Bulgaria

Hikes in Bulgaria

Country in Europe

Carved into Bulgaria's backyard sits an array of trails, paths less-explored by. Bulgaria's outdoor oasis may be a hushed secret—or at least it's a rare item on someone's hiking bucket list—but these paths deserve to be talked about. The trails etched into Bulgaria's mountain ranges grant the ideal combination of challenging adventures with sprawling valley views from soaring peaks or lakes cradled in rocky slopes.

Those seeking hiking opportunities may think of the Alps or the Rockies or the Inca Trail when planning for epic trekking adventures. Still, the mystical, paranormal scenery cloaking Bulgaria's mountain ranges—Pirin, Rila, Rhodope—offers a great alternative to these famous hiking hubs.

Hiking in Bulgaria swallows you into an eerie folk tale, where towering peaks, lakes, and ancient forests cast a magical spell over the land. But when you don't want the mysterious, spellbinding views spanning the Pirin and Rila ranges, you can opt for more happy-go-lucky fairytale vibes in the Rhodope mountains, where varied green hues tell a more charming story.

The huts dotting the mountain ranges elevate the overall outdoorsy, wild, cozy ambience enrapturing your hiking adventure in Bulgaria. Find food and shelter at these huts set in front of postcard-painted backdrops.

Types Of Hiking In Bulgaria

Etched into Bulgaria's soaring backyard sits an array of trails tailor-made for all types of hikers. Hiking enthusiasts will love the Pirin and Rila ranges, and those seeking easier to moderate trails will enjoy Central Balkan National Park, Rhodope, and Strandzha.

Bulgaria grants families, diehard adventurers, and chilled-out walkers a chance to revel in the remarkable scenery cloaking this Balkan nation.

Easy Hikes In Bulgaria

Mount Polejan: This hike grants stunning, dramatic views without demanding too much from you! If you're a beginner and looking for a hike in the Pirin range, this route, which leads to the top of the tallest summit of the granite part of Pirin, is tailor-made for you. Admire how the shape of the Polejan peak resembles a perfect cone!

Family Hikes In Bulgaria

Yonchevo Lake: Families with older children will fall in love with the mystical, eerie views stretching across this memorable hike. Nestled amid soaring boulders in the Rila mountains sits the ever-so magical Scary Lake. The lake may exude more of a raw, enchanting beauty, but it's the spiked, ragged peaks casting their shadow into the water that gives off a scary vibe. This 11 km circuit is one of the most popular, adored hikes in Bulgaria.

Frog Lake: The 16 km length paired with the 704 m elevation makes this fantastic one-way journey more suitable for older children. As you wind through the Bunderitsa and Demyanitsa valleys in the Pirin range, you'll encounter an array of scenery: soaring peaks, mystical rock formations, and a collection of blue lakes that can't help but mesmerize. The varied vistas cloaking this route will keep you and your family entertained as you twist along the path.

Small Bears Peak: The easy-to-navigate path snaking through grassy, mild terrain grants hikers another vantage point of Bulgaria! Encounter a kaleidoscope of colours painting the land as you walk along the gentle, but stunning 21 km hike.

Day Hikes In Bulgaria

Kralev Dvor Peak: Explore and admire the towering peaks, rolling valleys, and abundance of stark blue glacial lakes tucked below mountain slopes on this magnificent 15 km hike. The blend of shimmering blue lakes set against a stony, grey scenery backed by jet-high peaks adds an enchanting, folktale-like hue to this remarkable day hike.

Mount Musala: Towering at 2926 meters above sea level, Mount Musala stands at the tallest summit in the Balkan peninsula. Situated in the Rila range, this route unveils raw, dramatic views of lakes and mountainous scenery. Expect to spend at least 5 to 5.5 hours twisting along this 12 km out-and-back trail!

Challenging Hikes In Bulgaria

Mount Vihren: Embark on an adventurous expedition to the tallest summit in the Pirin range and the second highest mountain in Bulgaria: Mount Vihren. This hike may be shorter than the other hikes on this list (11 km), but that doesn't mean it's easy! The soaring peak overlooks the valley sprawled below from 2914 m above sea level. And once you've reached this summit, the vistas of the Pirin range and mountains lining northern Greece will undoubtedly send you to a hypnotic state.

The Foal and Marble Ridges: Crazy challenging, brutally strenuous, and inked with unmatched beauty, this trail along Marble Ridge will leave you stunned, enraptured for days after. It takes you along the ever-so daunting jagged ridge that towers above the valley. At one point, you'll have to use ropes to get across the terrain. This hike induces adrenaline and leaves you enchanted at the same time.

Other Amazing Hikes In Bulgaria

Lake Okoto: Travel to the most renowned, famous lake in Bulgaria: The Eye. However, this journey doesn't only take you to Bulgaria's deepest lake in the Balkan peninsula, but it unveils all of the Seven Rila Lakes. Expect to encounter a roaring waterfall and to climb atop a stunning summit on this popular 16 km day hike in Bulgaria.

Mount Malyovitsa: Discover the symbol of mountaineering and alpinism in Bulgaria on this 13 km hike: the 1000 feet tall north face of Mount Malyovitsa. The supernatural, paranormal shape of this mountain attracts numerous hikers and adventure enthusiasts to this incredible natural wonder. To top it off, you'll encounter Deer Lake. Take a moment to admire the profound, clear blue cloaking this glacial body of water.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Bulgaria?

Good news! You can hike in Bulgaria all year round. However, if you aren't experienced in hiking in snowy conditions, especially in areas sensitive to avalanche eruptions, you may want to plan your trip to Bulgaria during warmer months.

If you want to dig deep into your adventurous side and wind along these trails during the winter, consider bringing snowshoes, an avalanche transceiver, avalanche shovel, and probe. Do note that while you can explore most trails when snow blankets the land, some hikes are not suitable for cold conditions and may be extremely dangerous, such as Mount Vihren.

Best Regions For Hiking in Bulgaria

Extreme hiking enthusiasts will fall in love with the gloomy, dramatic views sweeping across the abundance of hiking trails winding up and down Bulgaria's mountain ranges. If you're seeking difficult, challenging hikes, it's best to stick to the Pirin and Rila ranges, whereas the ever-so enchanting Rhodope offers easier to moderate trails.

You can find a more tropical, warm climate in Strandzha, a nature park that caters more to those who want a quaint meander through thick greenery or along the coast. Central Balkan National Park also offers similar hiking trails to Strandzha.

Other Outdoor Activities in Bulgaria

The Balkan nation transforms from a summer outdoor oasis, where cyclists, mountain bikers, and hikers flock the trails and roads to a snowy paradise in winter. Bulgaria's lofty mountainous ranges boast of an array of winter activities, such as snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. Opt for more casual skiing and snowboarding opportunities at the fairytale-like Bansko ski resort or enjoy the collection of backcountry options spanning the Pirin and Rila ranges.

Bulgaria may not be at the top of your "must-travel" list, but it deserves to be!

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Hiking regions in Bulgaria

    Best Hikes in Bulgaria

    Open details for Malyovitsa Mountain

    Malyovitsa Mountain

    Hard
    13.0 km
    959 m
    5-7h

    Mount Malyovitsa, with its 2,729 m above the sea level, might not be the highest summit in the Rila range. However, with its imposing 1,000 ft tall north face, the mountain is considered the one symbol of mountaineering and alpinism in Bulgaria. For more than a century now, the fantastic shape of Malyovitsa has provoked people's desire to get closer to the wilderness–this climb will always be one of the best hikes in Bulgaria.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    9.9
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Mount Vihren

    Mount Vihren

    Very Hard
    11.0 km
    1,178 m
    5-7.5h

    This challenging 11.0 km hike eventually reaches Mount Vihren, which stands tall at 9,561 ft above sea level. Mount Vihren is the highest summit of the Pirin range and the second tallest in Bulgaria. And once you reach the peak, you’ll encounter rewarding views of the Pirin range and mountains dotting northern Greece painting the backdrop.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    9.9
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Open details for Mount Polejan

    Mount Polejan

    Moderate
    8.0 km
    652 m
    3-4.5h

    Polejan peak (also called Polezhan) might not be the highest in the Pirin Mountain Range, but it impresses with its almost perfect cone shape, rising above the surroundings. It is located in the northeast of the mountain, and with its 9,354 ft above the sea level, it is the highest summit of the granite part of Pirin. The ascent to the top is a fantastic hike, not only because of the unbelievable views and alpine terrain but also because it is quite easy and straightforward, making it suitable for beginners.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Mount Musala

    Mount Musala

    Moderate
    12.0 km
    508 m
    3.5-5h

    With its 2,926 m or exactly 9,600 ft above the sea level, Mount Musala is the highest summit of the entire Balkan peninsula. It sits in the eastern part of the Rila range, above the famous Borovets Ski resort. Many people incorrectly think that the Ottomans came up with its name, but its title derives from Arabic travelers. Translated from their language, the name means “highest altar before God." This one-day route will allow you to ascent the summit through the northern, more raw and imposing side.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Frog Lake

    Frog Lake

    Moderate
    16.0 km
    704 m
    5-6.5h

    The Banderitsa and Demyanitsa valleys grant hikers the chance to meander amid one of the most popular and picturesque areas spanning the northern Pirin range. This Frog Lake hike between the two valleys unveils dramatic views of the entire Pirin range, from hundreds of pointed peaks, fantastic rock formations, and dozens of crystal-clear, deep blue, and ice-cold glacial lakes. It may be a one-way 16km route, but you’ll undoubtedly encounter a panoply of unforgettable vistas.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Yonchevo Lake

    Yonchevo Lake

    Hard
    11.0 km
    802 m
    4-6h

    In the eastern part of Malyovitsa range—the most exciting part of the Rila Mountains—lies Yonchevo Lake (also called Scary Lake) and the shelter with the same name. The lake, cradled by towering boulders, exudes an eerie, mystical, enchanting feeling. While the lake itself doesn’t look scary, but it’s the rocky, jagged peaks casting their reflections into the crystal clear waters encircling this lake that do. This 11.0 km circuit hike is one of Bulgaria’s most classic, loved routes, and for good reason.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Kralev Dvor Peak

    Kralev Dvor Peak

    Moderate
    15.0 km
    591 m
    4.5-6h

    The most beautiful and alpine part of the Pirin range is its northern section, where hundreds of imposing peaks, lush valleys, more than 170 crystal clear, blue glacial lakes, and centuries-old forests pepper the land. And this 15.0 km trek lives up to its expectation. The Kralev Dvor Peak trail unveils spectacular views of sky-high peaks towering above, while an array of lakes add a layer of vibrant blue to the verdant, stony scenery.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Open details for Okoto Lake

    Okoto Lake

    Very Hard
    16.0 km
    1,218 m
    6-8.5h

    It is absolutely impossible to have the best hikes in the Rila Mountain Range, without one of them being the ever-so mystical, Okoto Lake - one of the magical Seven Rila Lakes. This world-famous place is the heart and soul of Rila. And when you combine it with a visit to a waterfall shimmering with enchantment and a climb to a remarkable summit, the result is an exciting round trip of one of the most classic hikes spanning Bulgaria.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Open details for The Foal And Marble Ridge

    The Foal And Marble Ridge

    Very Hard
    16.0 km
    1,342 m
    6.5-9h

    Challenging, strenuous, but exploding with aesthetics, this route along The Foal and Marble Ridges entices, stuns, and enchants. This route thrives as one of the most classic hikes in the Pirin range (and in Bulgaria, in general), thanks to the knife-sharp, jagged marble ridge towering high above the valley—it's also the highest part of the mountain. Metamorphic marble coats 30% of the Pirin range, which illuminates a sleek white look, one that emulates snow-capped peaks.

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Open details for Small Bears Peak

    Small Bears Peak

    Very Hard
    21.0 km
    813 m
    6-8.5h

    This classic trek gives the hiker a different perspective of the highest mountains spanning Bulgaria, offering mild, grassy, and easy-to-navigate terrain. The Small Bears Peak hike may be gentle, but it uncovers the diverse nature colouring the landscape. Even the oldest Nature Reservation in the Balkan peninsula thrives here!

    User Ratings
    Overall Rating
    10.0
    Technical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Physical Difficulty
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.

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