Seven Rila Lakes Bulgaria
We’d been in Sofia for a day or two when we decided to head Seven Rila Lakes in the morning. It was a pretty funny experience and we got so super lost. We thought we were going to have to sleep in a forest in the freezing cold after we realised we had gone in the completely wrong direction after about 9 hours hiking and the sun had already gone down.
This view was constant the entire day.
The day started normally. We woke up and took the bus to the base of the mountain and then took the chair lift up and started hiking from there. As you start to scale the track you see the first lake and you start to think it’s pretty amazing, then you see a second one and a third and you become more mind blown every step higher you get. Then there is the wild horses. They are just standing around, grazing, chilling. They are sort of tame, like they don’t spook when you get close but horses are big and scary so I didn’t actually try to get close enough to pat them. I am pretty sure it is probably not a good idea but maybe I am wrong, all I could think about was that youtube video of that guy getting his arm bitten haha so I stayed away however it didn’t make the sight any less amazing!
Horses are scary haha.
We had a small guide that we had downloaded off the net on a phone and it told us it was possible to walk a loop around the entire area and end up back in a small town and that we could then take a bus or taxi from there back to Sofia.
Lost on the Mountain.
Now I am not saying this is not possible but if it is we definitely did not take the right track, which in hindsight could have been a complete disaster. It was late in the year and was already cold as the sun started setting as we began our descent towards what we thought was the right place. We sort of realised we had messed up after an hour or so of not seeing anything anywhere. We were just walking and looking at stuff and making jokes about having to sleep under things or build a hut. But in reality this was far closer to happening than we really believed at the time.
We found this cabin on our ‘loop’ back round. We looked inside and it was a single bed and small stove. I am not sure who lived there but it seemed like an amazing place to wake up.
The sun was gone behind the horizon and we were back below the tree line in the forest. It was cold and things were starting to get damp. We were both tired and pretty uncertain about our fate for the night. We sat down to have a rest and something to drink and were just kind of talking about how much further we thought it could be because we had been walking for hours. We actually had no idea. According to the guide we should have been there already but we came to find out later that we were nowhere near anything. What happened next was so unbelievably lucky for us.
We were just sitting there and a guy comes running up. This was the only guy we had seen the entire time we had been coming down the mountain. He asked us what we were doing and we said that we were walking to the next town. He kind of laughed and told us the next town was so far away and that it was not possible to walk there. He asked us to follow him and he would give us a lift to the next town.
We kind of had to run with him because he was out for exercise but after another 45 minutes to an hour of moving faster than we had all day we finally came to his car. We got in and he drove us about 30 minutes to the next town. Found us somewhere to stay and then left us.
We could not actually believe how badly we had almost messed up, we joked about what the consequences could have been and when we went to bed that night, we were so cold inside our hotel room. I just remember waking up in the middle of the night under two blankets being kind of cold and thinking to myself how we pretty much would have been dead if we had have been outside at that time. It was a pretty good reminder of how quickly things can go bad even on a seemingly easy tourist hike like that. I have hiked so many mountains sometimes solo, sometimes with friends but never with a guide so I thought I had a pretty good idea of things most of the time. We never went off track, we followed a path the entire time, we had read about it in a guide and we had a map, the map was actually useless but we were not completely unprepared, just stupid haha. It was eye opening to say the least.
This is the Rilski Ezera mountain hut.
Getting From Sofia To Seven Rila Lakes.
The fastest way to get from Sofia to Seven Rila Lakes is by car. You can drive the whole way from Sofia to Sapareva Bania via Dupnitsa. It is about 80kms. That is if you have the privilege of having a car.
By bus is the other way of getting to 7 Rila Lakes from Sofia and was also pretty easy. You take the bus from Sofia to Dupnitsa. Once in Dupnitsa you will need to get to Sapariva Bania you can do this by taking a minivan that departs every 30 minutes. Once there you can take another minivan or a taxi to the chair lift. All you have to do is ask where they go from, it is such a common tourist spot everyone already knows what you are looking for. The minivan to the chairlift only costs 5 lv but will only leave when full. The price for the taxi is only 15-20 lv, but you will need to negotiate the price but will leave as soon as you agree.
The Chairlift takes about 15 minutes and is about 2kms long. It provides a pretty amazing view on the way up. Tickets cost 10 lv on way for adults and 18 lv two-ways.
It is possible to stay around Seven Rila Lakes in Rilski Ezera mountain hut. We did not stay there but heard that in summer it is best to make reservations.
Camping if forbidden in the area of the Seven Rila Lakes but you still see a few tents around. In August it is a very common site. The lakes have a religious significance for some and they gather around August. If you do decide to camp there are designated spots but it is otherwise forbidden.
These dogs were so super cute but then they barked really loud and I was not so sure about patting them anymore.More wild horses grazing.
The chair lift up the mountain.