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Sofia National parks

Our most recommended Sofia National parks

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

1. 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

2. 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.

Sofia: Pirin National Park Hike & Bansko Visit with Lunch

3. Sofia: Pirin National Park Hike & Bansko Visit with Lunch

Hike to admire Banderishki Lakes and see the highest peak of the mountain, Vihren. Go down to the biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, Bansko, to tuck into a traditional Bulgarian lunch. Take a guided walk in the historical part of the town and learn about the history and architecture of the Revival period. At 8:00 AM, be picked by your guide from your accommodation in Sofia. Enjoy a 2-hour drive on a very beautiful scenic road. See the highest mountain on the Balkans—Rila Mountain—on the way. Then, reach the starting point of your hike, Vihren hut. The hiking takes approximately 3.5 hours in both directions, during which you pass by 3 of the Banderishki Lakes. When back in your vehicle, head towards Bansko Ski resort, just 15 minutes from the parking. Upon coming down from the mountain, relax in Bansko, nestled in a valley. Have a Bulgarian lunch in the heart of the historical part of Bansko. Afterward, join a 30-minute walking tour of the place. Be introduced to the local Revival period architecture. Learn about the beginning of the Revival period in the 18th century. At around 04:30 PM, start your journey back to Sofia. Your guide will drop you off at your hotel.

From Sofia: Koprivshtitsa & Historic Homes Tour w/ Transfer

4. From Sofia: Koprivshtitsa & Historic Homes Tour w/ Transfer

Embark on a scenic adventure through the foothills of the Balkan Mountains and reach the small town of Koprivshtitsa, just southeast of Sofia. Join an immersive tour and visit Koprivshitsa’s historic 19th-century homes, with colorful courtyards and high stone walls. Depart from Sofia and drive toward Koprivshtitsa to better understand the roots of the Bulgarian Renaissance Period. Start your guided walk at the monumental mausoleum dedicated to the April Uprising, located in the central square. Venture to the home of local merchant Nencho Oslekov, marvel at its ornate facade, and see how a well-off Bulgarian family lived in the late 19th century. Admire the homes of symbolist poet Dimcho Debelyanov, the Karavelov family, and revolutionary leaders Todor Kableshkov and Georgi Benkovski. Wander around the curved and narrow cobblestone streets with numerous stone fountains and stop at the iconic Assumption of Virgin Mary Church. After the tour, have plenty of free time for lunch and shopping before being transferred back to Sofia.

Frequently asked questions about Sofia

What top attractions are a must-see in Sofia?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Sofia?

The best day trips and excursions from Sofia are:

Rila Monastery

Other Sightseeing Options in Sofia

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 161 reviews

Hi, I'm Simona and I did this excursion on October 30th 2022 with another girl. Beautiful place, it is absolutely not describable with photos and videos, but it must necessarily be experienced firsthand. It is difficult to climb to the top, but for the less trained, you can choose a shorter but always beautiful route !!! Perfect and very clear organization even for those who, like us, have a lot of difficulties with English.

An incredible experience with breathtaking views. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in Bulgaria - be prepared for all sorts of weather conditions at Rila Lakes, even if it's the summer. I thought we had a bit too much time at Rila Monastery, especially because most things were closed but other than that, the trip was fantastic. Bobby was an amazing tour guide and took great care of us

This tour is an unique and interesting way to see more of Bulgaria. We loved all the activities and the transport is comfortable. Our host, Bobby, is a wealth of knowledge and brings a fun element to the group. I would highly recommend this tour!

Absolutely breathtaking views, great guide and small group. The hike at the 7 Rila Lakes was HARD but so worth it. I also really enjoyed the monastery! If you're going to do one excursion while in Bulgaria, do this one.

Smoothly run day trip with enough time alloted for a hike to the highest peak of the Rila Lakes.