Sofia
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Sofia Culture & History

  • From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

    1. From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

    Depart Sofia in the morning and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver. Journey in air-conditioned comfort to Panichishte in the beautiful Rila National Park. Get briefed on arrival by your driver, who will tell you the different options and routes you can take up the mountain. Ride the chairlift to the 7 Rila Lakes, where you will get 5 hours of free time to go on some amazing nature walks independently to experience the glacial lakes from different perspectives. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point and relax on the 2-hour drive to Rila Monastery in a deep valley of the Rilska River. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery complex is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural and historical monuments. Get 1.5 hours to explore the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria at your own pace. Then, return to Sofia in the evening and ...

    It was amazing trip to rila mountain and rila monastry. We really enjoyed the trip.

  • From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

    2. From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

    Depart Sofia at 09:00 AM sharp, and relax on the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains. Upon arrival, explore the largest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Admire the arcaded balconies, and discover unique frescoes by one of the most famous painters of the Bulgarian National Revival period. See gilded iconostasis and enjoy the fabulous mountain views. Hear the story of the monastery from your guide before enjoying some time to explore the monastic complex on your own. Learn more at the museum, or purchase souvenir icons and other items in the nearby shops. Take some time to refuel with lunch at one of the local restaurants, where you can purchase local specialties such as mekitsi (a traditional Bulgarian dish of kneaded dough made with yogurt that is deep fried). Depart at 01:30 PM and travel to Boyana Church in the suburbs of Sofia. See the ...

    I was glad to find an option to book transport only to Boyana Church and Rila Monastery on the same day, without a guided tour. Driving is the easiest way to visit both places on the same day, but I prefer learning about cultural sites through reading and exploring on my own. I was impressed by how carefully everything was scheduled so that we could maximize our time at each place without waiting.

  • Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

    3. Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

    This full-day trip begins with a 2-hour drive from Sofia to Plovdiv, one of Europe’s oldest towns. On a guided walking tour, discover the history and culture of this 8,000-year old city that was settled by Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Bulgarian civilizations. See the sights of the old town, including museums, historical monuments and revival period houses lining the cobbled streets. Explore the Ethnographical Museum and the impressive Roman Theater. An English-speaking guide will accompany the group throughout the day and will point out the most interesting architectural and cultural treasures of the region and provide commentary on modern life in Bulgaria.

    Our guide Dafi was very good, comunicative and helpfull. The van was new, with a good driver. Plovdiv is a beatifull city. Not sure if it is always like that, but worth mention that the group was mainly elderly and families.

  • Rila Monastery Day Trip from Sofia

    4. Rila Monastery Day Trip from Sofia

    Board the shuttle service behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center. Then, head to the medieval Rila Monastery in the spectacular Rila Mountains. Get over 2 hours of free time to explore the complex, founded by the hermit monk Ivan Rilski in 927 AD. Marvel at the frescoes of the main church and visit the medieval tower independently. Wander down quiet outdoor corridors adorned with beautiful mosaics, and see gold-plated iconostasis and valuable icons from the 14th to 19th century. Learn more about the history of the site at the museum, where highlights include the double-sided crucifix of the Rila Cross. See the old bakery and other monuments, including the residential area of high stone walls and little windows. Board the minibus back to Sofia in the afternoon and get dropped off at the pick-up point on arrival.

    It was approximately for 2 hours drive to the destination, kind instruction was given to the participants. Even though there was the trace of snow that had been still remained in Rila, it was not so much cold than I expected in the mid of February when I had the tour. The time in the Rila Monastery was approximately for 3 hours (12.00 arrival, 15.00 to get on the car for return, verily enough, everything was possible, including museum, restaurant, strolling around the monastery that has the water fountains, drinkable waters, famous for clean, non chemical.) The fascination of this destination is not only the renowned sanctity, but also the surrounding environment, rocks and mountain ranges, superb scenery of Bulgaria can be enjoyed on journey.

  • From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana

    5. From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana

    Spend the day exploring 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located outside of Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city. Begin by meeting at 9:00 behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. Sit back and relax for the next 2 hours as your friendly, English-speaking drivers transport you to Rila. Upon arriving, spend 2 hours exploring the area and visiting the Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant which features a specialty of grilled trout. Get back in the van for another 2-hour journey, eventually arriving at Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church on the outskirts of Sofia. Check out the elaborate frescoes that have made this site famous, before your tour returns you to your meeting point.

    The guide told us everything about the Church of Bojana and Rila. He was very friendly and we had anough free time to take photos usw...

  • Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

    6. Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

    Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After an approximately 2-hour drive, you will reach Lovech. From there you will begin exploring the old quarter of the city. You will walk through the small cobbled streets, traveling back in time as you admire the typical 14th-century houses. You will then take a detailed trip to the Vassil Levski Museum, before continuing your walk to the Hisarya Fortress. The last site in the town to which you will pay attention is the famous Covered Bridge, a masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture which was built by Master Kolio Ficheto. Following the bridge, you will continue your trip with a 20-minute drive to your next stop, Devetashka Cave. Once there you will have some time to walk around the stunning cave, and will proceed to the Krushuna Waterfalls (a 20-minute drive from Devetashka Cave). There you will discover a ...

    We were picked up by a cheerful, bubbly guide, Nadia from the Bultrips. She is a lovely guide, with a lot of energy. She shared much about the places we went to. Though it was a very cold day with only us visiting those places, Nadia made it so special for us and brought us a to great lunch place. She also bought us some chocolates at the Lovech town which was delicious! The caves were indeed magnificient and the town of Lovech is such a peaceful town.

  • From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

    7. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

    This full-day tour is designed for active people wishing to combine a trek to natural wonders, with a tour of the most visited tourist attraction in Bulgaria, the magnificent Rila Monastery. Departing Sofia, you will head for the Rila Mountains, where you will enjoy a moderate hike through what is arguably the most distinguished area in the mountains, the 7 Rila Lakes. After a transfer of approximately 90 minutes, you will reach the region of Panichishte, where you will board a chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. Consisting of a group of glacial lakes, the 7 Rila Lakes is located at an altitude of between 6,900 feet (2,100 meters) and 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. Surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys, you will see spectacular views as you walk through its pearls, such as The Eye, The Tear, The Kidney, The Twins, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake and The Lower Lake. The rout...

    Our tour guide Petr was really friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the chairlift to the mountain was closed due to the hard wind. Therefore we didn't go to the lakes but visited a waterfall and natural piramides. That was also very beautiful. However we had to drive longer. The rila monastry was amazing!

  • Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Full-Day Tour from Sofia

    8. Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Full-Day Tour from Sofia

    A 2-hour drive from Sofia will take you to the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city and one of its oldest towns. Within 2-3 hours of walking along the city, you will discover the history and culture behind a 7000-year old settlement, written by the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Bulgarian civilizations. You can enjoy sightseeing in the Old Town with its museums, historical monuments, revival period houses, lined with souvenir shops cobbled streets or get impressed by the rich Ethnographical Museum and the ancient Roman Theater. Feel the atmosphere of this artistic and trades center and enjoy a lunch at the local restaurants. Next stop on your way back is the charming town of Koprivshtitsa with its fascinating history and authentic 19th-century architecture. Spend the rest of the day in the leisure of this small and picturesque city situated in central Bulgaria, spread amongst...

    Well organized day trip. Our guide was very knowledgeable and showed us all the important locations and their history. You also get some free time to explore for yourself. Definitely recommended

  • Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

    9. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

    After pickup from any accommodation in Sofia, your journey through over 1,000 years of Bulgarian cultural history begins. Make the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery via air-conditioned bus into the dense pine forests of Rila Mountain. Upon arriving, explore the monastery, which was founded in 927, at your own pace with 2 hours of free time. Amble the 21-acre complex, taking in the colorful and unique traditional Orthodox architecture. Gaze at the 5-domed church, with its numerous altars, side chapels, and gold-plated mosaics. Take in the beauty of the tranquil mountain environment surrounding the peaceful place of worship. Afterwards, you’ll have lunch, before heading on to your next destination. Only a couple of miles away from the monastery into the forest is St. Ivan Rilski Cave, where St. Ivan of Rila took up residency in the early 10th century. Experience a sacred site of tremend...

    The best trip to Rila Monastery . Maria is wonderful guide. Really recommend to all who would like to have perfect weekend outside of Sofia

  • Sofia: Communist Walking Tour

    10. Sofia: Communist Walking Tour

    Discover the main landmarks of communist history in the city of Sofia. Start your tour by passing by the former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Continue on to see buildings such as the secret police investigation facility and the destroyed mausoleum. Head on towards the monument of the Soviet army and the National Palace of Culture. During the 3-hour-long walking tour, learn about the theory of communism and what Marxism-Leninism is. Find out about the history of communism in Bulgaria, the pros and cons of the period, and the relation between the communist government and religion, industry, economy, culture and everyday life of the people. End the tour with a fresh perspective on the city and a new insight into the country's communist past. 

    Our guide Martin was great with a lot of history knowledge and stories. I really recommend this tour.

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,259 reviews

We had the most amazing time. This tour is a must! The rocks are so beautiful. You don't have to be a good hiker to do it. The car ride is worth it. And after seeing the castle they bring you to an hidden space with a beautiful view. I reconment this so much. Our tour guide was really chill and had so many good stories/info!

Rila and Boyana are a must see in Bulgaria. The tour was great, and Lubo, our guide, made it fantastic. He's very knowledgeable and passionate, and explains not only the history of the sites, but also the history and culture of the country itself. Would definitely do it again!

Perfect service and a lot of in information was given by our driver! We really recommend :))

Loved the experience. George (our driver) was great and we had a wonderful time.

It was amazing experience. Rila Monastery is definetely worth to see