Sofia
Bus & Minivan Tours

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Our most recommended Sofia Bus & Minivan Tours

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.

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From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana

2. From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana

Spend the day exploring 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located outside of Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city. Begin by meeting at 9:00 behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. Sit back and relax for the next 2 hours as your friendly, English-speaking drivers transport you to Rila. Upon arriving, spend 2 hours exploring the area and visiting the Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant which features a specialty of grilled trout. Get back in the van for another 2-hour journey, eventually arriving at Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church on the outskirts of Sofia. Check out the elaborate frescoes that have made this site famous, before your tour returns you to your meeting point.

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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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The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

4. The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

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 from 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 you will 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, the Seven Rila Lakes.

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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: Plovdiv, Asen's Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery

6. 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.

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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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From Sofia: Snowshoe Hike on Vitosha Mountain

9. From Sofia: Snowshoe Hike on Vitosha Mountain

Experience the stunning landscapes of the Vitosha mountain massif from a different perspective on a snowshoe hike with an English-speaking guide. Get closer to the enormous domes and peaks of one of the most popular winter destinations in Bulgaria. Take up the challenge of walking on snow at a mountain that emerged as a result of volcanic activity. Shaped by the slow folding of granite rock layers and gradual uplifts, Vitosha is now one of the most frequently visited destinations from Sofia. Marvel at the towering peak of Cherni Vrah ("Black Peak") at the highest point of the massif and more.

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Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

10. Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Sofia

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,293 reviews

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 guide, Philip, was extremely knowledge about the monastery itself and about the history of his country. By the time we arrived we had an understanding of what we were visiting but were still unprepared for how stunning the place actually was. Pictures do not do it justice. We would encourage any visitor to take the opportunity to go.

really nice Guide, Philipp was verhelpful and told us many interesting things. the church was smaller than expected, but still very pretty. the monastery was lovely and ee had a great time there

Plovdiv was a positive surprise. Town full of history, soul and cosy places. Whole trip was very well organized and Daniel an excellent guide.

Very enjoyable day. the Monadteto is an oasis of peace and the Boyana Church a small treasure. We thank our excellent guide, Georgi