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Best Hiking Trails in Bulgaria

Overview

Bulgaria is a great hiking destination in eastern Europe, with over 35,000 km of marked hiking trails to explore. The Rila, Pirin, Stara Planina and Rhodope mountain ranges offer up many beautiful hikes, including the Seven Rila Lakes and the Black Peak (Mount Cherni Vrah).  Discover where to hike near Sofia, the capital, as well inside and outside of the national parks: Central Balkans National Park, Pirin National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Rila National Park.  The best months to hike in Bulgaria are May to October.  Read on for more information about where and when to go hiking in Bulgaria. 

Capital: Sofia

When To Hike in Bulgaria?

May – October: Better views, less rain, less crowded in May and June and Sept; Jul – Aug crowded, just as rainy or rainier even but warmer
November – April: Cold and rainy/snowy

Climate: Continental – cold winters, hot summers.  

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy to Medium:  There are many well-marked hiking trails, in and out of the national parks.  There are ‘hizhas’ – mountain refuges.  Not all signage will be in English. 

Transportation required: Public transport to many places; access to a vehicle for other areas

Where to stay in Bulgaria for hiking:

  • Sofia (capital)
  • Borovets
  • Bansko
  • Rila
  • Elena
  • Ribaritsa

 

Top Places to Hike in Bulgaria

There are three huge national parks in this country, containing many incredible hiking trails. There are also trails outside of the national parks. The Balkan mountain range (Stara Planina) cuts across from west to east of the country, almost dividing it into north and south. The Rila, Pirin and Rhodope mountains are in the south and southwest of the country. Highest Mountain: Musala (2925 m) in the Rila Mountains.

Filter out hiking places of Bulgaria by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Sredna Gora

  • Low mountain range running south and parallel to Balkan range

Balkan Range

  • Known as Stara Planina; Stara Planina
  • Mountain range running through central Bulgaria, small part in Serbia
  • Central Balkans National Park is the big national park in this range – Central Balkans National Park

Rhodope Mountains

Pirin National Park

Rila National Park

  • Largest national park in Bulgaria, home of Mt Musala
  • Largest ski resorts in country
  • Rila National Park

Around Sofia

  • The capital of Bulgaria has mountains all around it
  • Vitosha rises on one side of the city
  • Vratsa Balkan is very near

Bulgaria's Long Distance Trails

Bulgaria's Walking & Hiking Resources

Bulgaria Hiking Books:

  • Walking in Bulgaria’s National Parks: Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan National Parks, Cicerone Guide, by Julian Perry, 2014, Cicerone Press
  • E4 Route Guidebook of Vitsoha-Verila-Rila-Pirin-Slavyanka Mountains, by Zhivko Momchev, 2018, Skiato Ltd
  • Lonely Planet Romania and Bulgaria, by Lonely Planet, 2017, Lonely Planet Global Limited 
  • Berlitz Pocket Guide Bulgaria (Travel Guide eBook), by Berlitz Publishing, 2018, APA

 

Bulgaria Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Bulgaria: 

You can find more details on hiking these trails in the hiking guidebooks, official hiking websites from the country/region, trail maps/apps or other websites:

  • Seven Rila Lakes
  • Koncheto Ridge
  • Musala
  • Malyovitsa
  • Mount Vihren
  • Sinanishko Lake
  • Mount Cherni Vrah (Black Peak)
  • Mount Vitosha

Easy Hiking Trails in Bulgaria:

  • Bezbog Peak
  • Popovi Lakes

 

Bulgaria Hiking Websites:

 

Bulgaria Weather site:

 

Bulgaria Official Tourism Organizations:

 

Bulgaria Hiking Apps:

 

Bulgaria Hiking Maps:

  • Rila 1:55,000, produced by Kartografia (but in Cyrillic) 
  • Pirin 1:55,000, produced by Kartografia
  • Domino’s Bansko map 
  • Rodopi 1:100,000 produced by Kartografia
  • West Rhodopean Region or Western Rhodope Mountains 1:100,000 (from tourist offices Pamporovo, Chepelare, Smolyan)
  • Stara Planina, by Kartografia
  • Maps & Guidebooks – Top Guides Bulgaria

What Else To Do

  • Rila Monastery 
  • Caves

Other Important Points

  • Stara Planina notorious for fog
  • There seems to be a lot of tours for Bulgaria