Rila Monastery Snowshoeing
The Rila Monastery is considered as the most important tourist site in Bulgaria and this is already a good reason to visit, no matter of the season and the weather. More info on the sight itself here or at the website of the monastery: https://rilskimanastir.org/en/
Most visitors do not expect that not only the monastery itself, but also the surrounding area will leave them with great impressions. Actually for most of them it is really the location of the monastery that provides an unforgettable memory. The monastery of Rila is situated in the heart of the Rila Mountains, within the broad leaf forests of the Rila Monastery Nature Park and surrounded by the sharp rocky peaks that look like giant guardians.
We would like to offer you a combination of a visit to the UNESCO site with a winter snowshoe walking trip that will show the beauties of the surrounding area and will add an additional value to the day trip to the Rila Monastery from Sofia. The walk is designed for people without previous experience and we would grade it as an easy and pleasant walk that is accessible for participants in average physical condition. The best season, when we can enjoy the snow panoramas around the monastery, is January to March. Still if the conditions do not allow, we will do a hiking trip in the area, without the snowshoes.
Transfer to the Rila Monastery – around 2:30 hours. We will first aim the outdoors around the monastery and will leave the visit of the cultural site for later. Another 15 minutes drive will take us to Kirilova meadow (Kirilova polyana) – a locality at 1500 m of elevation above the monastery. It is next to the most alpine peaks in Rila and offers spectacular views towards the main ridge of the mountain with all its granite vertical walls and needles.
We put the snowshoes and get instructions on how to use them. Walk along Rilska river enjoying the forests and the winter landscapes of the area. Return back to the monastery with a few options for lunch. Visit to the monastery – 1h. Transfer back to Sofia 2:30 hours. The total walking time is 2 – 2:30 hours; +150/-150 m.
An additional option to combine the tour with visit of a local winery and wine tasting tour.
Equipment needed: The most important part is good winter type boots – warm and waterproof, to cover the ankle. Further: wind and waterproof jacket with hood, waterproof pants, warm clothes, warm hat, gloves, sun protection – sun glasses, sun block, sun hat. Rucksack, snacks, water bottle or flask.