Hiking the Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria


The Seven Lakes of Rila are the most famous group of Lakes in Bulgaria, located 80 Km south from Sofia. I had heard about this place but I had no idea it was as beautiful as it really is. The photos that you get to see online are nothing compared to the true beauty of such place.

Wild Wild Basch applied for this event with Nvision Travel, gathered in Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia and headed south, for 1 hour and half, towards the Lift that would take everyone to the lakes’ area.

The craziest part about the lift ride was that neither me nor my colleague knew there was a safety bar to keep us from falling, and for some reason we went almost half way to the top without using such bar… I think I never felt so much idiot in my entire life… A special thanks to Tsveti, one of the tour guides, who told us to put on the safety bar, which we had no idea that was right above our heads.

Rila - Lift

Lift Price: 14.40лв (Around 7.20EUR) – Round Trip

We were now 2000m above sea level and it was quite windy. I advise you to take a sweatshirt of a jacket with you, whenever you think about visiting Rila.

Hiking to the top is quite a task and it takes a couple hours, so we made a few stops, being the first one right next to one of the most famous lakes Бъбрека “The Kidney” in English, due to its peculiar appearance.

Бъбрека - "The Kidney"

Бъбрека – “The Kidney”

Each of the Seven Lakes has a name that relates to its most specific characteristic and they’re all located between 2.095 and 2.535 meters above sea level. See below the list of the 7 Rila Lakes.

English name Bulgarian name (transliterated) Altitude Area Depth Notes
The Tear Сълзата (Salzata) 2,535 m (8,317 ft) 0.7 ha (1.7 acres) 4.5 m (15 ft) Named after its clear waters
The Eye Окото (Okoto) 2,440 m (8,010 ft) 6.8 ha (17 acres) 37.5 m (123 ft) Named after its oval shape. Deepest cirque lake in Bulgaria
The Kidney Бъбрека (Babreka) 2,282 m (7,487 ft) 8.5 ha (21 acres) 28.0 m (91.9 ft) Steepest shores of all
The Twin Близнака (Bliznaka) 2,243 m (7,359 ft) 9.1 ha (22 acres) 27.5 m (90 ft) Largest by area
The Trefoil Трилистника (Trilistnika) 2,216 m (7,270 ft) 2.6 ha (6.4 acres) 6.5 m (21 ft) Irregular shape and low shores
Fish Lake Рибното езеро (Ribnoto ezero) 2,184 m (7,165 ft) 3.5 ha (8.6 acres) 2.5 m (8.2 ft) Shallowest
The Lower Lake Долното езеро (Dolnoto ezero) 2,095 m (6,873 ft) 5.9 ha (15 acres) 11.0 m (36.1 ft) Lowest

This list was copied from Wikipedia

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View of 5 Lakes

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Pile of Stones

With my friend Rogério

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Окото – “The Eye”

We kept hiking until we reached what is now my favorite of all 7 Lakes, “Окото” – “The Eye”. This is the deepest lake in all Bulgaria with a depth of 37.5m as you can see in the list above, and the second one located at the highest altitude.

“Сълзата” – The Tear, which is the highest lake is located 2.535m above sea level and it was our final stop. From here we could not only have a look at all the 7 Rila Lakes, but also embrace the Bulgarian Flag which is standing on Top. I’ve been to many different places, I’ve seen incredible views, but I don’t believe any of those would beat this. The feeling of looking so small in the middle of so much, it makes me think it’s a shame that our world has so much to see but we do not live enough time to get to see everything. I tried to record this moment to the max, shooting photos and videos with my cell phone, my camera and my action cam before heading down.

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2535 Meters High. Part of our group. Credits: Nvision Travel

After some group photos we headed down back to “Kidney” and then we took another way that would give us an opportunity to see the lower lakes from a closer look and to stop for a few drinks in the old Hut next to Рибното езеро – “The Fish” Lake before coming back to Sofia at 6.30p.m.

Together with the “Grand Canyon National Park” these are now my Top 2 Favorite and Most Beautiful Places to Visit. If you’re looking for a place to hike, with so much to be offered by mother nature, such as lakes, waterfalls and mountains, do not skip the Seven Lakes of Rila.

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Group Photo 2135m. Credits: Nvision Travel

A special thanks to Nvision Travel for such an amazing trip!

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