THE 7 RILA LAKES AND RILA MONASTERY

The Eye glacial lake BulgariaRila Monastery Bulgaria Rila Mountain Bulgaria Rila Monastery UNESCOSeven Rila Lakes panoramaOrthodox paintings Rila Monastery 7 Rila lakes

An intensive hiking & sightseeing program, which shows you the best of nature and culture merits of the Rila Mountains: Rila Monastery (UNESCO) and the Cirque of The Seven Rila Lakes. The program doesn’t allow much free time on either site but it is quite enough to explore both places. After the hiking around one of the Rila’s most remarkable and beautiful parts, we are transferred to the Rila Monastery: the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. 

About this activity

Prices from 57 euro

Approximately 11 hours

Printed or mobile voucher accepted

Instant confirmation

Live guide: English

Easy cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund

August 2019

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Walk along the Seven Rila Lakes Cirque and enjoy the idyllic alpine beauty of Rila Mountains
  • Visit the largest and the most famous Bulgarian Monastery
  • Learn about Bulgarian Revival Period, while enjoying the frescoes of Rila Monastery
TOUR ITINERARY

07:00: The trip starts from the parking behind Alexander Nevski Cathedral (you will receive a detailed map after you complete the booking process).

09:00: Arrival at the bottom station of the Panichishte Resort cable car.

09:30: Arrival at the top station of the cable car and start of the hike.

14:00: End of the hike and arrival back at the top station of the cable car.

14:30: Arrival at the bottom station and transfer to Rila Monastery.

16:00: Arrival in Rila Monastery, followed with a tour of the complex and some free time.

17:30: Departure from Rila Monastery, going back to the starting point of the tour.

19:30: Arrival at the parking lot of Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

  • Please note that all of the timetables are approximate and are subject to change, depending on the size of the group and the traffic along the way.
PRICE

The tour is offered on per person basis every Friday and Sunday from mid-June till the end of September for 57 euros per person.

For the rest of the days the prices are:

1 pers: 159 Euro 

2 pers: 97 Euro per person

3 pers: 74 Euro per person

4-7 pers: 66 Euro per person

Prices include:

  • Pick-up/drop off from Alexander Nevski Cathedral
  • All transportation costs
  • English-speaking guide throughout the tour

Prices do not include:

  • Meals and beverages
  • Tips
EXTRAS
  • You can book trekking poles in advance, recommended, especially if you have weak joints.
  • Hotel pick-up costs additional 5/10 Euro per reservation (not per person, depends on the hotel location)
  • WWF DANUBE-CARPATHIAN PROGRAM DONATIONS (wwf.bg): Traventuria Ltd is an environmentally responsible company that supports the work of the World Wide Fund. You can also help by donating funds for their activities during the booking process.
ABOUT THE RILA MONASTERY

The Rila Monastery is one of Bulgaria’s symbols and a popular tourist destination. The monastery is set deep in the heart of Rila Mountain, between the Rilska and Drushliavitza Rivers, at 1147 meters (3760 feet) above sea level. It is situated 120 kilometers south of Sofia, and 41 kilometers east of Blagoevgrad.
The monastery was found in the first half of the 10th century AD. Its history is directly connected with the first Bulgarian hermit, Saint John of Rila, or ‚Ivan Rilski’, who chose this site to pray in seclusion. Through the ages, the Rila Monastery served as a spiritual, educational and cultural center for the Bulgarians. During the Bulgarian Revival (eighteenth-nineteenth century) the monastery opened about fifty metohia – small convents located in the bigger settlements on Bulgarian territory and its monks frequently went there to officiate, educate and popularize the monastery among the laymen. Most of the present complex of the Rila Monastery dates from the nineteenth century. The oldest building here is the Hrelyova Tower. Every inch of the principal church here, Nativity of Mary is covered by frescoes, work of the most renowned Bulgarian Renaissance painters.
From the end of the nineteenth century onwards, the Rila Monastery has a museum with historical exhibits from the region. The exposition includes important examples of Bulgarian and foreign art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The most precious exhibit is the finely carved wooden cross, work of Father Rafail. He worked on his masterpiece for years, using the finest chisels and tools, and completed it in 1802, losing his eyesight due to the strenuous work. The cross represents 36 Biblical scenes, eighteen on each side, with over 600 miniature figures.

GOOD TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Food: Although there are two huts on our way where we can purchase some basic food (i.e. beans soup, meatballs, tea) we advise you to come prepared with a lunch pack from Sofia, because the program today is rather tight and for sure we won’t have much time for a proper lunch.
Difficulty: The hiking route is moderately arduous, with individual brief paths featuring steep inclines. Please bring along comfortable walking boots. Sandals and flip-flops are not accepted. Rain jacket might be useful in summer as heavy showers sometimes occur in the afternoons.