Ski touring in the Pirin and Rila mountains, Bulgaria
The Rila and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria are made for ski touring. The highest peaks are slightly lower than 3,000 metres and the skiing is challenging and spectacular.
We will do tours in both the Rila and Pirin Mountains, south of the capital city Sofia. Here, you will find the highest mountains of the entire Balkan region and a dramatic mountain landscape with sharp ridges and jagged peaks. The tours are quite difficult and the skiing relatively challenging. We will walk an average of approximately 1,000 vertical metres up per day, with some very steep sections.
We begin the trip with some tours in the Rila Mountains, the most majestic mountain chain in Bulgaria. Located in southwestern Bulgaria, the Rila Mountains are mostly protected naturally through a reserve. The highest mountain here is Musala (2,952 m), a peak we will of course attempt to reach. Another interesting part of this mountain chain is around the mountain Maliovitza, where we will spend play time. Also located here is Bulgaria’s best known monastery, Rila Monastery, founded by John of Rila in the 900s and which has developed into a centre for mediaeval culture. We will visit here before leaving for the next mountain range, the Pirin Mountains.
This incredible region has about 80 peaks over 2,500 m.
With the modern ski resort Bansko as our starting point, we leave on a two-day tour in the Pirin Mountains. The goal is to summit Bulgaria’s second highest mountain, Vihren (2,914 m). This incredible region has about 80 peaks over 2,500 m. We will spend time in the Pirin National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. If we’re lucky, we might get a glimpse of this rare gem.
From Bansko, we will do a last ski tour to the mountain Kutelo (2,908 m).
A city with a long history and is part of the world heritage list, Bansko lies at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. Many of the building bear influences from monastery architecture and there are numerous fortifications. Despite its closed nature, the city is open thanks to the hospitality of its inhabitants. As a contrast to Bansko’s historical heritage, even Bulgaria’s most modern ski resort is in Bansko. From here, we will do a last ski tour to the mountain Kutelo (2,908 m).
There is no problem if you would like to extend your visit in Bansko.
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|Starts||Ends||Starting point||Price||Guide||Places available|
|Trip length||7 days|
|Group size||Max 8 persons|
Included in the trip
- All local transports
- Local mountain guide
- Accommodation, 6 night, hotel (double room)
- Halfboar dexcept dinner on day 6 (no drinks)
The trip is sold excluding airfare, but we can help you with bookings if you wish.
- Dinner day 6
- Lift tickets
Questions and booking
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Day 1. Sofia – Samokov
Our local guide will meet you at the airport in Sofia. Then we travel 60 km by mini bus to the town of Samokov, which is located in the northern parts of the Rila Mountains. We check in at our hotel and then have dinner together.
Day 2. MT MOUSSALA, THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE BALKANS (2925 M
After breakfast, a short transfer of approx. 15 minutes awaits you to the ski station Borovets. With a gondola lift we get to the mountain hut Jastrebets (2376). We tour about 3.5 hours up to Mt. Moussla via the mountain hut Mussala et Ledeno Ezero. We ski back to Borovetz and drive back to our hotel.
+700m/-1300m, 6 hours
Day 3. Maliovitza – MT.MALIOVITSa – Rila Monastery – Bansko
We pack up our stuff and jump into the bus that takes us to the Maliovitsa region, where we stay skitouring all day. After a long day on our feet, we get to rest in the transfer. We go via Rilakloster and make a short visit there. Then we go another 10 miles to Bansko and the northern parts of the Pirin mountains. We check in at our hotel and take a well-deserved shower before dinner.
+1000/ -1000, 5.5 hours
Day 4. MT DAUTOV
Short morning transfer to Mt Dautov, we skin up and then have earned our turns down. We are staying at the same hotel as the night before.
+1000/ -1000, 6 hours
Day 5. BANSKO – BEZBOG – MT. POLEJAN – DEMIANICA HUT – BANSKO
After a solid breakfast, we jump into the transfer and go 40 minutes to the Bezbog region. We reach Bezboghyttan via chairlift. We tour towards Mt Polejan, a lovely traverse and then we ski all the way down and back to Bansko.
Day 6. BANSKO – MT. VIHREN – Sofia
Short transfer to Bansko ski area and then we go up via Vihrenhyttan to the top of Mt Hvoinati. We tour towards Mt Vihren (depending on the snow conditions) – 2914m – the highest peak in the Pirin region. We then ski down to Bansko where a transfer is waiting to take us back to Sofia, about 2 hours. We check in at our hotel and then you get to explore Sofia on your own.
+1300/-1900, 6-7 hrs
Day 7. Sofia – Scandinavia
Transfer to the airport and time for the journey home.
Good to know
To get the best from the trip, you should be somewhat accustomed to the outdoors and in good condition. Ski touring means that you ascend the mountain with the help of climbing skins or crampons (also called alpine touring). Of course, snowboarders with snowshoes or similar are welcome to join along.
When you ski down, it’s good to have some energy left to enjoy the descent. If you’re in better condition, you will be less tired, which goes without saying. In general, we walk approximately 1,000 vertical metres per day at altitudes between 2,000 and just below 3,000 metres. You will feel the altitude, but this is no danger if you are not sensitive to high altitudes. We will walk at an easy tempo and adapt the pace to the group.
Skiing off-piste means that you ski on nature’s conditions. The base can vary from loose snow to an inadequate crust and everything in between. We don’t chance safety. The choice of both ascent and descent will be determined by the snow and wind conditions. With a high risk for avalanche or extremely windy conditions, it can happen that we are forced to completely alter our plans.
All ski and snowboarding equipment will be brought from Sweden. Regarding safety equipment, all members of the group should have an avalanche shovel, avalanche probe and avalanche beacon. Besides your ski equipment, you should have crampons, and good clothing and a winter sleeping bag are a must. We can help you arrange this equipment if you don’t have it yourself. We will test the equipment and ensure that everything works properly. Exercises in searching techniques with avalanche beacons/probes will also be conducted. The basic rule is to avoid an avalanche as much as possible.
During the trip, we will do one two-day tour with an overnight in a hut. The hut is quite simple, but the cosiness is high. Bring a suitable backpack for this overnight (about 40 l). You should have space for some clothing, lunch and the usual daytour packing. Bring a sleeping bag liner for the overnight. A sleeping bag isn’t necessary, since there are blankets.
Prior to your trip, you will receive further written information about packing and facts about Bulgaria. If you have questions, you can always contact us at email@example.com