Useful links for self-organized trips in Bulgaria: http://www.bulgariatravel.org/en
7 km from Sofia University
60 km from Sofia – regular buses
Organized Excursions – One day
Plovdiv Old Town
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria, with a population of 341,567 inhabitants as of 2015, while 675,586 live in its metro area. It is an important economic, transport, cultural, and educational center. Plovdiv has evidence of habitation since the 6th millennium BC when the first Neolithic settlements were established. It is said to be one of the oldest cities in Europe.
Plovdiv is situated in a fertile region of south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 metres (820 feet) high. Because of these hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as “The City of the Seven Hills”.
On 5 September 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019.
Official website: http://www.rilskimanastir.org/en/
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the southwestern Rila Mountains, 117 km (73 mi) south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at an elevation of 1,147 m (3,763 ft) above sea level, inside of Rila Monastery Nature Park. The monastery is named after its founder, the hermit Ivan of Rila (876 – 946 AD), and today houses around 60 monks.
Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe.
The monastery is depicted on the reverse of the 1 lev banknote, issued in 1999.