Kyustendil Province
Educational Activities

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Our most recommended Kyustendil Province Educational Activities

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

1. 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 tremendous importance to Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. On the way back to Sofia, you’ll pass through Boyana Church, famed for its elaborate frescoes dating back to the 11th, 13th, 15th-17th, and 19th century. Afterwards, you’ll be transported back back to your accommodation in Sofia.

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Rila Monastery and Boyana Church: Small Group Tour

2. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church: Small Group Tour

Situated deep in the dense pine forests of Rila Mountain, Rila Monastery is the biggest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. It is an outstanding example of the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage, in which architecture and painting merge harmoniously. The site is part of UNESCO world heritage list. Rila Monastery was found in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilski, a Hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy place and later on a monastic complex was formed. It played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. After the guided visit of the Monastery complex and lunch, we will head back to Sofia. On the way, we will stop at the second UNESCO site for the day, Boyana church. Small but unique with the most preserved frescoes in this part of Europe, dating back to 1259. The tour will end with drop-off at your hotel.

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Boyana Church & Rila Monastery Full-Day Private Tour

3. Boyana Church & Rila Monastery Full-Day Private Tour

The tour departs early in the morning and heads to the tranquil hearth of Rila Mountains where you can admire the impressive Rila Monastery (UNESCO). Its architecture and frescoes present the apogee of Bulgarian Renaissance art. During the guided tour in the inner yard and the monastery museum, you will discover the most treasured monuments and learn the most fascinating facts and stories about the biggest Bulgarian monastery complex. The first stop will be at the Rilla monastery and the museum, so you can fully explore the history and see what it was in the past. After the museum you will have the chance to explore more about the complex and then visit the surrounding mountain around the monastery.  There will be sufficient time to stop and have lunch by the side of the river in one of the greatest restaurants on the side of the road back to Sofia. There you will have the chance to taste some great Bulgarian cuisine.You will also have free time to buy souvenirs, take some photos and then continue on to the tour. After visiting Rila mountains, you will go back to Sofia and on the way stop at Boyana church. Part of the UNESCO heritage area, it's located deep in the Vitosha mountain near Sofia. Located on the outskirts of Sofia, Boyana Church consists of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two storey building to be erected next to it. The frescoes in this second church, painted in 1259, make it one of the most important collections of medieval paintings. The ensemble is completed by a third church, built at the beginning of the 19th century. This site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyustendil Province

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What people are saying about Kyustendil Province

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 12 reviews

We had an absolutely wonderful excursion to Rila monestery and Boyana church. It is definitely 'Must see', when you are in Sofia! Not least our amazing guide, Maria, made the day absolutely perfect! She is very knowledgeable and the sweetest person. We had a lot of good talk about Bulgaria, history and culture!

It is really worth it to wisit the Rila Monastery and Boyana Church. Both are very special places, full of history and curiosities, and beautiful surroundings. Our guide was a really amazing person. She said interesting things about the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I really reccomend this trip.

Maria is a very professional, kind, prepared and full of energy guide. the trip to the monastery was very comfortable and she was able to explain or respond to any single question or topic regarding every single stone! it's been certainly a day to remember for us, благодаря Мария!

The best trip to Rila Monastery . Maria is wonderful guide. Really recommend to all who would like to have perfect weekend outside of Sofia

Our tour was perfect ! Maria was our guide and we couldn’t have asked for a better guide.