What to see in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is undoubtedly the new up and coming travel destination in Europe. Tourism indicators are growing steadily and every year more and more visitors discover the versatility of Bulgaria’s tourist offer.
While the holiday resorts on the Black Sea coast are still the most popular choice, other attractions of this Balkan country are getting each time more recognition. See below a just a suggestion of Bulgaria’s top tourists attractions.
Bulgaria Black Sea Coast
Blessed with endless golden sand beaches and clear warm waters of the Black Sea, the Bulgarian coast successfully competes with the holiday resorts of Spain, Portugal or Greece. The tourist infrastructure is very well developed here and the level of prices – extremely appealing when compared to other holiday destinations of Southern Europe.
The majority of resorts developed in the proximity of two major coastal cities, Varna and Burgas, both served by international airports.
Golden Sands and Sunny Beach are, perhaps, the most famous resorts of the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea, apart from Varna and Burgas themselves. Nessebar, Sozopol, Kavarna, Albena and Balchik are just some of the coastal locations with great tourism potential.
Sunny Beach Bulgaria
The section of the Black Sea coast, approximately 20 miles north of Burgas is known as Sunny Beach. A wide strip of sand and clean waters (which deserved the recognition as a Blue Flag beach) have attracted a lot of attention from both tourists and tourism business providers.
Sunny Beach is perhaps the liveliest of the Bulgarian resorts, with extremely well developed infrastructure. A wide variety of restaurants, bars, discoes and shops caters for the needs of visitor during the day and after the sunset. The party vibe of Sunny Beach, especially appealing to young tourists, may not be seen as an advantage for families with small children who tend to look for a quieter location.
Plentiful activities are available for the holidaymakers at Sunny Beach, amongst them water sports as jet skiing and paragliding, as well as less adrenaline pumping beach volleyball, open fitness or Zumba classes, etc..
For a cultural break, the historic city of Nessebar is just a short drive away from Sunny Beach.
The largest resort on the northern Black Sea Coast, Golden Sands, takes its name from an exceptional purity of it sand. Despite its considerable popularity, Golden Sands, located approximately 10 miles north of Varna, is a very quiet, laid-back resort, where lush vegetation and unspoiled nature play an important role. The resort is adjacent to the Golden Sands national park and merges with the neighbouring locations - Riviera, Albena and Balchik.
Golden Sands promotional video:
City break in Bulgaria – best cities to visit in Bulgaria
Due to the facility of access, travellers looking for a city break destination in Bulgaria are most likely to choose one of the three cities served by international airports: Sofia, Varna and Burgas.
Sofia tourist attractions
Located far away from the Bulgarian Riviera, the capital, Sofia is often overlooked by tourists. Rather unjustly, as is offers plenty of attractions, ranging from rich historic heritage, through several beautiful city parks, to vibrant night life.
Sofia is one of Europe’s oldest cities and its architecture is a puzzling mix of historic monuments from the Roman era, elegant renaissance and neo-classicist palaces and monotonous cement deserts of the apartment blocks of socialist realism. The Nevsky Cathedral , the Hagia Sophia church and the St. Georges rotunda are just some of the historic landmarks of the Bulgarian capital.
In order to learn more about the history of Sofia and Bulgaria in general, do not miss out on the National Museum of History
For shopping, fine dining or just a coffee pit stop, visit Vitosha, the city’s main pedestrian street, lined with stores, boutiques and restaurants.
The best of Sofia:
Veliko Tarnovo – Bulgaria’s first capital
The town of Veliko Tarnovo, located in the country’s interior was Bulgaria’s capital until the end of the 14th century. Built on three hills and filled to the brim with evidence of its historic importance, Veliko Tarnovo is an extremely picturesque location, well worth a 2.5 h drive from Sofia (around 140 miles).
The impressive medieval Tsaravets Fortress is the most iconic landmark of Veliko Tarnovo, however, the list of sights, museums and places of interest is surprisingly long for a fairly small town that hosts them. Visit Veliko Tarnovo Old Town and especially its Samovodskata Charshia quarter, many of the town’s historic churches and the splendid archaeological museum. Veliko Tarnovo light and sound show featuring the fortress is a must.
Bulgaria natural landmarks
The country of diverse landscapes and still fairly unspoilt nature holds many surprises for outdoor-adventure loving tourist. There are natural reserves, lakes, mountain waterfalls, unusual rock formations and caves to explore all across the country. Amongst Bulgaria’s natural wonders well worth getting off the beaten path are:
Belogradchik rocks and fortress
One of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the world, the Belogradchik Rocks can be found just outside Belogradchik town, in the north-western corner of Bulgaria (approximately 100 miles north-west of Sofia).
The peculiarly looking rocks are identified by names derived from the shapes they resemble, for example Madonna, the Schoolgirl, the Horseman, the Lion, Adam and Eve, just to mention some. On the slope of Belogradchik rocks there is an ancient fortress, which dates back to the times of Roman Imperium domination in the Balkans.
If you venture to Belogradchik area, take the opportunity to visit Magura, the largest cave in Bulgaria. The Magura Cave is located in approximately 12 miles distance from Belogradchik, so pairs up perfectly with the visit to this site.
In Bulgaria’s south-west, near the town of Melnik another unique stone formation can be seen. The Melnik pyramids, as they as known, are naturally sculpted limestone rocks. Very diverse in shape, they resemble pyramids, mushrooms, gothic cathedrals and more, depending on the viewer’s imagination.
The Rila Lakes
Approximately 60 miles south of Sofia, seven glacial lakes of crystal blue waters and the surrounding pristine nature of the Rila natural reserve form a paradisiac location for hikers or simply nature lovers.