Hiking the Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria

I was waiting for this moment for almost 2 years. Since the last time I visited the spectacular Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria I went to many other hikes but always felt like this was the most rewarding one. Keep reading to see why!

The Seven Rila Lakes are situated in the highest mountain on the Balkans – Rila (2925 m), between 2,100 and 2,500 metres above sea level. The Lakes are just 1,30 h away from the capital of Bulgaria, which makes them a perfect day trip from Sofia. All seven of the lakes has their own name which reflects its typical shape or characteristics. The names of the Seven Rila Lakes are:

  • The Tear – the highest one
  • The Eye – the deepest one
  • The Kidney – perfect for a picnic
  • The Twin – the largest one
  • The Trefoil
  • The Fish Lake – the shallowest one
  • The Lower Lake – the lowest one

How to get to Seven Rila Lakes

Unfortunately, there is no direct bus to the Lakes. You can travel to Dupnitsa and Sapareva Banya and then take a taxi to the base of the lift (not working during winter months). The best way is to get there by car. 

When you arrive, you have two choices: to take the lift to the Rila Lakes hut where the hike starts (18 BGN ~ 9 EUR both ways) or hike all the way to the hut. The lift will take you around 20 min to buy a ticket, 20 min to get to the lift and 15 min ride ~ 1 h. The hike will take you around 2 h. 

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The hike

When you hike the Seven Rila Lakes you pass by each one of them from the lowest to the highest one. That’s what makes the hike so unique – you start with one, then two, three of them and when you get to the last one – The Tear, you can see all seven of them in unique harmony with the mountain.

I separate the hike in 3 parts – to The Kidney, to The Tear and the hike back:

1) The hike to The Kidney: When you get to the Rila Lakes hut you can start your hike. You have around one hour to get to “The Kidney” where you can take a nice picnic. The hike here is not very hard, you can take it easy and enjoy the beautiful views to the first 3-4 lakes. With this hike you pass around The Lower lake, The Fish lake, The Trefoil and The Twin and you get to The Kidney. There you can have your deserved break.

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The Kidney lake, perfect for a picnic

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The Kidney

2) The hike to The Tear: This one is a bit harder if you are not a regular hiker. It takes again around an hour to get to the highest lake – The Tear, while you pass by The Eye. With many little breaks you can get to the highest point where you will forget all the pain and efforts! You have a 360 degree view to all the Seven Lakes in a perfect harmony with the Rila mountain landscape. 

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Passing by The Kidney

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The Eye

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The Tear

3) The hike back: It takes around 2 hours to get to the Rila Lakes hut. It is better to take a different rout. First you get back to The Kidney, then you take the lower rout where you pass by the first 4 lakes we mentioned The Lower lake, The Fish lake, The Trefoil and The Twin. The you get to the chair lift, wait for your turn and get back to your car 🙂

3) The hike back: It takes around 2 hours to get to the Rila Lakes hut. It is better to take a different rout. First you get back to The Kidney, then you take the lower rout where you pass by the first 4 lakes we mentioned The Lower lake, The Fish lake, The Trefoil and The Twin. The you get to the chair lift, wait for your turn and get back to your car :)

The spectacular view from the top!

3) The hike back: It takes around 2 hours to get to the Rila Lakes hut. It is better to take a different rout. First you get back to The Kidney, then you take the lower rout where you pass by the first 4 lakes we mentioned The Lower lake, The Fish lake, The Trefoil and The Twin. The you get to the chair lift, wait for your turn and get back to your car :)

Good job! You did it! Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the amazing views in Rila mountain. 

Would you visit Bulgaria to see the Seven Rila lakes?