Full-Day Rila Monastery, the cave of St.Ivan and Boyana Church Tour from Sofia

Duration: 7 to 8 hours
Destination: Bulgaria, Sofia City Province, Sofia

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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Sofia
  • E-Voucher
  • Lowest Price
  • Cancellable


Discover the unique culture and nature of two of Bulgaria's most special places on your 8-hour guided tour from Sofia. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church, two of the finest and most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bulgaria, are recognized for their religious significance, historical importance and cultural dignities. Sit back and relax in an air-conditioned minivan as your guide leads you through the fascinating pre-Renaissance frescoes of the Boyana Church; the small towns and beautiful, sleepy villages all the way to the heart of the Rila Monastery Nature Park on your small-group tour. Admire the unique architecture and learn many details about the vast history of the largest Bulgarian monastic complex.



  • Family friendly
  • Led by a local guide
  • Small-group tour

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Boyana Church, 3 Boyansko Ezero Str., Sofia 1616 Bulgaria

Your journey starts from one of the most beautiful and recognizable buildings in Sofia- The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Meet your guide in front of the biggest cathedral in Bulgaria and get onboard your comfortable, air-conditioned minivan. After a short drive through downtown Sofia (you will learn all the details about the interesting buildings that you see on the way), you will be at the Boyana Church - the first UNESCO site for the day.

The Boyana Church is one of the most important medieval temples not only in Bulgaria but worldwide. The Church is best known for its unique pre-Renaissance frescoes from the mid-13th century (1259). Admire the beautiful Bible scenes, the angels, apostles, the saints and listen your guide who will explain all the meanings and interesting facts behind them.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Rila Monastery, Rila 2643 Bulgaria

From Boyana you will leave on a two-hour scenic drive through the charming Bulgarian countryside. Enjoy the small towns, the beautiful, sleepy villages and see the simple live of the locals. The road will take you deep in the "Rila Mountain" Natural park, where you will find hidden the largest Bulgarian monastic complex - the Rila Monastery. Embark on a guided tour around the monastery complex. Your guide will help you to explore the unique monastery architecture, the beautiful frescoes of the monastery church – “Nativity of the Virgin”, and the rich monastery museums. Listen the fascinating stories about St. Ivan Rilski - the saint who found the monastery in the 10th century and King Boris- the last and most beloved Bulgarian monarch, whose tomb lies in the monastery church.

After the guided tour, enjoy your free time and take the opportunity to visit some of the nearby restaurants. Taste the local specialties, such as the grilled or fried trout, the fresh salads and the famous Bulgarian yogurt with honey. During your free time you will have the option to join your guide and visit the nearby cave of St Ivan Rilski. This is where the saint has spent most of his life, living a very simple life as a hermit. The cave is a place with a special energy and the legend says that the one who enters the cave will get rid of all his sins!

To reach the cave of the saint you must hike in the woods about 20 minutes, the hike is not very difficult, but there are some steep sections and some stones on the path, that's why it's recommended only for people in good physical shape.

In the late afternoon return to your vehicle and relax on the way back to Sofia.

Duration: 2 hours

  • All transportation and parking costs
  • Licensed English-speaking guide
  • VAT and all local taxes
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Fuel surcharge

  • Admission fees for Boyana Church (5 Euro) and the Rila Monastery Museum (Optional 4 Euro)
  • Meals, tips and personal expenses
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Entry/Admission - Boyana Church
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not wheelchair accessible or stroller-friendly
  • Comfortable shoes recommended
  • Ladies must cover their shoulders and knees
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers
Departure Point

pl. "Sveti Aleksandar Nevski" 4, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Departure Time

8:45 AM

Voucher info

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.


7 to 8 hours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

User's Reviews

Image - 21 Jan 2020 -

Marita P

A full day out of Sofia but worth it. Boyana Church is amazing then a ride through the countryside and up the mountain to the monastery and it’s spectacular. It was too icy to get to the cave but it didn’t spoil our trip. After we visited a typical Bulgarian mountain restaurant and sampled some traditional Bulgarian food and wine. Then 1hr 40 mins drive back to Sofia. Thank you

Image - 03 Jul 2019 -


We ended up having the tour to ourself with our guide Vincent. Vincent shared many interesting facts about Sofia and Bulgaria with us as we drove out to the Rila Monastery. At the monastery, Vincent showed us all of the important sites and explained the history to us. We were then given free time to explore the monastery on our own. After the monastery, Vincent took us to a local restaurant with good food and great prices. Our last stop was the Boyana church. Fair warning - you only get 10 minutes in the church due to the fragility of the frescoes. However, Vincent was prepared for this and explained the most important frescoes to us during our time there. Overall we had a great day with Vincent and would definitely take another tour with him.

Image - 27 Jun 2018 -

Aathmika K

This ended up being a private tour for a me and a friend because another group had cancelled and we had a fantastic time! Vincent was incredibly knowledgeable and patient! in answering our questions about the sights we were seeing but also about Sofia and Bulgaria more generally and one of the best tour guides we have ever had and we do a lot of tours! The visit to the cave of St Ivan Rilski was unique and not to be missed. The tour ran as scheduled with time for lunch as well. We would highly recommend!

Image - 31 May 2018 -

Suzette M

This tour given by Exploria Tours Bulgaria was great. The guide, Vincent was super nice, informative and accommodating. He gave us a tour of Boyana Church and the Rila Monastery and it was great...not to be missed. He also took us to see the cave where St Ivan lived in not included in most other tours which was a great addition to the tour. Afterwards he took us to a local restaurant to have a light lunch. Overall an awesome tour with a great tour guide. Can't say enough about Vincent as a tour guide! Highly recommended.

Image - 26 Feb 2018 -


It was a private tour with our guide, Vincent. He is knowledgeable and fun to chat with. It was a bit rush in Boyana Church due to a group approaching. Rila Monastery is so beautiful and it's worth the long drive up. He brought us to a restaurant and we really enjoyed the fresh grilled trout and tripe soup.

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