Rila Monastery and Melnik

Day Trip: Rila Monastery and Melnik

Explore the biggest monastery on Balkans and the Bulgarian wine capital
Private Day Trip from Sofia to Rila monastery and Melnik

Rila monastery and the town of Melnik are among the top tourist attractions in Bulgaria which you must definitely visit during your tour around the Balkans.

During this trip from Sofia you will be able to visit both the Top Bulgarian landmark – Rila monastery and to become a part of the local life in the mountain village called Melnik. There you will try a variety of special Bulgarian wines that can be found only here and nowhere else in the world.

If you want to visit both Rila monastery and Melnik in different order with different pick up and drop off location than the mention in this page let me know. I will be happy to create custom tour in Bulgaria for you and your group. 

At a Glance

Total Distance from Sofia: 450 km
Tour Duration: Full Day
Best period: All year
Price: 290 EUR (1-3 people) | 380 EUR (4-7 people)


Visiting the top Bulgarian Landmark and the biggest Monastery on the Balkans – Rila monastery.
Know more about the Eastern Orthodox traditions, frescoes and history
Get closet to the smallest town in Bulgaria also known as “the wine capital of Bulgaria”
Taste traditional Bulgarian wines typical only for the area of Melnik

Sofia – Melnik

Pick up from any location in Sofia in the morning (8:00)
Transfer to the Rila monastery (Approximately 2 hours)
Explore the monastery complex and the monastery museum
Transfer to Melnik (Approximately 2 hours)
Sightseeing / Visit the Kordopulov’s house and the city center
Wine tasting in a traditional winery (Optional)
Transfer back to Sofia (3.3 – 4 hours)
Drop off at your hotel around

Rila Monastery in Details

The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery is the TOP landmark in Bulgaria and the biggest Bulgarian monastery, located in the heart of the majestic Rila mountain. It is the largest Eastern Orthodox Bulgarian monastery together with those in Bachkovo and Trojan.

The Rila Monastery is the most fantastic form of Bulgarian religious art and architecture and proudly takes its place among the 9 tourist sites in Bulgaria included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage since 1983.

The whole Rila monastery complex occupies an area of 8,800 m² and is rectangular in form, situated around the inner yard, where are located the main church and the old tower.

Our tour to the Rila Monastery will takes you to the highest mountain in the Balkans. The route passing trough the small mountain villages, beautiful views and will let you to the biggest and most important symbol of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – the Rila Monastery.

During the Rila monastery tour you will see one of the most revered miracle-working icons in Bulgaria, the golden iconostasis and the thematic openwork carving, which were made for more than 12 years, the frescoes of the main church made by Bulgarian Renaissance masters, the monastic cells and many more.

More about Melnik

A visit to this tiny town is a journey into past. The location of Melnik is serene; serenity is guaranteed in that smallest town in the whole of Bulgaria. The southwest folds of the majestic Pirin are a great background for the ancient style houses. The transient Mediterranean climate augments the attracting power of all advantages bundled in such a small place. Melnik is 22 kilometers away from Sandanski, the nearest town. The Melnik river murmurs its way through the town and emits freshness.

When it is time to tour the sights nearby, the Rozhen monastery is one of the musts. It is easily reachable by taking a shortcut, so enjoyment of walking is followed by the pleasure of visiting the holy place. The path passes by the natural phenomenon, the Melnik Pyramids, considered one of its symbols. The pyramids are about 100 meters high and in places are almost vertical.


This day tour is Private. No strangers will travel with you!
Breaks and photo stops at your convenience
Official, accredited, private tour guide
I have extensive local knowledge of the area
I’m always willing to go the extra mile to make your tour a success


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


Entrance Fees
Food and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Personal expenses

Good to Know

Bring a long sleeve clothes! Rila monastery is a Christian temple, which means that high heels, tops and short skirts/trousers are not appropriate. You can take Scarf or long sleeve shirt to cover your arms.
The Bulgarian monastery is situated up in the mountain and it is wise to bring warm clothes even during the hot summer months, because the weather in Rila monastery national park can change in minutes.
The souvenir shops accept euros
Bring sun protection cream in the summer.
We will take a short walk to reach the sand pyramids, located around Melnik, that’s why wearing a comfortable clothes and shoes is recommended
The winery offers few different kind of wines, cheese and meat. If you are a vegetarian or prefer “dairy free”, please let me know in advance
Don’t forget your camera