According to some sources the 7 Rila lakes are among the most powerful places on Earth, containing vortexes of energy and cosmic influences, in short – they are among the world chakras. While I’m not that much of a believer in this kind of teachings, I am a fan of beautiful nature and decided to pay tribute to these amazing highland water bodies.
Duration: two days
Accessibility: car and public transport
Distance from starting point Sofia: round trip ca 170km
Day one: arriving at Sapareva banya
Sapareva banya – Сапарева баня, is a small town in Southwestern Bulgaria, famous for the hottest geyser in Europe springing at an unbelievable 103 degrees Celsius! The geyser springs periodically and during windy days it is highly advisable to steer clear of the water sprinkles, as they might burn your skin.
I suggest Sapareva banya as a starting point of your hike to the lakes, as it offers many opportunities for an overnight stay and an added bonus is the spa landscape you can enjoy after having experienced some of that cosmic energy around the lakes. So what we did was arrive on Friday evening, spend the night and head to the 7 Rila lakes first thing in the morning.
Day two: Hiking the trail of the 7 Rila lakes
The 7 Rila lakes are of glacial origin and are situated in the Northwestern part of the Bulgarian Rila mountain. They attract thousands of visitors every year and their fame is largely due to the teachings of Petar Deunov, who said they were energy centers and performed rituals with his sect there every year. The tradition continues and in the summer the Deunov disciples can be seen performing their mystical Panevritmia dance drawing energy from the sun.
The lakes have become a very popular destination also due to a lift recently built, which saves you quite a hike up to the hut, which is the actual starting point of the trail. Prior to that it was a serious challenge to do the hike.
So, prepare to battle swarms of people walking the trail. The worst problem is that all these humans pollute the subtle eco balance and some of the lakes have started slowly turning into swamps. This affects especially the ones that are a common camping zone (mostly for the Deunov disciples).
Anyhow, the trail is long and not easy, but totally worth it. The lakes are astonishing and the views – breathtaking.
I would say the hike will take all day, especially if you like to stop and enjoy each and every lake individually. Don’t rush through the trail, let yourself some time to sit and savor the moment, maybe bask in the mysterious energy of the place ruined only by the hordes of tourists around you. Try to ignore them! 🙂
After you are done with the trail, head back down to Sapareva banya for some well-deserved rest and a good meal at one of the local restaurants. Tomorrow is a day for relaxation!
Day three: Spa at Sapareva banya
As Sapareva banya is full of mineral water springs, it has naturally grown to be one of Bulgaria’s most popular spa destinations. In the summer, I suggest visiting one of the swimming pools downtown. Prepare for many people if it’s the weekend, though.
If you like, you can, of course, also add the spa experience to the swimming pool soaking. The spa I visited there is actually part of the swimming pool complex you see on the pictures below, so you can combine the two. The spa was quite nice and since I visited it during the winter, I had the added pleasure of enjoying the hot outside swimming pool with snow lying around.
So there you have it – two full days of mountain energy and mineral water relaxation, this is a trip I highly recommend. If you decide, you can also incorporate a visit to the largest Bulgarian monastery – St. Ivan Rilski which has become one of the country’s trademarks.
The monastery is not too far from Sapareva banya and is absolutely worth a visit.