Sofia
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Our most recommended Sofia Activities

Rila Monastery Day Trip from Sofia

1. Rila Monastery Day Trip from Sofia

Board the shuttle service behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center. Then, head to the medieval Rila Monastery in the spectacular Rila Mountains. Get over 2 hours of free time to explore the complex, founded by the hermit monk Ivan Rilski in 927 AD. Marvel at the frescoes of the main church and visit the medieval tower independently. Wander down quiet outdoor corridors adorned with beautiful mosaics, and see gold-plated iconostasis and valuable icons from the 14th to 19th century. Learn more about the history of the site at the museum, where highlights include the double-sided crucifix of the Rila Cross. See the old bakery and other monuments, including the residential area of high stone walls and little windows. Board the minibus back to Sofia in the afternoon and get dropped off at the pick-up point on arrival.

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Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

2. Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

Skopje is the capital of Macedonia situated approximately a 3.5-hour drive from Sofia. During this day tour to Skopje, you will have the chance to explore the city and its rich history and culture.  Your day tour will begin once you are picked up from your hotel or accommodations in Sofia then begin your 3-hour transfer to Skopje. Once in Skopje, you will begin your walking tour of the city beginning at Skopje Fortress where you can admire the wonderful view of the city. The next site you will visit is the Church of the Holy Savior, home to fantastic iconostasis. From there you will continue towards Sultan Murat Mosque and the Old Bazaar, where you can witness the remnants of the Ottoman Period and Skopje's history as one of the main trade centers in the Balkans.  After stopping for lunch at a typical Macedonian restaurant you will continue your walking tour crossing the Vadar River to start your exploration of a new part of the city. Here you will visit the new neo-classical square and continue to Mother Teresa memorial house. The walking part of your tour will end at the newly built triumphal arch Porta Macedonia. You will then journey back to Sofia and your tour will end once you are dropped off at your hotel or accommodations. 

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Rila Mountain Winter Day Trip

3. Rila Mountain Winter Day Trip

Start the tour at 9 AM when the guide will pick you up from your hotel in Sofia and take you to the Rila Mountain. The transfer time to the mountain region is about an hour and a half.  Choose between 2 of the 5 following options for activities: 1 or 2 hour ski-doo ride in Borovets; take the cabin lift in Borovets and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views; visit the restored fortress of Tsari Mali Grad, located on a hill near the village of Belchin; experience the afternoon skiing or snowboarding with a private teacher; enjoy a spa afternoon in the village of Sapareva Banya, famous for its hot thermal springs. Return to Sofia between 5 PM and 6 PM.

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

4. 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.

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Sofia: Pirin National Park Hike & Bansko Visit with Lunch

5. Sofia: Pirin National Park Hike & Bansko Visit with Lunch

Hike to admire Banderishki Lakes and see the highest peak of the mountain, Vihren. Go down to the biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, Bansko, to tuck into a traditional Bulgarian lunch. Take a guided walk in the historical part of the town and learn about the history and architecture of the Revival period. At 8:00 AM, be picked by your guide from your accommodation in Sofia. Enjoy a 2-hour drive on a very beautiful scenic road. See the highest mountain on the Balkans—Rila Mountain—on the way. Then, reach the starting point of your hike, Vihren hut. The hiking takes approximately 3.5 hours in both directions, during which you pass by 3 of the Banderishki Lakes. When back in your vehicle, head towards Bansko Ski resort, just 15 minutes from the parking. Upon coming down from the mountain, relax in Bansko, nestled in a valley. Have a Bulgarian lunch in the heart of the historical part of Bansko. Afterward, join a 30-minute walking tour of the place. Be introduced to the local Revival period architecture. Learn about the beginning of the Revival period in the 18th century. At around 04:30 PM, start your journey back to Sofia. Your guide will drop you off at your hotel.

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From Sofia: Europe's Oldest City, Plovdiv including Pickup

6. From Sofia: Europe's Oldest City, Plovdiv including Pickup

Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria, is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in Europe, with more than 7000 years of history. Plovdiv is situated on the crossroads between the West and the East, amid the fertile plain of Thrace, where history and modernity go hand in hand. See how culture and art have always thrived in this city as you explore a vivid medley of shapes, styles, and colors. The city is home to the fabulous remains of the Ancient Roman Empire – the Roman Stadium, the Roman Forum, and the Amphitheatre. During your time in the city, you can discover the Old Town of Plovdiv, situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium. See the houses from the National Revival period, which  have been proclaimed an architectural open air museum. Discover many of the main sights in the area with a guide.

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Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

7. Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After an approximately 2-hour drive, you will reach Lovech. From there you will begin exploring the old quarter of the city. You will walk through the small cobbled streets, traveling back in time as you admire the typical 14th-century houses. You will then take a detailed trip to the Vassil Levski Museum, before continuing your walk to the Hisarya Fortress. The last site in the town to which you will pay attention is the famous Covered Bridge, a masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture which was built by Master Kolio Ficheto. Following the bridge, you will continue your trip with a 20-minute drive to your next stop, Devetashka Cave. Once there you will have some time to walk around the stunning cave, and will proceed to the Krushuna Waterfalls (a 20-minute drive from Devetashka Cave). There you will discover a unique natural wonder where you can take a walk through the beautiful forest and along the stream that has formed this beautiful cascade of blue waterfalls. Following this waterfall visit, your tour will then end with drop off at your point of origin.

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From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

8. From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

The tour departs early in the morning in front of Alexander Nevski. Your first stop will be the great UNESCO Boyana Church located on the outskirts of Sofia consisting of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th-century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two-story building to be erected next to it. After exploring it, head to Rila Monastery, where you will admire the impressive architecture, frescoes and learn about the history of the monastery from your guide. During the guided tour in the inner yard and the monastery museum, discover the most precious pieces that are kept from the past and all the facts and stories about the largest Bulgarian monastery complex.

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Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

9. Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

Your tour starts with pickup from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia at 8:00AM. After an approximate 1.5-hour drive, you will reach Plovdiv. Once there you will visit the highlights, such as the 1st-century Roman Theatre, the 2nd-century Roman Stadium, the oldest mosque on the Balkans, and an old pharmacy. You will then have the chance to take a walk through the Old Town where you can observe the typical Revival Period houses, museums, and narrow cobblestone streets. Scheduled throughout your itinerary are visits to 5 sites, as well as the top of the main hill which provides great views over the whole city. After you finish your exploration of Plovdiv, you will drive south to the Rhodope Mountain. This road is very scenic, and you will soon reach Vucha Dam where you will be picked by a boat before being taken to a place where you can enjoy lunch. Whist at this scenic location, you can also enjoy a nice walk up to the cliffs, a boat trip on the reservoir, and take the opportunity to hire a waverunner. At the conclusion of this unforgettable experience, you will head safely back to Sofia.

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Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

10. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

After pickup from any accommodation in Sofia, your journey through over 1,000 years of Bulgarian cultural history begins. Make the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery via air-conditioned bus into the dense pine forests of Rila Mountain. Upon arriving, explore the monastery, which was founded in 927, at your own pace with 2 hours of free time. Amble the 21-acre complex, taking in the colorful and unique traditional Orthodox architecture. Gaze at the 5-domed church, with its numerous altars, side chapels, and gold-plated mosaics. Take in the beauty of the tranquil mountain environment surrounding the peaceful place of worship. Afterwards, you’ll have lunch, before heading on to your next destination. Only a couple of miles away from the monastery into the forest is St. Ivan Rilski Cave, where St. Ivan of Rila took up residency in the early 10th century. Experience a sacred site of tremendous importance to Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. On the way back to Sofia, you’ll pass through Boyana Church, famed for its elaborate frescoes dating back to the 11th, 13th, 15th-17th, and 19th century. Afterwards, you’ll be transported back back to your accommodation in Sofia.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Sofia

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What people are saying about Sofia

We found a very unfortunate day with a snow storm happening. We couldn't do the regular hike because the snow lift was close. But luckily we had the best guide ever - Kiril - who took us to another place (that we still couldn't see properly because of the heavy snow and wind ahah). My boots broke down and I had no sole on both, while hiking we tried many times to fix them - and Kiril was super attentive on that - but it was impossible. Even if all of that happened we had a super fun day in the snow, Kiril really loves the mountains and he can tell you everything about them. Ofc the thermal swimming pools at the end were the cherry on top.

Our excursions with bob was absolutely brilliant, he explained to us the history of Bulgaria as well as the different places visited!

Filip was an outstanding guide. A very special excursion I recommend it to everyone ... enchanting places

Super interesting tour! Both me and my friends really enjoyed it and would totally recommend it!

Maria is a wonderful tour guide. It couldn't be better !!