Sofia
Churches & Cathedrals

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Our most recommended Sofia Churches & Cathedrals

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

Enjoy a comfortable shared round day transfer from the center of Sofia to two UNESCO heritage sites - Rila Monastery and Boyana Church. The meeting point for the trip is behind Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, next to cafe La Cathedrale. First, you will travel for about 2 hours on a scenic road to reach the Rila Monastery - the biggest and most beautiful Bulgarian monastery. There, you will be given 3 hours free time during which you will be able to explore the monastery on your own- visit the church, the museums, take photos, check the shops and have a lunch break. Then, on the way back to Sofia, you will also stop at the Boyana Church - another UNESCO heritage site, which is famous for its 800- year old frescoes. The inside visit of the Boyana Church is limited to 10 minutes, but it is definitely woth it! The expexcted return in the center of Sofia is at 5:30 pm.

Sofia: Rila Monastery Trip w/ Boyana Church & History Museum

3. Sofia: Rila Monastery Trip w/ Boyana Church & History Museum

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. Depending on the tour option selected: visit the UNESCO Boyana church and/or UNESCO Boyana church on the way to the Rila monastery. 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.

From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

4. 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

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.

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

6. 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.

From Sofia: Serbia and Macedonia Trip

7. From Sofia: Serbia and Macedonia Trip

An English-speaking driver will pick you up from your hotel in Sofia at 9:00AM and, after about a 2-hours drive with various landscapes to admire along the way, you will reach the Serbian border. After crossing the border you will go the nearby town of Bosilegrad (the former Yugoslavia's main state) before you cross back over the border with Bulgaria and head for Northern Macedonia. After another short drive, you will arrive at the beautiful Monastery of Osogovo – an incredibly powerful place in the hills from the 12th Century, which was later turned into a mosque by the Ottomans, and then again converted into a church. This place is very scenic and peaceful - take time to go for a walk around the area. Afterwards, you will have lunch in a nice restaurant with good Macedonian grill (meat or fish) and Skopsko beer, of course.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana church and History Museum

8. 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.

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 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.

Secrets, Facts, and Legends of Sofia: Full Day Tour

10. Secrets, Facts, and Legends of Sofia: Full Day Tour

At 9:00 AM you will be picked from your hotel/accommodation by your guide. After a short drive, you will reach Vitosha Mountain. Your destination is a meteorological tower, from which area you will have the chance to see the whole city from above. Your guide will give you a good overview of Sofia, its history and geography. Your next stop will be one of the most interesting and significant locations in Sofia – complex called “The Bells”. It is related to a Bulgarian initiative, which has started in 1979, called “The Flag of Peace”, gathering children from 135 countries, from both sides of “The Iron Curtain”. Each group had to put the unique bell from its country in this complex. After this experience, we will drive back to Sofia city center where you will start your walking tour. First stop is the National Archaeological Museum with its astonishing cultural treasures. On the way you will see the oldest building in Sofia – the Roman early Christian church St. George, dated in 4th-century. After the museum, you can have lunch in a restaurant situated in the same building, which was a Medieval mosque and enjoy the archaeological remains next to your table. Your next destination is the market area of Sofia, famous with the name “Ladies Market” where you will learn a lot for the epoch of the late 19th and early 20th century. You will pass next to a Synagogue, situated almost in front of an active mosque and Catholic Church, giving the name of the square – “The Square of tolerance. After you visit the Sofia History Museum you will walk by the Communist administrative center, St. Sofia church, Sofia University, and Alexander Nevski cathedral, where your tour ends. You can ask you guide some final question and if you need they can give you a ride back to your hotel, if it is far from the center.

Frequently asked questions about Sofia Churches & Cathedrals

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 799 reviews

Great trip with a great guide Chris. Value for money, professional and informative. I used three different tour companies during my stay in Sofia and Traventuria was definitely the best. Highly recommended.

Excellent stop to visit absolutely if you are on holiday in sofia. The guide was very knowledgeable and also taught us Bulgarian history with competence. I would recommend it.

Awesome tour! Kink was very informative and very helpful! Highly recommend. Truly on of the most beautiful places I e been to in a long while!

Was a nice day Well air conditioned minibus we were 10 people Nice monastery complex

The trip is organized and perfect for any solo travellers.