Best tourist attractions in Bulgaria
A great holiday destination in Eastern Europe
Why should you visit Bulgaria? If you are thinking of traveling in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria is a great destination that you should take into account. Located in the southeast part of the Balkans, Bulgaria boasts a diverse and unspoiled scenery, and is home to charming remote villages, enchanting monasteries, and vibrant and medieval (even ancient) cities. Traveling here also means discovering stunning UNESCO sites, and exploring the local traditions and culture.
The north side of the country is dominated by the lowlands of the Danube Plain along which the king of European rivers, the Danube, flows and marks the border with neighboring Romania. Heading south, the landscape is full of contrasts, with high mountains and elevated plains that eventually lead you east to the Black Sea coast, a very popular holiday destination.
Bulgaria is also a great travel destination in terms of prices, as tourists can enjoy a high standard of services comparable with those in Western Europe, but they are very accessible even for people travelling on tight budgets.
Let’s see what Bulgaria is all about and which are the best attractions that the country has to offer. Let’s start with the cities, the mountains, and the Black Sea coast.
Maybe the most interesting thing about Bulgaria is the cities.
Sofia is the capital, is one of the most affordable capitals to visit in Europe. Here you can find the National Opera and Ballet of Sofia, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the National Art Gallery, Boyana Church, and the National Palace of Culture. These locations and establishments are very important for locals and they have a great connection with historic and present-day Sofia as a whole.
By visiting Sofia and checking these out, you will be able to further connect with some of the most impressive and interesting places in the region. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, combined with the National Archaeological Museum and the other museums in the city, are truly stunning and show how much historical value can be found in Sofia. You also have fashion boutiques, numerous malls, the chic and popular Vitosha Boulevard, and plenty of other places that make Sofia such an interesting and enjoyable place to visit.
Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria and is an important tourist site as well. The first educational institution outside the US was founded here, and it even has a yearly festival named the International Fair Plovdiv that shows how important culture is for the city and the region as a whole.
Here you can also check out numerous remnants that are preserved from antiquity, most of them from Roman times. These include the Stadium, Odeon, Aqueduct, and Roman Amphitheater with its impressive marble statues, decorative columns and arcades.
Coming to Plovdiv is inspiring if you also want to witness several of the different architectural styles of the country. Some of the religious buildings here, such as the Sephardic Synagogue clearly show how impressive the region is from an architectural standpoint.
And let’s not forget that Plovdiv has been designated the European Capital of Culture in 2019, so you have yet another good reason to come here as even more improvements and investments in the tourist infrastructure will be made.
If you are not yet convinced, here is a short film that will introduce you to this magical city.
Veliko Tarnovo is perhaps the most interesting city in Bulgaria, thanks to its medieval origins and its Ottoman appearance. The city was actually created as a fortress – the central citadel is on top of a hill and the base of the hill is surrounded by walls which offer a spectacular view of the entire region.
The most popular landmark here is the historic hill called Tsarevets, but there are many other interesting places such as the Renaissance and medieval churches as well as the ancient Roman fortress, all of which make this city a one-of-a-kind location. The cuisine here is excellent and you can also enjoy a leisurely stroll in the many parks. That’s how diverse and interesting Veliko Tarnovo is, and here is a short film to give you an idea of the true spirit of this fascinating city.
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
The Black Sea Coast begins in Romania and continues the length of Bulgaria with many beautiful beaches and resorts. This is one of the best places to visit in Bulgaria because not only does it offer a great place for a great vacation, but the prices are also extremely reasonable. Even with the low prices, you can be confident that the accommodations are first-class and the whole experience will be professional in every way.
The Black Sea coast in Bulgaria is the cheapest seaside vacation to be found in all of Europe, but it still delivers the quality that you would expect from far more expensive places. Some of the cities that offer excellent accommodations and direct access to the sea are Nessebar, Golden Sands and Balcik. These are some of the major centers of entertainment in the region, and aside from what they offer culturally, they show very clearly how beautiful the Black Sea coast really is.
Of course, let’s not forget about Varna, the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It simply has it all: the intriguing history of the city is beautifully combining with the active port activity and the vivid entertainment at the seaside. In Varna one can find the largest Bulgarian spa complex, a fine Archaeological Museum which illustrates the long historical background of the place and also picturesque restaurants and a wide range of cultural and musical events, indispensable ingredients for a great summer holiday. Also, the location of Varna makes it the starting point in exploring the North part of the Black Sea Coast during short day trips to the Golden Sands, the charming town of Balcik or even to the seaside resorts from the Romanian Coast.
So if you’re looking for an amazing experience at the sea but don’t want to overspend, then the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is the best possible choice and you should definitely check it out immediately!
The mountains – Ski and adventure holiday destinations
If you want to visit Bulgaria during the summer, then you will love the beach – however you can enjoy this country during the winter as well. It has some incredible locations suitable for ski holidays, such as Pamporovo, Borovets and Bansko.
Pamporovo has a great climate and features some of the best high-tech ski equipment on the market. It offers great value for visitors as the accommodations are stellar and the prices are low. You can ski here from November to March, making Pamporovo an excellent place for your holiday.
Borovets is found on the northern slopes of Rila Mountain and offers lots of space to enjoy your ski vacation. It’s a refined, renowned and unique location that allows you to do anything from ski-doo to ski jumping or training – so if you even remotely love skiing, this is a major place to consider. The summer activities here are also worth a look, as you can engage in forest trekking, horse riding, and mountain biking which is fun and very popular.
If Pamporovo and Borovets are already fun and you want something more challenging, Bansko is a great ski resort that you should check out. The city was created during the Roman Empire and now it’s filled with plenty of ski trails that you can enjoy during the winter. They have a gondola lift and all the accommodations that you might want in order to enjoy your holiday to the fullest. The scenery is striking and no doubt will inspire you to push your boundaries even farther while you’re enjoying the excellent skiing.
If you like the idea of exploring some of the most beautiful ski resorts, beaches and historical monuments/museums in the world – but you also want to do this on a restricted budget – then Bulgaria is your best choice. It’s an amazing country with many enjoyable moments to be enjoyed, so just give it a try and you will not be disappointed! This is an excellent place for your upcoming vacation, offering something for everyone at low prices. You’ll have a great time!
Don’t forget that Bulgaria is only a glimpse of what Eastern Europe has to offer. In order to enjoy an authentic Eastern European holiday, you might consider adding more countries in your itinerary such as Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia or Hungary. If you need some ideas, you can have a closer look at the following trips: Treasures of Bulgaria and Romania or the Budapest to Sofia Tour.