Day trip

Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

4.8 / 5

63 reviews

Activity provider: Zelanos Tours

Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

Activity provider: Zelanos Tours

From US$ 93.12 per person

Visit 2 of Bulgaria's UNESCO World Heritage sites on a day trip to the Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains and the Boyana Church on the outskirts of Sofia. Go to the cave where the miracle-worker Saint Ivan Rilski lived, see medieval paintings and more.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Reserve now & pay later
Keep your travel plans flexible — book your spot and pay nothing today.
Duration 8 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide
English, Spanish, Italian
Pickup included
Pickup from your hotel.
Small group
Limited to 15 participants


  • Visit 2 of Bulgaria most important sacred monuments
  • Admire the domes and striped colonnades of Rila Monastery
  • Admire the Byzantine architecture of Boyana Church
  • Learn about the monuments from an informative and friendly guide
Full description
Depart Sofia and travel to the Rila Mountains to visit Rila Monastery, the largest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1976, the monastery is set deep in the dense pine forests of the mountains and has been considered the keeper of Bulgaria's national identity since the Middle Ages. Marvel at the domes and striped colonnades of the monastery complex, and discover some amazing examples of Bulgarian icon paintings and woodcarving in the museum. See the cave where the monastery's founder, Saint Ivan Rilski lived and was buried. Learn how he was considered a miracle worker and why his cave is believed to be sacred. Then, go to Boyana Church on the outskirts of Sofia, added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1979. Admire its Byzantine architecture and Greek cross ground-plan with domes. Be mesmerized by the richly decorated facades and interior of the church, where several layers of wall paintings date from the 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th centuries. Look at the frescoes from 1259 and their depictions of life in Bulgaria in the Middle Ages. According to the experts, the style of these paintings is reminiscent of the Renaissance, even though they were created much earlier.
  • Pick-up and drop off
  • All transfers
  • Entrance fee to Boyana Church
  • Light lunch
  • Guide
  • Gratuities to the guide and driver
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users

Select participants and date



Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes

Not allowed

  • Smoking
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 63 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

Sort by:

Traveler type:

Star rating:

Interesting day

Our guide was great, a walking encyclopaedia on the 2 main attractions as well as anything to do with Bulgaria. He invited us to ask him anything which was great. We had just the right amount of time at Rila, a little under 2 hours. Careful, my wife had bare shoulders which was not permitted. Lucky the security guards loaned her a shawl. Second was Boyana Church, we were allowed 10 minutes inside only and no photos. Our guide Chris did a good job getting us inside with only a 5 minute wait. Then 20 minutes to take photos outside. Very prompt day, we left 15 minutes early at 8:45 and returned home a little early at 4:30, thanks to good guide. Lunch was great also and included, 2 course meal near Rila. 5/5, highly recommended.

Read more

July 29, 2018

Convenient and pleasant

The price is good considering it includes pick-up and drop-off, which cost extra on other cheaper tour. Apparently, our guide mistaken our address and couldn't find us, since we don't have his number (and perhaps he didn't have ours either), I called the tour operator and their staff was quite helpful to clear things out quickly. There was only another girl with me & my mom on the tour, so it was easy to listen and talk to our guide (who is very friendly and informative), and we didn't have to waste too much time waiting for other people either. The lunch included was not great but OK, like what you usually have near a touristy site. We were lucky to have only waited 10 mins to enter Boyana Church, and therefore returned to Sofia earlier than expected. Overall it was very convenient and I can recommend it to those who don't want to waste too much time and energy on trying to go to these places...

Read more

June 13, 2018

Two majestic UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one day. A great tour!

Maria was the best guide anyone could ever get for this tour. Her knowledge and enthusiasm made the trip so memorable. The frescoes at Rila Monastery were stunning and our walk, in the snow, up a deserted mountain path to St John’s Cave was a real bonus, normally shared by hundreds of tourists and we had it to ourselves! After leaving Rila Monastery we had a lovely lunch before driving on to Boyone Church, a mystical and enchanting place for any visitor. The day was capped off by a short drive around Sofia where Maria pointed out the main places to visit for the rest of our stay. A great tour and guide who I would recommend to everybody if you get the chance to do it.

Read more

January 23, 2018

Product ID: 61794