Visit Rila Monastery, the oldest religious center in the Slavic world, to appreciate the harmony between architecture and painting. The students of St. Ivan of Rila built the monastery in the 10th century near the hermit ascetic's cave and tomb. This World Heritage site is a cultural and spiritual center of Bulgarian national consciousness. The main church features beautiful frescoes and a gold-plated iconostasis, famous for its wood carvings. Don't miss Rafail's Cross in the monastery museum, which depicts 104 religious scenes and includes 650 miniature figures. At the end of the 18th century, a monk named Rafail used magnifying lenses to whittle the wooden cross. It took him 12 years to complete the cross, and the work cost him his sight. Use our Rila vacation planner to arrange your visit to Rila Monastery and other attractions in Rila.
Create a full Rila itinerary
Unable to display map at this time. Please try again later.
Plan your trip to Rila
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Related Tours to Book
Rila Monastery, Stob Pyramids and St Ivan Rilski Cave Walking Day Trip from Sofia BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM US$ 83
Plans in Rila by other users
7 days in Rila BY A USER FROM CZECH REPUBLIC June, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM BULGARIA July, outdoors, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 9 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM MALTA July, kids, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM PORTUGAL June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Rila BY A USER FROM QATAR June, outdoors, relaxing, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM GREECE August, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Skopje, Plovdiv & Rila BY A USER FROM ISRAEL June, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM ISRAEL June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Rila BY A USER FROM MALTA April, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Rila BY A USER FROM MALTA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Europe BY A USER FROM CANADA July, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced
Pasamos una noche y asistimos al oficio religioso de la mañana. Si quieres ser testigo de la vida monacal ortodoxa este es el lugar perfecto. El monasterio es increíble y por la noxe es aún más espect... more »We spent a night and attend the religious office in the morning. If you want to be a witness of the Orthodox monastic life this is the perfect place. The monastery is amazing and for the noxe is even more spectacular. The place is away from the large tourist crowds and provides a natural space for rest and reflection. We were almost to rebound because it is hard to get, but it is worth.
One of those absolutely stunning sites in Bulgaria. The architecture, the frescos and the history make it one of the most important attractions in the country. It was still relatively cold in the begi... more »
El lugar, la ubicación, el ambiente ya es evocador y místico, pero en cuanto entras por la puerta quedas maravillado con el complejo. Es una maravilla, no hay más calificativos. Consta de varios museo... more »The place, the location, the atmosphere is evocative and mystical, but as soon as you walk through the door you are amazed with the complex. It is a marvel, there are no more qualifiers. Consists of several museums, interesting, but certainly the jewel in the Crown is the Church of the Nativity, which is one authentic past. The frescoes, both indoors and outdoors are impressive. Free entrance. Essential.
Wonderful place with amazing views. Mountains around the monastery are also great for walking there. Definetely worth seeing.
LARGE MONASTERY IN THE MOUNTAINS ABOUT A 2 HOUR DRIVE FROM SOFIA. BEAUTIFUL WALL PAINTINGS, WOODEN CARVED EXTERIOR. SPACIOUS COURTYARD. LOVELY VIEW OF THE NEARBY MOUNTAINS.
Pablo De Regil
Extremely beautiful place in the middle of the montains.
Very nice place to visit. 5 stars.
Being the holiest place in Bulgaria, the Unesco listed Rila monastery, even under rains, attracted lot of tourists and pilgrims. The entrance colonnades surrounding the cathedral has colourful murals and painting covering all wall and domed-ceiling spaces, showing images not only the Saints, but also demons and the scenes in the hell, which was rarely seen in other cathedral. It take around 2 .5 hour to arrive there from Sofia by public bus and you need around 2 hours to explore the whole complex.
Best things to do in Rila
Are you the owner of this business?Click here for promotion tips.