The Final Bucket-Listing of Locations to Go to in Bulgaria

Tristan Davis is in his senior yr at New York College the place he research Politics, Human Rights, and Center Japanese/Islamic research. Tristan spent Three months touring by means of the Balkans this previous yr. For extra of Tristan’s Japanese European adventures, learn this.

Bulgaria is an up-and-coming vacationer vacation spot: On the Japanese aspect, there are seashores and events alongside the Black Sea, and on the Western aspect and within the middle of the nation, are older cities full of ruins and monasteries, surrounded by mountains. This previous spring, a pal and I made a decision to road-trip Western and Central Bulgaria on a whim. We spent 5 days driving round and exploring the huge countryside– you might do the most effective of Sofia and Plovdiv in a protracted weekend or spend 7-10 days exploring and mountaineering throughout. Both method, these are Three locations you’ve bought to go to in Bulgaria!


Finances/price of journey: Hostels are from $5-$15/evening. You may get by on $20/day, and eat like royalty for $5-10.

We spent extra money as a result of we rented a automotive, which was $100 for Three days, which I completely advocate.

In complete, I spent roughly $300 (USD) in 5 days, not together with the flight, however together with the rental automotive and staying in non-public rooms at hostels.

Transport/find out how to get round: 
There are cheap buses, trains, and so forth. to get from metropolis to metropolis, however driving is way simpler, direct and gave us an opportunity to see some smaller cities and rural components of the nation. Strolling round Sofia is one of the best ways to see the town, however some websites require driving/taxis or taking the metro.


  • 2 or 3-days: Fly into Sofia and make a day or one-night journey to Plovdiv
  • 4-5 days: Begin in Sofia and make day or in a single day journeys to Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo (one other city we went to that’s actually fairly), and/or Rila for mountaineering.
  • 7 days: Sofia for 2-Three nights, with a day-trip to Rila to hike and go to the monastery (again to Sofia at evening). Take the bus/drive to Plovdiv and/or Veliko Tarnovo for 1 evening. To complete it off, proceed to the Black Coastline cities of Burgas and Varna for the most effective events within the nation.

When to go: It’s at all times an excellent time to go to Bulgaria!

  • Peak Season is Could-early September, for harvest, after which the summer time.
  • July and August: hottest climate and greatest events on the Black Sea.
  • Rose Harvest: 20 days from late Could to mid-June
  • March-April and October: the right time to go to in case you’re like me and like cooler temperatures and few vacationers
  • November- March: Snowboarding season, typically the off-season.

The Cities


Bulgaria’s quiet capital is about in a picturesque mountainous panorama. That is the most effective place to get a grasp of Bulgarian historical past and tradition.The town is an eclectic mixture of types, from Historical Greek to Brutalist to Trendy. There are Ottoman mosques, Byzantine church buildings, Russian Orthodox cathedrals, and spectacular Sephardic synagogues, so in case you’re into structure, (or low-cost beer) you’ll love Sofia.

When you take a “Communism tour”, which I extremely advocate, you’ll get to see the key entrances of previous authorities buildings, hidden symbols and listen to about life beneath the latest Socialist regime. Most older folks, like in different components of the Balkans, have a nostalgia for the 1970’s-90’s, as a result of Bulgaria was economically doing a lot better than it’s at present. And in case you haven’t had sufficient politics, there’s a Socialist Artwork museum simply exterior of the town, with classic propaganda motion pictures, music, and sculptures. Due to the Socialist instances, public transit is de facto nice!

We have been shocked by the sheer quantity of flowers in all places. Bulgaria is the world’s largest exporter of roses, however because it wasn’t fairly rose season but, the place was coated in purple and yellow tulips as an alternative. Rose season is in June and is insanely busy, so we figured we’d go early and beat the crowds. I undoubtedly would advocate it, as a result of there weren’t any vacationers. However, after all, now I need to return to see the roses!


Bulgaria’s second largest metropolis, Plovdiv is about to be 2019’s European Capital of Tradition. When you’re fascinated about seeing fairly locations, memento buying, native artwork, Plovdiv is your sort of city. Regardless of it resembling a conventional Bulgarian city, within the coronary heart of the ‘Inventive district’, ice cream parlors and beer gardens serve to the massive scholar inhabitants. Plovdiv’s main attraction is its sprawling previous metropolis, which consists primarily of conventional wood manors from the late 1800’s, a Roman theater and the Hippodrome.

The meals right here is the epitome of ‘consolation meals’: starch, bread, beer, cheese, and meat. For a few {dollars}, I ate a potato pie greater than my head and washed it down with two liters of native brews. For meat-eaters, there are.. effectively.. huge roasted legs of varied woodland creatures, in case you’re into that. Arms down although Banitza, in all its buttery tacky goodness, is the pastry to strive. Belief me after I say it’s well worth the energy… you gained’t remorse it.

Plovdiv appeared a lot inexpensive than Sofia (not that Sofia is especially costly). I needed to purchase virtually the whole lot I noticed: conventional clothes, devices, fuel masks, and all types of vintage furnishings and handmade items. It’s small although so in the future and evening is sufficient time to see and do the whole lot at a really relaxed place.

Rila Monastery and Nationwide Park

Drive deeper into the Bulgarian countryside, and also you’ll cross limitless rolling hills and small cities. Rila, certainly one of many of those little unassuming villages, is residence to one of the crucial spectacular Monasteries I’ve ever seen (and I research faith, so I’ve seen a good quantity of monasteries).

The monastery was based by the followers of St. John of Rila, a hermit within the 800’s who was recognized to commune with nature, singing to birds like Sleeping Magnificence. And in addition like Sleeping Magnificence, St. John’s physique lies within the monastery.. and folks wait in line to kiss his casket!

A number of miles exterior of the city, is the Rila Mountains Nationwide Park, which boasts miles and miles of scenic trails. Sadly, after we noticed the Monastery, it began pouring rain, and because it was additionally solely about 40 levels up within the mountains, we didn’t actually really feel like climbing a mountain. We determined to only drive again to Sofia, and stopped in some small cities alongside the way in which to interrupt up the drive. However, the nationwide park, from simply what we noticed, seems to be actually unbelievable, I can’t think about what the views are like from the highest! Bulgaria is unquestionably someplace I will probably be going again to within the close to future.

From the goregous surroundings and fascinating historic websites to a budget and scrumptious meals and beer, Bulgaria is the whole lot you want for a weekend getaway in Europe. I can’t wait to return, to see extra of the nation, and occasion on the Black Sea!

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