Top attractions in Kyustendil Province
Our most recommended things to do in Kyustendil Province
1. 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 ...
It was amazing trip to rila mountain and rila monastry. We really enjoyed the trip.
2. From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour
Depart Sofia at 09:00 AM sharp, and relax on the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains. Upon arrival, explore the largest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Admire the arcaded balconies, and discover unique frescoes by one of the most famous painters of the Bulgarian National Revival period. See gilded iconostasis and enjoy the fabulous mountain views. Hear the story of the monastery from your guide before enjoying some time to explore the monastic complex on your own. Learn more at the museum, or purchase souvenir icons and other items in the nearby shops. Take some time to refuel with lunch at one of the local restaurants, where you can purchase local specialties such as mekitsi (a traditional Bulgarian dish of kneaded dough made with yogurt that is deep fried). Depart at 01:30 PM and travel to Boyana Church in the suburbs of Sofia. See the ...
I was glad to find an option to book transport only to Boyana Church and Rila Monastery on the same day, without a guided tour. Driving is the easiest way to visit both places on the same day, but I prefer learning about cultural sites through reading and exploring on my own. I was impressed by how carefully everything was scheduled so that we could maximize our time at each place without waiting.
3. 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 from 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 you will 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, the Seven Rila Lakes.
Rade was a great guide who was informative and friendly (worth the extra cost!). Would recommend doing the lakes if you have the opportunity to.
4. From Sofia: Bus Transfer to Rila Lakes
Use a shared shuttle bus service which offers direct transportation from Sofia to the 7 Rila Lakes. The transfer starts with an early morning pick-up from centrally located meeting place in Sofia behind the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Meet your driver for a comfortable direct journey to the Rila National Park. Arrive at the parking of the chair lift around 09:00 AM. Enjoy some free time for a self-guided tour of the 7 Rila Lakes area. You have more than 7 hours to explore this beautiful part of Rila mountain. Leave the parking of the chair lift in the afternoon and arrive back in Sofia city around 7:00 PM at the original central departure location.
Great, my recommendation: do not choose a tour with the monastery, you will have to take a shorter track in the mountains. A longer track is so much more beautiful and well worth it!
5. Rila Monastery Day Trip from Sofia
Board the shuttle service behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center. Then, head to the medieval Rila Monastery in the spectacular Rila Mountains. Get over 2 hours of free time to explore the complex, founded by the hermit monk Ivan Rilski in 927 AD. Marvel at the frescoes of the main church and visit the medieval tower independently. Wander down quiet outdoor corridors adorned with beautiful mosaics, and see gold-plated iconostasis and valuable icons from the 14th to 19th century. Learn more about the history of the site at the museum, where highlights include the double-sided crucifix of the Rila Cross. See the old bakery and other monuments, including the residential area of high stone walls and little windows. Board the minibus back to Sofia in the afternoon and get dropped off at the pick-up point on arrival.
It was approximately for 2 hours drive to the destination, kind instruction was given to the participants. Even though there was the trace of snow that had been still remained in Rila, it was not so much cold than I expected in the mid of February when I had the tour. The time in the Rila Monastery was approximately for 3 hours (12.00 arrival, 15.00 to get on the car for return, verily enough, everything was possible, including museum, restaurant, strolling around the monastery that has the water fountains, drinkable waters, famous for clean, non chemical.) The fascination of this destination is not only the renowned sanctity, but also the surrounding environment, rocks and mountain ranges, superb scenery of Bulgaria can be enjoyed on journey.
6. From Sofia: Full-Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana
Spend the day exploring 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located outside of Sofia, Bulgaria's capital city. Begin by meeting at 9:00 behind St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. Sit back and relax for the next 2 hours as your friendly, English-speaking drivers transport you to Rila. Upon arriving, spend 2 hours exploring the area and visiting the Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant which features a specialty of grilled trout. Get back in the van for another 2-hour journey, eventually arriving at Boyana Church, a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church on the outskirts of Sofia. Check out the elaborate frescoes that have made this site famous, before your tour returns you to your meeting point.
The guide told us everything about the Church of Bojana and Rila. He was very friendly and we had anough free time to take photos usw...
7. 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 rout...
Our tour guide Petr was really friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the chairlift to the mountain was closed due to the hard wind. Therefore we didn't go to the lakes but visited a waterfall and natural piramides. That was also very beautiful. However we had to drive longer. The rila monastry was amazing!
8. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour
After pickup from any accommodation in Sofia, your journey through over 1,000 years of Bulgarian cultural history begins. Make the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery via air-conditioned bus into the dense pine forests of Rila Mountain. Upon arriving, explore the monastery, which was founded in 927, at your own pace with 2 hours of free time. Amble the 21-acre complex, taking in the colorful and unique traditional Orthodox architecture. Gaze at the 5-domed church, with its numerous altars, side chapels, and gold-plated mosaics. Take in the beauty of the tranquil mountain environment surrounding the peaceful place of worship. Afterwards, you’ll have lunch, before heading on to your next destination. Only a couple of miles away from the monastery into the forest is St. Ivan Rilski Cave, where St. Ivan of Rila took up residency in the early 10th century. Experience a sacred site of tremend...
The best trip to Rila Monastery . Maria is wonderful guide. Really recommend to all who would like to have perfect weekend outside of Sofia
9. From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes Hiking & Thermal Spa Day Tour
Explore the Seven Rila Lakes, the jewel of the Rila Mountains National Park and admire breathtaking alpine scenery. Escape the summer heat in Sofia and enjoy the refreshing mountain climate of the highest mountain of the Balkans. Join a pleasant, easy to moderate walk and relax deeply at the end of the day in the thermal pools fed by hot spring waters. All this within a day tour from Sofia. You will be picked up early in the morning from your hotel or address in Sofia for a wonderful journey in the Rila Mountains. Within 1.5-hours, you will arrive at Pionerska Hut (1520 meters), from where the group will take a chairlift to the Rila Lakes Hut situated above the tree line at 2150 meters above sea level in the Rila Mountains National Park. Here, the circular walk will begin passing by Ribnoto (The Fish), Trilistnika (The Trefoil) and Bliznaka (The Twin) Lakes. When the group reaches Bubre...
As a frequent traveller, this was by far the best ‘tour’ I have done to date. In the beginning, there was a bit of a mishap with booking but the company really came through and ensured that I was able to visit the 7 Rila lakes. Our tour guide - Velco- was absolutely phenomenal- he made sure we were on schedule, was really accommodating and insightful about the area. He did his upmost to make us feel comfortable and adapted the tour to meet our needs! I really cannot complement him enough! i would definitely recommend this package to everyone - you will not regret it! It’s make me fall in love with Bulgaria just a little bit more!
10. From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church
The tour departs early in the morning in front of Alexander Nevski. Your first stop will be the great UNESCO Boyana Church located on the outskirts of Sofia consisting of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th-century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two story building to be erected next to it. After exploring it, head to Rila Monastery, there you will admire the impressive architecture, frescoes and learn about the history of the monastery from your guide. During the guided tour in the inner yard and the monastery museum, discover the most precious pieces that are kept from the past and all the facts and stories about the largest Bulgarian monastery complex.
It was a great experience to go to Rila Monastery and Boyana Church with City Tours Sofia. Booking was easy with GetYourGuide. The explanations of our guide and driver Dimitry were complete, comprehensive and enlightening on Bulgaria's history. It was surprising how easy and not tirefull at all the visit was, even snowing. The restaurant chosen was very good in food, within a nice scenary, really bulgarian and pleasant!
Frequently asked questions about Kyustendil Province
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What people are saying about Kyustendil Province
Great way to get to the Rila lakes and monastery without renting a car or trying to figure out public transportation. Totally worth it for the price. The trip was well organised and ran on time. We were provided a map of the hiking trails which was sufficient to navigate with. It's a long day but well worth it - the hike is gorgeous and the monastery is stunning!
It's a well organized trip. There was enough time at the lakes to do the whole round route with some stops along the way to enjoy the views which were wonderful! Driver was excellent, explaining us everything about the trip and was open for any kind of questions and conversation. I definitely recommend it
Все было очень четко, с соблюдением времени. Гид-водитель Мартин работал четко, вел машину отлично, рассказывал все интересно и к месту,
Everything is perfect, the time is enough to visit both places calmly and stop to eat something in the cabin on the seven lakes
Recomiendo totalmente la actividad! So vas a Sofia no te pierdas Rila y si tienes oportunidad ves también a Plovdiv.