1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Group Tour
Depart Sofia at 09:00 AM sharp, 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 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). Depart at 15:00 and travel to Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center by 17:00. 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.