Rila Monastery and Melnik (11 hrs) - Small Group Tour


  • Explore the highlights of southwest Bulgaria in just one day
  • Visit the overwhelming Rila Monastery and let the guide relive its history and enlighten you on its present-day status
  • Enrich your experience by tasting local delicacies and in this way involving all your senses in this holiday experience
  • Enjoy spectacular sights of the tranquil Bulgarian countryside and its sleepy villages
  • Tour the smallest Bulgarian town, famous for its architecture, stunning surroundings and wine production
  • The Melnik Pyramids are a fantastic phenomenon. Use wisely the recommended photo stops! 


Tour logistics

Meeting point:  Parking at Back side of Alexander Nevski Cathedral (La Cathedrale Restaurant) 7:00 am. Hotel pickup: Optional
Duration: 11 hours; 5.5 hrs at transfer time
Live guide: English language (for other languages please enquire) 
Drop off: Alexander Nevski Cathedral (Hotel drop-off: Optional)
Best period: April - November

Tour description

This 11-hour guided small group tour is naturally with a strong accent on the highlights (Rila Monastery and Melnik), but it is more rewarding than that. You will be also introduced to nature conservation, Bulgarian geography (as you will see two of the highest mountains on the Balkans), agriculture and economy during and after the communism and plenty of other interesting themes you will wish to discuss with our experienced guides while on the road. 

Depart in the early morning from hectic Sofia and head to the tranquil heart of Rila Mountains, where you can admire the impressive Rila Monastery (UNESCO) - its architecture and the frescoes present the apogee of the Bulgarian Renaissance art. With an about 1-hour guided tour of the most treasured monuments in the inner yard and the Monastery museum, you will learn the most fascinating facts and stories about the biggest Bulgarian monastery complex. You will also have free time to buy souvenirs, make photos or to continue to explore it by yourself.

Your tour continues south to Melnik (about 1.5-hour drive). When you get there to allow your imagination to be provoked by the strangely shaped sand and clay formations. Now the smallest town in Bulgarian with only 208 inhabitants, Melnik still preserves part of its glory from 17nth till 19nth-century, when it had been a flourishing tobacco and wine-producing center, whose fame was spread by local merchants to many European countries. Today, the city is famous for its lovely white houses and cobbled streets, mild climate and of course internationally recognized brands of red wine. You will have a guided walking tour through the city and enter the biggest Bulgarian Revival Period style house and its tunnel-like wine cellar.

Price per person: 

1 pers. - 180 Euro/pers; 2 pers - 99 Euro/pers; 3 pers - 80 Euro/person; 4-7 pers - 65 Euro/pers; 8-12 pers - 60 Euro/pers; 

What's Included:

  • English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees 
  • All transportation and parking costs

What's not included:

  • Meals and drinks
  • Guide's gratuity
  • Other personal expenses

Please note:

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Melnik is with cobbled streets
  • Rila Monastery is 1150 asl and could be quite chilly even in summer
  • The tour is not suitable for disabled people
  • Children under the age of 6 years old will not be permitted on this tour
  • Children between 6 years old and 12 years old are entitled to 50%