Welcome to Rila Monastery


Most travellers visit Rila Monastery on a day trip, but you can stay at or near the monastery to experience its tranquillity after the tour buses leave, or explore the hiking trails that begin here.


Top experiences in Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery activities

$59.63 Tours & Sightseeing

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church with Light Lunch

Rila Monastery is the biggest and most important orthodox cloister in the country and the jewel of Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage. Recognized as a part of UNESCO world heritage sites since 1976, the monastery is an unique monument of the church architecture. Situated deep in the dense pine forests of Rila mountain, it is a place of massive cultural and historical importance and acts as the keeper of the national identity trough the middle ages. The monastery museum contains some amazing examples of the best Bulgarian icon painting and woodcarving. Another UNESCO site, part of the tour is Boyana Church, located on the outskirts of Sofia. It was added to the World Cultural Heritage List in 1979. The building consists of three parts, which are example of the Byzantine architecture - Greek cross ground-plan with dome, richly decorated facades with ceramic elements. In the interior of the church there are several layers of wall paintings from different historical periods-11th, 13th, 15-17th and 19th. The church owes its world fame mainly to its frescoes from 1259, which reflect the unique achievements of the Bulgarian medieval culture. According to the experts the style of the paintings from this period is much resembling the Renaissance style though much earlier than it begun. The Boyana Church displays 89 different scenes with 240 human figures either individually or together. Itinerary: The tour starts from your hotel. After a 2-hour transfer, we reach the Rila monastery. Enjoy a 2-hour tour of the Holy cloister. Transfer back to Sofia (2 hours), visit of Boyana church (1 hour). Afterwards the tour ends at your hotel

$68.68 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Rila Monastery and Wine Tasting Tour

Medi Valley Winery and Rila Monastery OverviewMedi Valley Winery is a classic winery complex located at the crossroad of a multi-directional touristic compass. It is is a wonderful start or a reason to visit these sites. The winery will be an unforgettable experience that will leave memories and provoke your senses. The visitors may experience not only the wines but a whole variety of things like history, traditions, beautiful nature and many more.The Rila Monastery tour includes wine tasting of five different local wines, produced in the vicinity of Rila Monastery. The guides will make your day unforgettable and will impress you with their knowledge, energy and interesting history facts about Bulgaria.Rila monastery is the holiest place for the Bulgarian orthodoxy. The beauty of this place hardly can be described with words. Your first touch with it will leave you breathless. Here past, present and future are interlaced in one, whispering to you the intriguing history of the Bulgarian country. To make your day tour to this magnificent monastery unforgettable, after spending two hours at this holy place, you will then be taken for a unique wine tasting to a wine cell in the feet of Rila mountain. Before the Bulgarians, The Thracians were the rulers of these territories. There remarkable culture and warrior dignity are woven in the wine of the region, called after one of their greatest tribes - The Medi. The great Spartacus itself is originated from here.Your Day at Rila Monastery and Medi Valley – WineryThe start of your day begins with pick up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After 2 hours drive we reach the Monastery in the Rila Mountain at an altitude of 1147m (3763 feet) above sea level. The introduction of the UNESCO site will begin with brief history of the founder and the construction of the monastery. After that we will visit the church and medieval 14th century defense tower.After we finish exploring the monastery complex we will have a lunch at very cozy restaurant with local food (grilled trout specialty). Then we will make our way to Medi Valley winery where you will have the possibility to try five different types of wines. A short story about the history of the region, the winery and the current products; questions and answers session. Walking the guests to the ground floor, introducing to them the option of purchase souvenirs and wine at a special price from the winery’s shop.

$46.40 Day Trips & Excursions

Rila Monastery and 7 Rila Lakes in one day from Sofia

In the morning meet your friendly English-speaking driver at the centrally located meeting point behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Departure time is at 07:30 am. The meeting point is at the car parking behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral (in front of La Catedrale restaurant), in the historical center of Sofia and close to metro station Sofia University. After a 1.5 hours drive with comfortable A/C van/minibus you will reach the area of Panichishte and the parking of the Rila Lakes chair lift. After arriving at the Rila Lakes area (chair lift base station) around 09:00 am - your driver will brief you of the different options and routes up the mountain that you can take from there. You can take the chair lift up to the lakes and then walk around the lakes area. You will be also given necessary information in regards to food, water, high-mountain weather, etc.You have more than 5 hours at your convenience for your self guided tour of the Rila Lakes. The time allows you to see most of the 7 Rila Lakes.In the afternoon your driver and van will be waiting for you at the previously agreed meeting point for your transfer further to the Rila Monastery. Departure time is at 02:30 pm. Please be ready on time for boarding as now waiting time is included. Allow about 20 min for the chair lift ride down from the mountain as well as time for queuing if it is a busy day.After a 2 hour drive you will reach the UNESCO listed Rila monastery. Your driver will leave you at a nearby parking which is a very close walk to to monastery complex. Enjoy your self guided visit to the Rila Monastery in the next 1.5 hours.In the later afternoon meet your driver at the meeting point for your transfer back to the city of Sofia. Departure time is at 06:00 pm. Please be ready on time for boarding as now waiting time is included.The drop off location is at the square/parking behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral (in the historical center of Sofia and close to metro station Sofia University).

$63.81 Day Trips & Excursions

Stob Pyramids and Rila Monastery Private Hiking Tour from Sofia

Enjoy one of the best ways of exploring and learning more about Bulgaria- with a professional guide while hiking through the amazing mountains. The tour starts from Sofia and first you will go for hiking in the region of the Stob Piramids. A place well know and excellent for hiking where you will enjoy the magnificent nature. The hiking is of moderate difficulty and it is about 2 hours. After that you will visit the largest monastery in Bulgaria: the Rila monastery. There your professional guide will take you around and blend you in to the history and the way of life in the monastery. You will spend about 1- 2h in the Rila monastery.Last but not least you will have the chance to taste one of the best and well known special pastry products in Bulgaria, which will be home-made and you will also have some free time for lunch at a great local restourant. After a great day the guide will take you back to your hotel in Sofia.

$46.41 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rila Monastery Day Trip

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productPass By: tripvam, Sofia, Sofia RegionThe tour starts at 09:00 am and we will take you from your hotel.We have ahead of us a day full of history, fresh air, wonderful breathtaking views, and delicious Bulgarian food!On our way to Rila Monastery, we will visit The Boyana Church and marvel at the wonderful frescoes which helped the church to become one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Due to special humidity and temperature regime the visit inside is limited to about 15 minutes.Our next stop is the Rila Monastery which is 2 hours drive from Sofia. There you’ll enjoy 1 hour guided visit of the Monastery and afterward try some traditional cuisine in a local restaurant.Free time.At about 3:30 pm we depart for Sofia. Expected time of arrival in Sofia – 5:30 pm

$155.19 Day Trips & Excursions

Seven Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Hiking Trip from Bansko

The Seven Rila Lakes are without a doubt one of the most notable natural attractions on the Balkan Peninsula, a dream destination not to be missed. Their beauty touches the thousands of Bulgarian and international visitors who visit them.The Seven Rila Lakes, located in the Dangskiya region of the northwestern Rila Mountains, are glacial lakes. They are scattered at the foot of a massive cirque that includes the peaks Suhi Chal (Dry Peak), Otovishki, and Haramiya.From Bansko you will be driven to Panichiste by car. Take the chair lift to the Seven Rila lakes. Ascent all the way through the famous Seven Rila Lakes to Razdela top (2600 meters). Lunch will be a picnic. Descent through some very old pine and oak forests, straight to the Rila monastery – the biggest and the oldest in Bulgaria, recognized as part of UNESCO world heritage site. Many lakes and a great part of the mountain’s highest peaks can be seen this day.Tour difficulty: Medium Suitable for people with some mountain experience in good shape; children older than 14 years old.

Rila Monastery in detail