Rila Monastery And Boyana Church Day Trip From Sofia

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Tour Information

Key Details

  • Mobile Voucher Accepted
  • Hotel pickup Available
  • Free Cancellation
  • Duration: 8 Hrs
  • Language:
    English
  • Departure Time :
    9:00 AM
  • Departure Details :
    Rila Monastery Shuttle Bus Starting Point, ул. Оборище +, ul. "19-ti fevruari", 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Return Details :
    Returns to original departure point
  • Cancellation Policy :
    For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

Overview

Discover two of Bulgaria's UNESCO World Heritage gems on this day trip from Sofia. Traveling by a comfortable minivan, admire rural Bulgaria on route to the Rila Monastery in the pine-carpeted Rila Mountains. Take a guided tour of the medieval treasure with its fresco-coated church, and visit its fascinating museum. Then, after time to explore independently, continue to Boyana Church, near Sofia, to marvel at its spectacular pre-Renaissance frescoes. Entrance fees not included.

Highlights

  • Informative, friendly and professional guide
  • Pickup from a centrally located meeting point

Know More about this tour

This is the basic itinerary for your Rila Monastery And Boyana church Day Trip From Sofia -

Meet your guide near Alexander Nevsky Square in central Sofia and settle into your air-conditioned minivan. Then, relax on your roughly 2-hour journey to UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, tucked in the pine-forested Rila Mountains in southwest Bulgaria.

Enjoy the views over rural Bulgaria as you travel and hear enlightening facts about the Rila Monastery. Founded in 927 AD by hermit monk Ivan Rilski or John of Rila, Bulgaria's patron saint; this photogenic walled complex came to symbolize the Bulgarian national identity and is considered a masterpiece of Slav architecture for its arcaded balconies and splendid frescoes.

On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the main courtyard and five-domed church, admiring its vivid, fresco-coated colonnades as you enter. Then, head inside to gaze at the richly gilded wood-carved iconostasis, the largest in the Balkans; and the tomb of Bulgaria's last monarch, Boris III. If you wish, you may also head inside the monastery museum (own expense) to see its priceless exhibits.

After, enjoy free time to look around independently and have lunch (own expense). Perhaps fill up with some delicious mekitsi (Bulgarian donuts served with fresh buffalo yogurt) at a local bakery or a restaurant to enjoy specialties such as fresh local trout.

Next, return to the minivan and drive back to the fringes of Sofia to visit Boyana Church, a UNESCO-listed Orthodox church famed for its medieval frescoes. After paying your entrance fee, take in the breathtaking cycles of 11th- and 13th-century murals that depict Christ, angels, saints, apostles and other religious figures, and hear how they predate the Renaissance in Florence.

Having explored here, return to central Sofia, where your tour concludes with a drop-off at the original departure point.

Inclusions

Driver/guide

Parking Fees

Transport by air-conditioned minivan

Exclusions

Gratuities

Food and drinks

Hotel pickup and drop-off

The audio guide at Rila Monastery (approx. 5 euros per person)

Admission to Boyana Church (approx. 5 euros per person) and Rila Monastery Museum (approx. 4 euros per person)

Additional Info

Comfortable walking shoes recommended

Not wheelchair accessible or stroller friendly

Confirmation will be received at the time of booking

Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities

Exceptions to the standard program:

  • 01.01.2019 departure at 11:00 pm without Boyana Church
  • 28.04.2019 Without Boyana Church
  • 24.12.2019 Without Boyana Church
  • 25.12.2019 Without Boyana Church
  • 01.01.2020 departure at 11:00 pm without Boyana Church

Traveler Reviews

  • 11-Dec-2019

    Guide was good and gave us some useful information but there are very few facilities at the monastery. Only two toilets which were a bit basic and not much in the way of eating places. It's a long drive from Sofia so go prepared!

  • 13-Nov-2019

    Overall very Good. The Guide Martin was quite good in explaining things and does have a sound knowledge and a good sense of humour

  • 21-Oct-2019

    Well worth the price. Our guide Martin was fantastic. Would highly recommend this tour. His insights and knowledge were very helpful in understanding the culture

  • 18-Oct-2019

    Really enjoyed the tour, which was professionally conducted from start to finish. The only real issue is the quality of the food on offer at Rila Monastry. It is accepted that the tour operators have no control over this, but maybe it should be highlighted in the itinerary so that guests can have the option of bringing their own food.

  • 07-Oct-2019

    We really enjoyed both Boyana and Rila. There was enough time on our own to view both the Monastery and the Church. The presentations at both Boyana and Rila provided just enough history and factual information with many "fun facts" provided by our guide. The bus trip was splendid and our guide, Martin, provided just enough commentary along the keep the group interested and informed. We were particularly satisfied by the narrative that Martin provided. He had a great command of the history, personalities and culture of the past and the present and regaled us with stories and "fun facts throughout our day. He is one of the best guides we have had on a tour. He led the group and kept the day moving at a good pace. He gets a top rating from us!

  • 13-Sep-2019

    A wonderful tour - the guide Lubo was exceptional, positive and enthusiastic all day. Rila monastery is beautiful. The scenery en route is beautiful. The only thing I would add is there is not much in the way of eating options there, so would recommend bringing your own snacks/drinks with you.

  • 12-Sep-2019

    This tour was just what I was looking for - a small group (we were on a mini-bus), knowledgeable guide (thanks Martin!), and really interesting sites. The Boyana church is basically in the suburbs of Sofia; the Rila Monastery is about a 2 hour drive away--and well worth the journey! Our guide was great and I learned so much history about the sites themselves as well as Bulgaria overall. Definitely recommend this trip!

  • 07-Aug-2019

    Great way to visit these two magnificent UNESCO sites. Comfortable minibus. Friendly and knowledgeable guide. My only advice is to bring lunch is you are planning to eat in Rila. There are not many restaurants there. They were overcrowded when I visited and it was really hard to get a table!

  • 19-Jul-2019

    This tour was the highlight of our Bulgaria trip. Our guide [Shashi?] was very informative and energetic and led the tour through Boyana and Rila, explaining all the details and history of each place. The Rila Monastery was as great as it appeared on all the photos and there was time for lunch and a few optional museums on the monastery grounds. Bus was comfortable and the guide checked frequently to see that the aircon was good for all. Highly recommended

  • 10-Jul-2019

    A very easy way to make a full day trip to the out of the way Rila monastery. Worth it and the guide had good English.