Rila Orthodox monastry, Rila mountainsRila Orthodox monastry, Rila mountains

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  • Off the path Explo
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    1 / 5
    This is one of the most famous spots in Bulgaria Aug!
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      Good description
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      Yes, and you added a plan!
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  • Explo Popularity

This monastery is recognized by UNESCO as part of the world cultural heritage. You can get there to spend one night as a priest sleeping in a little sparsely furnished cell, or if you want to admire a place famed for its architecture and its mountainous settings...

My experience, Explo description: 

At the 10th century, a holy man called John of Rila, decided to settle in this valley for his retreat. He just built an hermitage, that became an important spiritual centre after his death.
The current monastery has been re founded in 1335, 4km far from St John’s original hermitage.

The monastery church, with its countless frescoes.

See or take part in a service. It starts at 7am for morning prayers, and 4pm for evening prayers.

Have a trek along neighbouring trails.

My personal recommendations: 

The place is full of hordes of visitors. So if you want to admire it quietly, stay there for the night ! The place will be desert and you will understand why it is a holy place ! 20Lv per person. The rooms are really Spartan, with cold water and public toilets. Don’t forget the monastery doors close at 8pm in the summer time, and 5pm in winter. Reservation desk opens at 6pm : book when you arrive, because only a few rooms are usually available. Hotels and restaurants are also available a few km around the monastry.

How getting there: 

By car. Take E79 from Sofia to Blagoevgrad. When you arrive at Kocherinovo (90km, S from Sofia), drive 30km (E) on a zig zag road going up into the valley. Bus are also getting there from Sofia.

A tip to sleep: 

Sleep at the monastery !

Useful information: 
Visit duration: 

Count 2h for the monastery. But it is worth spending one day there, for enjoying neighbouring trails, and spending a night in the monastery.

Entry fees: 


Rila Monastery is the largest

Rila Monastery is the largest and many well-known Eastern Orthodox monasteries inside Bulgaria. Rila monastery is amongst the UNESCO sites that may be really stunning in addition to worth going to. If you ever visit to Bulgaria, you should not miss this amazing site.

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