Rila Monastery from Sofia
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Apr 26, 2012 1:38 AM Last Post By: victorylights
Mar 3, 2012 3:19 PM
We are going to visit Bulgaria soon, but still have some questions left unsolved.
1) Bus Time-table
Lonely planet says there is a bus running from Dupnitsa to Rila (village) at 10:00am and 11:00am respectively, however it shows that the only bus departs from Dupnitsa in the morning is 11:30 according to avtogari. (http://avtogari.info), which one is accurate please?
2) Renting a car?
We'll be arriving sofia at 11:00am, so am considering of renting a car and driving from Sofia to the monastery straight away, and hopefully spend a night in the monastery. does this sound like a reasonable idea?
The two things we are not sure are:
2.1) How easy is it to drive in Bulgaria? (We are based in uk so it's going to be the opposite driving direction. We do have a co-pilot gps that contains Bulgaria map).
2.2) parking wise, from monastery's website, it's not free anymore, approximately 2 euro/hour. anyone knows if this is also chargeable for those who spend the night in the monastery? (I've tried to contact the monastery but email returned due to post failure).
3) If we get a car that means we've got more flexibility so we'd like to hike around the rila area. We are going to Bulgaria in early May so I understand it's not the best time for hiking, we are hence not looking for any high-altitude trails. Any suggestions for possible hiking trails in early May please?
Thanks a lot.
Mar 3, 2012 3:51 PM
Mar 3, 2012 4:52 PM
2does this sound like a reasonable goal to achieve?
Day 1: arriving in Sofia at 11:00, driving to Rila Monastery, stay in Rila village
Day 2: Drive to 7-Rila-Lakes(lift), hiking. (we are not going to do any thing over-ambitious, is it ok if we just walk around for 4 miles, say. We'll be equipped with GTX boots and gaiters). Stay in the nearby town.
Day 3: drive back to Sofia in the morning, spend the day in Sofia.
Mar 3, 2012 7:33 PM
3I think your itinerary sounds pretty good, although I think it will be pretty rushed. If you wanted, you could stay in one of the mountain huts up in the Rila Lakes area. The huts are hostel-like accommodations with basic food and drink available.
Regarding driving, you shouldn't have too much trouble. Getting in and out of Sofia can be a little chaotic, but nothing worse than any other major city in the world. It might be worth investing a small amount of time to learn the Cyrillic alphabet, which is much, much easier than it appears, and will help you read signs and such.
Depending on the weather, you may be able to hike most trails in May. Just ask around a bit around the Rila Lakes. The locals should know what trails are hikeable and which are not.
Not sure about parking, but I'm sure you'll be able to find something in reasonable proximity to the monastery. The paid parking, I'm sure, is just for visitors during regular hours. When you arrive, just ask around when you book your room.
Mar 4, 2012 7:16 AM
Mar 13, 2012 6:29 PM
5Driving in Bulgaria is fine -- you could encounter some high speed and aggressive driving, but then you can encounter those in the UK as well. As usual you just need to be alert and drive defensively.
Renting car is OK as well. My family and I have done this multiple times over the last 10-15 years (having been to Bulgaria about 7-8 times from China and the US)
Here are a few postings on my blog about the car rental - http://site.chinafinds.com/travel/?s=rental+car
Enjoy your trip! The Rila Monastery is beautiful and so are the mountains around it...
Apr 5, 2012 12:52 AM
Apr 26, 2012 1:38 AM
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