Seven Rila Lakes: Tips for first time visitors

The seven rila lakes are one of the most visited places in Bulgaria. Not only are they absolutely beautiful to look at,  but they also require a good old hike if you are to reach the peak, making the trek even more rewarding. Positioned at high altitude (2,535m above sea level), the view from the peak is nothing less than breathtaking.


The seven rila lakes are located in the northwestern part of the Rila mountains in Bulgaria. They are approximately 1hr 30 mins drive from Sofia.

How to get there?


Getting there by car is pretty straightforward. Simply type “Lift seven rila lakes” into your GPS or google maps on your phone and it will take you directly to the car park of the lift area.

If you don’t have a car, there are plenty of tour groups taking tourists to the lakes from Sofia. Tripadvisor offers some excellent tours/expeditions.


You can get a coach from Sofia to Sapareva Banya, and then get a shuttle to the lift area (Pionerska hut).


This is a rather expensive option but still an option. You can get a taxi directly from Sofia to the lift area.

The hike

Once you’re at the lift area you have several options.

  • Take the chair lift for 25mins to the top. Prices for adults are 10 BGN one way or 18 BGN return. Once at the Rilski Ezera hut there is still 1hr 30min hike to the peak.
  • You can hike the whole way up from Pionerska hut to the peak. This usually takes around 4hrs.
  • You can take a 4×4 vehicle up to the Rilski Ezera hut. This option isn’t entirely legal but you will definitely see many people offering it, so best be prepared. They usually charge 10BGN one way.



We resorted to taking the chair lift up as this is the most picturesque route. The views were spectacular!



Best time to visit

The best time to visit the lakes is in the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. Although late spring and early autumn should also be considered. We visited in early October and although the temperature was quite cool especially at the top, the day was still long and there was plenty of sunshine!

Rilski Ezera hut

Restaurant, bar and cafe. Also offers overnight stay.

The journey in photos

Just beginning our hike up to the peak of the Seven Rila lakes. You can see the Rilski Ezera hut down in the distance.

Making some progress. Only about 15-20mins into our hike.

Enjoying the first views of the lakes.

Meeting the locals of the area.

The most magnificent lakes (our fave!)

Happy kids!

Just wow. Fantastic view and an amazing hike!

After more than 5 hours of hiking, energy reserves are empty!

Feeling at peace.




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