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Sofia Architecture

Our most recommended Sofia Architecture

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: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

2. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

Experience the religious history of Bulgaria on a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Rila Monastery and Boyana Church from Sofia. Follow your guide around the monastery to learn about this epic site or choose to explore it on your own before viewing Boyana Church's ancient frescoes. Meet your friendly group for the day near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Settle down in your seat and set off out of the city as you drive along scenic roads with picturesque views of rural Bulgaria. Arrive at Rila Monastery, the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in the country. If you've booked the tour, follow your guide around the historic site and learn about the main frescoes. If you're an explorer you can visit the museum, take photos, and check out the church at your own pace. Then start your journey back to Sofia with one more important stop along the way. Enter the medieval Boyana Church and stroll within the ancient walls, studying the artistic frescoes which make this place so special.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana Church & History Museum

3. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana Church & History Museum

Enjoy the sights of Bulgaria with the convenience of a day-long transfer service to popular attractions, taking you to some of the country's most significant highlights. Discover the Bells Monument, Boyana Church, the National Museum of History, and the Rila Monastery. Meet your driver at a centrally located meeting point in Sofia and head to The Bells Monument. This is one of the hidden sights of the city that very few visitors see due to its remote location. Learn about the country's intriguing communist past. After that, continue with a short transfer to the UNESCO-listed Boyana church. See the medieval pre-Renaissance frescoes inside the church. Then, continue with a short transfer to 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 your driver again for an onward journey toward the Rila Monastery. Pass through beautiful countryside on the way to the Rila mountains. Go higher up the mountains through the scenic route, and reach the Rila Monastery. Visit at your own pace, then, in the afternoon, be driven back to Sofia city.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

4. Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

Discover Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on this full-day trip from Sofia. During this day tour to Skopje, you will have the chance to explore the city's highlights and hear its rich history and culture from your guide.  Be picked up from your accommodation in Sofia and board an airconditioned vehicle. Relax, and take in the countryside on the transfer to Skopje. Once in Skopje, begin your walking tour of the at Skopje Fortress. Admire sweeping views of the city from the fortress before heading to the Church of the Holy Savior, home to fantastic iconostasis. Continue towards the Sultan Murat Mosque and the Old Bazaar, where you can witness the remnants from Ottoman Period.  Listen as your guide tells you about Skopje's history as one of the main trade centers in the Balkans. Stop a typical Macedonian restaurant where you can purchase a delicious lunch before crossing the Vadar River explore the other side of the city.  Visit the new neo-classical square and continue to the Mother Teresa memorial house. End your walking tour at the newly built triumphal arch Porta Macedonia. Journey back to Sofia and be dropped off at your hotel or accommodation. 

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

5. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

In the morning - meet your local English-speaking host at the centrally located meeting point. A 2-hour minibus transfer through the Bulgarian countryside takes you to the Rhodope mountains, where you climb aboard the narrow gauge train for a scenic ride through the mountains. Meet local Bulgarian people on the train and learn about the history of the area. Get off the train at Avramovo station for a short transfer to Bansko town at the footsteps of Pirin National Park. Your driver will drop you off at the convenient location, close to the Old Town. Explore at your own speed the ancient streets, visit the main church or take the opportunity to taste traditional local food at one of the traditional restaurants called mehana (lunch is optional and not included). In the afternoon, meet again your host and driver for a minibus transfer to the Rila National Park. You will arrive at the UNESCO listed Rila monastery after the crowds have gone, for a truly intimate experience. Explore on your own the ancient monastic complex. Later in the afternoon, get on the minibus for the final transfer back to Sofia city.

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

6. 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 get dropped off at the meeting point.

From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

7. 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: Plovdiv Guided Day Tour

8. From Sofia: Plovdiv Guided Day Tour

Depart Sofia in the morning for a full-day excursion to Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria and one of the oldest towns in the world. Learn about the history of Plovdiv, dating back to Troya and Mycenae. During a 2 hour guided tour in the old town, discover the history and the culture of the 7,000-year-old settlement from its Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods to the present day. Admire museums, churches, historic monuments, revival period houses, souvenir shops, and cobblestone streets. See the Ethnographic Museum and the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Roman Theater. After the guided tour, you will have about 2 hours of free time for lunch and shopping. The, relax on the journey back to Sofia.

From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

9. From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

Leave Sofia and enjoy a full-day tour to Plovdiv, Asen's fortress, and Bachkovo Monastery with a licensed guide. See some of the most interesting historic sites in the area, like Nebet Tepe, the Roman theater of Phillippolis, and the Church of the Holy Mother of God on this tour. Leave Sofia and set out for a full-day tour to Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress, and Bachkovo Monastery. Start the day with hotel pickup in Sofia and relax on the 90-minute drive to Plovdiv. Visit the site of Nebet Tepe, an ancient settlement founded around 4000 BC, and see some historical buildings. Travel to the Roman theater of Phillippolis, one of the world's best-preserved ancient theaters. Marvel at the intricate wooden architecture of Hindliyan's house before moving on to the modern Kapana district to explore the shops and wander one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. Relax on the approximately 30-minute drive from Plovdiv to Asen's Fortress, perched on top of a hill in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains. Learn how the fortress that defended the route from the Aegean Sea to Thrace, and see the ruins of the fort itself and the Church of the Holy Mother of God. Admire some of the fragments of fourteenth-century murals in the church, and see its rectangular tower, believed the be the earliest preserved tower of its kind in the Balkans—Marvel at breathtaking views from the top of the fortress before departing for the next stop. Leave the fortress behind and stop at Bachkovo Monastery, the second-largest monastery in Bulgaria. Explore the main church with one of the oldest iconostasis in Bulgaria and the miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary, the biggest fresco from the nineteenth century. Wander the Monastery and see the old dining room and original marble table, where monks ate for over three centuries, and gazer at the well-preserved murals in the St. Archangels and St. Nicolas churches. Sit in the courtyard and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and impressive trees. Buy handicrafts, honey, homemade jam, yogurt, herbs, and other gifts on the walk back by the monastery alley before returning back to Sofia on an approximately 2 hour and 20-minute drive.

From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

10. From Sofia: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

After you have been picked up from your hotel or accommodation in Sofia, enjoy an hour and a half scenic drive to Plovdiv.  Visit sights of historic importance such as the Roman Theatre and the Roman Stadium. Walk around the Old Town and admire the architecture of the houses, museums and cobbled streets typical of the Revival Period. After a traditional Bulgarian lunch, take a 25-minute drive to Asenova Fortress situated on the top of a cliff in Rodopi Mountain. Admire this medieval building and breathtaking views across the valley.  Visit Bachkovo Monastery, founded in 1083 and see the beautiful mural paintings which are still preserved today. End your tour with a drive back to Sofia where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

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Frequently asked questions about Sofia

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Sofia?

The best day trips and excursions from Sofia are:

Rila Monastery

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 756 reviews

Great tour and well worth it. Philip picked us up from our hotel promptly and along with other hotel pick ups (all smooth and organised) we made our way to Skopje. The journey was very comfortable and Philip told us many interesting stories of Bulgarian/Macedonian history. Philip is a real star. Friendly, polite and very knowledgeable. The Bulgarian countryside is beautiful as is the journey to and from Skopje. Once arrived in Skopje Philip took us to Lence (Lena) our North Macedonian guide. She was wonderful and took us on a walking tour which included Mother Teresa’s house and the Old Bazaar again with many historical/ cultural facts along the way. Such a great way to get to see/ experience Skopje in such comfort. To get a taste that leaves you wanting more. 2 great guides which really made a great day greater. Highly recommend this trip to anyone hesitating. You will be comfortable, looked after and you will have a great experience. Thank you Philip and Lena :)

Daniel our guide was wonderful from start to finish and deserves so much praise. We were picked up promptly from our hotel in a very comfortable car and taken firstly to the caves then the waterfalls and finally pretty Lovech. Daniel was full of interesting stories and cultural/ historical facts for us. The tour felt very relaxed and Daniel was very considerate to our needs. Super great lunch recommendation in Lovech “Tavern Varosha” must go there! :) The caves were stunning as was the waterfall. 2 great natural examples of Bulgaria’s hidden beauty and the visit to Lovech felt magical as it feels like a hidden gem in a hidden gem of a country. Great great tour made all the greater by our super guide Daniel. Highly recommend it. A wonderful day full of natural beauty, history, culture and food. Visit Bulgaria! And do this tour :) top marks :) Thank you Daniel and Bultrips

The Rila Monastery is a beautiful and soothing place, located in the mountains which gives us a superb snowy view at least in the month of January. Bojana Church is an interesting place and full of history when it is well explained.

Perfectly organized tour, super nice, friendly and very knowledgeable Guide (Bobby)! It was a great experience.☺️

It was an amazing experience in the winter with snow.