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By Julia Van Peer
"Not all who wander are lost." - JRR Tolkien

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Bulgaria, Pirin National Park stands as a living testament to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. Spanning over 40,000 hectares and encompassing the striking Pirin Mountains, this national park is a haven for adventurers, nature lovers, and those seeking solace amidst untamed wilderness.

With its snow-capped peaks, deep glacial lakes, and limestone mountains, it is not surprising that in 1983 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Stunning views in Pirin NP.

Start your hike at the Vihren hut, conveniently located at 1 950 metres and only a short drive from the town of Bansko, the perfect base from where ample hiking trails begin. Instead of veering West (towards the Vihren peak), this time you take the trail South. After having followed the yellow-blue signs for about 3km, you will reach a first junction.


The beauty of this hike is that it forms a loop, so you have the freedom to choose either the left/yellow trail, leading you down the picturesque valley, or the right/blue track, winding along the mountainside. For our day-hike, we opted to take the left path.


Finding our way down the valley.

As you gently descent on the yellow trail, you will pass some bigger and smaller mountain lakes. The vibrant autumnal colors that stand out against the gray rocks create a scene reminiscent of a landscape from "The Hobbit."

After another 4 kilometers, you will reach a new junction where you must veer right and follow the orange trail. The path starts ascending slightly, leading you through the dry low grasses until you finally reach the mountain slope, where the ascent becomes steeper. 


Some bigger, some smaller mountain lakes on the way.

Once at the top of the ridge, turn right again, this time following the blue trail. As you hike along the mountain slope, you will be treated to beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. 

Reaching the familiar first junction, where the blue and yellow trails join once more, you can retrace your steps, following the same path back to the Vihren Hut.


This hike in Pirin National Park has truly been our perfect last hike in Bulgaria, filled with autumnal beauty, pristine lakes, and breathtaking vistas. From the serene Hobbit-like valley to the rocky majestic mountainside, today was unforgettable. 


The contrast between golden grasslands, green pine trees and gray rocks.


  • Length of the trail: 16 kilometres

  • Duration: about 4 hours

  • Elevation gain: 900 metres

  • Highest point: 2 426 metres

  • Starting point: Vihren Hut

  • Optimal period: June – October


  • Vihren Hut: The highest mountain hut I’ve stayed in so far, at 1 915 metres. An ideal base for exploring the surrounding nature.

  • Contact information: +359 889 834 277, +359 889 293 562, +359 879 929 850


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On track off track.

Hi there!

I'm Julia, a Belgian native who loves to travel and explore off the beaten places all over the world. Discover more on how to fill your travels with adventure, warmth, and colour. Learn more about me here.

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