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Sofia Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Sofia Nature & adventure

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

In the morning - meet your local English-speaking host at the centrally located meeting point. A 2-hour minibus transfer through the Bulgarian countryside takes you to the Rhodope mountains, where you climb aboard the narrow gauge train for a scenic ride through the mountains. Meet local Bulgarian people on the train and learn about the history of the area. Get off the train at Avramovo station for a short transfer to Bansko town at the footsteps of Pirin National Park. Your driver will drop you off at the convenient location, close to the Old Town. Explore at your own speed the ancient streets, visit the main church or take the opportunity to taste traditional local food at one of the traditional restaurants called mehana (lunch is optional and not included). In the afternoon, meet again your host and driver for a minibus transfer to the Rila National Park. You will arrive at the UNESCO listed Rila monastery after the crowds have gone, for a truly intimate experience. Explore on your own the ancient monastic complex. Later in the afternoon, get on the minibus for the final transfer back to Sofia city.

Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

2. Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

Dramatic landscapes and breathtaking alpine sceneries, centuries old pine forests and rugged mountain peaks make the Seven Rila Lakes circuit one of the most beautiful areas in the Rila Mountains National Park. Enjoy a gentle snowshoe walk in the picturesque Seven Rila Lakes area followed by relaxation in the thermal water pools of Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, fed by one of the hottest springs in Europe. All this within a day tour from Sofia. Your guide will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel in Sofia for a wonderful journey to the Rila Mountains. You will arrive within 1.5-hours to Pionerska Mountain Hut from where you will take a chairlift to Rila Lakes Hut, situated high above the tree line at 2150 meters above sea level. The walk will begin from the hut in the direction of the Kidney, the third of the Seven Rila Lakes. Along the way, admire breathtaking alpine sceneries of jagged peaks and frozen mountain lakes. After a short break and a cup of warm tea at the lake, you will head toward Rila Lakes Hut and descend via the chairlift to the van and have a short transfer (20 minutes) to Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, where you will be able to relax deeply in the thermal pools fed by hot spring waters.

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

3. From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

Depart Sofia in the morning and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver. Journey in air-conditioned comfort to Panichishte in the beautiful Rila National Park. Get briefed on arrival by your driver, who will tell you the different options and routes you can take up the mountain. Ride the chairlift to the 7 Rila Lakes, where you will get 5 hours of free time to go on some amazing nature walks independently to experience the glacial lakes from different perspectives. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point and relax on the 2-hour drive to Rila Monastery in a deep valley of the Rilska River. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery complex is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural and historical monuments. Get 1.5 hours to explore the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria at your own pace. Then, return to Sofia in the evening and get dropped off at the meeting point.

From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

4. From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain

This tour starts with pick-up from your hotel. The transfer to the foot of the mountain takes approximately 20 minutes. You will see the great symbol of Sofia rise above you as you draw near. The hike begins with Boyana waterfall, which with a height of 15 metres and an elegant setting is the most beautiful on the mountain. After the waterfall you will see a typical hut, Momina skala. You will have time to relax before the groups continues to Kamendel from where you will see Sofia from above. On the way down to the city you will visit Boyana lake. Then its time to return to Sofia where the tour ends at your hotel. 

Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

5. Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After an approximately 2-hour drive, you will reach Lovech. From there you will begin exploring the old quarter of the city. You will walk through the small cobbled streets, traveling back in time as you admire the typical 14th-century houses. You will then take a detailed trip to the Vassil Levski Museum, before continuing your walk to the Hisarya Fortress. The last site in the town to which you will pay attention is the famous Covered Bridge, a masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture which was built by Master Kolio Ficheto. Following the bridge, you will continue your trip with a 20-minute drive to your next stop, Devetashka Cave. Once there you will have some time to walk around the stunning cave, and will proceed to the Krushuna Waterfalls (a 20-minute drive from Devetashka Cave). There you will discover a unique natural wonder where you can take a walk through the beautiful forest and along the stream that has formed this beautiful cascade of blue waterfalls. Following this waterfall visit, your tour will then end with drop off at your point of origin.

The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

6. The Seven Rila Lakes: Full-Day Tour from Sofia

Enjoy a full-day trek into the Rila Mountains to explore the most picturesque area near Sofia and one of Bulgaria's most beautiful natural sites, the Seven Rila Lakes.  This group of glacial lakes lies between 6,900 and 8,200 feet (2,100 and 2,500 meters) above sea level, surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys. Leaving Sofia, you will drive for 90 minutes to reach the Panichishte resort area, where you board the chairlift to the Rila Lakes mountain hut.  From here, continue on foot to explore the landscape and its majestic blue pearls – the Eye, the Tear, the Kidney, the Twins, the Trefoil, the Fish Lake, and the Lower Lake. The route is not difficult and can be altered on the spot depending on fitness levels or strength, following either more gentle routes or steeper gradients. Take your chance to explore the Blue Pearls of the Rila Mountains, and the Seven Rila Lakes.

From Sofia: Belogradchik Rocks Full-Day Tour

7. From Sofia: Belogradchik Rocks Full-Day Tour

Take a day trip to the northwestern corner of Bulgaria to see the Belogradchik rocks, located in the Balkan Mountains. You will drive 2.5 to 3 hours from Sofia until you reach this area. The rocks are grouped in various formations and are made up of primarily sandstone. In 2009, they were nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Many rocks have fantastic shapes and are associated with interesting legends. They are often named for people or objects they are thought to resemble, and on your tour, your guide might share some of these stories while pointing out the specific rocks and their names. The Belogradchik Rocks have also been declared a Natural Landmark by the Bulgarian government and are a major tourist attraction in the region. At the top of a hill near to some of the rocks is also a medieval fortress, known as the Belogradchik Fortress, built when the region was part of the Roman Empire. You will have the opportunity to visit the fortress and behold its well-preserved and menacing facade. Later, you will also be taken to the nearby Veneca cave, an incredibly beautiful cave with modern colorful lights. All entrance fees are included in the price and there will be time to stop for an optional lunch, which is not included.

From Sofia: Snowshoe Hike on Vitosha Mountain

8. From Sofia: Snowshoe Hike on Vitosha Mountain

Experience the stunning landscapes of the Vitosha mountain massif from a different perspective on a snowshoe hike with an English-speaking guide. Get closer to the enormous domes and peaks of one of the most popular winter destinations in Bulgaria. Take up the challenge of walking on snow at a mountain that emerged as a result of volcanic activity. Shaped by the slow folding of granite rock layers and gradual uplifts, Vitosha is now one of the most frequently visited destinations from Sofia. Marvel at the towering peak of Cherni Vrah ("Black Peak") at the highest point of the massif and more.

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

9. From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

This full-day tour is designed for active people wishing to combine a trek to natural wonders, with a tour of the most visited tourist attraction in Bulgaria, the magnificent Rila Monastery. Departing Sofia, you will head for the Rila Mountains, where you will enjoy a moderate hike through what is arguably the most distinguished area in the mountains, the 7 Rila Lakes. After a transfer of approximately 90 minutes, you will reach the region of Panichishte, where you will board a chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. Consisting of a group of glacial lakes, the 7 Rila Lakes is located at an altitude of between 6,900 feet (2,100 meters) and 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. Surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys, you will see spectacular views as you walk through its pearls, such as The Eye, The Tear, The Kidney, The Twins, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake and The Lower Lake. The route can be adjusted on the spot, following more gentle or steeper paths, depending on your fitness levels. Having visited all of the lakes, continue by car for approximately 90 minutes to Rila Monastery, the biggest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Behind the 65-foot (20-meter) walls lie impressive monastery buildings, including a church and a chapel with valuable murals. The monastery's most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th-Century Hrelyo Tower, the 5-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th-Century. You will also explore the monastery’s rich museum, containing a valuable collection of old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects and a library containing more than 16,000 books.

Private Day Trip to Vitosha Mountain: Winter Sports and Spa

10. Private Day Trip to Vitosha Mountain: Winter Sports and Spa

With this tour you can go on skiing or snowboarding in the Vitosha Mountain, just on the outskirts of Sofia! The height of the mountain is around 1,800 meters and the winter zones have variety of tracks with different difficulties. Once you have arrived you will be able to rent all the equipment needed and buy half a day lift card, valid from 09:00 AM to 12:30 PM. A teacher can also be arranged at an additional cost if requested. After the lunch break, you will go to a relaxing thermal SPA complex. It has a wide variety of spa facilities and treatments. For the lovers of spas and relaxation the complex offers an area where you can relax and re-energize in the aroma sauna, Finnish sauna, steam bath, aqua relax, relaxation area with warm beds and ice-cold bath, all of which are included in the price of the tour. In addition, there are massage rooms, a room for Turkish massage with a private sauna, and a Jacuzzi for two. For fans of spa therapies there are a variety of facial and body treatments.

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Frequently asked questions about Sofia

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Sofia?

The best day trips and excursions from Sofia are:

Rila Monastery

Other Sightseeing Options in Sofia

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What people are saying about Sofia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 619 reviews

Amazing views and a must have trip. I never saw anything like that. Just pure nature and absolute silence. The ride to the mountain was beautiful and I enjoyed being inside the massive forest while taking the lift to the starting point. The best part about the trip was our amazing guide, Marin. He was nice and interesting. Made share we were all comfortable and was thoughtful when my girlfriend got tired from the hike. He knows many things about the place and Bulgaria in general. Most of all, he is kind and really made our trip memorable.

Hi, sofia is a splendid city, with historic buildings, and very poor narrow streets, but the inhabitants are humble and kind-hearted people, like ka sistra guides, I don't remember its name because translated into Iraqi it was WELL,, prepared, patient from this date experience, unique landscapes ❤

The guide Peter was very nice and friendly. Enjoyed an excellent outing in his company, and with comfortable vehicle and no lack of interest in explaining everything. He was even kind enough to provide suggestions for local attractions outside the scope of the tour package! Enjoyed thoroughly! <3

This tour is an unique and interesting way to see more of Bulgaria. We loved all the activities and the transport is comfortable. Our host, Bobby, is a wealth of knowledge and brings a fun element to the group. I would highly recommend this tour!

Excellent experience and so much fun! I would highly recommend and I look forward to revisiting In the summer months to enjoy another experience