Bulgaria is a stunning destination in Eastern Europe that offers visitors plenty of opportunities to explore and experience the country’s unique culture.
From its vibrant cities, stunning nature reserves, serene coastline, and fascinating historical sites, there are 10 best things to do in Bulgaria that should not be missed! Whether you’re looking for adventure, sightseeing, or a relaxing getaway, Bulgaria will provide you with many adventures.
From taking in the breathtaking views of the majestic Balkan Mountains to discovering fascinating archaeological sites from ancient civilizations, here are the 10 best things to do in Bulgaria that you absolutely must experience.
1. Visit Sofia
The capital and largest city of Bulgaria, Sofia is home to many amazing sights, from the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to the National Archaeological Museum. With its vibrant culture and interesting history, there’s plenty to see in this bustling city.
The city offers a wide range of attractions for tourists including historical sites, arts and cultural activities, shopping destinations, and more.
One must-see attraction is the Boyana Church which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 due to its impressive architecture.
Other top sights in Sofia include Alexander Nevski Cathedral, National History Museum, and Serdica Archaeological Complex.
For art enthusiasts, there are numerous galleries such as the National Art Gallery of Bulgaria and Sofia City Hall Art Gallery where visitors can appreciate the artwork of renowned local artists. A visit to Vitosha Nature Park will also be a rewarding experience while visiting Sofia.
2. Take a day trip to Rila Monastery
One of the most important sites in Bulgaria, this 10th-century monastery is set high in the Rila Mountains and offers stunning views as well as religious artifacts and works of art to explore.
Rila Monastery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bulgaria. Located in the Rila Mountains, this 10th-century monastery is a must-see for travelers looking to experience Bulgarian culture and history.
The main building of Rila Monastery houses beautiful frescoes and icons that illustrate biblical scenes as well as Bulgarian cultural traditions.
In addition to marveling at the incredible artistry associated with this site, visitors can also take part in guided tours through its inner courtyards or enjoy a traditional meal at a nearby café. This legendary complex provides an unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to visit it.
3. See Belogradchik Rocks
These sandstone formations are a natural wonder of Bulgaria, offering an impressive array of shapes and sizes that make for great photographs or hiking opportunities.
Located in northwest Bulgaria, this stunning natural wonder stretches for about 30 km and features dramatic sandstone formations that tower up to 200 meters above ground level.
The rocks have been formed over millions of years by the erosive actions of water, wind, and time; they form a unique labyrinth-like system with many hidden corners and passages to explore.
Stroll around Belogradchik Rocks and discover the ancient walls carved into its rocky surface. Look up at the sky through its narrow crevices or admire its beautiful sunsets as you sit atop one of these majestic rock formations.
4. Explore the Thracian Tombs
Bulgaria is home to many ancient sites, and the tombs of the Thracians are some of the most intriguing. Visit one and learn about their fascinating culture.
This is a magnificent tomb built between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, which was discovered in 1944. The walls are full of frescoes that depict scenes from ancient mythology, daily life, wars, sacrifices, and burial rituals. It’s definitely worth seeing for its impressive architecture and detailed artwork.
The tombs of Sveshtari, Aleksandrovo, and Seutopolis are also very important as they were all built by the people of Thrace during the same period.
They are all decorated with incredible wall paintings depicting scenes from their culture and daily life activities from more than 2,000 years ago. Visiting them is a great way to learn more about the Thracian civilization and its heritage.
So make sure to include a visit to one of these historical sites in your 10 best things to do in Bulgaria! It will be an experience you won’t forget.
5. Visit Balchik Castle
This palace was once owned by a Romanian queen, and its grounds feature beautiful gardens filled with rare plants from around the world.
Located in Balchik, Bulgaria is the Balchik Castle. It was built by the Thracians and stands atop a beautiful hillside overlooking the Black Sea Coast.
The castle has been preserved over time and it is now a popular tourist destination that draws visitors from all around the world. Inside, you’ll find stunning wall paintings, grand fireplaces, and ancient artifacts that give insight into Bulgarian culture.
There are also numerous gardens throughout the castle grounds where you can explore nature’s beauty. With its breathtaking views and historical significance, visiting Balchik Castle is an awesome experience.
6. Enjoy some Bulgarian Wine
Bulgaria is known for its fine wines, which you can find in most restaurants or shops. Even better, take a tour of one of the many wineries in the country and sample some varieties not available anywhere else.
7. Take a dip in Lake Varna or Burgas Lakeside Resort Beach
These stunning lakes offer swimming, boating, and fishing opportunities. You can even rent a boat and explore the nearby villages.
The resort is located on an artificial island, a few kilometers away from the center of the city. The beach provides a great opportunity to relax while enjoying breathtaking views of the lake and its surroundings. You can also rent boats or jet skis, explore nature trails and enjoy water sports like swimming, kayaking, and windsurfing.
Lake Varna itself is one of Bulgaria’s largest lakes with a total area of over 7 square miles. It is home to many plant and animal species as well as is a popular spot for fishing, sailing, and other recreational activities. Visitors will be able to take in stunning views of the lake and its surroundings as they explore the area.
8. Go skiing at Bansko or Borovets ski resort
Bulgaria is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, with slopes for all levels of experience. Enjoy breathtaking views while you’re at it.
9. Visit Plovdiv Old Town
This charming old city features cobblestone streets, picturesque houses, and an ancient Roman theater that still has performances today.
Plovdiv Old Town is an essential sight for any traveler visiting Bulgaria. This ancient city is filled with cultural sights, monuments, and fascinating architecture from different ages.
Highlights include the charming cobblestone streets, historic churches such as the Sveta Petka Samardzhiyska Church, the Roman amphitheater, and the Dzhumaya Mosque.
10. Explore Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park is one of Bulgaria’s most stunning natural attractions. With its stunning mountain peaks and sweeping valleys, this national park is a must-see if you’re looking for beautiful nature scenes in Bulgaria.
Located in the south-western part of the country, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
The park is known for its beautiful pine forests, crystal-clear glacial lakes, waterfalls, and limestone formations. Visitors can take in the stunning landscapes while hiking, rock climbing, cycling or horseback riding.
Apart from enjoying nature’s beauty, they can also explore the 10th century ruins of the Melnik Fortress, one of the oldest fortifications in Bulgaria.
The park also offers plenty of opportunities for winter sports and adventure activities. Skiing, snowboarding and ice-skating are all popular winter activities in Pirin National Park. Adrenaline seekers can take part in paragliding or bungee jumping as well.
Thoughts and Conclusion
The list is not exhaustive; there are many more interesting destinations and activities for everyone in Bulgaria, but these 10 are definitely the highlights of a memorable vacation that should not be missed.
So pack your bags, get ready for some unforgettable adventures, and start exploring all that Bulgaria has to offer.
You can also check out Best Cheap Places to Travel in Europe and How to Travel in Europe on a Budget.