Have you checked out Vihren Peak already? If so it’s time to venture off further into the Pirin National Park and head to Sinanitsa Hut.
It’s a lot further from Vihren Hut and harder to get to than some of the closer spots like Okoto and Muratovo Lake. So that means fewer tourists and hikers and more of the trail to yourself. Wohoo!
Sinanitsa Hut is located right on the edge of this beautiful alpine lake in the Pirin National Park. It’s probably the hardest hike we’ve attempted to date in the area but it was totally worth it. You can hike up to the summit of Sinanitsa, hike down to the lake with the hut, or do both!
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about the hike.
Spoiler: We didn’t actually make it to the summit because Jo’s knee was killing her from hiking up to Vihren Peak the week before. We still got all the views and even took some pictures of the Sinanishko Lake. So it was still a win in our books.
All the info on how to get from Vihren Hut to Sinanitsa Hut
The hike up to Sinanitsa Peak feels like one of the more challenging hikes we’ve done. In most places we hike, the trails are usually quite easy to follow, flat, and well-groomed. One thing you’ll get used to while hiking in the Pirin National Park is that most of the trails have lots of sections where you walk over big rocks.
Thankfully, for the most part, they are all quite stable but you definitely have to watch your footing and it takes longer than if you were just walking on a standard trail. We personally wouldn’t have done this trail without proper hiking boots with ankle support because even with them we both almost rolled our ankles multiple times. Hiking poles would have been nice too but we forget them.
But as long as you take your time and enjoy the views, the trail is absolutely worth doing. It’s a nice workout too. It’s a good 600m in elevation from Vihren Hut to Sinanitsa Hut. So come prepared with lots of water and snacks.
Practical information about the hike up to Sinanitsa Hut
Distance: 8.1 km return / 5.03 miles return
Elevation: 625 m / 2050 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out trail
Length: 6-7 hours return. (can be longer if you go to the peak and hut)
Difficulty: hard (lots of hiking on big rocks)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The hike itself is pretty straightforward and there are lots of signs along the way. You’ll follow a yellow and blue trail (think of Sweden) most of the way. There’s a few spots that you need to take the right path to stay on track but it’s if you follow this guide you should be all good!
How to get from Vihren Hut to Sinanitsa Hut
From Vihren Hut to Lake Muratovo
This hike is completely different from some of the other hikes we’ve done (Bansko to Vihren Hut or Vihren Hut to Vihren Peak). This hike takes you deep into the Pirin National Park (one of the best places to hike in Bulgaria).
Honestly, the first section of the hike is our favourite. Yes, because it’s the easiest but also because we find it to be one of the most beautiful spots in the whole mountain range.
You’ll walk next to a nice little stream (from where you can walk to Okoto Lake only a few minutes from the main trail). You walk through this beautiful lush meadow with mountains all around. It’s the most peaceful place.
Then all of a sudden Muratovo Lake appears out of nowhere. This is still pretty close to the beginning of the hike so we wouldn’t recommend taking a break here quite yet. But on the way back down you should definitely spend some time at the lake.
There’s even a little stream on the one side of the lake where you can fill up your water bottle with fresh mountain spring water. That is life! =)
From Lake Muratuvo to the coat-hanger
So this next section is probably the most challenging. It’s a whole hell of a lot of elevation. On top of that, this is one of the sections where you’re going to be doing a lot of walking on big rocks. So wear your hiking shoes and bring some good hiking poles and head up the mountain. Take your time and keep looking for the yellow and blue markings on the rocks.
It feels exhausting at times but it will be totally worth it, trust us. Keep hiking until you get to a section with a pole sticking out. There will also be a tree-looking thing that looks like a coat hanger.
You may actually see other people hanging out at this spot because it’s the last stop for people who are hiking up to Muratovo Peak which overlooks the lake down below. Feel free to do this if you have the energy for it. But it might be a good idea for you to save this for after Sinanitsa or a different day.
You can always check back here on the trail from Vihren Hut to Sinanitsa Peak to make sure you’re on the right track.
From the coat-hanger to Sinanitsa Lake
You’ve made it past what we consider the hardest part of the hike. Now you get a nice break and actually get to walk on a proper trail. This section of the hike is important though. Make sure to follow the blue signs from this point.
It’s the easiest and best way so we recommend taking the blue trail. You can always look back on your map if you’re not sure but once you’re up there it’s pretty obvious. You can always ask one of the people hiking up to Muratovo Peak too.
At this point, you most likely won’t see many other hikers unless you’re hiking in the middle of summer. Summer hiking is probably the most popular in Bulgaria but we really enjoy the late summer / early fall hikes.
You will continue on this blue trail until Sinanitsa Lake finally comes into view. From there you have two options on how you want to continue your hike!
Up to the peak or down to the lake
The choice is yours! We chose to go towards the peak because we wanted to see the lake and Sinanitsa Hut from above. We got about halfway to the peak and Jo’s knee wasn’t doing great so we called it quits and enjoyed a nice lunch spot with an awesome view of the lake!
Go left: If you go left and continue up from this section you will start to make your way towards Sinanitsa Peak. The trail is a little tricky to follow but as long as you know which mountain to aim towards you’re fine. Double-check your map once or twice to ensure you’re on the right path.
The hike up to the peak is challenging but doable. Once you get to the peak we recommend coming back the same way. If you try to go straight down to the lake it can be a little dangerous.
Go right: If you go right you’ll start descending down towards Sinanitsa Lake. This is the option we probably should have chosen but good thing we didn’t because of Jo’s knee (going back up could’ve been challenging).
This is the easier of the two paths because this one is just down to the lake on an easier trail to follow.
If you’re lucky, you may have the whole lake and hut area to yourself. This is one of the more quiet parts of the mountain just because of how far it is from Vihren Hut. Not too many people make it out here but it’s so worth it and once you’re out there you’ll 100% agree!
Back to Vihren Hut
Whichever way you end up deciding to go, we hope you enjoy it. Honestly, both ways are a blast. On one path, you end up at a peak overlooking the lake. On the other, you end up at this beautiful alpine lake.
The way back to Vihren Hut is the same way you came. The trail is an in-and-out trail and it’s quite easy to follow back.
If you have some time and it’s a nice, sunny day we highly recommend hanging out at either Lake Muratovo or Lake Okoto after your hike. Both alpine lakes are so beautiful and surrounded by the Pirin Mountains and green nature all around. Just remember that you are NOT allowed to swim in the lakes!
We unlaced our hiking shoes for a little bit, enjoyed some snacks and filled up our water bottles at the spring next to Lake Muratovo. It was just the perfect day hike.
From Muratuvo it’s just the small last stretch back to the Vihren Hut and the hike is done!
How to get to Vihren Hut
To actually get to the trailhead and start this hike you have to get to Vihren Hut. Thankfully there are a bunch of different ways to get to the hut so no matter the time of year you plan on hiking this you should easily be able to get to the hut.
You can totally hike up like we mentioned before. It’s challenging because it basically adds an extra 20 km to an already hard hike to the peak but totally doable. For all the information about hiking up to Vihren you can check out this post: How to hike from Bansko to Vihren Hut.
Go by bus
If you’re going solo up to Vihren Hut then the bus is probably the best option. You can see the bus timetable between Bansko and Vihren Hut here. The price for the ticket is 8 Lev ($4.5).
The bus runs consistently from February to mid-September. The time schedule is all on the website we linked above. There’s also a phone number you can call to double-check if the bus is actually going (sometimes it runs on what we like to call Bulgarian schedule). It takes just under an hour to get to Vihren Hut by bus.
Go by car
If you rented a car or have friends with a car, then that would definitely be your best option. If you’re a digital nomad like us and at Coworking Bansko then you can also rent one of their cars for the day (they even have a Lada).
There are a few parking areas up on the mountain. There’s a small car park right at Vihren Hut but unless you leave at 7am you likely won’t get a spot. There are plenty of spots on the side of the road up the mountain as well so you should be able to find parking there.
For the first 20-minutes of the drive, the road is very decent! But just to give you a bit of heads up, the roads are quite narrow near the top close to Vihren Hut. So if you’re not super comfortable with narrow roads then maybe park a little further down the mountain. There’s a big parking lot a bit further down and from there it’s about a 40-minute walk to Vihren Hut.
Go by taxi
Going by taxi is probably the easiest and most convenient way, and if there are at least 2 of you it’s also pretty affordable. A one-way drive up the mountain will cost you about 25 Lev ($15). Here are the phone numbers for the Bansko taxi services.
We usually keep the phone number of our driver so we can call him again after our hike. That way we know we get a driver we can trust.
By taxi, the trip is about 30 minutes. So a lot quicker than taking the bus (and cheaper if you’re 2-4 people).
Before you hike up to Sinanitsa
A few things to consider before hiking up to Sinanitsa Peak/Hut is that the weather up in the mountains can be quite different from the weather down in Bansko. Especially for how far in the Pirins you will be going. It’s always nice to bring a few extra layers so you don’t freeze your tail off up in the mountains.
It’s also a good idea to download the app Mapy.cz (click here for Android or here for iPhone) to follow the trail. It’s honestly our favourite app for hiking because of how detailed it is. It works in any country we’ve been to so – even offline when we’ve loaded the map beforehand.
What to bring on the trail
Hiking to Sinanitsa is a full-day hike so you should pack a full bag.Our Osprey bags are always full of sunscreen, snacks, tripod, camera, and other small nicknacks that we bring.
Things to consider bringing:
- Reusable water bottles! We love our Lifestraws because of the filter! Although we fill it up with fresh mountain water on almost every hike you just never know if it’s actually drinkable or not.
- Sunscreen is a must (eco-friendly of course)! Vihren Hut is near 2000 meters above sea level so it can get toasty up there.
- Extra layers for the chillier days (long-sleeve shirt or a windbreaker jacket).
- A sun hat or bucket hat + sunglasses for the sunnier days.
- If you want to take some cool pictures a portable tripod or a #selfiestick is nice to bring.
- As we mentioned above, hiking poles are nice to have before the knees start to get too sore.
Also, this is a great list of hiking gear if you’re looking for more inspiration!
You may also like…
- 5 Beautiful Hikes to Do in the Pirin Mountains
- How To Hike The Famous Vihren Peak In Bulgaria
- Exploring Alpine Lakes in the Pirin National Park
- How to Hike From Bansko to Vihren Hut
- The Best Ways to Get From Sofia to Bansko
We hope you enjoy your hike whether you end up at the lake or the peak. The Pirin Mountain range is incredible and especially in late summer / early fall when the trails are a bit quieter. It’s this little paradise in the beautiful country of Bulgaria.
We hope you enjoy all the other hikes in and around Bansko as well. Maybe next time we’ll check out another peak.
Dom & Jo
Red White Adventures