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“Fantastic guided tour with Alexander Serafimov”

Traventuria - Day Tours
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$68.06*
and up
The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery
Ranked #3 of 50 Outdoor Activities in Sofia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Traventuria Ltd is a fully bonded Bulgarian tour operator, possessing a management with experience of over 10 years in the field of the incoming tourism in Bulgaria and the Balkans. The company offers cultural and active holidays, private transfers, ski and snow board packages. Flexibility, local knowledge and perfection in all our services are our distinctive feature!
Reviewed October 11, 2016

At the end of August, my son went on a guided hike of the Rila and Pirin mountains in Bulgaria with Traventuria Ltd. Here is an account of the tour from his perspective:

Tour guide: Alexander Serafimov (Alex). Alex was an absolutely fantastic tour guide. He was knowledgeable about the mountains both in terms of flora and fauna. His English was immaculate (first language Bulgarian) but he also proved his multi-lingual abilities plenty of times on the tour! Overall, the best tour guide I have ever had.

The tour at a glance: the tour went through both the Rila and Pirin mountain ranges, of which I completed 3 of the main peaks (Polizhan, Musala and Vihren) as well as the beautiful 7 Rila Lakes. We were a small group (6 individuals, all English speaking). It was without doubt the most enthralling journey each day, with the scenery changing ever so often. Lush forests, rocky mountains and sharp faces met us each day. Also note, that this particular hike is challenging and requires a great deal of fitness. In total, the tour lasted 7 days.

Extras: There were many extras that were thrown in that we did not even know we would be getting! 1. Guided tour through Bansko and Sofia with Alex, again very knowledgeable especially about the history of these places. 2. Almost every night we had dinner at a different restaurant and one night we had a traditional Bulgarian experience where we sang and danced through the streets of a small village! The restaurant decision is left in the hands of the tour guide by Traventuria and Alex did a great job of picking the best and most diverse places. 3. Cable cars, chair lifts, transfers all included without extra charge. 4. A goodie bag at the start of the tour. Importantly, none of these things came at any extra cost.

Overall: Traventuria was extremely well organised from the start. Alex was a star of a guide. The trek through the mountains was breathtaking. A must for any trekking enthusiast.

Thank Haroun M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"rila monastery and boyana church"
in 52 reviews
"rila lakes"
in 23 reviews
"self guided"
in 11 reviews
"full day tour"
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in 4 reviews
"detailed explanation"
in 4 reviews
"small group"
in 15 reviews
"group tour"
in 5 reviews
"picked up from our hotel"
in 4 reviews
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in 6 reviews
"audio guide"
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"private tour"
in 13 reviews
"great trip"
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Reviewed October 10, 2016

me and my boyfriend took two tours with Traventuria - Rila Monestary and Boyana Church with Pavel, and Plovdiv and Kopriveshtitsa with Martin. Both of these wonderful guides were extremely nice and were very clear and knowledgable. the minibuses were convenient and everything went according to schedule. very recommended.

Thank Zohar K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2016

There is no doubt that Rila and Boyana are wonderful monuments, but, I did not like the organization. Here I explain why. The original schedule was not respected. We departed with delay and went around the periphery to pick up other turists. Due to this we arrived at Rila at 12:15 (instead of the declared 11:20, probably to optimistic). Between 13:30 and 15:00, instead of heading to Boyana, we were basically forced to go to a restaurant decided by the guide. When I asked if I could stay at the Monastery (in order to gain some time to visit the site) instead of going to the restaurant with all the group I was said that it would have been problematic for the organization. Ok, I can understand, but in this case why the restaurant is not mentioned in the official program? Onestly I paid to have some hours to see the monastery, not to eat the trout of the restaurant. Arrival at Boyana church was at 17:00 (instead of 15:40) and the end of the meeting was at 18:00 (instead of 17:00). This did not create major problems for me, but people may have to pick up a train or a plane after the visit and 1 hour of delay was quite a lot. All this is nothing compared to the fact that I wanted to visit the monastery and at the end I could spend only 1:15 hours there.... I suggest to rent a car or to chose other transportation services to reach the monastery.

2  Thank Andrea A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TraventuriaAdmin, Manager at Traventuria - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded October 17, 2016

Dear Andrea,

Many thanks for the honest review. It is much appreciated.
We are sorry for the confusion and admit that our guide had its fair share of guilt in not providing you the correct and updated information.

The bottleneck of the organisation of the tour lies in the Boyana Church. As it is a protected UNESCO Heritage sight, the number of visitors is limited to only 8 in total at a time. We invest quite an effort to secure time slots for our clients, but sometimes when large tourist groups occupy Boyana Church we are forced to to rearrange the schedule to Rila Monastery, as otherwise our tour will totally miss the visit of Boyana Church.
On that exact day, that was the only option, we could get and the reason for the changed scheduling.

As far as the visit to the restaurant is concerned the visit is only optional. The reason to introduce it at first place was we received numerous complaints from the poor dining options at the Monastery. We do not endorse the restaurant, quite the opposite we want to stay independent. Our company policy is that in case a client does not want to go to it, he can stay at the monastery and the bus will come and collect him. We are sorry that you felt obliged to visit it. I can assure you it is not decision by Traventuria Management, but a misinterpretation by the guide.

I really hope that you have remained with beautiful memories from our country and hopefully we will greet you again!

Best Regards
Atanas Zahariev
Manager
Traventuria

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2016

This was an excellent tour enhanced by our friendly and knowledgable guide, Marina. Some guides can give too much info but Marina got it just right. The 2 sites, Rila Monastery and Boyana Church were both fascinating and we were given enough information about their history to make the experience more enjoyable. It was a 2-hour journey to Rila but half of that was just crawling through Sofia's awful traffic! Rila made up for it though-beautiful buildings set amongst a lovely forested area. We were not rushed and then had time for a tasty lunch, locally-caught trout at a nearby restaurant. Then on to Boyana Church. Although it's very small and only a few people were allowed in at a time, the well-preserved murals, dating from the 11th-13th centuries were stunning.
All in all, an enjoyable and rewarding day.

1  Thank TripMember090220153
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 4, 2016

We did three tours from Sofia : to Rila monastery , to Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa that were excellent
But the long and expensive tour to Veliko Taranova was very disappointing
The guide knew nothing about the place is barely spoke to us during a 4-hour trip to the site
His English . was very basic
Although we had written to the company we got a very poor response that the guide was ill so they gave us a "guide" then was hardly used
We expect from such a company not get such a tour or compensate the participants for the payment ( total of 4 people)

Thank sasona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TraventuriaAdmin, Manager at Traventuria - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded October 20, 2016

Dear Sasona,

Many thanks for the feedback, it is much appreciated.
We are glad that you enjoyed your tours to Rila Monastery, Plovdiv and Koprivstitsa.

In regards to the Veliko Tarnovo. Our regular guide called our emergency services at 06:00 a.m to inform the person on duty, that she is sick. As your tour was supposed to leave at 07:00 a.m. it was virtually impossible to find alternative guide so early in the morning.
The only solution the person on duty found out is to use one of our mountain guides.
As he was not so experienced with Veliko Turnovo, he in his term hired local guides both for Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi.

We understand that this is not the best option we could deliver, but that was the only solution we could think of with such a short notice. Our only other option was to cancel your tour (and refund you 100%) and we decided that it will still be a better use of your day.

I really hope, that you realize that this is not a normal practice (as you can see from the hundreds of reviews here) and we are sorry for the not so perfect experience. We are glad that you enjoyed the rest of our tours and we are sorry once again.

Best Regards
Atanas Zahariev
Manager
Traventuria


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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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