GURGULITSA MOUNTAIN HUT
At 13 kilometres from Kostenets train station is this mountain hut (mountain hut = хижа - hizha). It's named hizha Gurgulitsa and it can easily be reached either by bike/taxi/your own car. Most probably you will arrive in Kostenets first. In the center, a bit uphill from the train station, are a couple of places you can enjoy a drink. Kostenets has some guesthouses, which makes it a good base. However, it is in the fields so you'd have to travel a bit outside of town to get to the mountains. It is therefore worth it to find a guesthouse in the mountains, unless you need to leave Kostenets in the early morning. After all, this article is about the Gurgulitsa mountain hut where, obviously, you can spend the night.
From Kostenets it's 13 kilometres to the hut, of which half along the main road. It is not recommended to go on foot. By bike it's possible but beware of speeding cars on this straight road. Vili Kostenets consists of a couple of cafés, restaurants and the nearby hotel complex Ezeroto. A taxi from Kostenets takes you to Vili Kostenets for about 8 levas (as of May 2016). Taxis are on the square in front of Kostenets train station. Be sure to negotiate the price beforehand. If you ask the driver's phone number, he can pick you up again as you head back to Kostenets. You can also ask in the restaurants and cafés, most probably the staff will know a driver in Kostenets. Right next to the cafés and restaurants in Vili Kostenets is the path to the Chavcha waterfall, the walk is just a few minutes. It is great to stand near the waterfall on a hot summer day and feel the cool breeze coming from the water rushing down. A bridge crossing the creek leads all the way up into the mountains. From the base of Vili Kostenets is another path leading to Belmeken lake and a paved road to the Gurgulitsa mountain hut. There are signs but if you're not sure, ask anyone.
Most probably, a taxi would take you to the mountain hut but it's more pleasant to walk there from Vili Kostenets. Take the paved road or the unpaved, marked shortcuts. By road it's about 4 kilometres, taking you upto an hour and a half including a break. On the way you pass guesthouse Shans. This is their Facebook page with contact details. Feel free to reach the lovely owners by phone on either +359 (0) 899555370 or +359 (0) 899582113.
Upon arrival at the mountain hut, you see the tall Rila mountains and their dense forests. The mountain hut is right at their feet. Contact details for the hut are found on this page. The place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you don't spend the night, you can eat and drink at their place. The surroundings are serene and in summer it's nice and cool. Near the guesthouse, at about 2,5 kilometres walking, is another waterfall. I did not have the chance to visit it. The hut is also the starting point for trips to hizha Venetitsa (3 hrs 30 mins), hizha Belmeken (5 hrs 30 mins) and lake Belmeken (4 hrs 30 mins).
The Gurgulitsa mountain hut is great just for a single visit. It is also an ideal stop on a multiple day trip through the Rila mountains. Ancient forests, waterfalls and the mountain breeze will surely help you unwind, no matter how long you stay.
I visited the area with a friend and took a video, which you can see on the left. It was taken on the way to the mountain hut and partly at the hut itself.
In this clip, you see a short shot of mountain hut Gurgulitsa, which I visited with my brother and his girlfriend.