DURATION: 7 hours
ITINERARY: Sofia – the Boyana church – the Rila monastery – Sofia
This tour operates every day!
Visit two UNESCO Sites in one day! The Rila Monastery and the Boyana church are definitely a must-see if you are a tourist with a free day in Sofia.
The Rila Monastery is located at an altitude of 1147 meters in the middle of the fragrant coniferous forests of Rila Mountain. The monastery is a complex of cultural, dwelling and farming buildings which take about 8800 square meters.
The Rila Monastery has an unique architecture. Outside it looks like a fortress, the 24-meter stone walls form irregular pentagon. That’s why when a tourist enters the monastery’s yard from one of the two iron gates he is surprised by its architecture: arches and colonnades, covered wooden stairs and carved verandas and more than 300 monastic cells. The church of the Nativity of the Virgin is the monastery’s main church and the core of the architectural ensemble.
You will have at least two full hours of free time at the Rila Monastery. You can also taste the delicious Bulgarian donuts (mekitsi) outside the monastery and the rich and thick buffalo yogurt.
The Boyana Church’s frescoes bring epochal change in the mural painting and are considered predecessors of the European Renaissance. The majority of more then 240 figures depicted there have individuality, vitality and psychological depth.
– Advance booking is required! Showing up without reservation will not guarantee you a seat in the bus.
– Winter schedule (November-March): pickup/drop off from your hotel is included.
– Summer schedule (April-October): pickup/drop off point.
9:00 – the meeting point is behind the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral and just in front of “La Cathedralе” restaurant. After completing the booking you will receive a map with further information.
11:20 – scheduled time of arrival at Rila Monastery.
13:30 – leave from Rila Monastery to Boyana Church.
15:30 – scheduled time of arrival at the Boyana Church. Here you will have around 30 minutes to visit the church.
16:30-17:00 – arrive at the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral (or in your hotel for the period November-March).
PLEASE NOTE: Boyana Church will not be working on the 24th and the 25th of December.
Admission fees (not included): 8 leva (appr. 4 Euro) for the Rila Monastery Museum, 10 leva (appr. 5 Euro) for the Boyana Church
Price: 25 Euro per adult (35 Euro per person for November-March); 20 Euro per child
Transport, English speaking driver-guide, VAT and parking fees;
CHILDREN DISCOUNTS: Children up to 12 years old are subject to a discount of 5 Euro. Baby/Child seats will be provided free of charge.
HOTEL PICK-UP (included in the winter season): 5 Euro per booking, not per person.
AUDIO GUIDES: An audio guide for the Rila Monastery in Spanish, Italian, German and Russian is available with a supplement of 5 Euro per person. Enjoy a comprehensive 1 hour professionally recorded commentary on Rila and Vitosha Mountains, Rila Monastery Architecture, History and Frescoes.
For Private Tour to the Rila Monastery please see: Tour to the Rila Monastery