Many Bulgarians consider Рилски манастир (Rila Monastery) to be Bulgaria’s greatest treasure and the country’s number one must-see tourist attraction. After living here for more than a year, I finally made my way to the monastery. It’s definitely worth seeing, but I enjoyed the drive to the monastery and a walk in the surrounding countryside more than the monastery itself. And, while I might make it back to monastery at some point, I’d be much more inclined to spend my time further exploring the Rila Mountains. But, in my opinion, Bulgaria’s greatest asset, exclusive of its people, are its mountains and the nature.
Monks gathering for a photo at the monastery.
The area around the monastery is great for hiking, despite the fact the trails aren't very well marked or maintained.
Wild, or at least free-ranging, horses are frequently encountered in the nearby meadows.
The horses munch on grass and some of the abundant wildflowers.