4. Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Melnik
This 11-hour guided small-group tour focuses on the highlights of Rila Monastery and Melnik. You will be also introduced to nature conservation, Bulgarian geography, as you will see two of the highest mountains on the Balkans, agriculture and economy during and after communism. There are plenty of other interesting themes that you can discuss with your experienced guide while on the road.
Depart early in the morning from busy Sofia and head to the tranquil heart of the Rila mountains, where you can admire the impressive Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Its architecture and the frescoes represent the apogee of Bulgarian Renaissance art. In a one-hour guided tour of the most treasured monuments in the inner yard and the Monastery museum, you will learn the most fascinating facts and stories about the biggest Bulgarian monastery complex. Enjoy free time to buy souvenirs, take photos or to continue to explore it by yourself.
Your tour continues south to Melnik (about a 1.5-hour drive). Admire the strangely shaped sand and clay formations. Now the smallest town in Bulgarian with only 208 inhabitants, Melnik still preserves part of its glory from the 17th to 19th centuries, when it was a flourishing tobacco and wine-producing center. Today, the city is famous for its lovely white houses and cobbled streets, mild climate and of course internationally recognized brands of red wine. You will have a guided walking tour through the city and enter the biggest Bulgarian Revival Period style house and its tunnel-like wine cellar.