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Often overlooked by tourists, Bulgaria is a must-visit destination for anyone who has an interest in history and a peaceful travel experience. There is less crowd and various affordable things to do in Bulgaria. Friendly locals, breathtaking landscapes, lively nightlife, and tourist attractions in Bulgaria will enhance your overall experience here.
Though there are countless places to visit in Bulgaria, one must cover those mentioned in our list. You’ll get to know why.
Top Tourist Attractions in Bulgaria
The country’s substantial is evident from its ancient Neolithic settlements and mysterious Thracian tombs. You will find the most detailed artwork inside the smallest, nondescript churches, including paintings of saints and other vivid murals.
You will be impressed by its religious art, vast gold-domed churches, and miniature icon painting. Churches and religious art is delightful here in Bulgaria.
1. Rila Monastery
A UNESCO World Heritage, Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila. His tomb became a holy site and was transformed into a monastic complex. The monastery has played an important role in the social and spiritual life of medieval Bulgaria of Europe.
Its remarkably colorful architecture and religious art have caught the fancy of visitors. The colonnades, archways, and domes of this monastery are a splendid sight. This is the reason why Rila Monastery is hugely popular among both pilgrims and curious travelers.
Location: 2643, Bulgaria
Opening hours: 07 am to 05:30 pm
How to reach: It is less than a half-hour journey from the Ovcah Kupel( a bus station in the west). However, reach the station before 10 or else you will miss a bus.
Where to stay: Tsarev Vrah is an excellent accommodation owned by the Monastery. It has a free parking site, rooms with in-built bathrooms, TV services, lobby bar, garden, and 2 restaurants. And it is highly affordable.
Nearby restaurants: Rila Monastery restaurant is very close to it where you can enjoy scrumptious European food. Iyutenitza is a must-try here.
2. Black Sea
The 402-kilometer stretch of the Bulgarian coast lies along the Black Sea. About one-third of this area is covered in pristine sandy beaches. Sunny Beach and Sozopol beach are equal favorites among locals and tourists but they are heavily crowded.
Head to quieter and surreal beaches like Pomorie Beach or Sinemorets Veleka Beach if you seek solitude. This is one of the main tourist attractions in Bulgaria.
When to come: Plan a trip either in March or April when the surroundings are full of wildflowers and the weather is also pleasant.
How to reach: Varna and Burgas Airport are closest to the location from where you can take a taxi or bus to the Black sea.
Nearby Places To Visit: Aqua Paradise, Sunny Beach Luna Park, Balchik Palace, Golden Sand Beach Ordy, Karaca Cave
Where to stay: You will find budget homestays easily here but if you are planning a night camp then look for hotels nearby Irakli and Krapets. Even Byala and Shabla are the best camping sites with affordable accommodations.
Plovdiv is the second-largest and Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city. It has the unique grace of mingling a lively nightlife with millennia-old ruins. The city is loved for its romantic old town filled with colorful 19th-century mansions.
Best time to visit: Summers are usually not hot in this city of Bulgaria but winters are not ideal due to heavy snowfall and 0-degree temperature. March and May are cooler than other months so plan during spring seasons.
How to reach Plovdiv: You will easily get any public transport from the Sofia Airport for Plovdiv. Moreover, bus services also run from the Central Bus Station of Sofia.
Nearby places to visit: The Singing fountains, The Natural History Museum, The children’s railway, Ancient amphitheater in the city are the few best places to visit here
Where to stay: The Stay Hotel Central Square is an ideal place to stay close to the city’s famous destinations, grocery stores, and transport facilities. However, old town hotels in the city are popular for their services and family-friendly environment.
But in case you are on a one-day trip then prefer the city center to spend a night.
Nearby restaurants: Happy bar & grill is famous here for its vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free recipes. For a great lunch, come to Aylyakria that serves contemporary European food and beer.
4. Velika Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the ancient Bulgarian Empire. Even today, the city retains the same atmosphere that it had 2 centuries ago. Today, this city has Bulgaria’s second-largest university.
Being conveniently located between Bucharest and Istanbul, it is a favorite destination for local backpackers. Enjoy the castle ruins, small cafes, and mountain hikes when you are here.
Best time to visit: June to September
How to reach Velika Tarnovo: A train line between Plovdiv and Russe connects the Veliko Tarnovo. Another way is a train from Sofia to Varan that drops you at Gorna Oryahovitsa. Change a bus or train from the town to reach Veliko which is 7 km far from Gorna.
Tourist attractions in Velika:
- Trapezitsa Fortress
- Kaya Bunar waterfalls
- Hadji Nikoli Inn Museum art gallery
Where to stay: Hotel Studio, Gurko, Anthea, Agusta, and Meridian Hotel offer the best value for money.
Nearby restaurants: You can enjoy great food and view at Shtastliveca that excels in serving Mediterranean cuisine. And for a classic dinner, Hadji Nikoli Inn is popular for its amenities.
Sofia is the largest and capital city of Europe's Bulgaria. The city is full of museums, Eastern orthodox churches, unique architecture, galleries, restaurants, clubs, and much more. This dynamic city has something for every type of traveler.
Do not miss the Alexander Nevski Cathedral when you are here. Also, visit the National Art Gallery.
Best time to visit: Although there are several best destinations for summer holidays in Europe, Sofia should be explored post-summer season. June and September are ideal months when the city receives less rainfall.
How to reach Sofia: The easy way is to take a direct flight to the Sofia Airport Metro Station. Most of the tourist attractions are connected via train line so traveling would be easy in this city.
Tourist attractions In Sofia Bulgaria:
- Cathedral Saint Aleksandar
- Boyana Church Museum
- Vitosha mountain for hiking
- National Museum of military
- Borisova Gradina park
Where to stay: Crosspoint, Moret & Caffeto, and Vintage Hotel are best for cheap stays in Sofia. Dieter, Magic Castle, and VIKO are ideal for those traveling with family.
Nearby restaurants: Must come to Cosmos located near Vitosha Boulevard for a fine-dine experience. Locally sourced ingredients and presentable delicacies will make you love this place.
Table Sofia is ideal for brunch and Rainbow Café in Veslets is good for light breakfast and evening brew.
6. Thracian Tomb
This UNESCO-protected settlement is a burial tomb from about 300 BC. The tomb is in a nearly perfectly preserved status. One of the most magnificently preserved examples is the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari situated in the northeast of Bulgaria.
The tomb has lovely artwork including 10 elegant female figures. It was discovered quite recently in 1982 and since then it is one of the best places to visit in Bulgaria.
Location: General Radetski St. Kazanlak 6100, Bulgaria
Opening Hours: 09 am to 05:30 pm
How to reach Thracian Tomb: You can either pick up a bus service from Plovdiv to Kazalank and walk a few km to Thracian Tomb or take a taxi.
Nearby places to visit: When you are done exploring the UNESCO site, take some time for Iskra Historical Museum and Buzludzha Monument. Both are closest to the tomb and are known for their special sculptures and antiques.
Where to stay: Apart Hotel Avalon, Balneo Hotel, and Hotel Champion are nearest to the tomb. However, the prices are quite high for a one-night stay so if you want to stay for a weak then hotels within a few km distances are a worthy option.
Nearby restaurants: Magnolia, Piknik Bulgarian, and Complex Chiflika are within one kilometer of the tomb. You can enjoy both local and international cuisine here at a very low price.
Best Things To Do In Bulgaria
- Skiing in Pirin Mountains
- Hiking in Satara Planina
- Wine tasting in Melnik for an unforgettable wine experience
- Admire Tsarevets Fortress and get lost in the wilderness
- Watch Tsarevgrad Turnov Sound & Light Show
- Visit the water parks at Sunny Beach
- Participate in the Rose festival of Bulgaria that held every year in the first week of June
- See Belogradchik Rocks
Best Time To Visit Bulgaria
The summer season in Bulgaria is in June, July and August. Days are long during summer, the temperature is hot and the weather is dry. Summer is the peak tourist season in this country.
During the spring season which is from April to May, the temperature is pleasant. It is a good time to enjoy along the coasts which gets climatic influences from the Mediterranean.
Shoulder month, September is also a good season for travel but from October onwards, the temperature drops, and the entire country gets covered in snow.
These are some of the beautiful tourist attractions in Bulgaria. This country is heaven for any history enthusiast. Bulgaria’s untamed landscapes, mysterious establishments, and equally invigorating modern-day life make it a perfect European travel destination.