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See the stunning Seven Rila Lakes and more on this tour in Bulgaria

The Rila Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria are known to be the highest mountain ranges in the entire Balkan region and home to some of the most beautiful sights and incredible experiences travelers can have in Bulgaria. Just a few kilometers from the capital Sofia, Rila unveils the stunning snow-capped mountains of Rila National Park, the famous chain of high-altitude glacial lakes that are the Seven Rila Lakes, and the treasure that is Rila Monastery, an ancient , UNESCO World Heritage building that showcases Bulgarian history, culture, architecture and art. Taking a day trip to discover the Seven Rila Lakes Route and Rila Monastery is a perfect way to experience Bulgaria’s most treasured destinations and something that will appeal to outdoor and history buffs alike.

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Related: Here’s How to Have the Perfect Vacation in Varna, Bulgaria

The Seven Rila Lakes: A Gem Of Bulgaria

Part of the Rila National Park, the Seven Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes nestled between the northwestern region of the Rila Mountains, only a small group among the nearly 200 glacial lakes in the park. Their location, in a twisted cirque, crossed by the hollows and valleys of the Rila Mountains and connected by thin streams and waterfalls, creates a one-of-a-kind spectacle, a striking hiking trail amid mountains and natural lakes, overlooking the vast Bulgarian mountain landscapes below. ; it’s no wonder that the Seven Rila Lakes are Bulgaria’s most popular tourist attractions.


During the winter months the lakes can be frozen over and covered in snow, but in the summer and spring their deep blue, gray and green hues can be seen in all their glory. The Seven Lakes are named for their shape and nature, as such:

The Tear (Сълзата – Salzata)

  • Altitude: 2,535 m (8,317 ft).
  • It takes its name from its clear waters.

The Eye (Окото – Okoto)

  • Altitude: 2,440 m (8,010 ft)
  • It takes its name from its eye-shaped oval shape and is the deepest of the mountain lakes.

The Kidney (Бъбрека – Babreka)

  • Altitude: 2,282 m (7,487 ft)
  • It gets its name from its curved, kidney-like shape.

The Twin (Близнака – Bliznaka)

  • Altitude: 2,243 m (7,359 ft)
  • When the season is dry, these are two lakes separated by a fine rock formation.

Clover (Трилистника – Trilistnika)

  • Altitude: 2,216 m (7,270 ft)
  • It gets its name from its irregular three-leaf shape.

The Fish Lake (Рибното езеро – Ribnoto ezero)

  • Altitude: 2,184 m (7,165 ft)
  • At 2.5 m deep, it is the shallowest of the mountain lakes.

The lower lake (Долното езеро – Dolnoto ezero)

  • Altitude: 2,095 m (6,873 ft)
  • It gets its name because it is the lake with the lowest elevation.

About the Seven Lakes Hike:

  • Elevation: 2,000–2,500 m (8,000 ft)
  • Distance: 10 km loop
  • Avg. Time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate


Related: Off the Beaten Path: Top 10 Things to Do in Bulgaria

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Rila Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage

As if its natural spectacle weren’t enough, the Rila region of Bulgaria has another stunning treasure – or rather treasure – to explore: the historic Rila Monastery, officially named the Monastery of Saint John of Rila. Dating back to the 10th century, Rila Monastery is the largest, best-known and one of the most important Eastern Orthodox monasteries in the country and southern Europe.

Rila Monastery has witnessed Bulgaria’s medieval history through empires, conquests, revolutions and revivals. The oldest structures of the buildings date back to the 13th century, with reconstructions from the 18th and 19th century Bulgarian Revival, also known as the “Bulgarian Revival”.


Formalized as a National Historic Monument in 1976 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Rila Monastery is an iconic monastery in history, a repository of centuries of Bulgarian history, faith, artistic movements and architecture . It includes the main church with its five domes, the 14th century Hrelja tower, the monks’ residential quarters and the monastery museum, with different subdivisions. Divided between the church and the museums, gilded reliefs, woodcuts, iconoclastic sculptures and painted frescoes will delight all art lovers.

Take a day trip to explore the Seven Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery

It is possible to discover the Rila on your own, but a guided tour can make the trip much more interesting. Reaching the Rila Mountains from Sofia can take up to two hours by road, and the hike through the Seven Lakes will take at least 5 hours. Visiting Rila Monastery should be a 1 hour activity, minimum, to see everything.

A day trip like the Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery can provide shuttles, expert advice on the trek and around the mountains, as well as historical advice and information about the Rila region and history fascinating Rila Monastery.

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About the tour

  • Last name: Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery
  • Price: From $58
  • Duration: One day
  • Language: English
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 24 hours in advance
  • Understand : Shuttles from and to Sofia, hotel pick-up, tickets for the cable car to the Rila Lakes and tickets for the Rila Monastery