Add dates

Sofia Rainy-day activities

Our most recommended Sofia Rainy-day 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: 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: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

6. 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

7. 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: Rila Monastery and Plovdiv Self-Guided Trip

8. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Plovdiv Self-Guided Trip

Explore Bulgaria's most famous sites in 1 day from Sofia: the UNESCO Rila Monastery and the city of Plovdiv on a small group, self-guided trip. Walk the sites at your own comfortable pace without the need of following others. Get expert local advice from your friendly English-speaking driver/host and benefit from reliable comfortable transfers. Depart from Sofia city center at 7:00 AM and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver/host. After your 2-hour transfer in an air-conditioned minibus, you will reach the medieval Rila Monastery in the spectacular Rila Mountains. Once there, you have more than 1-hour to explore the monastic complex at your own pace - more than enough time to see all the major parts of the complex. The monastery was founded by the hermit monk Ivan Rilski in 927 AD. Marvel at the frescoes of the main church and visit the museum and medieval tower independently. Continue with a 3.5-hour transfer through scenic mountain roads to the city of Plovdiv (a short break half-way is included) and get more than 4 hours to explore Bulgaria's second largest city, famous for its Old Town, Roman remains and Kapana artistic district. Your driver will provide you with a free copy of a tourist city map and local tips. Board the shuttle bus at 5:30 PM (for the period May to September, departure is 6:00 PM) at the agreed meeting point and return to Sofia in the evening to be dropped off at the meeting point around 7:30 PM at knyaz Alexander I square. For the period May to September, departure from Sofia is at 07:30 AM and the bus goes to first to Plovdiv and then to Rila monastery. Return to Sofia is around 8:30 PM.

Sofia: Small Group Walking Tour

9. Sofia: Small Group Walking Tour

Journey through almost 10,000 years of history on a guided walking tour of Sofia, and learn how the city sits on land that has been settled over the centuries by Thracians, Romans, Huns and more. Marvel at its well-preserved monuments and outstanding sights, such as the East Gate of the Serdika ruins from Roman times. Walk through the underpass connecting the Presidential Palace and Ministerial Council to encounter shops selling traditional souvenirs and rosewater. Experience the city's laid-back charm as you explore streets scattered with mosques and impressive onion-domed churches.

From Sofia: Afternoon Half-day Trip to Rila Monastery

10. From Sofia: Afternoon Half-day Trip to Rila Monastery

Discover Rila Monastery at your own pace on a self-guided, afternoon tour from Sofia. Begin by boarding the shuttle service at noon (12:00h) at the centrally located meeting point (Aleksander I square) and head to the medieval Rila Monastery in the spectacular Rila Mountains. Get almost 2 hours of leisure 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 centuries. 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 with high stone walls and little windows. Board the minibus back to Sofia in the afternoon and get dropped off at the central pick-up point on arrival. Make full use of your day by combining the trip to the Rila monastery with a visit in the morning to the Bells Park monument Boyana church and the National History Museum, located in a former Bulgarian communist leader's residence, on the way to the Rila monastery (depending on the tour option selected).

  • Guided tours
  • Day trips
  • Private tours
  • Multi-day trips
  • Transfers
39 activities found
Sort by:
Page 1 of 3

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

Want to discover all there is to do in Sofia? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Sofia

was a great way to see the landmarks and main sights of Sophia plus our guide Joy(in English) was amazing really informative and good fun she even booked us a table at traditional restaurant and chose our menu for us of traditional foods would definitely recommend this tour and big thanks once again to joy for making our experience so wonderful

Skopje was a positive surprise for me! I didn’t think I would like it that much. The city is beautiful, diverse and different from everything I’ve ever seen in life. But I do wish we had more time in the city. When I took the tour, we only had 3h30 there and had to see everything in a hurry. Anyways, it was very worth it!

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!

Great day out, Plovdiv is lovely and our guide Plamin was great, very helpful

Great tour! Beautiful places, definitely worth seeing!