Add dates

Sofia Small group activities

Our most recommended Sofia Small group 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.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

2. 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: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

3. 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

4. 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: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

5. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

This full-day tour is designed for active people wishing to combine a trek to natural wonders, with a tour of the most visited tourist attraction in Bulgaria, the magnificent Rila Monastery. Departing Sofia, you will head for the Rila Mountains, where you will enjoy a moderate hike through what is arguably the most distinguished area in the mountains, the 7 Rila Lakes. After a transfer of approximately 90 minutes, you will reach the region of Panichishte, where you will board a chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. Consisting of a group of glacial lakes, the 7 Rila Lakes is located at an altitude of between 6,900 feet (2,100 meters) and 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. Surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys, you will see spectacular views as you walk through its pearls, such as The Eye, The Tear, The Kidney, The Twins, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake and The Lower Lake. The route can be adjusted on the spot, following more gentle or steeper paths, depending on your fitness levels. Having visited all of the lakes, continue by car for approximately 90 minutes to Rila Monastery, the biggest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Behind the 65-foot (20-meter) walls lie impressive monastery buildings, including a church and a chapel with valuable murals. The monastery's most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th-Century Hrelyo Tower, the 5-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th-Century. You will also explore the monastery’s rich museum, containing a valuable collection of old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects and a library containing more than 16,000 books.

Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Full-Day Tour from Sofia

6. Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Full-Day Tour from Sofia

A 2-hour drive from Sofia will take you to the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city and one of its oldest towns. Within 2-3 hours of walking along the city, you will discover the history and culture behind a 7000-year old settlement, written by the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Bulgarian civilizations. You can enjoy sightseeing in the Old Town with its museums, historical monuments, revival period houses, lined with souvenir shops cobbled streets or get impressed by the rich Ethnographical Museum and the ancient Roman Theater. Feel the atmosphere of this artistic and trades center and enjoy a lunch at the local restaurants. Next stop on your way back is the charming town of Koprivshtitsa with its fascinating history and authentic 19th-century architecture. Spend the rest of the day in the leisure of this small and picturesque city situated in central Bulgaria, spread amongst the slopes of the Sredna Gora Mountains, that carries a specific spirit of tranquillity and eternity. Once a scene of battles for the liberation of Bulgaria, now the city is turned into a museum of the Revival Period of Bulgaria. Here you can visit the homes of some of the most eminent Bulgarians, writers and rebels, admire the vast collections of ethnographical treasures, including ancient weapons, intricate national costumes and stunning jewellery.

From Sofia: Day Tour to Nis, Serbia

7. From Sofia: Day Tour to Nis, Serbia

During this day tour you will travel through history with the professional lead of your guide. Your journey through time will start from the Roman period, when Nis gave to the world the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. You will then continue through the Middle Ages and the period of the Ottoman rule, which left constructions like the Nis Fortress and the Skull Tower, a symbol of the struggle for freedom and independence from the Ottomans, as well as a representation of the violence of the time. The latter of the tour will pay attention to modern history, in particular the period of Nazi occupation of former Yugoslavia by visiting a Nazi concentration camp. Following this concentration camp visit, it will be time for some rest. During this stop you will have the chance to taste typical Serbian cuisine, which is one of the most delicious of the Balkans. You will also have free time for a walk in the historical old part of the old city. At the conclusion of your tour, you will be returned back to your accommodation in Sofia.

From Sofia: Skopje and Matka Canyon Day Trip

8. From Sofia: Skopje and Matka Canyon Day Trip

Cross the border from Bulgaria and enjoy a day trip in Macedonia. Dive into the past as you explore Skopje's historic neighborhoods and see its attractions. Learn about the history of the Macedonians as you walk through the new part of the city, rebuilt during the Skopje 2013 project. After your visit to Skopje, head to Matka Canyon to take a break in nature. Your day trip begins with an 8:00 AM pickup from your accommodation in Sofia. Drive for approximately 3.5 hours and reach Skopje. During your drive learn about the history of the region from the Bulgarian point of view. Arrive in Skopje and have a 2-hour guided tour of the city from a local Macedonian guide. Learn about Yugoslavia and have the chance to compare the two historic perspectives of the region provided to you on this trip. During your guided tour of Skopje visit Skopje Fortress, Sultan Murat Mosque, and the Old Bazaar. Have the chance to see the caravanserais from the Ottoman period when Skopje was one of the main trade centers in the Balkans. Visit the new neo-classical Macedonia Square and be impressed by the statue of Alexander the Great and his father Phillip II. Continue on to the Mother Teresa Memorial House. In the house museum, learn about Mother Teresa's life story. Afterward, conclude your walking tour of Skopje at Macedonia Gate. Head to Matka Canyon where you will have approximately 1.5-hours to admire the beauty of nature. Have the chance to enjoy a boat trip inside the canyon and pass by one of the deepest underwater caves in the world. At about 4:00 PM, meet with the rest of the group and depart back to Sofia. On the drive back, discuss your day's impressions and ask your guide any remaining questions you may have. Unfortunately, the day trip's itinerary will not allow you to have free time for lunch in Skopje. It is recommended to take some fast food during the walking tour or bring some sandwiches with you. You can buy food from a petrol station before arriving in the city.

From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

9. From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

This tour starts with pick-up from your hotel. The transfer to the foot of the mountain takes approximately 20 minutes. You will see the great symbol of Sofia rise above you as you draw near. The hike begins with Boyana waterfall, which with a height of 15 metres and an elegant setting is the most beautiful on the mountain. After the waterfall you will see a typical hut, Momina skala. You will have time to relax before the groups continues to Kamendel from where you will see Sofia from above. On the way down to the city you will visit Boyana lake. Then its time to return to Sofia where the tour ends at your hotel. 

Sofia: Museum of Socialist Art and Buzludzha Monument Tour

10. Sofia: Museum of Socialist Art and Buzludzha Monument Tour

Start your tour with a pickup from your hotel. Jump in the car and enjoy the ride to the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia. See over 70 monumental sculptures. Admire the large five-pointed star that sits on a special pedestal and once crowned the former Party House in the center of Sofia. Enjoy a 3-hour scenic drive as you continue your trip and head to the Buzludzha Monument, one of the most notable from the socialist period. This communist tour ends with a drop-off at your hotel.

  • Guided tours
  • Day trips
  • Adventures
  • Multi-day trips
  • Other experiences
  • Water activities
41 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

A must do while in Sofia. We had only a couple days in Sofia and this was really a great way to spend our time. The church and monestary were really beautiful and the drive out into the country was nice. Our favorite thing was our guide Martin who gave us a great commentary on the history of the places and Bulgaria, with some jokes thrown in.

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!

Really great and authentic, Vasko (probably butchered your name so sorry!) was very friendly and personable Exactly what I was looking for, thanks very much!

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

Great tour! Beautiful places, definitely worth seeing!