- up people and his clients. This situation should never have taken place. I read trip reviews from previous years and similar situations were referred to. Any lessons learnt ?
By Pawel EPSOM | 01 August 2017

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review. We are pleased you found the food in Bulgaria was delicious and the accommodation to be of a high standard, and that you thought our holiday was good value for money. Your appreciation of the scenery in the Pirin is obvious and we sympathise with you that cloud and rain in the Rila National Park detracted from your enjoyment there.  We were sorry to learn of the incident on your last day and we are currently speaking to all parties involved to resolve this.


Good quality trekking
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an excellent trip. Each day gets a little more challeging and a little more remote. The trip would probably suit people who are used to the rockier areas of The Lakes or The Pyrenees. Be prepared for some long days, particularly if some members of the group are slower. There is also a fair amount of ascent and descent. I was a little nervous at the prospect of the Marble Ridge, but the exposure is actually fine and it is not technical. The hotels and food were good - I paricularly apprec iated the make your own packed lunch system! The mountain hut is basic, but a beautiful building in a stunning setting. Ivo was an excellent guide. He briefed well, was patient and made sure that the pace suited all abilities. The trip has certainly made me want to explore the Bulgarian mountains more.
By Matthew Corsham | 25 November 2016

A great mountain experience.
★ ★ ★ ★

It is a good organized trip. The information before hand was comprehensive and covered all I needed to know. The Bulgarian guide Ivo led well. His approach to the mountain walking was competent and inclusive. The days were challenging and full. There was not really any time to sight see or experience something more of Bulgar except of course the great mountains. It was my first experience of a group walking holiday and is certainly,based on this experience, worth repeating.

By Stephen Dordrecht | 02 October 2016

Fantastic scenery and great walking
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A great two centre trek in both the Rila and Pirin Mountains. The grade was about right, and all the walks were easily achievable by a reasonably fit 68 year old, although the last day where we traversed the Concheta Marble Ridge and another peak too, was quite tough. The hotels were excellent, the food good and there was a good ambiance the whole time. Ivo, the guide, was a good professional mountain guide, but he needs to learn to make allowances for the occasional slightly iffy behaviour, and not then escalate the situation. One trekker paddled in one of the mountain lakes, and got a very severe and public telling off (she hadn't realised that no swimming also meant no paddling), and the next day, mistakenly started to enter the telesiege area before being briefed. This time her bollocking was in private, and she came back in tears, which the rest of the group thought was pretty stiff. Otherwise, no complaints, and a great, good value holiday, which I recommend whole heartedly.
By David Frome | 12 September 2016

KE Adventure reply

Thank you for your review and we are glad you had a great holiday. The area of the Seven Lakes is protected as a “reduced human impact zone” where you are allowed only to walk on the marked paths and Ivo had briefed the group on this. We have since been in contact with the trekker in question to apologise for any upset caused and despite this incident, she has been generously complimentary in her feedback for Ivo.


An interesting alpine walk
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A mixture of day walks and one overnighter. Excellent accommodation and meals. Not overly strenuous but attractive country. Excellent English speaking guide

By David HAMILTON | 20 July 2016

Great trip to mostly very quiet mountains
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A very well thought out trip. The busiest mountain was the highest, Musala, which was like Snowdon on a summer weekend, lots and lots of people but it was a sunny Sunday and it's very close to Sofia so easy access for the locals. After that it was much quieter, the Seven Lakes was a beautiful walk, with few people. Maliovitsa was quieter still. It was good to be able to drop straight down to the Rila Monastery, rather than drive for 2 hours round to it, but that was only possible as we had a big group with a driver. The hut at Dark Lake was good and similar to smaller huts in say the Picos de Europa, certainly more basic than the huge places in the Alps, but that is no bad thing in my opinion. The final day to Marble Ridge, Kotelo and Vihren was probably the best day, the 'via ferrata' section is really quite simple, just a horizontal ridge with a big drop off to one side, so it would have been dangerous in the wet, snow or a strong wind, but we had great weather all week in mid September, bright blue skies every day. Our guide, Ivo, always set a good pace and was thoughtful about anyone who may be slower on for example, a section of steep downhill or scrambling, if they were nervous about it. All three hotels we stayed in were very good, the best being the one at Bansko, where we stayed for three nights. All in all a great trip which I would highly recommend to anyone who is used to walking in say the rockier parts of the Lake District or Wales and is able to enjoy being out on the hills for 7 or 8 hour days.
By Adventure KIRKBY-IN-CLEVELAND | 23 September 2015

DATES & PRICES

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2024

Dates

Adults from

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  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /01/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 15 Jun and ends on Sat 22 Jun
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /02/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 29 Jun and ends on Sat 6 Jul
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /03/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 13 Jul and ends on Sat 20 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /05/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 31 Aug and ends on Sat 7 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /06/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 14 Sep and ends on Sat 21 Sep
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 14 Jun and ends on Sat 21 Jun
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /02/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 28 Jun and ends on Sat 5 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /03/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 12 Jul and ends on Sat 19 Jul
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /04/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 9 Aug and ends on Sat 16 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /05/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 30 Aug and ends on Sat 6 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Trekking the Ridges & Summits of Bulgaria
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: BUL /06/25/
  • This trip begins on Sat 13 Sep and ends on Sat 20 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$275
  • Single Supplement Price: US$240 - 6 nights (singles not available at the mountain hut).
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. The holiday starts at the hotel in Sofia and a single timed transfer is provided from Sofia Airport.

Transport SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the departure is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Sofial. A flight search website such as Skyscanner or Kayak may be useful to research your options.

If you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package', using scheduled airlines from the UK, please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive, you will benefit from full financial protection.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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