Day Trip: Plovdiv – Rila Monastery and Melnik

During this day trip from Plovdiv we’ll visit two of the top Bulgarian landmarks – Rila Monastery, which is a unique place, not only owing to its beautiful complex and the captivating surrounding mountainous area, but full of rich history. The other Bulgarian sight is the smallest town in the country called Melnik, also known as “the wine capital of Bulgaria”

At a Glance

Total Distance: 600 km.
Tour Duration: Full Day
Best period: All year
Price:  Depends on your personal needs and preferences

Highlights

Explore the top Bulgarian landmark – Rila monastery
Visit the smallest town in Bulgaria, preserved the atmosphere of the old Bulgaria
Light hiking to the sand pyramids near Melnik
Lunch in traditional restaurant

Detailed Program

09:00 Pick up from your hotel in Plovdiv
12:00 The Rila Monastery
13:30 Lunch break
16:00 Melnik (sightseeing)
17:30 Transfer back to Plovdiv

Good to Know

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes is recommended
Hat, sun protector cream and sunglasses are recommended, too
Don’t forget your camera

Details About the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria

The Rila Monastery was first founded in ancient times. Its founder Ivan of Rila wanted to find a place where he could spiritually enhance himself. He found the place in Rila. Later he was declared a saint. Now the monastery bears his name.

Then Hrelyo Dragovol, whose estate abutted the monastery, worked hard and contributed to turn it into a solid and imposing, fortified complex. Inside the monastery made people admire at its decorations and architecture. Hrelyo created buildings for living, a tower for defense, and a church from which only the tower has remained now.

Bulgarian rulers were aware of the role of the monastery and contributed donations and privileges. The monastery soared into significance and became a center of culture and spiritual wealth. Although the development was interrupted during the Ottoman period, later the monastery restored its significance. Now it is a UNESCO heritage site, visited by numerous tourists.

More about Melnik

Melnik, a tiny town, is of enormous interest, for diverse reasons and features. Its history is abundant, shown in the town’s historical museum. There everyone can learn how the main livelihood of the area developed: wine making is a staple trade thanks to the unique qualities of Melnik vines. Wine cellars, casks, tools for processing and storing the famed Melnik wine are exhibited in the museum. People can also see how locals’ life developed in the Revival period. For visiting the museum, every day is good, it does not have a day off.

The Kordopulova house, bearing the name of its former owner, an affluent Greek merchant, was built in 1754. There the huge barrels for Melnik wine can be seen. The exhibition containing the barrels and illustrating wine storage is in the shape of a tunnel into the rock. The internal architecture is fascinating, with murals, woodcarvings, and stained glass ornaments.

 

Benefits

This tour is private!
Breaks and photo stops at your convenience
Local tour guide
My tours include a dedicated driver, giving me guide more time to spend with you
Pay only 20 % in advance and the rest at the end of the tour

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Includes

Transfer with mini van
All transportation costs along the route, fuel, VAT and parking fees
Licensed tour guide
Entrance fees (Rila monastery museum, Kordopulova house in Melnik )
Pickup and drop off from your hotel

Excludes

Food and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Personal expenses