Bulgaria lies at the cusp between Asia Minor and Europe.
This is a fascinating country where eastern and western influences have become entwined and hospitality is engrained.
Where To Find The Most Amazing Hikes in Bulgaria ?
Bulgaria also contains some of the most dramatic and breathtaking mountain scenery to be found anywhere in Europe and this is especially true in the Rila and Pirin ranges, the highest in the country and the entire Balkan region.
Trekking and Hiking in Rila and Pirin Mountain
The Rila and Pirin Mountain ranges of Bulgaria offer some of the very best mountain walking in Europe. An added bonus being that the series of waymarked trails here in Bulgaria offer a much more tranquil trekking experience as they see nothing like the number of hikers other ranges in Europe do.
This challenging self-guided walking holiday encompasses both the Rila and Pirin Mountains and is most definitely aimed at the experienced, dedicated mountain walker. This trip is definitely not suitable for novices as you’ll be trekking high amongst some of the wildest mountains to be found anywhere on the European continent.
Expect dramatic scenery, as you walk firstly in the Rila, the region of the seven lakes, through wild flower meadows and over high mountain passes before visiting the world famous, ornate Rila Monastery. Next up are the magnificent marbled Pirin Mountains.
Here you can enjoy one of the best continual ridge day walks that we’ve ever experienced ourselves on our travels, to then spend a night at the atmospheric, isolated mountain hut at the aptly named “Dark Lake”. One more pass and it’s down to the lively town of Bansko before returning home and to reflect upon one of the best weeks of mountain walking of your life.
Hiking trip through the Eastern Rhodopes
Rhodope (also Rodopi or Rhodopi) is the largest mountain in Bulgaria, spanning one seventh of the territory of the country.
The mountain is situated in the Southern part of Bulgaria and the southernmost part of it is situated on the territory of Greece. The highest peak is Golyam Perelik (2191m a.s.l.). The name of the mountain has a Thracian origin. The Thracian tribes inhabited the Rhodopi centuries on end.
Around the mountain there are lots of remains of their culture, such as megaliths and sanctuaries. In geomorphological aspect the Rhodopi is the oldest mountain range in Bulgaria. The mountain can be divided in Eastern and Western Rhodopi.
The two parts are very different from each another. The Western part is much higher and the climate is mostly mountainous. The Eastern part has low mountainous and hill relief, where the average altitude is only 230 m. The climate is very mild during the winter and very hot in the summer. More about hiking tour in Eastern rhodopes – here .
Best hiking in Balkan mountains
Some of the biggest Bulgarian rivers take their beginnings from Stara planina, all of them flow into Danube River. There are almost no lakes on the territory of the mountain. North and South of the main ridge, in the foothills, there are dams.
There are more than 80 huts and shelters in the mountain, connected with a wide network of walking trails. Have in mind that it is difficult to make a reservation by phone in most of them. Unfortunately some of the huts are not working, especially in the Eastern and Western part of the mountain.
Another option for an overnight is in the foothills of the mountain. There are plenty of towns and villages on both foothills of Stara Planina (Northern and Southern), where you can stay in a hotel or a guesthouse. Many people do two-day walking treks, hiking up to the ridge, spending a night in a hut there, and then going down along a different route. More read here.
Hiking in National Parks
Bulgaria has three National Parks – Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan. They have a total area of 193,049 hectares and comprise more than one-third of all protected areas in Bulgaria. Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan are among the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe.
They contain some of Europe’s remaining, extant, wild regions. Identified as Category II protected areas by the World Conservation Union, the Parks are managed in accordance with the latest conservation principles and approaches. Worldwide, national parks are generally designated to preserve representative natural features, wildlife and habitats of the country.
Read more for walks in the Bulgarian Mountains.
Their designation is intended to preserve natural processes generally free from human manipulation. In Bulgarian national parks, unique samples of natural habitats and elements of ecosystems are preserved within reserves. The Bulgarian National Parks offer excellent opportunities for tourism, scientific research and education.
The National Parks also include rivers, lakes, natural landmarks, waterfalls, and exceptional landscapes. National Parks allow opportunities for recreation, spiritual enrichment and contact with nature. Tourists can choose from a wide variety of activities, including: