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The Seven Rila Lakes
The Seven Rila lakes are best to visit in the summer. In the summer the trails are in their best condition, the lift is working and plenty of hotels, guest houses and restaurants in the area open up for the season. You will need 6 to 8 hours to walk around all the lakes, enjoy the scenery and take pictures. Beware of the dates around 19 August, this is when the White Brotherhood gathers at the Babrek lake to perform their sacred dance, called Paneurhythmy. Thousands of people participate. They make spectacular rings (similar to human crop circles) that harmoniously sway and sing in praise of the sun and planets, brotherly love, healthy lifestyle and harmony with nature. As amazing as this event can be, we strongly recommend you avoid these dates for touring the Seven Rila lakes - the whole area gets overcrowded with no place to park or enjoy the scenery in peace and solitude.
If you decide to stay as close to the lakes as possible, there are 2 shelters nearby - the old one is pretty basic, with shared facilities and the new one has modern rooms with private facilities and a restaurant. You may need to book in advance though, especially during the weekends and in the busy seasons. If no rooms available, try the hotels and guests houses in Panichishte, Separeva Banya, Govedartsi etc.
If you have come here for the beautiful sights, bear in mind that the higher you climb this part of the Rila Mountain, the more beautiful the scenery gets, therefore hold your breath till you reach the last lake, The Tear, which is the smallest and the clearest. The most beautiful views of the Seven Rila Lakes and the area are revealed from the Haramiyata peak, this is the spot from which you can take that ideal photo.
There are many trails to and around the lakes. The most popular way to get there is to drive to Panichishte, a small village 13.5 km from Separeva Banya and 90 km from Sofia. You can park your car at the paid parking lot here and take the chair lift - costs 15 leva both ways. The lift covers the 4 km to the Rilski Ezera shelter for about 20 minutes. On busy days however, due to many people and long queues, the waiting time for the lift can be more than 2 hours, that is, you may be better off walking/climbing this distance yourself. There is the option to hire horses to carry your luggage up the hill while you walk in the light. It is about 2 hours climb from the Rilski Ezera shelter to highest (The Tear) lake.