Travel. Bulgaria. Eastern Europe.
Do you know this piece of paradise on Earth?
The 7 Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes, located in the Rila Mountains, in Bulgaria. They are a must-see for any nature lover, providing breathtaking natural scenery and an opportunity to see the gorgeous combination of mountains and lakes.
Each lake has a name that derives from its most characteristic feature:
- The Tear (Salzata): it has very clear waters that show the real colors of the lakes
- The Eye (Okoto): it has an oval shape, like an eye
- The Kidney (Babreka): shaped like a kidney, and it has the steepest shores out of all the lakes
- The Twins (Bliznaka): it is almost two lakes that are connected
- The Trefoil (Trilistnika): it looks like a three-leafed clover
- Fish Lake (Ribnoto): the shallowest
- The Lower Lake (Dolnoto Ezero): it is the lowest of all of them
I visited in the summer of 2018, with two friends, and we all agree that this was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to. If you are still not convinced of how special the Rila Lakes are, here are 7 reasons why you should put them on your destination list for the next trip.
1. You will see beautiful landscapes
The 7 Rila Lakes are some of the most beautiful nature I ever saw in my life! I traveled there with 2 friends and they were also mesmerized by the beauty of the place. If you are a mountain lover, you won’t be disappointed!
2. You will take the best Instagram photos
Beautiful places mean beautiful Instagram photos, without the need for any filters, it’s raw beauty! There are so many great spots where to take pictures, that you can have a whole shooting session while visiting the lakes if you wish.
I took some shots that, 3 years later, I still use as profile pictures on my social media accounts, like this one.
3. You can challenge yourself physically
The 7 Rila Lakes trail is 10km long and rated as “moderate” in terms of physical challenge. You can choose to complete it all or keep it shorter, avoiding some challenging parts.
4. You can sleep in the heart of the mountain
Let’s say that the choices for accommodation at the top of the mountains, by the Rila Lakes, are limited… to 1. The Ivan Vazov Hut is the only place that takes guests and, even though we didn’t stay there, we wished we had.
As we took the cable car on the way down, along with all the other tourists who had visited the lakes that day, we wished to stay behind to enjoy this piece of Paradise when everybody else is gone.
You can find booking information on this page.
5. You will enjoy a cable car journey over an awesome landscape
If you are not afraid of heights, I mean. I am, so I spent most of the journey with my eyes closed, which was a shame because, every time I opened them, the views were amazing!
This cable car connects the area where you park your car, to the place from where you start your hike. You can walk instead of taking the cable car, but beware that this is a long-distance, and challenging on the way up.
6. You can visit the Rila Monastery
If you drive to the Rila Lakes, the Rila Monastery is a mandatory stop on the way. This secluded location in the middle of the mountains is home to the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church.
The place has a mystical vibe and, if you book in advance, you can even stay there overnight. To do that, you need to call this number, +359896872010, but please be aware that they do not speak English.
7. You will be happy by the end of the day
Visiting the 7 Rila Lakes is a beautiful experience that will allow you to connect with nature and see it in all its splendor.
If you are the kind of person who appreciates time in nature but doesn’t like the challenges of an intense hike, this itinerary is perfect because it allows you to see breathtaking scenery without much of the hassle that the long hikes require.
Tips for Your Visit
- Take sun protection: I visited the Rila Lakes on a sunny day with some clouds and committed the big mistake of not wearing sunscreen. This is how I got my nickname of “tomato head”.
- Wear layers: the weather can change quickly on the top of the mountains, be prepared.
- Take comfortable shoes and clothes: it’s a hike, you want to be as comfortable as possible.