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Rila, Rila

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Rila is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m. The massif is also the sixth highest mountain in Europe (when each mountain is represented by its highest peak only), coming after the Caucasus, the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and Mount Etna, and the highest between the Alps and the Caucasus. More than one-third of the mountain is occupied by the Rila National Park, the rest lies within the Rila Monastery Nature Park.
The mountain is believed to have been named after the river of the same name, which comes from the Old Bulgarian verb "рыти" meaning "to grub".
Rila is abundant in glacial lakes (about 200) and hot springs in fault areas at the base of the mountain. Some of the Balkans' longest and deepest rivers originate from Rila, including Maritsa, Iskar and Mesta.
Culturally, Rila is famous for the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria's largest and most important monastery, founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila. Alongside the cultural landmarks the mountain is also famous for the Seven Rila Lakes.
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74 reviews
  • So read everything and anything ahead of our stay, that I write about this hike now on our list. From Panichiste, paid parking to park (derisory amount of 10 Lev). Take the chairlift (in two, 20Lev/person A/R). There's no need to climb on foot; bof path and nothing special to see. The economy is worthless at all... Sitting high up, before taste of the show. When the chairlift arrives, it climbs immediately and intensely; first a dirt road, then very quickly, we climb large stones. We're all 4 athletes and our cardio took a hit !!! It is of course quite feasible and at its own pace, but you have to know how to take your time and take breaks if not sporty at all. Cardiaques abstain. We reach very quickly the first 3 lakes and the show is already very pretty. You can continue and climb higher and count the 7 lakes. The higher you go, the more rare are the climbers. We had taken our picnic and it was without regret; small secluded corner just for us with splendid views. At the top of the summit, there is still a point higher where you can observe the magic of Mother Nature, wild horses, cows, etc. A place preserved, clean, quiet and where everyone can find their place. Climbed it in early August, on weekdays. No queues, no waiting; smiles and shared efforts. Were in shorts/pants and had taken a jacket because once well climbed, a little cool at the top at the time of release. Sunscreen essential. There's no need to book a circuit, a guide; everything is marked and finally, everyone follows each other a little ...
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  • This is my favourite mountain for hiking. Very well marked and with a lot of amazing tracks and views.  more »
  • Beautiful place to go for a hike. Also the view from the top of the mountain is worth the hike up.
  • Wonderful mountain, best for several days, even week, long trails. Nice conditions for alpinism, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, biking. Amazing nature, many cultural and architecture monuments, like Rila monestary, Stob Pyramids, 7 Rila lakes, highest peak at Balkanian peninsula - Musala 2975 m. Church at Dobarsko, and more. Belmeken sport centre has perfect conditon for sports camp.
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