Everest and Mont Blanc are synonymous with hiking glory but the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria are not only in league with these champions, they’re also far less trodden. Settle in with a guided tour of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, followed by a light walk up Vitosha Mountain for spectacular city views. From here, the challenge begins.
Navigate woodland to the glittering Strashnoto and Urdini lakes; scramble to the summit of Mount Musala, the Balkans’ highest peak at 2925 metres, where rugged green vistas stretch for miles; and scale the rocky trails of Mount Malyovitsa, bunking down at the legendary Ivan Vazov mountain refuge for the night. Make your final descent to the tenth-century Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and wander among its striking architecture and art while giving thanks for Mother Nature’s incredible creations.
Go with On Foot Holidays for around US$840.
This is a challenging route and is recommended for the experienced walker and requires a medium to good level of fitness.
Bulgaria sits by the Black Sea. The seven-night Bulgaria Guided Tour departs on request.