The Seven Rila Lakes

Paloma, out motorhome has made base camp at the ski lift station just outside of Panichishte, Bulgaria as we set off to attempt to find the holy grail that is the view of all seven of the Rila lakes.

We were introduced to this place by Adam and Sophie from Europe by Camper, and I have quite fancied a crack at it since we read their blog Here.

As we pulled up the long winding mountain, we came to some helpful Bulgarian parking attendants, can we sleep ? – No problem, my friend he meet you in 300 meters, so 10 lev paid and we are shown to a fairly flat spot just under the trees, a nice place to park for the night. (N42.24274 E23.32441)

With the sunshine we set off to buy our lift tickets, 18 lev per person for the return trip.
The wonderful 20-minute life ride above the coniferous forest revealed marvelous views towards the whole of Rila mountain, and it saved us a long walk. We reached chalet Sedemte Ezera (the Seven Lakes) at the altitude of 2100 meters.

Panichishte, Bulgaria ski lift

Panichishte, Bulgaria ski lift
Nice new hat ? Ummm…….
From there, we took the “winter route” on the right of the chalet, which immediately got us climbing up a steep and rocky hill. Our mouths were hanging in no time bottle number one of water was gone , but it was worth it!

Mountain views from seven lakes walkMountain views from seven lakes walk

First we saw Dolnoto Ezero (the Lower Lake) and Ribnoto Ezero (the Fish Lake).

Mountain views from seven lakes walk - first lake
The Seven Rila Lakes have a glacial origin and are part of the Rila National Park. They are connected though streams that later become Dzherman River. We saw Trilistnika (the Trefoil) below us and Bliznaka (the Twin).

Bliznaka, at 2240 meters, is the largest of the seven and is composed of two parts connected by a strait, thus the name, the Twin. Another explanation for the name is that the peak Haramiata and its reflection in the lake look like twins.

At 2280m, we reached a large plateau covered in grass. In the vicinity, we found Babreka (the Kidney), which is the most famous lake due to its curious shape. The water was so clear we could see schools of fish in it.

Kidney lake - Rila seven lakes
In order to reach the last two lakes, we had to climb again. After another 200 meters along the steep trail, we reached Okoto (the Eye), It is the deepest lake, 38m deep, and part of its shore is ice-bound pretty much all year long.

6 of the seven lakes in Rila, Bulgaria
Sadly at this point (lake number 6), we were done in, facing a 2 hour hike back we called it a day, this decision was helped by the dark clouds and the odd clap of thunder.

We joined the ritual and added a small flat pebble to the towers of pebbles build up by people who had been there before us.

Adding pebbles to the pile in Rila, Bulgaria
Please don’t fall over !
pebbles in the pile in Rila, Bulgaria seven lakes
For our route back we took the ‘Summer route’ and the clouds descended and rain and hail set in, it was a long chair ride back down !

A lot wet and a bit tired, but an awesome hike, in a lovely setting!


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