Day trip

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

From £21.16 per person

See 2 of Bulgaria's UNESCO World Heritage Sites on an exciting minibus tour from Sofia. Go to Rila Monastery and get breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Then, see stunning frescoes from the Bulgarian National Revival at Boyana Church.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 8 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English
Small group available

Experience

Itinerary
4 hours
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

  • 2 hours
  • Rila Monastery (guided tour)

  • Rila Monastery (lunch)

    • Optional
  • 1.5 hours
  • Boyana Church (guided tour)

  • 30 minutes
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Meeting point
Main stop
Other stop
Highlights
  • Visit 2 of Bulgaria most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in a day
  • Go to Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains
  • Marvel at the pre-Renaissance frescoes of Boyana Church
  • Taste organic food in the nearby restaurants, such as mekitsi, yogurt or grilled trout
  • Travel in comfort through the Bulgarian countryside
Full description
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.
Includes
  • Transportation by modern, comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
  • English-speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance fees to Rila Monastery Museum (€4 per person) and Boyana Church (€5 per person)
  • Food, drinks and other personal expenses
Not suitable for
  • Pregnant women
  • People with mobility impairments
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • You must keep social distance while in vehicles
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask

Select participants and date

Participants

Date

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Meet in front of La Cattedrale Restaurant behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia.

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Important information

Know before you go

  • Please be aware that smoking in the vehicles is strictly forbidden
  •  You can find mekitsi (sometimes called Bulgarian donuts) just outside the eastern gate, available to purchase at €0.25 each
  • Please note, the tour will not visit Boyana Church on May 18, April 19, and December 24 or 25
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 562 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
    4.7/5
  • Transportation
    4.7/5
  • Value for money
    4.3/5
  • Safety
    4.7/5

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Star rating:

What an amazing experience all thanks to Martin. It was a rainy day so of course most of the surrounding views was covered in layer of fog, but the beautiful monastery and the amazing storytelling from our guide Martin made the experience exceptional. Martin is a very charismatic and funny guide who makes everybody feels included and welcome. He dapples between telling about the history and giving some small fun anecdotes, but will also give you some useful tips as to what to see and do. He gives the perfect amount of time for the guided part of the tour but also leaves room for free time. All in all I cannot recommend enough.

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8 October 2021

I was glad to find an option to book transport only to Boyana Church and Rila Monastery on the same day, without a guided tour. Driving is the easiest way to visit both places on the same day, but I prefer learning about cultural sites through reading and exploring on my own. I was impressed by how carefully everything was scheduled so that we could maximize our time at each place without waiting.

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23 August 2021

Amazing tour! This is a must if you are coming to Bulgaria! Great value for your money, you get to immerse in their history & culture & get to see their beautiful architecture. The Monastery is breathtaking. Our guide Lubo was extraordinary, very knowledgeable & not only did he explained the history of the church & monastery but also the history of Bulgaria’s empires & political culture. Five out of five!

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19 July 2021

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Product ID: 50410