Trekking in the Pirin Mountains, Sandanski

Our day of hiking through the lower area of the Pirin Mountains will take us along the western slope of the massif, above the city of Sandanski.

This mountain range has peaks such as the Vihren, about 2,914 meters (9,560 feet) in height, which require more time to reach its peak, especially by the snow that is in its upper part in the colder months.

Sandanski Trekking map

On our tour we start from the Sveti Vrach Park, located in the center of Sandansi at the foot of the mountains, and we will cross several trails of the hillside, reaching an approximate height of 600 meters above sea level.

The route is of low difficulty and offers magnificent views of the city of Sandanski and other towns of the Struma River Valley, such as Polenitsa, Novo Delchevo, Leshnitsa, Kulata, Petrich, among others.

You can also see the Belasica Mountains to the southeast, which share Bulgaria and Macedonia, where the Tumba Peak stands out.

To the south we see some mountains and lands belonging to the Administration of Thrace and East Macedonia, of Greece.

The tour started at Okolovrasten Pat Avenue, which runs from the center of Sandanski towards the mountain, and runs along the southern limit of the Sveti Vrach Park.

Here we use a path to climb the small hill located directly in front of the park lake. At its top there is a viewpoint in the shape of a Greek Acropolis.

From the avenue to the viewpoint are approximately 200 meters of walk, enough to have the city of Sandanski at our feet.

Sandanski panoraminc view
Overview of the city of Sandanski.

We continue ascending and after a few meters the road runs through tall pine forests.

We come to a fork, if we continue to the left we will go down slowly until we reach the Okolovrasten Pat Avenue again. We will continue on the right, to continue ascending and reach the small water reservoir of Polenitsa.

Sandanski truck between trees
Trail between the forest.

From here we can return to Sandanski using the conventional streets and passing through the center of the small town of Polenitsa. There are approximately 2,300 meters of descent to Sandanski.

Or if we wish we can ascend the mountain even more by the small road. We will pass through the access to the Hotel Sveti Vrach, which has a nice park with ponds and panoramic views.

Mountains near Polenitsa
Gaining height in the Pirin Mountains.

If we follow the mountain, above we will reach other small reservoirs of water after a few minutes.

To return to Sandanski, we will use the same path we are ascending.

As one gains height, the views are more impressive, but given the extension of the Pirin Massif, we are still far from reaching the top of the mountains (about 24 or 25 kilometers more of the climb).

Little path, Pirin Mountains
On the slopes, it is common to find small trails like this one.

We decided to go back home, passing through the downtown area of Polenitsa, a small town of 1,150 people.

We continue descending towards Sandanski by the routeand we pass by the Hotel Medite, and after 1,100 meters of walk, we arrive to Sandanski again.

It should be noted that the route was made on foot, but those who do can get on the car from Sandanski to Polenitsa and even higher thanks to the roads in good condition.

Our journey took about 5 hours walking slowly and taking breaks to take pictures and admire the landscape. The distance walked was 9 kilometers.

Park, near Polenitsa
Small park surrounded by vegetation.

Hiking Slopes Mountains Pirin

  • Route: Departure from Sandanski, through an acropolis viewpoint, mountain trails and a conventional street to gain altitude. Return to Sandanski by Polenitsa.
  • Height reached: 600 meters above sea level.
  • Difficulty: Low. Until reaching the conventional roads (small road) at the height of the Polenitsa water reservoir, the way is a pedestrian path of moderate ascent. From there it’s simpler.
  • Keep in mind: Winter or summer temperatures can make travel difficult. Given the distance between Polenitsa and Sandanski with the highest part of the mountains (more than 20 kilometers), it is advisable to reserve more than one day if you want to reach the top. Take into consideration that to return we must retrace our steps, the higher we reach, the longer it will take us to descend.
  • The circuit made (and marked on the map of the article) took just over 5 hours and 9 kilometers in total.
Route climbing near Polenitsa
If you do not want to walk, you can ascend to a certain point by means of small roads.
Iani Nikolov
News Reporter

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