Smolyan Lakes, Bulgaria

Also known as:  Smolian Lakes, Smolianski Ezera, Smolyanski Lakes, Lake Matno, Lake Bristroto, Lake Blatistoto, Lake Lagot, Ezerov Gyol

Known as the “emerald eyes” of the Rhodope Mountains, the Smolyan Lakes are a series of scenic lakes set in southern Bulgaria close to the border with Greece. Located about six miles (10 kilometers) north of the community of Smolyan (also spelled Smolian) and spreading south of Pamporovo ski resort, visitors come to the area for sightseeing, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, hunting, bird watching, caving, rock climbing and – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Smolyan Lakes! Article topics include:

Looking for Smolyan Lakes cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Smolyan Lakes! Article topics include:

Looking for Smolyan Lakes cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Smolyan Lakes

Lake Locations: Bulgaria -

Known as the “emerald eyes” of the Rhodope Mountains, the Smolyan Lakes are a series of scenic lakes set in southern Bulgaria close to the border with Greece. Located about six miles (10 kilometers) north of the community of Smolyan (also spelled Smolian) and spreading south of Pamporovo ski resort, visitors come to the area for sightseeing, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, hunting, bird watching, caving, rock climbing and winter sports.

Named for the Slavic tribe of Smoleni, what may have been as many as 20 Smolyan Lakes (or Smolianski Ezera) now number seven. These natural lakes lie in tiers on an ancient landslide typical of lakes in the central part of the Rhodopes where the rockslide processes continue. The seven lakes are described as small in area and shallow. Some lakes have no water during dry months. The highest and deepest of these lakes is Lake Matno (Muddy Lake) at an elevation of 5,249 feet (1600 meters) and depth of 15 feet (4.5 meters). The largest lake is said to be Lake Bristroto (Clear or Crystal Lake) with about 20 acres sitting at 4,921 feet (1500 meters) along with Lake Blatistoto. The last of the identified lakes are Lake Lagot at 4,757 feet (1450 meters) and, described as a peat bog or swamp, Ezerov Gyol at 4,265 feet (1300 meters).

The beautiful pine forests, lakes and meadows of the Rhodope Mountains are said to have been the home of Orpheus, a name pulled from the pages of Greek mythology. Running approximately 149 miles (240 kilometers) east to west, over 83 percent of the range sits in southern Bulgaria with the remainder continuing into Greece. Claiming an average of 240 sunny days a year, the mild climate of the central Rhodopes is home to the internationally-known ski resort of Pamporovo.

Located seven miles (12 kilometers) north of Smolyan, Pamporovo is Europe’s southernmost ski resort resting on the slopes of 6,319-foot (1926 meter) Snejanka peak. A growing number of resorts, hotels, self-catering chalets, self-catering homes and real estate developments provide a selection of distinctive vacation rentals for leisurely trips to Smolyan Lakes or year around mountain adventures. During summer months the Rhodopes opens its slopes to rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, horse riding, or hiking 217 miles (350 kilometers) of marked trails winding through centuries-old forests. Bird watchers will find more than 200 species inhabiting the lakes, rivers and forests including the wall-creeper, black stork and golden eagle. When ski season begins visitors will find no end to the outdoor activities including skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice skating and ice fishing.

The Smolyanski Lakes are not particularly noted for their fishing but within the surrounding mountains there are numerous lakes, rivers and fish farms where mountain trout, whitefish, carp and perch can be found. Flowing near the town of Smolyan, the Arda River is the longest river in the Rhodopes and is home to barbell and grey mullet.

The region’s beautiful sunny days and clear skies enjoyed by Smolianski Ezera visitors support indoor activities as well as outdoor sports. The area’s starlit nights prompted the construction of Bulgaria’s largest public observatory and planetarium in the Rozhen area near the community of Smolyan. Since opening in 1975 the Smolyan Planetarium has developed lecture series, children’s programs, and a variety of shows (some with translations) attracting a growing number of visitors.

Near Smolyan Lakes and set within Bulgaria’s Smolyan Province, the community of Smolyan is the administrative and cultural capital of the central and western Rhodopes. The population of 33,000 combines the residents of three adjacent villages (Smolyan, Raikovo and Ustovo) that merged under the name of Smolyan in 1960. This historic community dates back to 1572 and has retained its cultural heritage through the invasion of Muslim Turks in the 17th century and continued Turkish rule until 1912. Noted for its mix of historic and modern architecture, a walk through Smolyan is a stroll through an intriguing and often violent history. The older section of Smolyan provides some of the country’s best examples of Bulgarian folkhouses dating from the 1870s. In contrast, a new modern town center was completed in 1983 providing a cultural center with a museum telling the story of the Rhodopes, art galleries displaying the work of local artisans, restaurants serving traditional fare, and intriguing shops to tempt a souvenir shopper.

Found 162 miles (260 kilometers) south of Sofia, the seven small Smolyan Lakes provide a major attraction for the town of Smolyan and the Rhodope Mountains. Lakes of simplicity and beauty, Smolianski Ezera offers a combination of peaceful scenery and recreation within easy driving distance of charming villages and mountain resorts. Whether you come for summer fun or stay to watch the Rhodopes sparkle with snow the hospitality and charm of rural Bulgaria will provide a vacation to remember.

Things to Do at Smolyan Lakes

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Smolyan Lakes

  • Carp
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

All About Smolyan Lakes

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Smolyan Lakes

The Smolyan Lakes map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Smolyan Lakes Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
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View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Smolyan Lakes Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Smolyan Lakes Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Smolyan Lakes Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Smolyan Lakes lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 4,265 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 5,249 feet

Maximum Depth: 15 feet

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Click here to advertise your Smolyan Lakes vacation rental or local business.

The former Smolyan Lakes forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Smolyan Lakes photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

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New Smolyan Lakes photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi