This 11-hour guided small group tour is naturally with a strong accent on the highlights (Rila Monastery), but it is more rewarding than that. You will be also introduced to nature conservation, Bulgarian geography (as you will see two of the highest mountains on the Balkans), agriculture and economy during and after the communism and plenty of other interesting themes you will may wish to discuss with our experienced guides.
Depart in early morning from the busy Bulgarian capital and head to the tranquil hearth of Rila Mountains, where you can admire the impressive Rila Monastery (UNESCO)- its architecture and the frescoes present the apogee of the Bulgarian Renaissance art. With an about 1-hour guided tour of the most treasured monuments in the inner yard and the Monastery museum, you will learn the most fascinating facts and stories about the biggest Bulgarian monastery complex. You will also have free time to buy souvenirs, make more photos or to continue to explore it by yourself. Your tour continues south to Melnik (about 1.5-hour drive). When you get there allow your imagination to be provoked by the strangely shaped sand and cley formations. Now the smallest town in Bulgarian with only 208 inhabitants, Melnik still preserves part of its glory from 14th till19th-centuriy, when it had been a flourishing tobacco and wine-producing center, whose fame was spread by local merchants to many European countries. Today, the city is famous for its lovely white houses and cobbled streets, mild climate, internationally recognized brands of red wine. You will have a guided walking tour through the city and enter the biggest Bulgarian Revival Period style house and its tunnel-like wine cellar.