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How to make best hike to Seven Rila lakes and Rila monastery

Seven Rila lakes touristic map

Summer is in full swing. And people start asking me again how to reach the Rila monastery and Seven Rila Lakes. To Rila mountain better get three + days to enjoy hiking and nature there. I hardly recommend to make this hike north to south – or Seven Rila lakes to Rila monastery.

You need to go by bus or train to Dupnitsa town – 1-2 hours and 6BGN. Buses start and from Central bus station, and from Station “Zapad” (West). In station “Zapad” also starts direct bus to Rila town and Rila monastery in 10:20. Price is 11+2BGN.
From Dupnitsa need to take bus to Sapareva Banya – 15-20 min and 1,30BGN. In Sapareva banya have a lot SPA hotels, family hotels and guest houses to stay for night and of course my favorite mineral water pool complex.

(Longest, but beautiful way to lakes or monastery is from Samokov, Maliovitza hut and peak)

Center of Saparva bania with geyser

From town are minibus (starts when bus is full) and taxi to Panichishte resort (minibus is between 3-5 BGN per person, and taxi varies from 10 to 25 BGN!!! greedy people). You also may hike from Sapareva Banya to Panichishte, its approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours. From resort and Pionerska chalet to Rila lakes have chairlift -10BGN in one direction, but I don’t recommend to use and beg you – DON’T USE – these people steal from you and use the money against nature, so hike to lakes, is hour and half.

Chairlift to Seven Rila lakes

Good deviation is to go first to Skakavitsa chalet and 90 m high waterfall with the same name. Spend a night in this hut, its nice, more cheap that chalets on lakes, people who host it are young and cheerful and food is good.

Skakavitsa hut


Skakavitsa 90m waterfall

From Skakavitsa to Seven Rila lakes is one hour. On area Seven Rila lakes are two huts. Bigger one is Rila lakes and is more like hotel – rooms and prices. Two lakes up is old small Seven lakes hut.

“Hut” aka hotel Rila lakes
Old Seven lakes hut and White brotherhood tent camp


If you want to go from Seven Rila lakes to Rila monastery you need to stay overnight in the hut Ivan Vazov (2,20 hours from lakes). From Ivan Vazov hut to Rila monastery are 5,30 – 6 hours, depends by your speed and training *. If you a late in the monastery have rooms for guest and camping sites around.

The way to Ivan Vazov hut

Other option if you don’t want to hike between lakes and monastery is to go back to Dupnitsa and take bus to Rila monastery. Have buses in 6:40 and 14:15.

From the Rila monastery have buses to Sofia in 15:00, but also to Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad and nearby town Rila from where you can connect to another bus or train.

If you want more detailed bus schedule and prices or if you think I’m mistaken or missed something, please send me mail or ask question here in comment section.

See other Rila places and routes | Check Pirin mountain | Or my favorite Rhodope

Still in Sofia! Check more about Vitosha mountain.

Here is some GPS track that I made in (for) this area. View and download from wikiloc.
Separeva bania – Skakavitsa hut (recorded backwards)(http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=5092371)12 km
Skakavitsa hut – Seven Rila lakes(recorded backwards)(http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=5092364)6 km
Panicishte – Ivan Vazov hut – Rila monastery (recorded backwards)(http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8383398) 31km


Print and Enjoy
If this info is useful for you, gratefully will accept a beer or two 😉 And also will be glad to know if something missing as info or what more you need to know – please, take a 1-2 minutes and send me mail.
* It’s good to know that in one moment on 2 hours from the monastery, the path is hard to find and marking disappear. Use a GPS. That is a place:

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1 Comment on "How to make best hike to Seven Rila lakes and Rila monastery"

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[…] made 3-4 routes… On the last day we go to Maliovitsa peak. Is well marked (red marks to Ivan Vazov hut and Seven Rila lakes 7-8 hours) path and takes 2-2,30 hours without backpack (maybe 3-3,30h with baggage). Going down is […]