Planning on visiting Bulgaria sometime soon?
The southeastern European country is full of great activities, glimpses into the past, and gorgeous architecture, and you’re sure to have a great time wherever in Bulgaria you travel to.
But, if you’re curious on the best places to see and what to visit while in Bulgaria, we’ve got you covered.
Here is our list of the best things to do in Bulgaria:
1. Stroll Through Plovdiv
Even though Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria and fairly modern, it is overwhelmingly filled with history. The age of the town, which is over 8 millennia, should hint at the history to be found in Plovdiv, and an ancient Roman amphitheater in perfect condition which overlooks the city from the hill is still used for concerts, performances, and other kinds of events. Walking down the streets of Plovdiv, you can catch a glimpse of different epochs and historical eras, from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages and even some Ottoman buildings.
Related Read: Plovdiv, Bulgaria: Ancient and Eternal
2. Visit the Baba Vida Fortress
If you enjoy learning about ancient history when traveling to a new country, you cannot miss Baba Vida while visiting Bulgaria! It is the best-preserved medieval fortress in the country, and it is indeed in great condition. Built in the 10th century, Baba Vida made it unscathed through many wars and battles during the following centuries and today is open to tourists from all over the world. It also hosts various concerts, folklore events, and theatrical performances, so make sure to check the schedule before heading there!
3. Enjoy Nature at Pirin National Park
This place is gorgeous at any time of the year! Pirin National Park found its way on our list of top things to do in Bulgaria thanks to its exceptional natural beauty, with picturesque mountains, serene meadows, glacial lakes, and forests. If you come in the winter, make sure to do some skiing in the town of Bansko, and in summer you can devote most of your time to hiking, as there are 20 trails to choose from!
4. Spend Time in Sofia
It is impossible to neglect mentioning Sofia, the biggest city and capital of Bulgaria. The whole city seems like a patchwork of different architectural styles and shows how different times and historical periods affected the country. Here you can see some dull buildings of the Socialist era neighboring opulent churches, modern glass business-centers, and even some pieces of Roman architecture!
It might not be the most stunning capital to explore, but you will definitely not regret your visit!
5. Learn About the Past in Veliko Tarnovo
This town in the north-central part of the country is believed to be “the medieval capital” of Bulgaria, so you’re sure to see a lot of historical landmarks when heading to Veliko Tarnovo! It is a place where you can learn plenty about the history and culture of Bulgaria thanks to Tsarevets, a medieval fortress which was burnt down during the war with the Ottoman Empire and restored in the 20th century. There are also many beautiful orthodox churches and cathedrals to be found there, such as Holy Forty Martyrs Church and the Patriarchal Cathedral.
Pro Tip: Do not forget to check the schedule for the Sound and Light audiovisual show that takes place in the evening and shows the history of the country with special effects!
6. Travel to Rila Monastery
As you can see, Bulgaria is full of awesome ancient stuff, and another place you must visit is Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, it is the largest Orthodox monastery in the country. No one can remain indifferent to its beautiful architecture, countless colonnades, and colorful frescoes. Even UNESCO could not stay away and included Rila Monastery on its World Heritage List.
Related Read: Ruse, Bulgaria: A Local’s Guide to the Inside
7. See the Ancient City of Nessebar
Today, Nessebar is known as a resort place where you can go to spend some time on the Black Sea or as a starting point to travel to some smaller seaside towns. But for many centuries in the past, it was a powerful city thanks to its ports. This fact also influenced its culture and especially the number of ancient constructions and churches, which you can still encounter at each corner of the town. So if you find yourself at Nessebar, hold off on your plans to relax on the beach and do some sightseeing first!
Related Read: An Introduction to the Bulgarian Language
8. Head to the Beach
If you are going to Bulgaria in the summer, you are in luck! Hitting the beach as soon as you get a chance to rest after some sightseeing is a great way to unwind from all the Bulgarian places to explore! From famous Sunny Beach full of vibrant life and endless entertainment and parties to more posh Marina Dinevi with its lavish yachts to the breathtakingly gorgeous Silistar Beach, anyone will find a perfect place to swim and enjoy the sun.
9. Go for the Gold in Zlatograd
Zlatograd, Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Златоград, meaning Gold Town) is a tiny town in the Smolyan Province, in the southern portion of the country. With under 10,000 residents (2012), it is the administrative center of the Zlatograd Municipality. The town is located in a valley between the eastern and central massif of the Rhodope mountains, 60 km away from Smolyan. The border of Greece lies just 5 km away from the town. It is quite a beautiful and quiet town, a perfect respite from the busier streets of Sofia, over 200 km away.
Related Read: The Bulgarian Seaside for Every Kind of Traveler
Well, that’s all for now on our list of the best things to do in Bulgaria, and we hope it helps you plan a spectacular trip! Got any questions, feedback, or other Bulgaria things to do? Let us know below in the comment area, and thanks for reading!