image Trip to the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

Rila Monastery

Great Mountain getaway for a day or a whole weekend

If you visit Bulgaria do not miss to visit the famous Rila Monastery situated in Rila mountain. This is the place that every tourist coming to Bulgaria should visit at least once in their live. It is one of the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria and once you see it you will want to come back again. And again.


The Monastery is situated around 120 km from the capital Sofia in direction to Greece. The drive from Sofia will take you around two hours on the highway and 32 km on small picturesque and curving roads.

Once you reach the place there is a nice and clean parking lot where you can leave your car outside. We were not surprised to see lots of tourist buses, this time with people coming all the way from Japan!

8rilamonastery copy

7rilamonastery6rilamonasteryBefore entering the monastery be aware that you need to cover your shoulders otherwise it is not allowed to enter. If you are not dresses properly, please use a jacket or a scarf to cover your shoulders.

Entering the touristic site you will be amazed how big and impressive the Rila Monastery is. Well, this is the largest monastery in Bulgaria. It is beautiful when there is sun shining on but it is charming also even when it is raining. I will not write lots about its history – will let you experience it once you are there. Only will mention that the Rila Monastery was built was founded in AD 927 by hermit monk Ivan Rilski. Originally it was built 3km to the northeast, and came to its current location in 1335.


Entering inside the Monastery you will admire the beautiful paintings all around you. Light a candle, sit on one of the old wooden chairs and just embrace the magical atmosphere. This is what I have done there. It is not allowed to take photos inside – have this in mind if you are addicted to taking photos like me…


Exiting the monastery you will find yourself next to a small bridge crossing the river. Just opposite the bridge you will see a long queue of people waiting for the tasty Bulgarian “mekici”. Do not miss them too. Of course while you are by the river most of the restaurants around are selling fresh trout. We tasted them and can tell you – it was worth it.


11rilamonasteryAfter the lunch we headed for a short walk next to the Rila Monastery – approximately 1-2 km in the forest. It was so fresh, green and cool. It was in the middle of June – the temperatures in the city centre were high – 33 C, but here in the mountain it was around 23 C. Just the perfect weather.


If you want to stay in the Rila Monastery you can do so – it is possible to book a room in the Monastery too. But have in mind that if you come with your loved one, you should be married, otherwise they will not let you stay for the night. I am writing this from our personal experience.


On the way back to the city just few km away from the Rila Monastery you will see a sign – Stobski pyramids. These nature wonders are just next to Stob village and they are just magnificent. We did not miss them too.

Hope you have enjoyed this article and please share with me your experiences once you visit the Rila Monastery.




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