The most popular way to visit the Bachkovo Monastery is on a day trip from nearby Plovdiv. Visitors can combine a guided tour of the monastery with the region’s other historic sights, such as the medieval ruins of King Ivan Asen’s Fortress and the Wonderful Bridges. It’s also possible to visit the monastery as part of a cycling tour through the Rhodope Mountains, stopping at Shiroka Laka or the Devin hot springs.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Entrance to the monastery grounds is free, but there is an admission fee to visit the refectory, museum, and ossuary.
The road to the monastery is lined with souvenir stalls, street food vendors, and cafés.
Mass is held at the monastery twice a day.
The monastery has basic accommodation where pilgrims can spend the night.
The main areas of the monastery are wheelchair-accessible, but it’s best to arrive with your own transportation and park at the top of the hill.
How to Get There
The monastery is located in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains, about 4.5 miles (7 kilometers) south of Asenovgrad. Buses and taxis run between Asenovgrad and Smolyan (E86), affording easy access to the monastery. From the main road, it’s a 15-minute uphill walk, but taxis can drop you at the top.
When to Get There
The monastery is open daily. Tour buses tend to start arriving at 10am, so get an early start if you want a crowd-free photo.
A Walking Tour of the Bachkovo Monastery
Highlights of the monastery grounds include the original ossuary, decorated with ancient frescos and home to a first-floor burial crypt; the cathedral, which houses a statue of the Virgin Mary Eleusa; the Archangels’ Church covered in paintings by Joan Mosch; and an expansive garden, tended by the monks who still live and work on the monastery. The small but impressive museum at Bachkovo offers a notable collection of religious artifacts, wood carvings, and historic frescos.
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