Rila - the highest mountain on the Balkan Peninsula lies approximately 1 hour to the south of Sofia. Its central part forms Rila National Park, the biggest nature park in Bulgaria comprising 81 000 hectares of wood and four nature reserves.
In the snow-free months of the summer and early autumn many tourists from all around the world come to Rila to climb its highest peak - Musala (2925 m). The Seven Rila Lakes, situated in the northwestern part of the mountain, are Bulgaria’s most beautiful glacial lakes and also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. But Rila’s magnificence is not strictly confined to its natural wonders. Lying there, protected by hills and buried under thick forests one will find the Monastery of St. Ivan of Rila, the biggest and perhaps the most important monument of Christian culture and religion in Bulgaria.
Every year in mid August thousands of followers of master Peter Deunov (with the spiritual name of Beinsa Douno) gather together in the region around the Seven Rila Lakes. There the members of the Universal White Brotherhood pay tribute to their mentor and perform the famous Paneurhythmy ritual.
The period between December and April is dedicated to winter sports. And what better place for skiing or snowboarding than Borovets – the biggest and oldest ski resort in Bulgaria. It’s got some of the best ski trails in the country and is just 70 km away from Sofia.
Photo by D.Alexov