Looking for best places to visit in bulgaria ? Bulgaria, officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria, is a captivating country located in Southeast Europe.
With a rich history that stretches back centuries, Bulgaria offers a diverse blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.
From picturesque landscapes to vibrant cities, there is something for every traveler to explore and enjoy.
Why is Bulgaria so popular among tourist ?
Before we look at thew best places to visit in bulgaria, let us know why is Bulgaria so popular among tourist.
One of Bulgaria’s most remarkable features is its stunning landscapes.
The country boasts majestic mountain ranges like the Balkans and the Rhodopes, offering breathtaking views and endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
Bulgaria is also home to the Black Sea coast, which attracts tourists with its beautiful beaches, charming coastal towns, and vibrant nightlife.
The cultural heritage of Bulgaria is deeply rooted in its history, which spans from ancient civilizations to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
The country is dotted with fascinating archaeological sites, including the ancient city of Plovdiv, which boasts a well-preserved Roman amphitheater and charming old town.
The capital city, Sofia, showcases a harmonious mix of architectural styles, featuring Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, and Ottoman mosques.
Bulgaria’s warm and welcoming people add to the country’s charm. Visitors can experience the renowned Bulgarian hospitality, which often includes delicious traditional cuisine and warm interactions with locals.
The cuisine of Bulgaria is a delightful fusion of flavors, with dishes like banitsa (a savory pastry), Shopska salad, and kavarma (a slow-cooked meat stew) being popular choices.
In recent years, Bulgaria has emerged as an affordable and attractive destination for travelers seeking an authentic European experience.
Whether you are looking to explore ancient ruins, relax on sandy beaches, or indulge in delicious food and wine, Bulgaria offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave a lasting impression.
Its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality make Bulgaria a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Best places to visit in bulgaria
Bulgaria offers a wealth of captivating destinations to explore. Here are ten of the top places to visit in the country:
- Sofia: As the capital city, Sofia is a vibrant blend of history and modernity. Visit the iconic Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, explore ancient Roman ruins at Serdica, and stroll along the lively Vitosha Boulevard.
- Plovdiv: This ancient city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe. Explore the well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre, wander through the charming Old Town with its cobblestone streets, and soak up the artistic vibe of the Kapana District.
- Veliko Tarnovo: Known as the “City of the Tsars,” Veliko Tarnovo is famous for its medieval fortress, Tsarevets, which offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Explore the old town, visit the Patriarchal Cathedral, and admire the beautifully restored houses.
- Rila Monastery: Located in the Rila Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage site is Bulgaria’s most famous monastery. Admire the intricate frescoes, visit the monastery museum, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Bansko: Nestled at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a popular winter destination for skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, explore the charming old town, visit the Holy Trinity Church, and hike in the surrounding nature.
- Varna: Situated on the Black Sea coast, Varna offers beautiful beaches, a lively promenade, and a rich cultural scene. Don’t miss the Roman Baths, the Archaeological Museum, and a visit to the Sea Garden.
- Nessebar: This ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Explore the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the ancient churches, and enjoy the picturesque sea views.
- Seven Rila Lakes: Located in the Rila Mountains, the Seven Rila Lakes are a stunning natural wonder. Hike through the pristine landscapes and marvel at the crystal-clear lakes nestled amidst the rugged mountains.
- Belogradchik Rocks: These unique rock formations in Northwestern Bulgaria are a sight to behold. Explore the stunning rock formations, visit the Belogradchik Fortress, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Kazanlak: Known as the “Valley of Roses,” Kazanlak is famous for its rose production. Visit the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, explore the Rose Museum, and immerse yourself in the rose fields during the blooming season.
These ten destinations offer just a glimpse of the diverse and enchanting experiences Bulgaria has to offer.
Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, Bulgaria has something to captivate every traveler.
Sofia is one of the most prominent cities in Bulgaria and is one the best places to visit in Bukgaria!
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – best places to visit in Sofia, Bulgaria
For a 2-day visit to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, here are some of the best places to explore:
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: Start your visit by admiring the grandeur of this iconic Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral, one of the largest in the world.
- Marvel at the stunning golden domes and explore the beautiful interior.
- Saint Sofia Church: Visit this historic church, which dates back to the 6th century and gave the city its name.
- Admire the beautiful frescoes and learn about the rich history of the church.
- National Palace of Culture (NDK): Explore the largest multifunctional congress and exhibition center in Southeastern Europe.
- NDK is known for its unique architecture and hosts various cultural events, exhibitions, and performances.
- Vitosha Boulevard: Take a leisurely stroll along this bustling pedestrian street, lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants.
- Enjoy some shopping, stop for a coffee or meal, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
- Boyana Church: Visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain.
- The church is renowned for its beautifully preserved medieval frescoes and is a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts.
- National Museum of History: Immerse yourself in Bulgaria’s rich history and heritage at this comprehensive museum.
- Explore exhibits ranging from ancient Thracian artifacts to medieval artifacts and learn about the country’s fascinating past.
- Sofia’s Central Park (Borisova Gradina): Escape the city buzz and relax in this expansive park.
- Enjoy a leisurely walk, rent a bike, or have a picnic surrounded by greenery.
- Don’t miss the beautiful lake and the charming Ariana Lake Casino.
- Ivan Vazov National Theatre: Admire the impressive neoclassical architecture of this renowned theater.
- Check the schedule for performances and, if possible, catch a show to experience Bulgaria’s vibrant performing arts scene.
- Museum of Socialist Art: Gain insight into Bulgaria’s communist past at this unique museum.
- Explore the collection of statues, paintings, and memorabilia from the socialist era and learn about the country’s recent history.
- Sofia Synagogue and Central Sofia Market Hall: Discover the rich Jewish heritage of Sofia by visiting the elegant Sofia Synagogue.
- Afterwards, explore the nearby Central Sofia Market Hall, a vibrant market where you can sample local produce, traditional sweets, and other delicacies.
These are just a few highlights of what Sofia has to offer.
Enjoy your 2-day visit and make sure to savor the unique blend of history, culture, and modernity that the city provides.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city and a European Capital of Culture in 2019, is known for its rich history, ancient ruins, and vibrant arts scene.
Plovdiv is also one of the must visit and best places to visit in Bulgaria.
Here are the top five places to visit in Plovdiv:
- Old Town (Plovdiv’s Old Town): Step back in time as you wander through the charming cobblestone streets of the Old Town.
- Discover beautifully preserved Bulgarian Revival houses, colorful façades, and intricate architecture.
- Don’t miss the iconic Nebet Tepe Hill, offering panoramic views of the city.
- Roman Amphitheatre: Explore one of Plovdiv’s most impressive ancient landmarks, the Roman Amphitheatre.
- Dating back to the 2nd century AD, this well-preserved amphitheater hosts various cultural events and performances today.
- Marvel at its grandeur and imagine the ancient spectacles that took place here.
- Ethnographic Museum: Visit the Ethnographic Museum, located in a historic house in the Old Town.
- Immerse yourself in Bulgarian culture and traditions through the extensive collection of traditional costumes, crafts, and artifacts.
- Gain insight into the way of life of the local population throughout history.
- Kapana District: Experience Plovdiv’s creative and artistic side by exploring the trendy Kapana District.
- This lively neighborhood is filled with art galleries, workshops, boutiques, and hip cafes.
- Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, street art, and unique shops showcasing the work of local artists and designers.
- Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis: Discover the remains of the Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis, a Roman-era sports arena located near the city center.
- Walk along the preserved sections of the original track and imagine the cheers of the spectators who once filled the stands.
- The stadium is an impressive testament to Plovdiv’s ancient past.
These top five places in Plovdiv provide a glimpse into the city’s rich history, architectural beauty, and cultural vibrancy.
Enjoy exploring the streets, immersing yourself in the past, and embracing the creative energy that Plovdiv has to offer.
Veliko Tarnovo, known as the “City of the Tsars,” is a captivating destination in Bulgaria with a rich history and stunning architecture.
Veliko Tarnovo – City of the Tsars – Best places to visit in Bulgaria
Here are some of the best places to visit in Veliko Tarnovo during a 2-day trip:
- Tsarevets Fortress: Begin your visit by exploring the majestic Tsarevets Fortress.
- This medieval stronghold was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and offers panoramic views of Veliko Tarnovo.
- Wander through the fortress walls, visit the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God, and enjoy the fascinating Sound and Light show in the evening.
- Samovodska Charshia: Step back in time as you stroll along Samovodska Charshia, a charming street filled with traditional craftsmen’s workshops.
- Watch artisans at work, purchase handmade souvenirs, and experience the craftsmanship of Veliko Tarnovo.
- Gurko Street: Wander along Gurko Street, a picturesque cobblestone street lined with colorful houses and stunning views of the Yantra River.
- Admire the architectural beauty, stop by art galleries and local shops, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
- Asen’s Monument: Venture outside the city to visit Asen’s Monument, located atop a hill overlooking Veliko Tarnovo.
- This monument honors the Asen dynasty, and from its vantage point, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding nature.
- Church of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki: Explore the Church of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, a beautiful Orthodox church known for its intricate frescoes and impressive architecture.
- Admire the religious art and soak in the peaceful atmosphere within.
- The Old Town: Take a leisurely walk through Veliko Tarnovo’s Old Town, also known as Varosha.
- Explore its narrow streets, traditional houses, and cozy cafes.
- Discover hidden gems, local shops, and charming restaurants serving delicious Bulgarian cuisine.
- Archaeological Museum: Visit the Archaeological Museum of Veliko Tarnovo, located in the restored Sarafkina House.
- Discover the region’s rich archaeological heritage through exhibits that include ancient artifacts, pottery, and historical documents.
- Konstantsalieva House: Immerse yourself in the ambiance of the Bulgarian Revival Period by visiting the Konstantsalieva House.
- This beautifully preserved house showcases the lifestyle and architecture of the time, offering insight into the city’s past.
These top attractions in Veliko Tarnovo provide a taste of the city’s history, architecture, and cultural heritage.
Enjoy your visit, take in the splendid views, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this historic Bulgarian gem.
One of the best and most visted places to visit in Bulgaria, Rila Monastery, located in the picturesque Rila Mountains of Bulgaria, is a true gem and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and spiritual significance, the monastery attracts visitors from around the world.
Founded in the 10th century by the hermit Ivan Rilski, Rila Monastery has served as a spiritual and cultural center for Bulgarian Orthodox Christians for centuries.
The monastery complex consists of several buildings surrounding a central courtyard, with the main church, known as the Nativity of the Virgin, standing as the focal point.
The church impresses with its vibrant exterior frescoes, ornate wood-carved iconostasis, and beautiful interior paintings.
Beyond its architectural splendor, Rila Monastery holds great cultural and historical importance.
It houses a remarkable collection of religious art, including intricately crafted icons, manuscripts, and artifacts.
The monastery’s museum displays precious treasures, offering insight into the spiritual and artistic heritage of Bulgaria.
Surrounded by the serene beauty of the Rila Mountains, the monastery provides a tranquil retreat for both pilgrims and tourists.
The nearby natural landscapes, including the Seven Rila Lakes, offer breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking and exploration.
Visiting Rila Monastery is a truly immersive experience, allowing visitors to witness the enduring legacy of Bulgarian Orthodoxy and appreciate the exquisite beauty of the monastery’s architecture and religious art.
It stands as a testament to the country’s spiritual heritage and remains an iconic symbol of Bulgarian culture.
Bansko, a popular mountain resort town in Bulgaria, offers a blend of natural beauty, winter sports, and cultural attractions.
Here are the top five places to visit in Bansko:
- Bansko Ski Resort: Bansko is renowned for its excellent ski facilities, making it a top destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
- The ski resort features modern lifts, well-groomed slopes, and a range of difficulty levels suitable for beginners and experienced skiers alike.
- Old Town: Explore the charming Old Town of Bansko, with its cobblestone streets and traditional Bulgarian houses.
- Admire the unique architecture, visit the Holy Trinity Church, and browse through local craft shops and taverns. The Old Town exudes a cozy and authentic atmosphere.
- Pirin National Park: Discover the natural beauty of Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site located near Bansko.
- Hike through picturesque landscapes, marvel at crystal-clear lakes, and enjoy the breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks.
- The park offers a multitude of trails for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Bansko Museum Complex: Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the region at the Bansko Museum Complex.
- The complex includes the Museum of History, the Neofit Rilski House Museum, and the Nikola Vaptsarov Museum, offering insights into the town’s past, renowned figures, and local traditions.
- Banya Village: Take a short trip to the nearby village of Banya, famous for its thermal mineral springs.
- Relax in one of the hot mineral pools, known for their therapeutic properties. Banya also offers traditional Bulgarian architecture, including the Church of the Assumption.
These top five places in Bansko provide a mix of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, and relaxation.
Whether you’re seeking winter sports, exploring historical sites, or enjoying the natural beauty of the area, Bansko offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.
Varna is also one the best places and cities to visit in Bulgaria.
If you have just one day to explore Varna, Bulgaria’s coastal city on the Black Sea, here are some must-see attractions and activities to consider:
- Sea Garden: Start your day with a visit to the Sea Garden, a beautiful park stretching along the coastline.
- Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bicycle to explore its lush greenery, stunning flowerbeds, and scenic pathways.
- Don’t miss the iconic Varna Aquarium and the Naval Museum, both located within the Sea Garden.
- Varna Archaeological Museum: Explore the Varna Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection of ancient artifacts, including the famous Varna Necropolis, one of the world’s oldest gold treasures.
- Learn about Bulgaria’s rich history and the ancient civilizations that thrived in the region.
- Varna Cathedral: Visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, the symbol of Varna and an architectural masterpiece.
- Admire the beautiful frescoes, intricate woodwork, and stunning stained glass windows.
- Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the city.
- Roman Thermae: Explore the ruins of the ancient Roman Thermae, located in the heart of Varna.
- These well-preserved thermal baths provide a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Romans and offer a unique archaeological experience.
- Varna Archaeological Park and Roman Baths: Discover the Varna Archaeological Park, where you can see the remains of the ancient Roman Baths complex.
- Walk through the excavated structures, including the frigidarium, tepidarium, and caldarium, and learn about the Roman bathing rituals.
- Varna Cathedral Park: Take a break and relax in the peaceful Varna Cathedral Park, located near the cathedral.
- Enjoy the serene atmosphere, the beautiful fountain, and the sculptures scattered throughout the park.
- Varna Central Beach: Finish your day with a visit to Varna Central Beach, located in the heart of the city.
- Take a dip in the Black Sea, soak up the sun on the sandy beach, or enjoy a walk along the promenade.
- There are also numerous beachfront restaurants and cafes where you can savor local cuisine.
Although a day may be limited, these attractions offer a glimpse into Varna’s history, culture, and natural beauty.
Enjoy your time exploring this vibrant coastal city on the Black Sea.
Nessebar, located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, is a beautiful town with a rich history and stunning architecture.
Here are the top five places to visit in Nessebar:
- Old Town: The historic center of Nessebar, also known as the Old Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- It is one of the best places to visit in Nessebar, Bulgaria.
- Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow cobblestone streets, lined with well-preserved medieval churches, traditional Bulgarian houses, and ancient ruins.
- Don’t miss the Church of St. Stephen, Church of Christ Pantocrator, and the impressive city walls.
- Church of St. John the Baptist: This medieval church is one of the most prominent landmarks in Nessebar.
- It features intricate frescoes and architectural details, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich cultural heritage.
- Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Archaeological Museum: Located in the heart of Nessebar, the Archaeological Museum showcases a fascinating collection of artifacts from different periods of the town’s history.
- Explore exhibits displaying ancient pottery, jewelry, and sculptures, providing insights into the area’s past civilizations.
- Sunny Beach: Just a short distance from Nessebar, Sunny Beach is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Bulgaria.
- Enjoy its golden sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, water sports activities, and a wide range of restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the sun.
- Aqua Paradise: For some family fun and adventure, head to Aqua Paradise, a water park located near Nessebar.
- It offers an array of thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, pools, and other attractions for all ages.
- Spend a day here enjoying water-based entertainment and cooling off from the summer heat.
These are just a few highlights of the many attractions Nessebar has to offer.
Don’t forget to explore the local cuisine, enjoy the picturesque coastal views, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this charming Bulgarian town.
Seven Rila Lakes
The Seven Rila Lakes, located in the Rila Mountains of Bulgaria, are a stunning natural attraction that draw visitors from around the world.
Here are the seven lakes and some additional information about each one:
- The Tear (Salzata): The highest and deepest of the lakes, Salzata is known for its crystal-clear waters and dramatic location at an altitude of 2,535 meters (8,317 feet).
- It gets its name from the tear-like shape formed by melting snow.
- The Eye (Okoto): This lake is the deepest in terms of its maximum depth, reaching around 37.5 meters (123 feet).
- It is called “The Eye” due to its almost perfectly circular shape, resembling a giant eye.
- The Kidney (Babreka): As its name suggests, this lake has a shape reminiscent of a kidney.
- It is one of the largest lakes in the group and is surrounded by steep slopes covered in vibrant alpine vegetation.
- The Twin (Bliznaka): Bliznaka consists of two interconnected lakes, forming a unique figure-eight shape.
- The lakes are separated by a narrow strip of land, and the larger of the two is known for its turquoise waters.
- The Trefoil (Trebich): This lake has a distinctive trefoil shape, with three interconnected parts.
- It is the shallowest of the lakes, but its tranquil setting and picturesque surroundings make it a favorite among hikers.
- The Fish Lake (Ribnoto Ezero): Ribnoto Ezero is known for its abundance of fish, hence the name “Fish Lake.”
- It is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts and offers serene views of the surrounding mountain peaks.
- The Lower Lake (Dolnoto Ezero): Dolnoto Ezero is the lowest in terms of altitude among the Seven Rila Lakes, and it serves as a starting point for many hiking trails in the area.
- It offers picturesque scenery and is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
The Seven Rila Lakes are a hiker’s paradise, and many visitors opt for a challenging hike to explore all the lakes in one trip.
The breathtaking landscapes, pristine waters, and mountain vistas make this a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Belogradchik Rocks, located in northwestern Bulgaria, are a natural wonder that captivates visitors with their unique rock formations and stunning beauty.
These sandstone and limestone formations have been sculpted by wind and water over millions of years, resulting in a surreal landscape of towering rocks, cliffs, and whimsical shapes.
The rocks, which cover an area of around 30 square kilometers, are renowned for their red, yellow, and gray hues, creating a mesmerizing color palette against the backdrop of the surrounding countryside.
The most famous formation is the “Belogradchik Fortress,” a massive rock formation that resembles a fortress rising above the town. It served as a natural defense system in ancient times and offers panoramic views of the entire area.
Exploring the Belogradchik Rocks is like stepping into a fantasy world.
Visitors can wander through a network of hiking trails that wind their way among the rocks, revealing hidden caves, natural arches, and mysterious rock formations with names like “The Madonna” and “The Horseman.”
Each formation has its own story and legend, adding to the enchantment of the place.
The Belogradchik Rocks are not only a geological marvel but also an important historical and cultural site.
The area has witnessed human habitation since ancient times, and the rocks have been the backdrop for numerous tales and legends.
Today, the rocks are a popular tourist destination, attracting nature lovers, photographers, and history enthusiasts alike.
A visit to the Belogradchik Rocks offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the wonders of nature, witness the power of natural forces, and appreciate the incredible beauty that the Earth has created over millions of years.
Kazanlak, located in central Bulgaria, is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
Here are the top five places to visit in Kazanlak:
- Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit attraction in Kazanlak.
- Dating back to the 4th century BC, the tomb is a remarkable example of Thracian burial architecture.
- Admire the intricate frescoes that depict scenes from the Thracian culture and gain insight into the ancient civilization that once thrived in the region.
- Kazanlak Rose Museum: Known as the “Rose Valley,” Kazanlak is famous for its rose production.
- The Rose Museum offers a fascinating look into the history and traditions of rose cultivation and rose oil production in the area.
- Learn about the rose-picking process, see traditional distillation equipment, and discover the significance of roses in Bulgarian culture.
- Shipka Memorial Church: Situated on the Shipka Pass, this magnificent Russian Orthodox church is a symbol of Bulgarian-Russian friendship and commemorates the sacrifices made during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.
- Marvel at the beautiful golden domes, exquisite frescoes, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains from the church’s observation deck.
- Iskra Museum: Housed in a former Turkish bath, the Iskra Museum showcases the history of the Bulgarian socialist movement.
- Explore exhibits that illustrate the struggles, achievements, and cultural heritage of the region during the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The museum provides valuable insights into the social and political history of Bulgaria.
- Kazanlak Historical Museum: Located in a beautiful old building, the Kazanlak Historical Museum offers a comprehensive collection of artifacts that trace the history of the region from ancient times to the present day.
- Discover archaeological finds, traditional costumes, and historical documents, providing a deeper understanding of Kazanlak’s cultural heritage.
In addition to these attractions, Kazanlak is also surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including the Balkan Mountains and the Valley of the Thracian Kings.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region and indulge in local cuisine, which is known for its delicious rose-based dishes.
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