The Rila Monastery was established in the 10th century by the Bulgarian holy man Saint John of Rila and his followers. Saint John is recognized as the first Bulgarian hermit and numerous cases of miracles done by him were recorded. Even after his death, his relics continued to heel people that prayed to them and his fame increased even more. Nowadays, the relics are preserved in the church of the monastery and worshipers from many different countries come all year round to pay their respect to them.
Since its establishment, the monastery became an important place for the faith and the education of the Bulgarian people. Although several times it was destroyed by bandits and fires, it was always restored after that and it managed to survive throughout the centuries. The current buildings were built in the first half of the 19th century, during the period of the Bulgarian National Revival period, and they enchant with their beauty.
Nowadays, it is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria with about 250 monk rooms. Some of these rooms are given as ‘’hotel’’ rooms so visitors can stay to sleep at the monastery. From the 14th century has survived the stone defensive tower, known as the tower of Hrelio who was the local lord back then and sponsored its construction. It is situated in the yard of the monastery next to the church and during the National Revival period a belfry was added to its front. Outside of the monastery in the 19th century was also built its bakery. Now it works as a restaurant and there the typical Bulgarian breakfast “mekitsa” can be tried. The Rila Monastery is still an active one and everyday services are held in the morning and in the afternoon. Since 1983 it is a UNESCO heritage site as well.
You can choose several different types of trips with which you can explore the monastery. If you prefer cultural tours, we suggest you take the one that includes the Boyana, which is another UNESCO heritage site. If you like hiking, you can choose the option with the Stob Pyramids or the Seven Rila Lakes. Or if you are interested in wines, there is also an option with a wine tasting tour! All of these tours are led by passionate and knowledgeable local guides that are a guarantee for memorable experiences!
Explore the most important Bulgarian monastery
Visit UNESCO heritage sites
Hike in the breathtaking nature of the Rila Mountain
Join a small group and discover two great UNESCO places - the Boyana church and the Rila Monastery. The Boyana church is famous for its medieval frescoes dating back to the 13th century which are amazingly well preserved and were very innovative for its period. The Rila Monastery is the biggest and most important Bulgarian monastery. It was a place for national preservation during the hard Ottoman rule. The day trip duration is about 8 hours.
Take a private tour and discover two great UNESCO places - the Boyana church and the Rila Monastery. The Boyana church is famous for its medieval frescoes dating back to the 13th century which are amazingly well preserved and were very innovative for its period. The Rila Monastery is the biggest and most important Bulgarian monastery. It was a place for national preservation during the hard Ottoman rule. The day trip duration is about 8 hours.
With this trip you will have the chance to explore the Rila Monastery- UNESCO world heritage site- and the most important Bulgarian monastery. There you will have a guided tour and some free time for photos and shopping. After that, you will go to a local winery and you will be able to try some of the best regional wines.
This is a longer trip with which you will combine a hike arround the amazing Seven Rila Lakes and a visit to the famous Rila Monastery. The hike is with moderate difficulty and takes about 3- 4 hours. In the monastery, you will have a more limited time- about 40 minutes, which will include a guided tour and time for photos.
This is a private trip and its duration is about 11 hours.
Enjoy a great combination of hiking and culture with this amazing trip! The pyramids of Stob are interesting rock formations. The hiking to them is with moderate difficulty and takes about 30 minutes in each direction. After that, you will go to the famous Rila Monastery. There you will spend about hour and a half, which included a guided tour and some free time for photos and shopping. This is a private trip and its duration is about 9 hours.
With this option you will be able to use only our transportaion and explore the Rila Monastery on your own while sticking to our time schedule. The traveling time to the Monastery is about 2 hours and there you will have 3-4 hours of free time before departing back to Sofia.