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Sofia tours and excursions

Sofia tours

Free tours

Free Sofia Tour is a non-profit organisation offering free, English-language sightseeing tours of the Bulgarian capital by volunteers. The tours start at the corner of the Palace of Justice and finish at National Assembly Square. The two-hour tours run Monday-Sunday at 1000, 1100, and 1800 in April-October, and at 1100 and 1800 in November-March.

Tel: +359 988 920 461
Website: http://www.freesofiatour.com

Bus tours

The Sofia Sightseeing double-decker bus tour is a hop-on, hop-off circular trip where tickets are valid for 24 hours. Commentary is provided in many languages, and the official starting point is at 1200 from St Alexander Nevski Memorial Church. The main downside is that there is only one bus every hour.

Tel: For reservations - 0878 864 160; 0878 575 200; 02 980 5610
Website: http://citysightseeing.bg/home-eng

Sofia excursions

Mount Vitosha

Packed at weekends with Sofia-dwellers, the highest ski resort in Bulgaria at Vitosha, 1,800m (5,905ft) above sea level, is perfect for skiing in winter and trekking in summer. The region is also famous for its rock formations, especially the moreni, or stone rivers, at Zlatnite Mostove (the Golden Bridges). Although not possessing the infrastructure of the main ski resorts in the country, with few well-maintained hotels and restaurants, nonetheless this makes a popular Sofia excursion - stick to weekdays if you want to avoid the crowds. The ski runs are of various lengths and difficulties, with chair and drag lifts and a gondola lift. Vitosha is easy to get to by public transport and is only 10km (6 miles) from Sofia.

Website: http://www.bulgariaski.com/vitosha/index.shtml

Rilski Manastir (Rila Monastery)

Located 120km (75 miles) south of Sofia, the Rila Monastery is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Bulgaria, set dramatically within the beautiful alpine mountains of Rila National Park. The first monastery was founded by followers of the Bulgarian hermit St John of Rila in the 10th century. Monastic life continued at Rila throughout five centuries of Ottoman domination, but extensive fire damage means most of the buildings date from the 19th century. The central church's outer walls are richly decorated with colourful scenes from the Bible, with well-detailed accounts of the torments of sinners in hell. Visitors can stay overnight in a sparse ‘cell' before setting off to explore Rila National Park, where clearly marked mountain paths take walkers through dense pine forests. A bus to Dupnitza village leaves every day at 0800, from the central bus station in Sofia. Connecting buses to Rila village depart at 1000 and 1100, departing from Rila village for the monastery at 1240.

Tel: +359 705 422 08
Website: http://www.rilamonastery.pmg-blg.com

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