From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

From $35.95 per person

See 2 of Bulgaria's UNESCO World Heritage Sites on an exciting minibus tour from Sofia. Go to Rila Monastery and get breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Then, see stunning frescoes from the Bulgarian National Revival at Boyana Church.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
COVID-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 8 hours
Starting time 9:00 AM
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English, Spanish
Optional audio guide
Spanish, English, German, Italian, Russian
Small group available

Experience

Itinerary
4 hours
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

  • 2 hours
  • Rila Monastery (guided tour)

  • Rila Monastery (lunch)

    • Optional
  • 1.5 hours
  • Boyana Church (guided tour)

  • 30 minutes
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Meeting point
Main stop
Other stop
Highlights
  • Visit 2 of Bulgaria most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in a day
  • Go to Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains
  • Marvel at the pre-Renaissance frescoes of Boyana Church
  • Taste organic food in the nearby restaurants, such as mekitsi, yogurt or grilled trout
  • Travel in comfort through the Bulgarian countryside
Full description
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.
Includes
  • Transportation by modern, comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
  • English-speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance fees to Rila Monastery Museum (€4 per person) and Boyana Church (€5 per person)
  • Food, drinks and other personal expenses
Not suitable for
  • Pregnant women
  • People with mobility impairments
COVID-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • Customers must keep distance in vehicles
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • Customers are required to bring and wear masks

Select participants and date

Participants

Date

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Meet in front of La Cattedrale Restaurant behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Hiking shoes

Not allowed

  • Sandals or flip flops

Know before you go

  • Please be aware that smoking in the vehicles is strictly forbidden
  •  You can find mekitsi (sometimes called Bulgarian donuts) just outside the eastern gate, available to purchase at €0.25 each
  • Please note, the tour will not visit Boyana Church on May 18, April 19, and December 24 or 25
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 483 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
    4.6/5
  • Transportation
    4.6/5
  • Value for money
    4.3/5
  • Safety
    4.7/5
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Our trip to the Rila Monastery was amazing. Unfortunately we had visited right when the Coronavirus started to get more serious in Europe therefore there were hardly any tourists. As bad as it had been for tourism, it worked out well for us as we had the place to ourselves. We also weren't able to visit the Boyana Church as it had been closed. Our guide Lubo was fantastic. He was such a wealth of knowledge and a great story teller. I love history and learning about the places I visit and he told the story perfectly. I sure hope this whole madness with the Corona ends sooner than later to have people experience Bulgaria and Rila Monastery as they are both great places to visit. I highly recommend doing a tour with Lubo as you will not be disappointed.

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March 23, 2020

Fantastic! Our guide Martin knew everything, provided detailed descriptions and always had a ready joke. We were 7 in total, plus the guide, almost a private tour, a nice atmosphere was created among all the participants. Transport with adequate heating, and excellent driving skills on snow by Martin. The sites are both very interesting and with a good story behind them. We were lucky to see them completely covered in snow and at the Rila Church the trees in the garden hide many bird houses and very nice squirrels. Unfortunately at the Boyana monastery the pleasantness of the snow turned into a nightmare storm that took away the electricity and we were unable to have lunch, since the restaurants could not conduct any exercise. Despite hunger, a beautiful experience difficult to forget, highly recommended!

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February 7, 2020

Punctual on departure times, courteous and available to meet the needs of us tourists, competent and skilled guide in explaining what has been seen and in conveying the passion for what he is talking about. A nice experience in one of the most beautiful places visited in our stay in Sofia.

February 3, 2020

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Product ID: 50410