Standing at 2,925m, Musala is the highest peak not only in Bulgaria, but also in the South-Eastern Europe. Musala peak is located in Rila mountain, within the Rila National Park.
The name of the peak comes from the Arabic word “Musallah”, which means a place for prayer. It was named this when Bulgaria was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Before the Ottoman rule the peak bore the name “Tangra”. Tangra was the Bulgarian supreme god during the pre-Christian era.
Musala climbing routes
There are three huts along the way: Musala hut (xижа Мусала), Icy Lake hut (хижа Ледено езеро) and Musala summit hut.
From Borovets to Yastrebets peak
The easiest way is to take the gondola lift to Yastrebets peak (2369m). The lift is located in front of hotel Samokov. The ride is about 30min, 5 km. This option will allow you to climb Musala peak in one day.
Lift working hours: from 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM (more info)
Price: two way ticket costs 15 BGN (about 6 EUR) (more info)
You can also walk to Yastrebets peak, but it will take you about 3-4 hours of hiking. The walking path starts from Tsarska Bistritsa (Царска Бистрица). If you choose this option, you will have to sleep over in any of the huts along the way.
From Yastrebets peak to Musala hut
From the lift station it is about 1 hour walk to the hut. The path to the hut is marked, you just have to follow the signs. The walk is easy and pleasant with gorgeous views over the surrounding outcrops and valleys. Musala hut is located on 2389m, near one of the Musalenski Lakes (Мусаленски езера).
From Musala hut to Icy lake hut
The route is arduous and not so easy. It will take you about 2 hours. Icy lake hut is on 2709m, on the shore of the Icy Lake. The lake is named so, because it is covered with ice most of the year.
From Icy lake hut to Musala summit
The climbing will take you about 40 min. The route is difficult and exhausting, but the view from Musala summit is totally worth the efforts.
If the weather is clear, breathtaking scenery will be revealed in front of your eyes.
Tips for climbing Musala Peak
- The best period for climbing the peak is June – September.
- Don’t forget to take sun cream, comfortable hiking shoes and a raining jacket.
- The peak is one of the coldest places in Bulgaria (with an average annual temperature of -2.5 °C) so dress warm.
- You can buy food from any of the huts along the way, but you’d better bring your own.
- A map of the climbing routes you can find here.
- If you go back early and have a little time before the last ride of the lift, sit for a beer in the restaurant located next to the lift. The views and the french fries are to die for.
Another famous hiking route in Rila mountain are the Seven lakes.