1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery, Scenic Train Ride & Bansko Town
Explore the best of Bulgaria on a day trip from Sofia, combining a visit to UNESCO Rila Monastery, a scenic mountain train ride, and a stop in Bansko Old Town. Enjoy roundtrip transportation and explore the area at your own pace. In the morning, meet your host at a central meeting point and board the shuttle bus for a transfer to the Rhodope mountains. Ride the last operating narrow gauge train in Bulgaria and enjoy the scenic rail journey through the mountains. Experience the local lifestyle of Bulgarian people living in rural areas. Get off the train and, after a short minibus transfer, reach Bansko town. Explore historical Bulgarian architecture in the Old Town of Bansko. Discover authentic restaurants to try traditional cuisine. Board the shuttle bus in the afternoon for a minibus transfer to Rila National Park. Explore the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery complex, marvel at the frescoes of the main church, and visit the medieval tower. Wander down quiet outdoor corridors adorned with beautiful frescoes, and see gold-plated iconostasis and valuable icons from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Learn more about the history of the site at the museum, where highlights include the double-sided crucifix of the Rila Cross. Finally, board the minibus back to Sofia in the afternoon and get dropped off at the central meeting point.