Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria

 I thought i will write down few guidelines and inform you about some lovely Instagram worthy places to visit in my home country Bulgaria  . I've been living away in Ireland for the last 12 years and each time I go back to see my family and friends i  go on  short trips around the country . I love re-exploring it and finding new spots to see andto admire its unique  beauty. In this post i will focus on the  Seven Rila Lakes and why i think you should visit them.

                                                           Seven Rila Lakes  

views from the top 

views from the top 

 

 The lakes  are located around 90 km from Sofia. You can rent a car from 20 euros per day  but if you don't drive  transport to there is quite convenient.  Buses to Dupnitsa are  frequent  and cost 6 euro return ( to check  bus timetable go here : http://www.centralnaavtogara.bg/index.php#b 

I have circled how spell Dupnitsa on the site 

I have circled how spell Dupnitsa on the site 

 

 From there  buses to Separava Banya leave for Panichishte , the small village where the lakes are closest to  every hour ( 2,3 eu return ) .  You can either hike to Panichishte for around 1.5-2 hours or look for the mini bus that goes to the lakes ( 5 eu return) or a taxi  ( 10-25 eu return. There are also different guided day trip excursions from Sofia which i would recommend if you don't mind travelling with a group of people and having to go at the guide's pace and time frames. Prices are between 25-40 euro and  just for reference  of what can you expect from such tour  here is a link to a tour company that provides such services ( note that i  have not used them !  ) -http://sofiadaytours.com/tour.php?id=372. 

 

 The lakes are located between 2000-2500 above sea level and the best time to visit  is in the summer although you can do that all through the year once you have the right mountain equipment and clothes.  I visited the lakes when i was very young and again this  July. We rented a car , drove to Separava Banya which is a very quiet small village with a natural geyser  in central part of it . We Stayed there for the night and the next morning we head to Panichishte. I will just mention here if you do rent a car be extra vigilant when driving as  there is a culture of not following the road rules among Bulgarian people

Just in Separeva Banya 

Just in Separeva Banya 

The natural geyser in the heart of Separeva Banya 

The natural geyser in the heart of Separeva Banya 

 

 Once you reach Panichishte there is a lift that goes to the top of the mountain  where the start Seven Rila lakes is which costs 18 levs ( 9 euro ) each way . At the time we arrived it was stopped for maintenance  so we decided to hike all the way up from the bottom .

The start of the hike 

The start of the hike 

On the way you can stop to  Skavitsa Waterfalls if you wish ( we didn't )  , which is the highest in Rila Lakes. The hike to the top  of the lift is  moderately hard and is around  4-5 km long .   I also saw  there were jeep transfers  going up and down the mountain road which i would imagine  can  be arranged in  Panichishte . Once  we reached the top we stopped to refresh in  the hut located right next to the lift.  It wouldn't take a lot of effort  to reach the first five lakes as apart from a small hill at the beginning you are walking on  a straight path .  We stopped  at the 5th lake called The Kidney to have a picnic break.

took that photo on the way down , it is close to the hut area 

took that photo on the way down , it is close to the hut area 

we stopped here at the lake Kidney for a picnic break 

we stopped here at the lake Kidney for a picnic break 

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 I suggest you do the same  and recharge your batteries  as the road to the top is more difficult and steep . I  hike often  but  the air there is also  thinner so  had to stop few times to catch up on my breath. Should take  around an hour to reach the Haramiyata peak which is the ideal place to take  pictures  as  you have a clear visibility  and 360 o  views of all of the seven lakes .

views from the top 

views from the top 

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Overall it took us 24 km hike , 8 hours from the beginning and  to go back to our car as we decided to walk back on the way  down too   because the queues for the lift were enormous.    The views however  were by all means spectacular and breathtaking . They were worth every step and struggle and I definitely recommend you insert the Seven Rila lakes  in your travel itinerary if you are visiting Bulgaria and especially Sofia.  

                                                                                                                  xxxxx

                                                                                                                Edendeli