Top things to do in Rila Mountains

Church in Rila Monastery

Church of Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno

The highlight of Rila Monastery is this magnificent church, built from 1834 to 1837, with distinctive black-and-white archways and three yellow-painted domes. Its exterior frescoes are richly coloured scenes of Bibl…
Church in Rila Mountains

St Luke’s Hermitage & St Ivan’s Cave

About 3.7km northeast of Rila Monastery, on the road to Kiril Meadow, a trail leads to St Luke’s Hermitage. Built in 1798, the hermitage features a courtyard and the Church of Sveti Luka. Take the uphill walking tra…
Museum in Rila Monastery

Ecclesiastical & Historical Museum

Rila Monastery's museum has a diverting collection of items and documents from across the centuries, including 14th-century wood carvings, Revival-era icons, and parchments revealing the financial history of this la…
Bulgarian in Rila Mountains


Gaze at the glassy surface of Lake Iskâr from this chic hotel-restaurant, which draws stressed-out city dwellers to its tranquil, pine-fringed setting. Kamelot serves shish kebab skewers and barbecued fish with fine…
Bulgarian in Borovets

Restaurant Bulgare

Touristy but difficult to resist, this big restaurant ploughs its folksy furrow with no apology. Expect traditional woven tablecloths, and decor somewhere between ski chalet and Balkan mehana (tavern). Generously pr…
Area in Rila Mountains

Kiril Meadow

A piece of tranquil nature compared to the tourist bustle at Rila Monastery, 7km southwest, this verdant, pine-backed area has picnic spots and a simple guesthouse-cafe. Kiril Meadow is also the starting point of we…
Bar in Borovets

Black Tiger

During ski season this bar-restaurant heaves with punters, whether they're chomping on pizza, chugging rakia (Bulgarian brandy) or settling in for karaoke. It’s on the mountain’s base amid the other restaurants and …
Bulgarian in Rila Monastery

Restaurant Drushlyavitsa

On the left as you exit Rila Monastery's Samokov gate, this fine place has outdoor tables and a brook practically gushing beneath it. It's an atmospheric locale to dine on trout, tripe soup or grilled pork to a wate…
International in Borovets

Alpin Restaurant

Dark, polished wooden decor gives a cosy feel to the Alpin Hotel's restaurant. The menu spans nourishing soups and stews, barbecue, and classic skiing staples such as pizza and steaks.
Bakery in Rila Monastery


This popular little bakery, in a stone building opposite Rila Monastery's Samokov gate, attracts queues for its banitsa (cheese pastry) and sheep’s-milk yoghurt.