Guest Post: 15 Bulgaria Top Destinations

Rodopi mountains - wikipedia - header

15 Bulgaria Top Destinations

We believe there are not must sees in this world…so we are not sure you can build an itinerary with these indications, but you can surely get lost in between. Here are a few nice places and some of our favourite corners in Bulgaria:

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 4 - Sofia, Bulgaria① Sofia

The capital of Bulgaria and our home, has a relatively small city center (that can be walked around in a day if in a rush), hidden secrets (like Roman ruins, temples, mineral water fountains, neighbourhood markets, cafes and tea-houses) and a mountain that one can reach with a 20 minutes bus ride. If you stay around Sofia, do not miss it. Half an hour ride by city bus 64 (costs 1 lv), the northern side of the mountain is always busy with people on the weekends. Take an easy walk from Boyana church to Boyana waterfalls or climb up to Cherny Vrah for tea and pancakes on one of the numerous trails.

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Plovdiv - the main street in the old town② Plovdiv

The second largest city in Bulgaria, home to a well preserved Roman Theatre and to an old town of traditional Bulgarian houses and mansions among other wonders. It is also becoming a hub for contemporary arts, hosting arts and design festivals, especially during spring and early summer time. The nearby town of Hissara, with its Roman ruins, is a nice place to pass by too.

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Bulgaria_Veliko Turnovo③ Veliko Turnovo

The medieval capital of Bulgaria and one of our favourite destinations. Crowned by the Tsarovo fortress and adorned by the meanders of Yantra River, it is a wonderful place to get lost in the streets of its artisans quarter. There are beautiful towns (like Arbanasi) and villages nearby, in the mountainous range of Stara Planina.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Varna - wikipedia.org

④ Varna & Bourgas

The main port cities by the Black Sea. The first one is mostly known for the Thracian Golden Treasure hosted in its Archaelogical Museum. The second one is an industrial town, probably best-known for a large music festival happening in summer by the beach – The Spirit of Bourgas.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Koprivshtitsa - wikipedia.org

 Koprivshtitza

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Koprivshtitza is a restored traditional town, where you may not see what is real life in Bulgarian, but may enjoy walking in and out of museum houses. It’s worth the visit for the tourist-minded.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Arbanasi Monastery Interior - wikipedia.org

⑥ Arbanasi

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Arbanasi is a well preserved town near Veliko Turnovo, home to beautiful churches and chapels, of which the most famous is the Nativity Church for its impressive 17th century frescoes.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Melnik - wikipedia.org

⑦ Melnik

Melnik is a wonderful little town (actually the smallest town in the country), in south-western Bulgaria. It is surrounded by an impressive background of sand formations, and is home to some of the best wines of the country (check for local wineries, and try young wines). It is possible to walk from the town to the nearby Rozhen Monastery, a well preserved medieval gem.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations : Monastery of St. John of Rila - wikipedia.org

⑧ Monastery of St. John of Rila & the Rila Mountains

The Monastery of St. John of Rila (120 km from Sodia) is a milestone of Bulgarian cultural identity and a UNESCO Heritage Site, probably the most famous monastery in the country, but not the only one. Bachkovo, Troyan, Rozhen or Arbanasi are just some of the other names or a large network that would make for a whole itinerary.

In addition to the famous monastery, the Rila mountain range in the south-west is home to the highest peak in the Balkans – Musala (2925 m) and the famous 7 lakes trail, a walk uphill pass 7 alpine lakes, a place where a local spiritual sect Danovisti (Дъновисти) gathers to celebrate in spring.

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⑨ Belogradchik

Bulgaria_Belogradchik.

Another jewel, this one hidden in the Bulgarian north-west. It’s main attraction is a rock castle and walks around rock formations. The Belogradchik Fortress, also known as Kaleto, is one of the best-preserved strongholds in Bulgaria and  one of the most important cultural monuments in the country. The fortress has a total area of 10,210 m2 and its walls are 2 metres thick and 12 metres high.

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Bulgaria Top Destination: Begliktash - wikipedia.org⑩ Perperikon & Begliktash

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Perperikon and Begliktash are old Thracian holy sites located respectively in Rodopi mountain (near Kradzhali) and in Strara planina (on the black sea shore, near Primorsko).

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Bulgaria Top Destination: Rodopi mountains - wikipedia.org⑪ Rodopi mountains

The Rodopi mountains, in southern Bulgaria are undoubtedly one of our favourite parts of the country. Divided in two main sections – eastern and western, the mountains are scarcely populated and wild. A travel through Rodopi villages and a bit of trekking makes for one of the best holidays. If by any chance you are around the town of Haskovo, try to get to the surreal Madjarovo and say hello from us to Pesho and Kamelia in Trakia Gesthouse. They know everything you could wish to know about Rodopi!

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Pirin mountains - wikipedia.org⑫  Pirin

Bordering the Rila mountain range in the south-west of Bulgaria, are more alpine mountains offering a range of fantastic hikes. Mount Vihren (2914) and mount Sinanitza (2516) are amongst Boris’s favourite places, although accessible only in summer.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Stara Planina - wikipedia.org⑬ Stara Planina

Stara Planina cuts across Bulgaria from West to East. It’s old name – Balkan – gave name to the peninsula. As in the rest of the mountains in the country, hiking trails and lodging options are abundant. Besides hikes, there are many picturesque towns (Kalofer, Karlovo, Bozhenci) and villages that beg to be visited.

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Bulgaria Top Destinations: Strandja - wikipedia.org⑭ Strandzha

Strandzha is the most unexplored and mysterious of all the natural parks, hidden away in the far south-eastern corner of the country next to the Turkish border. Strandzha is more of a home to wild animals and Thracian monuments than people, a hilly mountain with dense forests, where it is quite easy to get lost, so be careful.

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And what would you recommend?

Bulgaria map with question mark.

What should be our number 15 in your opinion? We are very curious to hear where you’ve been and what you liked, so please share your knowledge and experience in the comments!

We will add the best recommendations to our map!

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Bulgaria Top Destinations Map

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Roving Snailswritten by: Marta & Boris (Roving Snails)

Roving snails are Boris (Bulgaria) and Marta (Spain). They have been hitchhiking together since the day they met. After covering Bulgaria west to east and Europe north to south they left home in October 2013 on a long travel east searching for an overland way to India. they are still searching…

Follow their blog at rovingsnails.com

 

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15 Bulgaria top destinations

Photo credits:
– Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – photo by Roving Snails
 Varna Plage – photo by Harrieta171 used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia)
– Koprivshtitsa – photo by Nikola Gruev used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikipedia)
– Arbanasi, Church of the Nativity of Christ – photo by Svilen Enev used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia)
– Panoramic view of Melnik – photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis used under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Wikimedia)
– Рилски манастир – photo by Rusalina used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia)
– Belogradchik castle – photo by Roving Snails
– Main Begliktash BG – photo by Filipov Ivo used under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Wikimedia)
– Vacha dam – photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikipedia)
– Pirin mountains in Bulgaria photo by Amorphisman used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikipedia)
– Central Stara planina – photo by Evgord used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikipedia)
– Strandzha Mountains, Bulgaria. – photo by Evgeni Dinev used under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Wikipedia)

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