Bulgarian Top Travel Spots in a Nutshell
Check out the must-see places in Bulgaria for travel, holidays and fun.
Despite being a relatively small country, Bulgaria has a lot to offer anyone interested in experiencing the mysticism and enchantment of Eastern Europe, where ancient culture and contemporary history are continuing to leave their mark on a nation that many find marvelous, fascinating, and bizarre.
Bulgaria offers a wide variety of nature escapes with the mountains, sea, lakes, and postcard-like villages and since the country is home to all four seasons, your trip into any of these gorgeous sceneries will make it worth it. Many places of natural beauties have not been ruined by holiday home developers, plus hiring a professional guide is cost effective here and won’t cost you a fortune.
For those who desire to explore Bulgaria on their own and see it as it is, we prepared a cheat sheet of the best spots to get a glimpse of the real Bulgaria:
Culture – The UNESCO Sites
Bulgaria boasts 7 sites listed on the UNESCO world heritage list with fourteen more waiting for approval. A medieval church in Sofia, the popular Rila Monastery (conveniently located close to the capital), two ancient tombs of the Thracians and the entire old city of Nessebar are a must see part of any Bulgaria tour, in order to see some of the most striking cultural monuments. The Madara Rider, a medieval relief carved in the rocks is on the tails of all local coins.
Night Life – Sofia
Oh yes… Bulgarians love to celebrate! Eastern European capitals remain hot spots for travelers seeking 24-hour parties and low-cost vacations. Bulgaria is the country of "no reservations" when it comes to party planning, as locals meet without any formal arrangements in cafés, restaurants and bars every day. By night, Sofia’s city center clubs offer non-stop parties during the weekend and just like everywhere, the show slows down a little during the week.
Remember – nodding up and down to say "no" and shaking one’s head back and forth to say "yes,’ is the opposite of Western custom. It’s a good mistake to make when the bartender keeps asking if you want more.
Ski holidays – Bansko
Wonderful ski conditions, low-cost accommodations, party-on pubs and evening pub sessions with the latest music are what make Bansko such a popular destination. A while back, the town of Bansko was considered a golden opportunity for investment for holiday home owners but it survived the mass hotel and apartment buildings construction. The good news is – now there are many new, completely finished hotels of all types to book.
The Preobrazhenie Monastery
Sightseeing – Bulgarian Monasteries Tour
Bulgaria offers a profound look into the history of Christianity, as Bulgaria was one of the first countries to translate the Bible into its native language and as a result is the home to a vast amount of early Christian monasteries and artifacts, a must in any pilgrim’s early Christianity memorials route.
The monasteries survived five centuries of Muslim presence, successfully able to keep Bulgarian nationalism alive as well as preserving astonishing records of Christian martyrdom. The Bulgarian Orthodox tradition has contributed largely to the country’s culture, history and overall education for many centuries and has no "dark ages" in its records.
The Bulgarian Rose Festival in Karlovo
Traditions – The Bulgarian Rose Fest
The rose is the symbol of Bulgaria, as rose oil is made in Bulgaria and has gained an international reputation of high quality organic oil. Similar to Chinese silk, Bulgaria has been recognized with the country’s primary exported item for centuries. The rose fest takes place in the central Bulgarian town of Kazanlak since 1903 and the coronation of the "Queen of the Rose" (a part of the fest), is often considered Bulgaria’s first beauty contest.
Off the beaten path – The Rhodopes
The Rhodopes are neither the highest nor the largest mountain range in Bulgaria and they don’t even boast dramatic valleys and peaks. Their shallow slopes covered with picturesque green pastures, small villages and rock bridges peaking through the dense, green forests have been an inspiration for music and the beauty of a simple, yet contemplative lifestyle. In fact, a local song was voted one of the world’s best art achievements.
Bulgarian Wines – Melnik and the villages around the town
The town of Melnik is well-known for its size. Once a large cultural and commercial center for the region, history has reduced Melnik to its current 97 buildings, all of which are now recognized as cultural monuments. The bare, yellow rocks surrounding the town are a fascinating and awe-inspiring phenomenon of nature.
Melnik, as well as its surrounding villages, are a major producer of a variety of red wines. Melnik offers everything you need for an entertaining culinary and wine tasting experience with remarkable cuisine, vast wine cellars and friendly hospitality.