Nestled in the Pirin Mountains of Bulgaria lies the stunning Vassilashki Lakes, a natural wonder that draws in tourists and locals alike. The lakes are located in the Vassilashki Cirque, between Todorca, Vassilashki Chukar, and one of the Tepitzki Peaks. The Cirque is open towards the east, leading towards the Demianitsa River valley, and the waters of the lake system flow into it through a short, powerful stream. The Vassilashki Cirque is a terraced structure with several smaller cirques arranged like a windmill above a more prominent, central cirque. The two main Vassilashki lakes, the Upper and Lower, can be found within them. South of the main cirque, two higher-lying cirque basins contain the Tevno Vassilashko Lake and a group of smaller lakes. To the northwest, a small, well-defined secondary cirque houses the two Todorini Lakes, the highest ones in the group.
The shores of the Vassilashki Lakes are steep and rocky, and the water temperature in the summer ranges from 9-12 degrees Celsius (48 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit). Except for Tevno Lake, the lakes are stocked with grayling, while the trout population is natural. The Vassilashki Lakes basin consists of ten lakes, plus the two Todorini Lakes, with a combined area of around 180 hectares.
The Tevno Vassilashko Lake is located at an altitude of 2362 meters. With its crystal blue waters, it’s also known as the Blue Lake, and in the middle of the lake, there is a small island that adds to its charm. The lake is approximately 390 meters long and 215 meters wide, with an area of around 65 hectares. It is the second deepest lake in Pirin, with a depth of 29 meters, and has an estimated volume of 500,000 cubic meters of water. The name of the Tevno Lake comes from the fact that the lake is deep, hence dark, as the word “tevno” in archaic Bulgarian language means “dark”.
While the lake’s depth and beauty are impressive, its lack of fish sets it apart from the other lakes. Tevno Vassilashko Lake drains into an underground river that flows into the Upper Vassilashko Lake, meaning that fish cannot survive there. However, this does not detract from the stunning scenery and peacefulness of the lake.
The path to Tevno Vassilashko Lake is not marked, and there are several ways to reach it. One way is to follow an unmarked trail from the eastern side of the Upper Vassilashko Lake. Another option is a steep path that connects the Tevno Lake Shelter to the Vihren Hut. Both approaches are unmarked and challenging.
The breathtaking views, the surrounding peaks, and the panorama of Pirin National Park more than reward the effort required to reach Tevno Vassilashko Lake. The best view of the lake is from the main ridge of Pirin along the Red Trail, where visitors can take in the beauty of the lake while enjoying the spectacular vista of the Vihren, Kutelo, and Todorka peaks.
The Upper Vassilashko Lake is located at an altitude of 2154 meters under the peak of Tipits. The Upper Vassilashko Lake has a boomerang shape with dimensions of 212 by 235 meters, resulting in a total area of 23.2 decares. Despite being shallow, only 3.1 meters, it has a water volume of almost 29,000 cubic meters, making it the third largest in the group. The waters of Todorini Lakes and Tevno Vassilashko Lake flow into it, draining into the Lower Lake through a steep moraine wall.
The Lower Vassilashki Lake, also known as Ribno Lake (Fish Lake), is the second largest of the group (35.9 hectares) and is located just below the Upper Lake at an altitude of 2,126 meters. It measures 325 meters in length, 177 meters in width, and is up to 2.5 meters deep, giving it a volume of only 41,000 cubic meters. A small, picturesque peninsula protrudes into the southern part of the lake. The Lower Lake collects the waters from the entire cirque. At first, the water flows underground, passing through a moraine wall to reach the eastern shore, but at 250 meters, it resurfaces and cascades down the rocks as a wild river (the Vassilashka River). The lake is teeming with trout, hence its name.
The Vassilashki Lakes are a natural wonder that should not be missed. The breathtaking views, crystal-clear waters, and stunning surroundings make it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Bulgaria. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a place to relax and unwind, the Vassilashki Lakes will surely leave a lasting impression.
More information about Prin National Park