A trip to Bachkovo Monastery, 11 km south of Assenovgrad, is a must. The monastery is a leisurely walk from the car park where you can shop for honey and jams at the many stalls that line the path up to the monastery. It’s the second largest after Rila Monastery, and does resemble that at Rila, with its cobbled courtyard, frescoes and central church. The church was painted by Zahari Zograf and his pupils in 1840. People queue up to pay homage to the miracle icon of Virgin Mary inside the Holy Virgin church, which was brought from Georgia in 1310. The monastery itself was founded in 1083 by a Georgian. One of the frescoes outside the church is usually surrounded by people sticking coins onto it. Apparently if you can get your coin to stick to the wall it means you are free of sin, though most cheat by sticking their coin on with bits of wax! There’s a very pleasant walk up from the monastery into the pine woods, where you can also sit and picnic. You can sleep at the monastery.