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Some of the most stunning natural sites in Bulgaria will require a good sweat if you want to see them first-hand. The good news is that hiking in Bulgaria is well worth it, as every mountain has its own characteristic landscape. Here’s our pick of some of the best views you can reach as a hiker.
This is the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula and in Bulgaria, standing at 2,925 metres (9.596 feet). You can use lifts for part of the way or you can put your stamina at test and climb all the way up from Borovets. The peak is located in the Rila Mountains, which is also a national park.
These amazing lakes are another hiking destination in the Rila Mountains. Although a chairlift was built a few years ago and arriving at the first lake doesn’t require much effort, you will still need to hike for at least two hours to visit all seven lakes and to get to the Lake Peak from where you can take them in all at once.
This lodge set in a spectacular curve of Stara Planina Mountain requires at least three hours hiking (although four hours is more realistic) to reach it, but once there you’ll meet one of the most hospitable lodge-keepers in Bulgaria and enjoy truly unforgettable views. It’s not just you doing the hard work – even the supplies for the lodge are brought in with sheer physical effort, on horseback.
A more than three-hour hike up steep mountain flanks will lead you to the base of the highest waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula that flows all year round. Its name, Raiskoto Praskalo, literally translates as The Heaven Splasher or Splashes from Heaven. There is a lodge near the waterfall where you can spend the night or just stop for a hot tea.
Koncheto Ridge (or literally, Little Horse Ridge) is a pulse-accelerating steep ridge in the Pirin Mountains that tests the nerves of thousands of hikers every year. It is considered a milestone in hiking, as you can cross the ridge only by sticking to a secure metal rope.
Vihren is the highest point of the Pirin Mountains (2,914 metres / 9,560 feet) and you will easily recognize it by its pyramidal shape towering above the surrounding peaks. It is easily accessible as a day hike from Bansko.
Bekovi Skali (or Bekov’s Rocks) is a stunning viewpoint, around an hour hiking from the village of Ravnogor.
Strashno Ezero (literally, the Scary Lake) in the Pirin Mountains owes its name to the terrifying thunder, rumble, and roll during storms in this part of the mountain. To shelter hikers in bad weather conditions, a mountain refuge has been built at the side of the lake.