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Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia

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Sofia, Bulgaria
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon8 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 4 more

Overview

Immerse yourself in the beguiling beauty of two of Bulgaria’s most spectacular sights on a full-day trip from Sofia. Admire the natural splendor of rural Bulgaria as you travel to the Rila Monastery, a sacred structure cradled by the dense pine forests of the mountains. Delve into the history of the medieval landmark and browse the intriguing exhibitions of the on-site museum. Continue to Boyana Church to gaze at the fascinating pre-Renaissance frescoes that decorate the walls within. Please note, entrance fees are not included on this tour.
  • Rila Monastery and Boyana Church day trip from Sofia
  • Visit UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery in the idyllic Rila Mountains
  • Admire the monastery courtyard and church, home to a magnificent iconostasis and frescoes
  • Opt to visit the monastery museum and make the most of free time to explore independently
  • Explore UNESCO-listed Boyana Church to see its stunning medieval frescoes

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

Get a budget-friendly outing to Rila Monastery and Boyana Church.
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Driver/Tour guide
Transport by air-conditioned minibus
Parking Fees
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Admission to Boyana Church (approx. 5 euros per person) and Rila Monastery Museum (approx. 4 euros per person)
Audio guide at Rila Monastery (approx. 5 euros per person)
Food and drinks
St Alexander Nevski Square , 1000 Old City Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

IMPORTANT: The meeting point is BEHIND Alexander Nevski Cathedral (opposite La Cattedrale restaurant) | Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/KY3uaHDALKjDJukQA | GPS coordinates: 42.695601, 23.333790 | Please, be there 15 min. in advance! | This tour is not suitable for children under the age of 5.

9:00 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
Greet your guide at a central Sofia location and climb aboard your comfortable, air-conditioned minibus. Admire the verdant splendor of Bulgaria’s countryside as you travel towards the Rila Monastery, a sacred UNESCO-listed structure cradled by pine-carpeted mountains. 

On arrival, listen as your guide offers insight into the legend-shrouded monastery, whose origin dates back to 927 AD. Embark on a guided tour of the architectural masterpiece and marvel at vivid, fresco-coated colonnades and richly carved wooden icons. Pay your respects at the grand tomb of Bulgaria’s last monarch, Boris III, and venture within the monastery museum to peruse the intriguing exhibits. 

Afterwards, relax during some leisurely free time to revitalize with a traditional lunch, and then return to the minibus to venture to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Boyana Church, Famed for its impeccably preserved medieval frescoes, the church demands attention with its ancient artworks; spend a while admiring the depictions of angels, apostles, saints and sinners, and listen to the historical context of their creation. 

Culturally enriched, return to your vehicle and relax during the journey back to central Sofia.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral
09:00 departure from the starting point. Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before departure.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Boyana Church
Boyana Church is a small temple at the outskirts of Sofia with frescoes dating back to three separate periods: 11th, 13th and 19th century. The most important and fascinating are the frescoes dating from 1259. They are Renaissance frescoes that predate the Italian Renaissance (triggered by the works of Giotto) and brake the strict Christian canon law to present pure human emotions, royal figures and folklore elements.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery is one of Bulgaria’s symbols and a popular tourist destination. The monastery is set deep in the heart of Rila Mountain, between the Rilska and Drushliavitza Rivers, at 1147 metres (3760 feet) above sea level. It is situated 120 kilometres south of Sofia.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral
Return to the starting point at approximately 17:00
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities
  • Not wheelchair accessible or stroller friendly
  • Comfortable walking shoes recommended
  • Exceptions to the standard program:
  • Boyana church will NOT be visited on the following dates: the 18th of May, the 19th of April, 24th and 25th December
  • Hand disinfectant will be provided for free throughout the tour.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • All customers are required to wear face masks during the transfers.
  • Due to COVID-19, only part of our vehicle seat capacity will be used.
  • All our drivers and guides will be wearing masks and gloves during the transfers.
  • All touch points in the vehicles will be cleaned frequently.
  • Minimum traveler age is 5 years old
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 30 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Traventuria
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia?
A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


  • "Highly recommended as it save you lots of time of figuring out the transportation!" See review
  • "The Boyana church is basically in the suburbs of Sofia; the Rila Monastery is about a 2 hour drive away, and well worth the journey!" See review
  • "A very easy way to make a full day trip to the out of the way Rila monastery." See review

Reviews by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
448 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 448 reviews
star-5
Lovely trip to Rila Monastery and Boyana Church
David_V
, Jul 2022
The trip was very smooth, our guide was very Informative, he shared a lot of interesting details with us ( also some fun facts). After the lecture we had 1 hour for ourselves so we could grab a lunch in the restaurant next to this place. Lovely trip!
star-5
Perfect day trip from Sofia
JaeHyung_K
, Jul 2022
Guide was very friendly and did a great job explaining the historical significance of Boyana Church and Rila Monastery. I felt that we had enough time on each stop and the van was comfortable and safe. Highly recommend!
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
Thank you for your feedback! It is very much appreciated! Safe travels, Maria Kamenova
star-5
Definitely recommended
Isabel_P
, Jul 2022
We had an amazing time at this tour, both Boyana church and Rila monastery are worth the visit but what made it truly great were the explanations behind their complex stories which our guide conveyed in a very informative and engaging way! The tour was well organized, providing time to see everything both in group and independently, and our driver ensured a very safe ride.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
Dear Isabel! Thank you for your feedback! It is very much appreciated! Safe travels, Maria Kamenova
star-5
Great trip and great...
Suzana_B
, Jun 2022
Great trip and great guide Lubo! It worth to visit this monastery! We learn a lot of interesting things from our guide!
star-4
Great day trip
Chris_C
, Jun 2022
The coach was really comfortable and our tour guide was really knowledgeable and helpful. Thank you!
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Dear Chris, Thank you for your great review of our services! We are really glad that the tour met your expectations! Safe travels, Maria Kamenova
star-4
Great tour guide, Lubo,...
Paula_N
, Jun 2022
Great tour guide, Lubo, very knowledgeable and pleasant. Nice coach and driver. Rila monastery is well worth a visit.
star-5
Beautiful and informative
Bruce_W
, Jun 2022
There was beautiful scenery throughout the trip and the guide was knowledgeable and informative. I learned very much on the trip about the history and cultural and Bulgaria
star-5
Well worth the coach journey
SarahWynne_K
, May 2022
Both Boyana Church and Rila Monastery are well worth the journey. It is well organised. The guide is very knowledgeable (although we had an audio guide too). Frescos at both locations are beautiful. There is an option to either do the museum or relax and use the restaurant after the tour at the monestery. Be aware that the loud bird scarer noise will make it hard to hear your guide outside the church at Rila.
star-5
Very insightful trip...
Jonathan_C
, May 2022
Very insightful trip around two unesco sites. Friendly helpful guide and driver. We'll thought out day.
star-5
Great guide
Jatinderjit_B
, Apr 2022
Well informed guide, comfortable ride. All in all I would recommend this tour. The tour left on time and covered both the sites giving us all enough time to enjoy them
star-5
Very good
James_M
, Apr 2022
Great experience. The coach was super comfortable and the guide, Martin, was really personable and knowledgeable.
star-5
Going to Bulgaria's spiritual centre
Simone_R
, Apr 2022
Lubo was a great guide, this is a great option to explore two must see UNESCO World Heritage sites, with plenty of time to explore Rila monastery. Boyana a highlight with its proto-renaissance frescos.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Dear Simone! I will surely let Lubo know how amazed you were with him! Thank you so much for sharing feedback for your experience with our community on Tripadvisor! Looking forward to hosting you again! Safe travels, Maria Kamenova
star-5
Great trip
Yaroslav_V
, Apr 2022
Great guide with a lot of interesting stories, comfortable bus, and exciting trip to a very beautiful place. Overall 5 out of 5 stars.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Thank you for sharing your feedback with others here on TripAdvisor! We are lucky we had you as our guest! Looking forward to many new trips! Best regards, Maria Kamenova
star-5
This was a lovely small...
Ilona_K
, Apr 2022
This was a lovely small group tour. The guide gave interesting background and context information about both the monastry and church, and it was nice to have some free time to explore
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Dear Friend! Thank you for your feedback! It is very much appreciated! Safe travels! Kind regards Maria Kamenova
star-5
You must go!!
Debs_A
, Apr 2022
Fantastic day out! A lovely small group and a superb guide/driver. Rila monastery is beautiful and well worth going to.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Thank you for your review! Sharing your experience with others on TripAdvisor is really important for us. We highly value the time you have taken to rate our service! Kind regards Maria Kamenova
star-5
Beautiful and informative
Sian_M
, Mar 2022
This is a beautiful trip. Our guide was very informative and funny. Really enjoyed the entire day. The best thing we did in Sofia.
star-4
Rila monastery is a beatiful place!
Jordi_P
, Nov 2021
The jorney in general was fine. But the tour guide was a little bit rude in my opinion. Specially with clients Who didnt pay for the guided visit
icon Response from Host , Nov 2021
Dear Jordi! Thank you for sharing your feedback with others here on TripAdvisor! Philip is one of our best tour guides- knowledgeable, kind, and experienced. However, the clients who have booked self-guided tours would like to explore the area by themselves and do not need any guidance. We shall have a word with Philip as we always strive to be the best and we keep on investing time, money and knowledge in improving our service. Hopefully, you will meet us again and we will meet your expectations for an excellent review next time! Kind regards
star-3
Would not recommend
Matt_S
, Nov 2021
Booked this mainly for Boyana Church. Were interested in seeing the Rila Monastery as well (it was worth seeing) but since that the entirety of the trip, this was not worth the money. Although Boyana Church was closed due to COVID when we booked, no mention of this face was ever made to us until about 12 hours before the tour. Of course, at this point, it was past the 24 hour cancellation time, which seemed to me intentional. Thus, we were stuck paying for a tour to two places, but only getting to go to one. The cost should have been compensated by the operator since we paid for two places. A cave visit was offered instead. We felt duped. It totally was not worth it and didn't compare to what the Boyana would have been. The drive to Rila is at least two hours, in a hot van, with a 'guide' who repeats the same things, when he talks at all. For what we paid, there was no value in this tour.
icon Response from Host , Nov 2021
Dear Matteo, Many thanks for the review. Kindly note, that you made your reservation (for a bus ticket) on Saturday 19:16, for a tour starting Sunday 09:00. And despite being Saturday, we sent you an email less than 1hr after your reservation, that Boyana Church will not be open for the next day (decision, that had been taken on day to day basis, and we were informed a couple of hours before your reservation). Please notice, that there was not a problem to cancel the bus ticket (and receive a full refund), since during Covid times we operate at a fully flexible cancellation policy. But in our records, we can not find a notice, that you want to cancel your tour. Kindly note, that the fact that due to Corinavirus regulations Boyana Church (we are not affiliated with them) will not open for tourists, this does not change the route of the bus. There was just no need to stop at the parking lot there, since you can not even see the roof of the church from it. However If you wished to be dropped off at the parking lot, there was no problem with that neither, but it does not alter our costs, since you receive exactly the transportation (in terms of distance covered and time spent) you ordered (you booked only the discounted transportation to the sights, no guided visits or entrance fees) and we see no reason for additional discount. However, despite, that we are not affiliated with the Boyana Church and received the notice for closure, just a few hours before you, we offered as compensation a visit to the cave of Ivan Rilski, to all customers (even to holders of bus tickets only), and we feel this as an appropriate compensation, since it did incur additional costs for us and moreover was highly rated by our guests. Kindly note, that this was optional and you could just spend the additional time at the Monastery. We, however, hope that you have gathered positive impressions from our small country and looking forward to greeting you again! Maria Kamenova
star-5
Recommended
Giulia_V
, Oct 2021
Very interesting Nice places and the guide was well prepared and welcoming Recommended also the restaurant at the monastery
icon Response from Host , Oct 2021
Dear Giulia! We are the people to thank you for choosing our services and for letting us host you in our small, but beautiful country! Wishing you many many amazing travels! Stay safe, Maria Kamenova
star-5
Great tour
Eimear_F
, Oct 2021
Great tour. Our guide Martin was very friendly and informative. Everything was as described and on time. Very good value.
icon Response from Host , Oct 2021
Dear Eimear! Thank you so much for valuing the work of our team and especially of our amazing guide Martin! We are really happy that you enjoyed the tour! Looking forward to hosting you again! Safe travels! Maria Kamenova

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