Seven Rila Lakes in the summer, Bulgaria

Тази статия може да я прочетете и на: Български

A one-day itinerary to visit the gorgeous Seven Rila Lakes from Sofia

Rilski ezera hut, Rila Mountains, Bulgaria

Rilski ezera hut, Rila Mountains, Bulgaria

Hanging out in parks and cities is a cool thing but often we would prefer to mute all noise around us or to walk in the rain to enjoy the lack of people on the streets. All this noise and crowds always led me to the mountains. This time we are heading to the gorgeous Seven Rila Lakes – one of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria.

Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria, Rila Mountains

Seven Rila Lakes

It was a long time that I had been planning to go to Seven Rila Lakes but unfortunately I always putted off this small journey in Rila Mountains. I did never feel necessary to go to these lakes because it is quite popular tourist destination in Bulgaria and there always are a lot of people. This is not the place where you can have a quiet walk in the mountain and if you want to avoid the loads of tourists you should follow some procedures.

Rilski Ezera hut

Rilski ezera hut

Procedure one: getting up early.

It is always a good idea regardless of where you are going. In Bulgaria it is very popular to organise small journeys for old people. And they always flood the most touristic places. You have to calculate the time in which they can bring the average grandma to the place, and also to calculate when lazy Bulgarian families with kids wake up and go for a walk.  Then, together with the other enthusiasts with big backpacks you wake up early and wend to the mountains.

Хижа Рилски Езера / Rilski ezera hut

Rila lakes are a famous place so there is a cable car and you have to decide whether you want to use it. In Bulgaria there is a major environmental dispute over if it should have been built or not. After all it is available and you can use it if you want.
However, getting up at six in the morning (this is if you travel by car from Sofia) and arriving at eight at the cable car station provides you with a “first class” seat on the way to the new hut at 8:30.

Хижа Рилски Езера / Rilski ezera hut

Procedure two: bad weather forecast.

It is horrible when it rains and thunders in the mountains, but it is mountains so nobody knows for sure what the weather will be. Also, if it’s raining in Sofia, it will prevent about 20 % of potential tourists to go.

The path to Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria

The path to Seven Rila Lakes

Седемте Рилски Езера / Seven Rila LakesRila mountain in the fog

Procedure three: it is good if you know the common path of the tourists and use a different one. It is a bonus if it is a difficult one.

In our case we decided to use an easier but longer route. This one is used by some of the tourists on their way back. So we took the path to Trilistnika lake (Trefoil or Tree leafs lake). We could see the first tourists who came by the more common path and we were left alone.

Near the Trilistnika lake there is a small shelter with water place and benches. While having breakfast and drinking tasty water the snow left in shady places moved. Some mountain goats appeared – we are definitely the first people here for today.

Goats in Rila Mountains, Bulgaria

Goats in Rila Mountains

Седемте Рилски Езера / Seven Rila Lakes

Procedure four: meeting grandmas and fat old guys is not recommended…

…but if you meet them, you should take a new path, steeper path. Indeed to Babreka lake (Kidney Lake) the path is like a park walk and there are always crowds of tourists.

Седемте Рилски Езера / Seven Rila Lakes

Седемте Рилски Езера / Seven Rila Lakes

Okoto Lake

So we took the path to Okoto Lake (Eye Lake), the crowd was reducing and the “Eye” stared in the sky. I have blue eyes like the lake and immediately the lake became my favourite. This is the deepest lake among the Seven Rila Lakes.

Okoto Lake (Eye Lake)

Okoto Lake (Eye Lake)

I have not been to the Seven Rila Lakes for years, despite it is a very beautiful place. However, there is so much world to explore. I still keep wonderful memories from my previous visits, including a beautiful day in July and several winter visits, when I enjoyed the lakes in peace and calmness. I will soon take my daughter there, to take the walk to the Eye and the Tear. On the picture you see The Eye – looking like a real blue eye staring at the sky. (2018)


We reached the highest lake from the seven. It is stunning place and the lake is still covered with ice in July. From this point you can see all other six lakes – Oko (Eye), Babrek (Kidney), Bliznak (Twin), Trilistnik (Trefoil), Ribno (Fish) and Dolno (Bottom)

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev

We continue with the procedure – taking the path to Ivan Vazov hut with the intention to round the Haramia peak, to descend through the scree and find ourselves near the Ribno Lake. Done. We left the highest lake and we took the path. Now we are alone, sometimes we meet enthusiasts with big backpacks but they were so rare. And the view was picturesque.

Seven Rila Lakes

Seven Rila Lakes

Procedure five: it is a good time to go there between the first snow and the beginning of the ski season.

But you will not see any lakes, only snow.

Photo: Copyright Andrey Andreev

Седемте Рилски Езера / Seven Rila Lakes

Day tours to Seven Rila Lakes

If you have never been to Seven Rila Lakes and want to visit, you can join an organised toor or just take a shuttle to the Seven Rila Lakes from Sofia. We are partnering with two companies to provide you with a 5 % discount with our promo code. Below are the options:

Hiking to Seven Rila Lakes: This tour can be guided or self-guided, depending on your preferences. In the self-guided option you will be provided route notes and a map of Rila Mountains. 5 % discount with promo code ANDT18.

Shuttle to Seven Rila Lakes: Book a shared shuttle of private transfer by Rila Shuttle and explore the lakes by yourself. 5 % discount with promo code AndreevTravel

Shuttle to Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery: Spend a day in this beautiful mountain by visiting its top attractions – Rila Monastery and Seven Rila Lakes. 5 % discount with promo code AndreevTravel.

You can also use the discount code for several destinations from Sofia. See full list: 

Get discounts for day tours from Sofia


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