I love to hike. When I moved to Bulgaria for 7 weeks, I was surprised by how green the country is and how many beautiful hiking trails there are to explore.
Of course, most visitors to Bulgaria don’t have seven weeks to spare, but there is still a lot of beauty that’s easily accessible from Sofia.
Chances are you’re flying in and out of the city, or will find yourself here at some point on your trip. When you’re here, make sure you don’t miss these two hikes that every visitor in Bulgaria should do!
Hike to Kamen Del on Vitosha Mountain
Hands down, Kamen Del has the best view of the city. Even better? This hike is almost entirely flat! Usually, if you want an awesome aerial view, you have to work for it with long uphill climbs and strenuous hikes. Here, that’s not the case (and I love it!)
To get to Kamen Del, start with the oh-so-picturesque Simeonovo cable car to Aleko Hut. Then, you can find the trail to get to Kamen Del directly across from the drop-off point. So easy.
The walk only takes about an hour, and you’ll find yourself meandering past fields of wildflowers and through wooded forests, until you finally emerge to this amazing view of the city from above. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy and you have a perfect half-day escape from the hustle and bustle of Sofia.
Hike to the 7 Rila Lakes
The 7 Rila Lakes route is one of the most popular hikes in Bulgaria. It’s located in the Rila Mountains, which are super green and roll softly through the Bulgarian countryside. There are no sharp peaks here but the beauty is still apparent.
The best way to get to the 7 Rila Lakes starting point is by car, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. There is also a direct shuttle from the city center that will take you there and back for 25 euros per person. The drive is only about an hour and a half, so you get plenty of time to explore the mountains on your own.
Once you arrive at the trail, there’s still one more step. Another chairlift will take you to the top of the mountain where you can begin the out-and-back hike that will take you to a view of all 7 Rila Lakes.
In a testament to how beautiful this hike really is, you should know that I did it in the pouring rain with almost zero visibility, and I still enjoyed it! The trek is a little more difficult than the one to Kamen Del, but you’ll be rewarded with more natural beauty as well.
On the 7 mile walk, we passed by almost all of the lakes. My favorite was the Kidney Lake, but maybe that’s because it’s the only one the weather cleared up for me to see…
At Otovitsa Ridge there is supposed to be a place where you can see all the lakes spread out below you and snap a perfect picture for Instagram. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see a thing. However, the weather did clear up again at the finish and we still enjoyed spectacular views of the Rila Mountains before we caught the chairlift and headed home.
A day trip to the 7 Rila Lakes is longer than the hike to Kamen Del, but definitely shouldn’t be missed by any visitor in Bulgaria.
Try These 2 Hikes on Your Trip to Bulgaria
Before I came to Bulgaria, I had no idea how much natural beauty was hidden here. The streets are lined with trees, the cities are home to massive parks, and the nearby mountain ranges have plenty of trails for avid outdoorsmen and casual day-trippers alike.
Bulgaria is a great destination for nature lovers looking for somewhere new to explore. When you come, make the trek to Kamen Del and the 7 Rila Lakes for breathtaking views you’ll never forget.
Di Michelle is an American hiker and traveler, slowly making her way through Eastern Europe. Visit Slight North to learn about how she finances her location independent lifestyle and see more of the beautiful places she’s discovering along the way!