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Things to do in Bulgaria

Our most recommended things to do in Bulgaria

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

1. 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 historically significant frescoes of the Byzantine building, and hear how they started the fashion for illustrating biblical figures with emotions and placing them alongside the local aristocracy. With an estimated arrival time at the church of approximately 03:40 PM, enjoy about 30 minutes to explore. Leave at around 04:10 PM for the drive to Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center by 04:30 PM to 05:00 PM.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

2. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

Experience the religious history of Bulgaria on a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Rila Monastery and Boyana Church from Sofia. Follow your guide around the monastery to learn about this epic site or choose to explore it on your own before viewing Boyana Church's ancient frescoes. Meet your friendly group for the day near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Settle down in your seat and set off out of the city as you drive along scenic roads with picturesque views of rural Bulgaria. Arrive at Rila Monastery, the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in the country. If you've booked the tour, follow your guide around the historic site and learn about the main frescoes. If you're an explorer you can visit the museum, take photos, and check out the church at your own pace. Then start your journey back to Sofia with one more important stop along the way. Enter the medieval Boyana Church and stroll within the ancient walls, studying the artistic frescoes which make this place so special.

Bansko: Thermal Pool Escape

3. Bansko: Thermal Pool Escape

Located in the village of Banya, these thermal pools are only a 15-minute ride away from Bansko. The mineral thermal pools are open daily at 11:00AM in the morning. Your experience will begin as you depart from the rental shop at a time of your choosing (after 10:30AM). At your disposal are 3 pools with natural mineral water from the nearby thermal springs: Thermal pool number 1: the big main pool where the water isn’t unbearably hot and great for swimming; Thermal pool number 2: a smaller pool which is shallow and warmer where your children can safely enjoy the benefits of mineral water and those of you who cannot swim can comfortably relax; Thermal pool number 3: a really hot pool, where the water temperature is well over 40 degrees Celsius, but at the same time nice (and not to mention healthy) There are changing rooms right next to the pool and a restaurant at your disposal, and at the conclusion of your experienced you will be returned to your point of origin.

From Bansko: Horse Riding Experience

4. From Bansko: Horse Riding Experience

Start your day of adventure by arriving at the meeting location at your selected time slot. Upon arrival, enjoy a pleasant meet and greet with the local staff who will direct you to your drive. After a scenic, 15-minute drive to the nearby small town of Dobrinishte, you'll arrive at the horse ranch where you'll meet your instructor for this experience. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, this tour is perfect for you. For beginners, you'll learn the basics of horse riding and ride in a closed field. If you are more experienced at horse riding, you can explore the countryside with your instructor. When you complete the activity, you'll be driven back to Bansko, returned safely to the original starting location.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana Church & History Museum

5. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Boyana Church & History Museum

Enjoy the sights of Bulgaria with the convenience of a day-long transfer service to popular attractions, taking you to some of the country's most significant highlights. Discover the Bells Monument, Boyana Church, the National Museum of History, and the Rila Monastery. Meet your driver at a centrally located meeting point in Sofia and head to The Bells Monument. This is one of the hidden sights of the city that very few visitors see due to its remote location. Learn about the country's intriguing communist past. After that, continue with a short transfer to the UNESCO-listed Boyana church. See the medieval pre-Renaissance frescoes inside the church. Then, continue with a short transfer to the National Museum of History, where you will have ample time for a tour of your own. Learn about the intriguing history of Bulgarian lands, and then meet your driver again for an onward journey toward the Rila Monastery. Pass through beautiful countryside on the way to the Rila mountains. Go higher up the mountains through the scenic route, and reach the Rila Monastery. Visit at your own pace, then, in the afternoon, be driven back to Sofia city.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

6. Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

Discover Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on this full-day trip from Sofia. During this day tour to Skopje, you will have the chance to explore the city's highlights and hear its rich history and culture from your guide.  Be picked up from your accommodation in Sofia and board an airconditioned vehicle. Relax, and take in the countryside on the transfer to Skopje. Once in Skopje, begin your walking tour of the at Skopje Fortress. Admire sweeping views of the city from the fortress before heading to the Church of the Holy Savior, home to fantastic iconostasis. Continue towards the Sultan Murat Mosque and the Old Bazaar, where you can witness the remnants from Ottoman Period.  Listen as your guide tells you about Skopje's history as one of the main trade centers in the Balkans. Stop a typical Macedonian restaurant where you can purchase a delicious lunch before crossing the Vadar River explore the other side of the city.  Visit the new neo-classical square and continue to the Mother Teresa memorial house. End your walking tour at the newly built triumphal arch Porta Macedonia. Journey back to Sofia and be dropped off at your hotel or accommodation. 

From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

7. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town

In the morning - meet your local English-speaking host at the centrally located meeting point. A 2-hour minibus transfer through the Bulgarian countryside takes you to the Rhodope mountains, where you climb aboard the narrow gauge train for a scenic ride through the mountains. Meet local Bulgarian people on the train and learn about the history of the area. Get off the train at Avramovo station for a short transfer to Bansko town at the footsteps of Pirin National Park. Your driver will drop you off at the convenient location, close to the Old Town. Explore at your own speed the ancient streets, visit the main church or take the opportunity to taste traditional local food at one of the traditional restaurants called mehana (lunch is optional and not included). In the afternoon, meet again your host and driver for a minibus transfer to the Rila National Park. You will arrive at the UNESCO listed Rila monastery after the crowds have gone, for a truly intimate experience. Explore on your own the ancient monastic complex. Later in the afternoon, get on the minibus for the final transfer back to Sofia city.

Sofia's Hidden Bars: 4-Hour Pub Crawl

8. Sofia's Hidden Bars: 4-Hour Pub Crawl

Explore Sofia’s hidden nightlife gems on a 4-hour pub crawl. Meet people at some of the favorite hangouts in the city. If you’re a solo traveler this is a great way to socialize with locals and meet travelers from all around the world. The guides are a unique part of this experience. They’ll take the time to get to know you and at the end of the night you’ll have made some new friends. Enjoy a free beer at the first stop, then proceed to a second bar where you can enjoy an alcoholic dessert with anything you buy. Enjoy another free beer on tap at the third stop and then free admission to the club selected for the night.

Sunny Beach: Half-Day Black Sea Catamaran Cruise

9. Sunny Beach: Half-Day Black Sea Catamaran Cruise

Following pickup from your resort, journey to the harbor to board a VIP catamaran. Get a safety talk and information about the route and program as you enjoy welcome drinks on arrival. Make use of the bar, serving coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer and wine. Cruise out onto the shimmering waters and drop anchor for a swim. Masks and snorkels are available for your convenience, and the crew will explain how to use them to look for crabs, fish, seahorses and other marine life in a natural environment. Then, enjoy a meal of hot pasta with Bolognese sauce (vegetarian option available), assorted salads, cold meats and cheeses, fresh bread, pate and fresh fruits. Set sail again after lunch, and journey across the bay looking for dolphins en route to the harbor. Upon arrival on the mainland, get dropped off at your accommodation by double decker bus.

Borovets: Snowmobile Adventure

10. Borovets: Snowmobile Adventure

Your exciting experience will start at a time having been chosen by you in the booking process. Your guide will meet you in front of the Rila Hotel in Borovets, from where you will advance towards the location where your activity will be taking place. Your event lasts for an hour, with 5-10 minutes of safety instructions included in that time. Once on the road, you'll be driving the snowmobile on a track whilst following your instructor, who will be in charge of the safety of the entire group. The use of helmet and goggles is obligatory, but are also included in the price. Your ride will take you though the snowy tracks of the Borovets forest area, before later concluding at the starting point of the activity.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Bulgaria

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What people are saying about Bulgaria

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,709 reviews

Great tour and well worth it. Philip picked us up from our hotel promptly and along with other hotel pick ups (all smooth and organised) we made our way to Skopje. The journey was very comfortable and Philip told us many interesting stories of Bulgarian/Macedonian history. Philip is a real star. Friendly, polite and very knowledgeable. The Bulgarian countryside is beautiful as is the journey to and from Skopje. Once arrived in Skopje Philip took us to Lence (Lena) our North Macedonian guide. She was wonderful and took us on a walking tour which included Mother Teresa’s house and the Old Bazaar again with many historical/ cultural facts along the way. Such a great way to get to see/ experience Skopje in such comfort. To get a taste that leaves you wanting more. 2 great guides which really made a great day greater. Highly recommend this trip to anyone hesitating. You will be comfortable, looked after and you will have a great experience. Thank you Philip and Lena :)

Daniel our guide was wonderful from start to finish and deserves so much praise. We were picked up promptly from our hotel in a very comfortable car and taken firstly to the caves then the waterfalls and finally pretty Lovech. Daniel was full of interesting stories and cultural/ historical facts for us. The tour felt very relaxed and Daniel was very considerate to our needs. Super great lunch recommendation in Lovech “Tavern Varosha” must go there! :) The caves were stunning as was the waterfall. 2 great natural examples of Bulgaria’s hidden beauty and the visit to Lovech felt magical as it feels like a hidden gem in a hidden gem of a country. Great great tour made all the greater by our super guide Daniel. Highly recommend it. A wonderful day full of natural beauty, history, culture and food. Visit Bulgaria! And do this tour :) top marks :) Thank you Daniel and Bultrips

The Rila Monastery is a beautiful and soothing place, located in the mountains which gives us a superb snowy view at least in the month of January. Bojana Church is an interesting place and full of history when it is well explained.

Perfectly organized tour, super nice, friendly and very knowledgeable Guide (Bobby)! It was a great experience.☺️

It was an amazing experience in the winter with snow.