Rila Monastery Self-Guided Tour from Bansko


A visit to a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rila Monastery Self-guided tour from Bansko

rila monastery self-guided tour from bansko

If you are a tourist with a free day in Bansko, take our Rila Monastery Self-Guided tour and explore a top UNESCO World Heritage site on your own paste. Or simply enjoy skiing in the morning and join a half day self-guided trip in the afternoon.

Rila Monastery

The Rila Monastery is one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bulgaria. Located between the Drushlyavitsa and Rilska rivers it has become a cradle and keeper of the Bulgarian spirit and national identity. Saint Ivan Rilski was the one who founded the monastery in the first half of the 10th century and since then the place has welcomed pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.


If you are in Bansko and looking for a great day trip experience with transportation included we have got you covered. Meet us at Ski & Board Traventuria – Bansko Ski Shop (see map here).

Depart from Bansko at 1.30pm and relax on the 1.5 hour drive to Rila Monastery, located in the Rila Mountains. Enjoy the natural beauty of Rila and Pirin mountains while travelling comfortably in a modern air conditioned vehicle with an English-speaking driver.

When you get there (at approximately) 3.00pm – explore the largest and most significant Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Admire the arcaded balconies and discover unique frescoes by some of the most famous painters from the Bulgarian National Revival Period. See gilded iconostasis, enjoy beautiful mountain views and learn not only about Rila Monastery history, but about Bulgarian history as well. Do not miss the main church of the Monastery – “The Nativity of the Virgin Mary”, see the oldest building in the complex – “The tower of Hrelja” and visit the monastery “Museum” (*ticket to the museum is not included in the trip price, thus entering is optional).

  • Visit one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bulgaria
  • Explore nature and culture in one day
  • Learn new and interesting information about Rila Mountains, Rila Monastery and Bulgaria
  • Taste some Bulgarian local food such as mekitsi (doughnuts), yoghourt and grilled trout in the restaurants around Rila Monastery
  • Travel in a modern air conditioned vehicle with an English-speaking driver
  • Transportation with an AC vehicle
  • An English-speaking driver
  • Parking fees
  • Depart from Ski & Board Traventuria (Bansko Ski Shop) at 1:30pm – see map here
  • Arrive at the Rila Monastery approximately at 3:00pm
  • Head back to Bansko at 5:00pm or 5:30pm
Not Included
  • Pick up and Drop off from/to hotel
  • Gratuities
  • Food and Drinks
  • Admission ticket to the Rila Monastery Museum
Important Information
  • This a group tour and can have a maximum of 8 travelers
  • Dress Code: Since Rila Monastery is a functioning Orthodox temple, a strict dress code is in place. Men and women should be wearing clothes covering their shoulders. Short pants and skirts, as well as sandals or flip flops are not allowed. The monastery complex is more than 1000 metres above sea level in the mountains. The weather conditions can change within minutes. We advise you to bring warm clothes even in the summertime.
  • Photos: Taking photos in the courtyard and of the frescoes on the outer fresco gallery of the main church of Rila Monastery is allowed. Taking photos inside the main church, the residential parts and the museum is NOT permitted.
  • Food: There are two restaurants near the monastery serving local delicacies (e.g. grilled trout, bean soup, sheep yoghurt with honey). In peak season they can be rather slow on the servings. There are also some fast food options. The most famous is the monastery’s bakery offering made-on-the-spot mekitsi – Bulgarian doughnuts. If you wish to spend more of your free time exploring the monastery and its surroundings than you should consider bringing a lunch pack with you.