Olli Thomson

Seven Rila Lakes

Rila National Park south of Sofia is the biggest in Bulgaria covering over 300 square miles. The seven Rila lakes lie in the west of the park, above the resort town of Panichishte. A chairlift outside the town takes you on a leisurely 16 minute journey through the forested lower slopes to the Rila Lakes hut at around 6,900 feet. From here there are well marked trails leading into the mountains and around the lakes.

Even though the park and the lakes in particular are hugely popular with locals and visitors alike we had the mountains mostly to ourselves. In the summer there are often long queues for the chair lift, which can take up to 700 people an hour, but on a cold November day we saw only a handful of other people all day.

Despite the sub zero temperatures, once we got above the cloud cover the weather was beautiful with blue skies, lots of sunshine and only a light breeze. A two hour walk took us through the lakes to a peak with a view over all seven before we headed back down. Here are a few pictures.

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