Ski tours in the Pirin and Rila Mountain, 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).
Mountain guide Jörgen Karström leads this trip in collaboration with an experienced local mountain guide. Together, they will take care of you in Bulgaria. Travel on your own to Sofia, where Jörgen and our local partner will meet you at the airport and continue with you on your journey to the ski touring regions.
There is no problem if you would like to extend your visit in Bansko. We can put you in contact with the local ski expert Andy Balevski, who organises ski clinics in extreme skiing. Andy is a known extreme skier and a really great guy. Get in touch with us about extending your trip.
The trip day for day
Day 1. Sofia – Guilechitza
We meet in Sofia and then wait for a transfer of about 90 km to Guilechitza, located in the north region of the Rila Mountains. We check into a simple hotel high up on the mountain at 1,500 m.
Day 2. Guilechitza (1,500 m) – Maliovitza (2,729 m)
After breakfast and a short transfer of about 5 km, it’s time to get on the climbing skins and begin skinning up towards the top of the mountain Maliovitza. We eat a bag lunch and after approximately five hours, we should have reached the peak. We then ski down and sleep in the same hotel as the previous night.
Day 3. Maliovitza – Popova Kapa (2,800 m) – Rila Monastery – Bansko
Today will be a tough day up. We begin early and start by getting up to the peak Popova Kapa at 2,800 m, which should take us around seven hours. We then ski down and after arriving at the minibus, we travel to Rila monastery. We contemplate in the monastery and pray to the snow gods before we continue our journey to Bansko, where we overnight at the hotel.
Day 4. Bansko – Polejan (2,851 m) – Demianitza hut
After a hearty breakfast, we pack for a two-day tour. After about a 20 km transfer on bumpy roads, we reach a long chair-lift that takes us up to Bezbog hut. From here, we walk up towards the peak of Polejan and then ski down to Demianitza hut. The last section goes through forest, so be sure to have some energy left at the end of the day. We overnight in simple dormitory, but the place’s charm is first rate.
Day 5. Demianitza hut – Vihren (2,914 m) – Bansko
We now have the toughest stage in front of us. The aim is to reach the peak of Mount Vihren, which we should do after about seven hours. From Vihren, we ski down to Bansko (about 2,000 metres of vertical drop) and rest at the hotel.
Day 6. Bansko – Kutelo (2,908 m) – Sofia
Yet another challenging day in front of us and this time it’s to climb the peak of Kutelo. The lifts help us gain some vertical metres and we go for reaching the peak right after lunch. In the afternoon, we pack our bags and travel back to Sofia, where we overnight in a hotel. We arrive during the evening, so it’ll be a late dinner.
Day 7. Sofia – Scandinavia
Transfer to the airport and time for the journey home.