Kyustendil Province
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From Sofia: Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

Discover one of the most important historical monuments in Bulgaria: The Rila Monastery. The largest spiritual and cultural center in Bulgaria for hundreds of years, the Rila Monastery is located in the heart of the Rila Mountain, about 130 km (80 miles) south of Sofia. You'll be transported by car or air-conditioned minibus from your hotel in Sofia up to Rila Mountain, where your guide will take you on a tour of the captivating ancient Eastern Orthodox monastery. Named on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Rila Monastery offers insight into the Balkan's Medieval history. With its 1,200 scenes in numerous decorative paintings and figural images, the stunning open arcade is also an art gallery. Admire the exquisitely detailed artwork under the arches, and then visit beautiful church with colorful frescoes located at the center of the Monastery. Then enjoy a traditional 3-course Bulgarian lunch as well as a visit to Rila Museum.

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Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

2. Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church with Lunch & Admission

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.

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Private Hiking Tour to the Stob Pyramids and Rila Monastery

3. Private Hiking Tour to the Stob Pyramids and Rila Monastery

Enjoy one of the best ways of exploring and learning more about Bulgaria with a professional guide while hiking trough the amazing mountains. Starting at Sofia, you will hike in the region of the Stob Piramids. A place well known and excellent for hiking where you will enjoy the magnificent nature. The hiking is of moderate difficulty and is about 2 hours in length.  Next, you will visit the largest monastery in Bulgaria: the Rila monastery. There your professional guide will take you around and share with you the history and the way of life in the monastery. You will spend about 1 to 2 hours in the Rila monastery. Last but not least, you will have the chance to taste one of the best and well known special pastry products in Bulgaria, which will be home-made. After a great day you will return with your guide back to your hotel in Sofia.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kyustendil Province

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What people are saying about Kyustendil Province

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.

It was very nice tour. Excellent and kind tourist guide was with us. He was very informative and polite. We got extra climbing to the cave of a hermit. We ate a local lunch as well. Thanks a lot for everything.

Excellent excursion, group of 5 people (we were 2). Pleasant guide, good lunch and gorgeous Rila Monastery. Also interesting is the stop at Boyana Church. Recommended.

Very informative tour thanks to the very good guide who drove the minibus very safely (we were a total of five people). The tour is recommended, the included lunch ok.

Great guide and great value for money

Great friendly Gabi, lots of fun , loves her country , full of information , great day .