The Pirin mountains highlight several sites of outstanding natural beauty, spread all over the area. The most important sites of natural beauty are: the mt. Vihren,the rock formation Pirostiata, the Bunderishki caves, Kioshkata, the Demianishki Skok and Iulenski Skok waterfalls and the natural reserve Baiuvi dupki - Jinjiritsa There are also a few...more
A third hike is a hike along the blue and yellow trail, starting at the parking place of the hizha Vihren. You walk about 5 hours one-way, so better start early. After one hour you arrive at the Muratovo ezero, which is on your right hand. After having a break over there you can continue your way along the blue and yellow trail up to the other...more
Another hike which is worth to do is from the hizha Vihren to the mt. Vihren. The trail is in red and starts from the parking place in front of the mountainhut. The trail is very well marked by signs on rocks. The hike is 3 hours one way. You can do the hike without special equipment of course. The path is very rocky and steel upto the alpine...more
You can have dinner and breakfast at some of the mountainhuts, so you don’t have to bring food with you when you are in the mountains. So, you can go wild camping and have a meal at the hizha, that will save you time from coocking your own meal. The prizes are relaxed and the food is good. Expect to pay between 5 and 10 lv. The mere exclusive area with expensive restaurants (French, thai and Japanese cuisine) as well the Burger King are situated near the shelters near the top of the mount Vihren, but they are temporary closed because of damages relating to snowstorms.
From Bansko there is a minibus that leaves at the trainstation and brings you within 45 minutes to the Hizha Vihren, that is, it stops at a certain point of the road and then you have to walk some 1 km to the hizha. The bus continues its road then to the hizha Banderitsa. (within 10 minutes). Going back: check at the driver at what time the last minibus will go back on daily base. I know that the last minibus from the Hizha Vihren to Bansko is leaving around 6 pm so, if you want to go back to Bansko you better plan your hike in time. However, since many locals from Bansko and surroundings come with their car for a one day hike in the mountains, you will easily get a ride from them! For the departure times of the minibusses from Bansko call the Pirin national park office (number: see below)
At the Hizhas and shelters in the Pirin mountains you will not be able to buy sigarettes. So, if you like to smoke cigarettes, better buy them in Bansko before coming to the mountains. Don’t feel guilty to do so, the cigarette smoke will not damage the nature!
The people from the Pirin mountains have their unique folk traditions and you can experience them during the month of August when thousands of folk musicians and dancers from throughout the region of the Pirin mountains come together at the Pirin Sings Folk Festival in Bansko. In September you can do it over in Sandanski; the whole club of artists (although this time less artists than in Bansko) move over to show their thing one more time at the Pirin Folk National festival
Bypassing the main trails that are marked is sometimes warned against. This is because of risks with falling or shoving rocks. However, when you only bypass the trail to go to a lake that is off trail, pay attention to the exact spot where you leave the path, because in attempting to getting back to the trail, you could get lost for a while, since...more
It’s a good thing to ask the staff at the hizha whether if they know what the weather will be that day. Since the trails are often very steep and rocky it can be a problem when you are going downwards the hill when it suddenly starts pouring rain, making all the stones slippery. Even when you have mountain shoes you still slip. Better take a easier...more
A tip for wildlife animal lovers. The Big Catalogue of Pirin Mountain Animals is not up to date: allthough many of the animals that are depicted in the catalogue are largely available in the Pirin mountains area, the latest animals are not in the catalogue. Also, some of the animals that are presented in the catalogue are at the moment not in stock.
Some people think this is all a part of an extencive tourist trap.
Unique Suggestions: call the Ombudsman concerned with animal related transactions and ask for professional assistence.
Miscellaneous: As has been said before, you don’t necessarily need a tent since there are enough hizha’s and shelters to stay at along the trails. You don’t need special equipment for the hikes around the hizha Vihren (such as sticks or special boots, since I saw people on sandals going up and coming down from the mount Vihren). It is of course good to bring a warm sweater with you for the temperature gets down at night in the mountains. Other things that may be helpful are of course maps, hiking boots, a small backpack for your food and water bottle, toiletpaper, eventually a cap for the sun, and a foldable raincoat in case of. The hizhas have sheets so you don’t have to bring a sleeping bag. They also have towels.
In the Pirin mountains area you will probably also visit Bansko. For that town, see my Bansko page. However, a place that is often ignored by tourists and mostly only used as a connection to Melnik, is the little town of Sandanski. It’s a pleasant town with some things that are worth exploring. There is a huge town park, which has dozens of species of mediterranean plants and mineral baths (that should be curing all kinds of ills..), there is an archeological museum, which tells you something about Sandinski s link to Spartacus (of course all in Bulgarian, and not without suspicious causality). Furthermore, there are a few art galleries, showing some of the area’s better artists and you can visit the Sveti George Church, that is the only remaining church from the 19 th. Century. In early December there is also a folk festival, featuring plenty of dancing and music. Sandanski is besides Bansko another gate to the Pirin national prak. From Sandanski you can have a hike to the famous Popina Luka region, which has waterfalls, lakes, pine forests. The hike is 4 hours and hikers can stay at the Hizha Kamenitsa. To get there, follow the large pedestrial mall (Makedonia street), which is the towns mainstreet, and continue it to to south-east, then enter the town park and continue. (its some 20 km of walking) So, Sandanski is more than omly spa's and bath for old people...
Besides hiking in the summer, the Pirin Mountains are popular for skiing in the winter. The Pirin mountains ski region is famous among the Bulgarian skiers as the place with best ski conditions in Bulgaria. The area is known for heavy snowfalls and usually storms leave some half meter of fresh powder snow. The ski routes are in forests with lots of treeless spaces and have steeper pitches because of being in these forests. Skiing is done at elevations from 2700 -1800m. The best time to go skiing in the Pirin mountains is february and march. These months are warmer periods, but the forests manages to keep the snow good. The ski-season is from late December till April. In Bulgaria there are several other mountain areas having ski resorts, among which Borovets and Pamporovo seem to be the most popular by foreign skiers, yet, the pirin mountains with the ski-resort concentrated near Bansko is Bulgarians smallest and least commercialised and therefore most enjoyable ski resort. Skiing is cheap but equipment and training are not so easy to arrange as in Borovets and Pampopovo. See my Bansko page for more details.
If you want any information on planning your hiking in the Pirin mountains, or want to get maps, visit the Pirin National Park office in Bansko, at bulevard Bansko 4. (07443-2428) They will be glad to help you, however it is not a hiking agency, tourist office or a place to rent equipment. They can speak French.more
The Pirin mountains area stretches from the northwest to southeast. The area is 80 km long and 40 km wide and contains an area of 2585 km2 of natural beauty, that is, glacial massifs, 180 lakes and many high peaks. Most of the lakes are 2000m above sea level and many of them were created by glaciers. The most interesting lakes are: the Kremenskite...more