7 Rila Lakes is a popular daytrip from Sofia, Bulgaria. Bundle it with a visit to the famous Rila Monastery for a full day of culture and outdoor adventures.
We stayed for a month in the ski-resort town of Bansko, Bulgaria and used this small town as a base to explore nearby national parks.
Highlights of Bulgaria
Hiking in Pirin and Rila National Park
Summer in Bansko – even though this town is known for its budget-friendly ski resorts, summer in Bansko offers an opportunity to go hiking in nearby Pirin and Rila National Parks: two very beautiful parks with alpine lakes, meadows, and little crowd. There’s also a big jazz festival during the summer. Our favorite memory about summer in Bansko was going to a small restaurant at the edge of town, right by a reservoir, that serves fresh seafood and cold beer. We went there so often they started to recognize us.
Hiking Koncheto Ridge is a must if you like your outdoor adventures on the challenging side. Koncheto Ridge is a knife-edge ridge, so thin in parts that I sat down and scooted on my butt. What a rush! It can easily be done without a guide from Bansko. A head for heights and exposure is a must.
7 Rila Lake Hike is one of the most popular hikes in Bulgaria and for a good reason. It can be done as a weekend trip from Sofia, and for its length (quite short), it’s high value (so pretty). I highly recommend.
Bulgarian Food and Wine
Bulgarian food was surprisingly vegetarian friendly.
Bulgaria wine was delicious! Do you know that Bulgaria used to be a world-known wine producer pre-Soviet era? Wine industry in Bulgaria is going through a revival and hopefully we’ll start seeing Bulgaria on wine lists all over the world.
Cost of Travel in Bulgaria
Each of the post highlighted above has a related cost section. In general though, Bulgaria is a very budget-friendly destination. Our 1BR apartment in Bansko costs $14/day.
Walking in Bulgaria’s National Parks – a Cicerone guide on Bulgaria’s best hiking trails.
The Shadow Land – A woman travels to Sofia and finds an urn filled with human ashes, she then sets out to find its owner. A good pre-trip reading.
As a couple consisting of a vegetarian (reluctant pescaterian when traveling) and a picky eater, food is always a challenge when we travel. Especially here in Bulgaria where meat features heavily in local cuisine. Everywhere I look, everyone is gorging on meat. Big pieces of meat. As in, what-animal-does-that-come-from big (on this trip I learned: …
“Koncheto” means “Small horse” in Bulgarian. The ridge is so narrow that you might have to traverse it like you’d ride a horse: on your butt.
One of the things we learned during our month-long stay in Bulgaria was that Bulgaria makes wine. Really good wine. I only learned about this because I wanted to visit Rozhen Monastery and I happened to read that the surrounding region of Melnik is one of Bulgaria’s famous wine country.. Did you know this that …
Where is Bansko Bansko is a small town 2.5 hours south of Sofia. Located in a valley between 2 mountain ranges, it has a hot summer, and cold winter. Bansko is mostly known as a ski resort town, in fact it’s one of Europe’s most popular budget ski destination. Because of its reputation as a …