Day trip

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

4.7 / 5

35 reviews

From Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery Full-Day Tour

From US$ 109.81 per person

Combine a visit to Rila Monastery with a trek through the natural wonders of the Rila Mountains. Enjoy a hike of the 7 Rila Lakes of the Panichishte region, before exploring one of the most important Orthodox churches in Bulgaria.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 11 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English
Small group
Limited to 12 participants

Experience

Highlights
  • Get breathtaking views during a morning trek of the 7 Rila Lakes
  • See the pearls of the Rila lakes, such as The Fish Lake, The Twins, and The Trefoil
  • Visit the Rila Monastery, the biggest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria, located in the beautiful surroundings of Rila Nature Park
  • Explore Rila's turbulent history at the monastery museum
  • Tailor the tour to suit your fitness level
Full description
This full-day tour is designed for active people wishing to combine a trek to natural wonders, with a tour of the most visited tourist attraction in Bulgaria, the magnificent Rila Monastery. Departing Sofia, you will head for the Rila Mountains, where you will enjoy a moderate hike through what is arguably the most distinguished area in the mountains, the 7 Rila Lakes. After a transfer of approximately 90 minutes, you will reach the region of Panichishte, where you will board a chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. Consisting of a group of glacial lakes, the 7 Rila Lakes is located at an altitude of between 6,900 feet (2,100 meters) and 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level. Surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys, you will see spectacular views as you walk through its pearls, such as The Eye, The Tear, The Kidney, The Twins, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake and The Lower Lake. The route can be adjusted on the spot, following more gentle or steeper paths, depending on your fitness levels. Having visited all of the lakes, continue by car for approximately 90 minutes to Rila Monastery, the biggest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Behind the 65-foot (20-meter) walls lie impressive monastery buildings, including a church and a chapel with valuable murals. The monastery's most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th-Century Hrelyo Tower, the 5-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th-Century. You will also explore the monastery’s rich museum, containing a valuable collection of old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects and a library containing more than 16,000 books.
Includes
  • Trek in the Rila Mountains
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • English-speaking guide
  • Lift pass to the 7 Rila Lakes (€9 per person, to be paid on the spot)
  • Entrance fees
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Hotel pick-up and drop off
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • You must keep social distance while in vehicles
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask

Select participants and date

Participants

Date

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

On the back side of Alexander Nevski Cathedral, right in front of the restaurant La Cattedrale.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes

Know before you go

  • Please note that the tour is subject to weather conditions and operation of the chairlift. In case of last minute cancelation due to harsh weather conditions or chairlift closure a 100% refund will be offered
  • The hike can be slippery and there may be snow in the area. Some of the lakes may be frozen and snow covered as well
  • Please wear appropriate hiking boots, warm layers, and waterproof clothes
  • The hike can be physically demanding so a reasonable level of fitness is required
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.7 /5

based on 35 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
    4.6/5
  • Transportation
    4.8/5
  • Value for money
    4.4/5
  • Safety
    4.6/5

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The tour was worth it, nice hike to the seven Rila lakes and then on to the Rila monastery. The bus first goes to a chairlift, the ascent takes about 10 minutes. You should have cash for the driveway with you. The following hike takes about 4 hours and goes there and back to a lookout point past the lakes. Especially towards the end it is quite steep and stony up the mountain, so good footwear is helpful.

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September 9, 2021

Our tour guide Petr was really friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the chairlift to the mountain was closed due to the hard wind. Therefore we didn't go to the lakes but visited a waterfall and natural piramides. That was also very beautiful. However we had to drive longer. The rila monastry was amazing!

November 4, 2019

This plan is ambitious and you will sacrifice time in one of the two places. The lakes are amazing, and very easy to navigate, well marked paths and lots of people if you go on the weekend. We got to the monastery when half of the areas to visit were closed and only had half hour for the museum and the church. It’s not a guided tour in the traditional sense. The person that went with us was lovely, generous and passionate about the outdoors but he had no idea of the history of the places or their schedule, he was a great driver and spoke well English, but perhaps could use a little training on time management and basic history of the monastery.

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September 2, 2019

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Product ID: 6215