Bulgaria has two of the three highest peaks on the Balkans – Musala in Rila mountain (2924m) and Vihren (2914m). In-between the Top 3 is the better known Mount Olympus with its Mitikas (2921m). Musala is the easiest of the two, with a lot of paths on both sides (from Borovets ski resort or Rila monastery, or Granchar chalet).
Vihren is a more tricky one. Both sides are steeper and rockier. But it makes for a better view. Or at least that’s what they say. Both times I’ve been there, it was quite foggy. We hiked up with my father when I was 8 or 9, virtually crawling up through a very thick fog. And two weeks ago when I visited again, fog came with me during the twenty minutes I was at the top. They say that if you leave early in the morning, you could be faster than the fog. For that, though, you need to be an early riser. Not that weekend.
Area around Vihren chalet also offers other nice one day trips so during the summer it’s packed with people – going to Baikushevata mura (Bulgaria’s oldest tree) and some of the lakes (Okoto or Muratovo). But of course, the biggest prize is actually hiking up to the top of the peak. It’s totally worth it.
Did you know that there are 56 peaks over 2500m in Bulgaria? All of them are either in Rila or Pirin mountain. Make sure you send me an email if you decide the visit the region around Bansko or Pirin in general. My parents live in the nearby village of Banya so I definitely know the region and can guide you there or give you tips.