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Sofia
Self-guided activities

Self-guided activities

Our most recommended Sofia Self-guided activities

From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Group Tour

1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Group Tour

Start your day with travel to the Boyana Church in the suburbs of Sofia (if option selected). See the historically significant frescoes of the Byzantine building, and hear how they started the fashion of illustrating biblical figures with emotions and placing them alongside the local aristocracy. After that, 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 the 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 dishes such as mekitsi (a traditional Bulgarian dish of kneaded dough made with yoghurt that is deep-fried).

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 at the parking lot Behind Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, near cafe La Cathedrale. 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. Spend about 3-hours at the monastery where you will get the opportunity to take photos, check the shops, visit the museums, and have a lunch break in the nearby restaurant. 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. Finish your journey at around 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM in the city center.

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

3. 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's Hidden Bars: 4-Hour Pub Crawl

4. Sofia's Hidden Bars: 4-Hour Pub Crawl

Explore Sofia’s hidden nightlife gems on a 4-hour pub crawl. Meet people at some of the favorite hangouts in the city. If you’re a solo traveler this is a great way to socialize with locals and meet travelers from all around the world. The guides are a unique part of this experience. They’ll take the time to get to know you and at the end of the night you’ll have made some new friends. Enjoy a free beer at the first stop, then proceed to a second bar where you can enjoy an alcoholic dessert with anything you buy. Enjoy another free beer on tap at the third stop and then free admission to the club selected for the night.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

5. 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: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

6. From Sofia: The Seven Rila Lakes Full-Day Tour

Enjoy a full-day trek into the Rila Mountains to explore the most picturesque area near Sofia and one of Bulgaria's most beautiful natural sites, the Seven Rila Lakes.  This group of glacial lakes lies between 6,900 and 8,200 feet (2,100 and 2,500 meters) above sea level, surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys. Leaving Sofia, you will drive for 90 minutes to reach the Panichishte resort area, where you board the chairlift to the Rila Lakes mountain hut.  From here, continue on foot to explore the landscape and its majestic blue pearls – the Eye, the Tear, the Kidney, the Twins, the Trefoil, the Fish Lake, and the Lower Lake. The route is not difficult and can be altered on the spot depending on fitness levels or strength, following either more gentle routes or steeper gradients. Take your chance to explore the Blue Pearls of the Rila Mountains, and the Seven Rila Lakes. The local tour operator, Traventuria, was awarded a “Business Which Supports Biodiversity” certification by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation for its “Tours with a Cause” initiative.

Sofia: Communist Walking Tour

7. Sofia: Communist Walking Tour

Discover the main landmarks of communist history in the city of Sofia. Start your tour by passing by the former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Continue on to see buildings such as the secret police investigation facility and the destroyed mausoleum. Head on towards the monument of the Soviet army and the National Palace of Culture. During the 3-hour-long walking tour, learn about the theory of communism and what Marxism-Leninism is. Find out about the history of communism in Bulgaria, the pros and cons of the period, and the relation between the communist government and religion, industry, economy, culture and everyday life of the people. End the tour with a fresh perspective on the city and a new insight into the country's communist past. 

From Sofia: Day Trip to Plovdiv by Van with Guide Options

8. From Sofia: Day Trip to Plovdiv by Van with Guide Options

Join this usually small group tour (most times the group size is up to 20 people), to discover the oldest existing town in Europe - Plovdiv - its capital of culture for 2019! The tour departs at 9:00. Please be at the meeting point - at the parking lot Behind Alexander Nevsky Cathedral at 8:45 and ask for the City Tour guide and van (our guides usually wear blue clothes). The traveling time to Plovdiv is abour 2-hours. There, if you have chosen the option with the guided tour, you will have a 2-hours guided tour in the old town, where you will be able to see the remarkable Revival houses, the views from the hill, the Roman theater and stadium, as well as the main walking street. After the guided tour, you will have 2 hours free time, during which you can have lunch, check the shops and visit some of the museums. If you have booked the self-guided option, you will have 4 hours free time after the arrival, during which you can explore the town on your own. The departute back to Sofia is at 15:00 and the approximate return between 17:00 and 17:30, depending on the trafic.

From Sofia: Plovdiv Full-Day Guided Tour

9. From Sofia: Plovdiv Full-Day Guided Tour

This full-day trip begins with a 2-hour drive from Sofia to Plovdiv, one of Europe’s oldest towns. On a guided walking tour, discover the history and culture of this 8,000-year old city that was settled by Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Bulgarian civilizations. See the sights of the old town, including museums, historical monuments and revival period houses lining the cobbled streets. Explore the Ethnographical Museum and the impressive Roman Theater. An English-speaking guide will accompany the group throughout the day and will point out the most interesting architectural and cultural treasures of the region and provide commentary on modern life in Bulgaria. The tour is offered as well with ONLINE, cloud-based audioguide in different languages (EN, ES, IT, FR, DE, RU). INTERNET required to download and use. The local tour operator, Traventuria, was awarded a “Business Which Supports Biodiversity” certification by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation for its “Tours with a Cause” initiative.

UK/Europe: eSim Mobile Data Plan

10. UK/Europe: eSim Mobile Data Plan

Make your trip hassle-free with your convenient eSIM. Stay connected on your travels with high-speed coverage in the 42 most visited regions in Europe and the UK. Purchase and install your eSIM anytime and anywhere, and choose from a variety of data packages, validity options, and coverage in additional countries. Simply scan the eSIM QR code to access all your essential apps on your trip. Avoid the trouble of managing multiple SIMs with this zero-waste solution. Get one eSIM per device and top up by simply buying and activating additional eSIM plans as you go. Once activated, your coverage will begin according to your selected duration. Benefit from coverage in Austria, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Hungary, Isle of Man, Iceland, Ireland, Italy(including San Marino & Vatican), Jersey Island, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Also covered are Malta, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. All iPhone models launched beyond iPhone XS can support eSIM. For Android, if you are unsure, please check with the guideline photo for eligibility. APN (Access Point Name): internet Local operator info: UK: Telefonica / Vodafone /Hutchison 3G /Everything Everywhere

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Frequently asked questions about Sofia Self-guided activities

What are other things to do than Self-guided activities that are worth visiting in Sofia?

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9 reviews

Excellent day trip, Philip is an excellent guide and is clearly very good at his job. Everything was clear, good instructions, good communication well in advance and everything ran on time. Rila Monastery is a must see, I would suggest prepping in advance what you want to do in Plovdiv.

We did the guided tour with Hristo and he provided so many interesting facts that got us closer to the bulgarian culture. He was very charming and showed his passion at all times. We left the tour very happy and fulfilled. The monastery and frescos were stunning!

The visit was beautiful, Alex our guide spent the entire journey on the bus giving us interesting information about Bulgaria and the places we were going to visit. His kindness and interest in the area made the experience beautiful.

Our guide Alex was super nice and made the tour super interesting and very enjoyable. For it being his first tour in Spanish he did great!!

Excellent experience, congratulations to Alexander who guided us during the tour, professional and super nice!