Boyana Church

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Boyana Church: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

1. 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 historically significant frescoes of the Byzantine building, and hear how they started the fashion for illustrating biblical figures with emotions and placing them alongside the local aristocracy. With an estimated arrival time at the church of approximately 03:40 PM, enjoy about 30 minutes to explore. Leave at around 04:10 PM for the drive to Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center by 04:30 PM to 05:00 PM.

From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

2. From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

The tour departs early in the morning in front of Alexander Nevski. Your first stop will be the great UNESCO Boyana Church located on the outskirts of Sofia consisting of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th-century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two-story building to be erected next to it. After exploring it, head to Rila Monastery, where you will admire the impressive architecture, frescoes and learn about the history of the monastery from your guide. During the guided tour in the inner yard and the monastery museum, discover the most precious pieces that are kept from the past and all the facts and stories about the largest Bulgarian monastery complex. After your monastery tour, enjoy about 2.5 hours of free time for food and shopping.

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

3. 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.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana church and History Museum

4. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana church and History Museum

Enjoy the sights of Bulgaria from the comfort and convenience of a transfer, taking you to some of the country's most stunning and significant highlights all in one day. Meet your driver in the morning, at a centrally located meeting point in Sofia. Head to the UNESCO Boyana church and visit the richly frescoed historical site. Continue with a short transfer for the National Museum of History where you will have ample time for a tour of your own. Learn about the intriguing history of Bulgarian lands, and then meet you driver again for an onwards journey towards the UNESCO Rila Monastery. You will pass through beautiful countryside on the way to the Rila mountains. Go higher up the mountain through the scenic route, and reach the Rila Monastery. You will have enough time to visit at your own pace all the areas of the monastery complex. Then, in the afternoon, you will be driven back to Sofia city.

Sofia Half-Day Tour

5. Sofia Half-Day Tour

A guide will pick you up from your hotel and start off the tour by visiting the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the vicinity of Sofia - the Boyana Church. This delightful church is small in size yet has an enormous collection of historical art. You also have the option of going to the National Historical Museum nearby. Afterwards, it's on to Alexander Nevski Square for a visit of the largest Cathedral in the Balkans, followed by a stroll to the Russian Church. You'll also get to visit the National Theater and its garden, the rotunda (circular church) Church of St. George and the Roman remains. The tour will finish with a walk in front of the Balkan Hotel (St. Nedelya Church square).

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

6. 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 tremendous importance to Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. On the way back to Sofia, you’ll pass through Boyana Church, famed for its elaborate frescoes dating back to the 11th, 13th, 15th-17th, and 19th century. Afterwards, you’ll be transported back back to your accommodation in Sofia.

Day Trip to Vitosha, Boyana Church and Dragalevtsi Monastery

7. Day Trip to Vitosha, Boyana Church and Dragalevtsi Monastery

You tour starts at 10:00 AM when your guide will collect you from your hotel. You will travel by car to the Boyana Church, UNESCO historical place, dating back to the 10th century, which has unique and very well preserved frescoes and pictures from the period of 11th-14th century. You will have the chance to learn their history. Next, your trip will continue with a visit to the Dragalevtsi Monastery, also situated in the Vitosha Mountain. This still active monastery is probably the oldest of its kind in Bulgaria. It was built around the year 1345, then abandoned only 40 years later during the time of the Ottoman invasion, just to be brought again to life in the middle of the 15th century. It contains colorful murals and it is revered as one of the hiding places of the great Bulgarian national hero, Vasil Levski. Finally, you will head to some of the high spots in Vitosha from where you can see amazing views of Sofia from above. There are also several hiking paths that start from the viewpoint, so you can also opt for some walking in the mountain if the weather is good. Finally, your guide will take you back to your hotel. The duration of the whole tour is about 4-5 hours.

From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress

8. From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Plovdiv and Asen's Fortress

After a 2-hour drive, begin this full-day tour in one of Europe's oldest towns, Plovdiv. Walk along cobblestone streets and visit a 19th-century house to learn about the local production of alcoholic drinks and rose oil products. Explore the Roman Theater, Roman Stadium and church with virtual reality glasses before enjoying 2 hours of free time to walk around and have lunch and coffee along the main pedestrian street. After exploring Plovdiv, meet your van and guide to make the 30-minute drive to Asen's Fortress. Admire this beautiful, medieval structure and learn about the history of the place before taking photos from the top. Start your journey back to Sofia with an expected arrival time of approximately 6:00 PM.

Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

9. Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

Depart Sofia and travel to the Rila Mountains to visit Rila Monastery, the largest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1976, the monastery is set deep in the dense pine forests of the mountains and has been considered the keeper of Bulgaria's national identity since the Middle Ages. Marvel at the domes and striped colonnades of the monastery complex, and discover some amazing examples of Bulgarian icon paintings and woodcarving in the museum. See the cave where the monastery's founder, Saint Ivan Rilski lived and was buried. Learn how he was considered a miracle worker and why his cave is believed to be sacred. Then, go to Boyana Church on the outskirts of Sofia, added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1979. Admire its Byzantine architecture and Greek cross ground-plan with domes. Be mesmerized by the richly decorated facades and interior of the church, where several layers of wall paintings date from the 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th centuries. Look at the frescoes from 1259 and their depictions of life in Bulgaria in the Middle Ages. According to the experts, the style of these paintings is reminiscent of the Renaissance, even though they were created much earlier.

Sofia: Vitosha Mountain, Boyana Church & History Museum

10. Sofia: Vitosha Mountain, Boyana Church & History Museum

Start with pickup from your hotel in Sofia and travel to Vitosha Mountain you will begin the hiking portion of the tour. Discover one of the many scenic hiking routes of the Vitosha Nature Park, with some of the most beautiful views of the city of Sofia. After the scenic hike, head back to Sofia and learn more about the ancient and historical locations of the city. First, visit Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox site situated on the outskirts of Sofia. In 1979, the building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Then, make a stop at the National History Museum, the largest museum in the country. Discover a variety of objects related to Bulgarian archaeology, fine arts, history, ethnography.

Other Sightseeing Options in Boyana Church

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What people are saying about Boyana Church

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,405 reviews

Very beautiful tour in an amazing location. Our guide/driver Bobby was very energetic friendly and excited to show us some of the best sides of Rila Monastery, museum and another church. Locations for all these places were amazing . He also explained a lot of curious information and general knowledge about Bulgarian life/history related to the places and beyond. Thank you bobby you were great!

Great guide, at the same time also a very good driver, conveyed the information in a lively and humorous way. Definitely recommended! We were back before 5pm. It is worth bringing your own drinks and a snack for lunch.

Excellent trip, very professional and knowledgeable guide with funny jokes. Cold up in mountains so get a sweater or jacket. Go in the middle of the week to avoid crowds

Great tour. Everything ran smoothly and the guide (Ljubo) was great. Nice balance between guided tour and free time to explore on your own.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly which made for a very enjoyable tour. We would highly recommend