Rila Monastery - Bulgaria
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Directions to Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery, which is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria, is located only 100 km from Sofia and close to the famous Borovets ski resort. Follow the International E79 route from Sofia to Kulata and turn at the Kocherinovo junction according to the signs. For direct public bus itineraries from Sofia, check the Ovcha Kupel coach station. Alternatively, you can buy a daily trip from almost any travel agent here. Even the bigger taxi companies can give you a fixed price quote to Rila Monastery.
Avoid religious and national holidays and weekends if possible as it may get really crowded and if big congregations of pilgrims and tourists are not your cup of tea. There are guest rooms on the premises and outside of the monastery as well as many hotels and B&Bs nearby where you can stay overnight in case you decide to give it more time and look at the surrounding area too. There are guides at the monastery who provide service in Bulgarian and English. The Rila Monastery features 2 museums, a tower with a chapel, 300 monastic apartments, guest rooms, 2 churches, a farm and the visiting hours are till around 7 pm in the summer and 4 pm in winter every day in the week. Only the museums charge an entrance fee of 5 to 8 leva (discounts for children and families apply) otherwise you can enter and look around the cloister for free. There is a paid parking lot outside the Rila Monastery and a bunch of small restaurants, eateries, street stalls and souvenir shops selling whatnot.
We highly recommend you spare at least 3-4 hours to explore this sanctuary of the Bulgarian spirit and tradition. Grab your camera and go for a walk in the beautiful Rila Monastery Park Reserve. There are unforgettable views and amazing scenery and if the weather is clear you may come up with some unique shots and videos.
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