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Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

star-5
892 Reviews
Kyustendil, Bulgaria

The Basics

Nearly a million visitors explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site each year. You can visit Rila Monastery's cloisters, farming buildings, and church, and step into its on-site museum for a look at its history and to see handwoven national costumes. Take a self-guided tour, or visit with a guide for deeper context. Some tours combine a monastery visit with a trip to a Bulgarian winery or to nearby Boyana Church, known for its medieval murals.

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Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia
star-4.5
$23.83 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Good day trip from Sofia
The tour itself was very informative. Martin was a delightful guide and very safe driver. The minibus was filled — 8 tourists and the driver in 9 seats. Only 4 of us wore our masks at all times. We were outside a lot for the monastery tour, but I still think masks should be worn since we were within 6’ of each other. It would also have been nice to know if everyone was vaccinated.
Bookworm46, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Sofia

star-5
Beautiful Rila Monastery
Christa_E, Sep 2021
Private Day Trip to the Rila Monastery and Boyana Church
First we visited the Boyana Church with the beautiful paintings. Then we went to the beautiful Rila Monastery, a real highlight of our holidays. Our guide gave us so much interesting informations and so it was a perfect day.
star-5
Worth it!
Christine_L, Sep 2021
Rila Monastery and 7 Rila Lakes Self-Guided Shared Trip from Sofia
Our driver/guide was very friendly and explained the itinerary thoroughly before we left the city. Though it’s a full day, we didn’t feel rushed and felt like we had enough time to enjoy the 7 lakes and Rila Monastery on our own pace. Both of these were the highlights of our trip to Bulgaria, so we enjoyed every moment!
star-5
Amazing day
Laura_L, Sep 2021
The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery
I loved this tour. Our guide Georgi was very friendly and nice. We were able to see all the lakes and have a picnic before going to the Rila monastery. To save some money on the tour I would recommend booking the self guided option as it is cheaper and both the hike and the monastery are easy to do on your own, although having a guide was also fun
star-5
Definitely a must!
joycegrech72, Sep 2021
Rila Monastery and 7 Rila Lakes Self-Guided Shared Trip from Sofia
A very nice day trip, especially if weather is nice and clear! Highly recommend this tour. Although self-guided, it was very easy to manage on our own.
star-5
Best vip tour
Sol_R, Sep 2021
Private Day Trip to Rila Monastery and Wine Tasting
Omg the best one ever really good Exactly what u would expect of a proper tour guide is exactly what we got the best vip! Tour
star-5
Rila monastery- Wine tasting - Boyana church
Vincent_S, Aug 2021
Rila monastery- Wine tasting - Boyana church
Excellent visit. The guilt is kind, cool, benevolent and very professional. The travel was well organized and the guilt got a lot of knowledge about the place I've visited. And now, i know a lot about Bulgarian history. I had a good day and I recommend without hesitation. Thank's a lot.
star-5
Excellent trip
nnik59, Jul 2021
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church with Light Lunch
Amazing. Maria is a wonderful guide. Highly recommend. In general we are very satisfied with Viator tours.
star-5
What a guide Martin
AlessandroBianco, Jul 2021
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia
I would recommend Martin to everyone! He knew everything, he could answer to every of your questions and last but not least, he was fun. A tour guide needs to be fun, so he gets more attention and people are more interested, and that’s what he did. I had a lot of fun and a nice day discovering stuff you don’t do without a tour guide. Cheap and amazing, such an experience
star-5
Fabulous trip
Amanda_L, Jul 2021
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church with Light Lunch
Great tour, I would highly recommend. Our guide Maria was fabulous, very knowledgeable. The two locations are a must see for a visit to Sofia, it was a privilege to see the frescos in the church!
star-5
Unreal
Letizia_F, Jul 2021
The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery
It was fantastic! Everything was perfect and I would recommend it to everyone. You won't regret it!!
star-4
A day in Rila
Yael_V, Jul 2021
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Shuttle Tour
Very interesting visit but a little bit short at the monastery . We had almost no time to visit the museum.
star-5
Smooth ride
Donald, Jul 2021
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia
I purchased the transport option. Martin, the driver and guide from Traventuria, was above all a good driver. He was very entertaining throughout the ride, sharing insights about Sofia as well as interesting places along the way.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Prebook tickets to the monastery to skip the line and enjoy more time inside.

  • Visitors must wear clothing that covers shoulders, knees, and elbows to tour the grounds.

  • A traditional bakery behind the monastery serves homemade mekitsi (dough fritters), while several nearby restaurants specialize in Bulgarian food; trout is a specialty.

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How to Get There

Travelers can take the E79 International Route between Sofia and Kulata to the monastery. It’s located about 16 miles (25 kilometers) from Kocherinovo. The easiest way to get there is by joining a guided tour with included transportation.

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When to Get There

Rila Monastery is a popular day trip destination among locals and visitors, especially in summer. Plan to visit the monastery in winter when it's quieter and you’ll have the grounds largely to yourself.

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Cave of St. Ivan of Rila

No trip to Rila Monastery would be complete without a stop at the nearby cave where St. Ivan of Rila, the hermit who founded the monastery, lived while his students built what would become Bulgaria’s most famous spiritual center. Visitors can hike to this small nook in the mountainside from the monastery to see where the saint spent some 20 years in relative solitude.

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