The Best of Bulgaria. Top Sights

The 20 main sights of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is a European country with a rich cultural heritage, a warm sea, sandy beaches and picturesque mountain peaks. A mild climate contributes to the fact that it is pleasant to rest here at almost any time of year. And let the winter sandy beaches are not so attractive, but the ski resorts are able to give a good rest, both fans of outdoor activities and connoisseurs of natural beauties. More and more often our compatriots associate Bulgaria with inexpensive but high-quality rest.

It is worth telling separately about the Bulgarian cuisine. Traditional recipes for cooking here have their own unique national flavor. The presence of lots of vegetables, fragrant spices and seasonings, fruit and cereals – without all of this one cannot imagine the traditional Bulgarian cuisine. In addition to sweet desserts, they serve sheep cheese with a glass of red wine as an appetizer.

What to see in Bulgaria?

The most interesting and beautiful places, pictures and short description.

The Seven Rila Lakes

The Rila Lakes are located in the northwestern part of the mountain range of the same name. You can get to them by cable car. A hike will take you much longer. When you reach the final point of your trip, you will see an unforgettable by its beauty picture: glacial lakes with crystal clear water on a background of the towering mountain peaks.

Seven Rila Lakes.

Belogradchik Fortress and Rocks

Both people and nature worked on this piece of land. The first fortifications were built in Roman times. The nature has created perhaps the most unusual massif of mountains here. Intricately shaped rocks over time got their own names and legends.

The fortress and rocks of Belogradchik.

Rozhen Monastery

This monastery is located at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. Stained-glass windows and frescoes, old iconostases and the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary are preserved to this day and are a delight to the eyes of believers and tourists alike. There is no pretentiousness and pomposity in the architectural design of the monastery. The whole monastery complex fascinates with simplicity of lines and gracefulness of architectural composition.

Rozhen Monastery.

Thracian tomb in Kazanlak

Funerary ornaments and other details of the burial have not reached our days. But amazingly beautiful frescoes have survived. Their value is enormous, since they date back to the 4th century BC. Thracian tomb listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, so for tourists created an exact copy of it.

Thracian tomb in Kazanlak.

Rotunda of St. George, Sofia

This early Christian church has a very unusual history. From the 16th to the 19th century during Turkish rule it was converted into a mosque and only at the end of the 19th century did the St. George Rotunda become a Christian church again. Even managed to restore the frescoes on the walls and dome of the building. Nowadays, services are conducted there, as before, and there is a museum as well.

Rotunda of St. George, Sofia.

Shiroka Lyka village

Beautiful two-storied houses with bay windows and wooden stairs, streets paved with cobblestone, elegant bridges with wooden balustrades – all these resemble the setting for an old movie. People here are reverent about their customs and folklore. The village is located on the territory of the architectural reserve. There is also an ethnographic museum and many other places associated with the Bulgarian Renaissance.

The village of Shiroka Lyka.

The Valley of Roses

Millions of roses. Every woman dreams if not to receive as a gift, at least to see such a sea of flowers at once. If you visit the valley near the river Tunja, you will have the opportunity to enjoy this unforgettable spectacle, and the exquisite aroma of thousands of flowers will make your head spin. You will definitely want to come back here again and again.

Valley of Roses.

Vitosha Mountain

The mountain slope covered with coniferous forests is an ideal place for hiking in summer, autumn and spring. With the coming of winter, Vitosha is covered with snow and becomes a place of pilgrimage for skiers and fans of winter sports. Ski resorts, reasonable prices and good service attract here quite a number of tourists.

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Mountains Vitosha.

Tsarevets Fortress

Not for nothing this fortress was the residence of the Bulgarian kings. The whole architectural ensemble of the building literally “screams” of wealth and grandeur. In addition, this place is literally covered with a lot of legends and fairy tales. One must see it with his/her own eyes. No pictures are able to convey the globality and monumentality of the monument of architecture.

Tsarevets Fortress.

Baba Vida Fortress

Baba Vida Fortress Museum stands on the banks of Danube River. Many events in Bulgarian history are closely connected with this architectural monument. Nowadays there are special theatrical performances for tourists and vacationers on the territory of the fortress. You can watch the spectacles of the past, get acquainted with the life and culture of the country and just enjoy the spectacle.

Baba Vida Fortress.

Ruins of ancient Pliska

On the territory of the ancient settlement Pliska there is a historical and archeological reserve. In the past this was the site of the capital of the Danube Bulgaria. Today some of the buildings have been successfully reconstructed. The best preserved are the remains of the old palace, which belonged to the Khan Omurtag.

Ruins of ancient Pliska.

Queen Maria’s summer residence “Quiet Nest”

The residence of Queen Maria was built especially for this crowning lady. The architecture of the palace ensemble successfully combines elements of European and Arabian styles. The terrace of the palace offers a beautiful view over the blue sea, the mountains and the botanical gardens.

Boyana Church

It is not for nothing that Boyana Church was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are unique medieval paintings on its walls which date back to 1259. The pictures of saints are amazingly realistic and detailed. The artistic and historical value of the paintings can hardly be overestimated.

Boyana Church.

Old Town of Sozopol

In addition to the natural beauties, this ancient city delights the eye with its numerous architectural monuments and ancient temples. The historic center of Sozopol is a declared architectural reserve. In the modern part of the town there is a well-developed infrastructure, many hotels, cafes and restaurants.

The old town of Sozopol.

Alexander Nevski Memorial Church

The Cathedral of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky is the second largest orthodox temple in Bulgaria. Its wall paintings have 273 manuscript frescoes. In the interior of the temple one can see unique Orthodox icons made by famous Russian masters.

Temple-monument of Alexander Nevskiy.

Old Nesebar

This city has something to surprise both experienced travelers and novices. Many of the monuments of architecture here date back to the period of the Byzantine Empire. In the list of the most famous and most visited places of the Old Nessebar are the Archaeological Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Church of St. Stephen. The favorable geographical location attracts crowds of tourists.

Old Nessebar.

Rila Monastery

It is difficult to describe in words all the beauty and grandeur of this monastery complex. Carved iconostases, murals by famous artists of the time, ancient icons and unique architecture make this monastery a pearl of world architecture. This monastery is still active today and has a total area of about 8800 sq.m.

Rila Monastery.

The city-museum Melnik

This city has everything that Bulgaria can be proud of: the sea, beaches, wine of its own production, countless monuments, churches and museums. Many famous artists, writers and cultural figures of the Bulgarian Renaissance have lived and worked in Melnik.

City-museum Melnik.

Perperikon

The most precise word to describe this archaeological complex from the Middle Ages is “monumental”. Legend has it that the tomb of Orpheus is located here. There was also a temple dedicated to the god Dionysius. Perperikon is an ancient city. It still keeps many secrets from prying eyes.

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Perperikon.

Dzhumaya Mosque in Plovdiv

Dzhumaya Mosque is admired by all tourists regardless of religion. First of all it attracts attention due to the artistic design of the outer facade and inner walls. The decorations on the outer facade are not too noticeable, but the interior of the mosque with its exquisite, and stylized plant ornamentation makes just an unforgettable impression.

Mosque Dzhumaya in Plovdiv.

Complete the article by describing your impression of the city (country) or a particular landmark.

Bulgarian sights

Bulgaria has a small area, but despite this it can offer tourists a lot of unique places. Especially popular are the cities of Sofia, Varna and Plovdiv. There are concentrated historical buildings and monuments. There are also other cities worth seeing. It is possible to allocate the main sights of Bulgaria, which is desirable to visit in the first place. They will allow you to learn much more about the country and its coloring.

Aladzha Monastery.

This is a unique architectural construction. It is situated in a small but interesting town of Varna. The monastery is made in the rock, which is almost steep. This makes access inside difficult and hidden from the outside. It is one of the oldest buildings in the country that has survived to this day. There is a museum at the entrance to the structure. In it travelers are offered to learn a lot of interesting things about the foundation of the monastery and its historical past. Periodically exhibitions are held there. The monastery itself consists of two tiers. At a small distance from it are the catacombs. The monks used them as a refuge from the Turkish invaders.

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Rila Monastery

The attraction is a large monastery complex. Its territory is about 8800 square meters. It is a monastery built in the mountains on the outskirts of Sofia. It is famous for its unique architecture, carved iconostases, painted walls. The monastery keeps the relics of St. John of Rila, as well as the cross of Raphael, which depicts 650 figures on religious themes. The decoration and beauty of the building will allow you to appreciate its greatness.

Tsarevets Fortress

Another medieval landmark is the Tsarevets Fortress. It is built in Veliko Tarnovo on a rocky hill and can be seen from afar. The fortress walls are still strong and surround the hill on all sides. At the foot of the hill there are Byzantine buildings. It’s often the site of public events. In the center of the hill there is a palace complex with royal chambers and a throne room.

The fortress is interesting to visit not only during the day but also at night. At this time there is an audio-visual spectacle with projectors and lamps. It is accompanied by the ringing of bells and lasers. This show can be seen not every day, but on request for groups of 30 people or more. Photos of places of interest in Bulgaria allow you to imagine this show in more detail.

At the highest point the Holy Ascension Patriarchal Church has been preserved, which stands out for its size and architecture. It has a medieval appearance and remains active today and an attractive pilgrimage site.

Asen’s Fortress

The uniqueness of this site is in its location. It rises on a lonely rock and has a medieval look. It is one of the popular and visited places in Bulgaria. The first records about the fortress date back to the 11th century. It used to be a defense castle of strategic importance because it was virtually impossible to get to it by mountain. Today Asen’s fortress has been restored and opened.

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Euxinograd

It is a small palace, which in comparison with other similar structures can be considered quite modest. It used to serve as a summer royal residence, but today it is used for government meetings. When it is not in session, Euxinograd is open to tourists. A park with green areas and a greenhouse are of great interest. There is also a wine cellar which is used to store the best Bulgarian wine. Tourists are offered a wine tasting.

Palace of Queen Maria

The palace is located on the Black Sea coast and was the residence of Queen Maria. It is a small two-story building consisting of several rooms. In the palace there is a stone throne on which you can sit. The palace attracts attention because of its beauty and harmonious architecture. It is surrounded by a variety of flowers, greenhouses and evergreen lianas. They blend well with the old building, making its modest decoration more colorful, bright and memorable.

The Old Town of Nessebar

Choosing the sights of Bulgaria, it is worth visiting Nessebar. It amazes with its buildings and archeological findings, so it has the status of a museum city. Nessebar is unique in that a significant part of it went under water several centuries ago. When the weather is fine it can be seen from the land. The remaining part of the old town includes ancient buildings, interesting squares, cobblestone streets and a large number of orthodox churches. These include the Church of St. John the Baptist. It is the most popular among tourists church, which is located in the center. The church was built in the medieval style. Inside it is decorated simply. Now it is not held services.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Another major and well-known landmark in Bulgaria is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It has a large size and beautiful appearance with intricate architecture. The height of the building is about 45 meters. At the same time the domes are equipped with crosses 5 meters high. The cathedral is able to accommodate simultaneously up to 5 thousand people. The interior includes a large number of frescoes and icons. The ringing of the bells creates an impressive sound. The cathedral is located in Sofia.

Roman Amphitheater

The city of Plovdiv is another place worth visiting for tourists. Especially interesting is the center, which has preserved the Old Town with its ancient Roman Amphitheater. It used to host gladiatorial fights, theatrical performances, and various meetings. Despite the antiquity of the building, there are still performances. Singers and musicians performed on the arena.

Bachkovo Men’s Monastery.

Republic of Bulgaria, the attractions of which are so multifaceted, includes many monasteries. One of them – Bachkovo Monastery – can be singled out. It was founded back in the XI century. It is a unique construction, which combines several cultures. In the center there is the church of Holy Trinity, and nearby there is a cemetery. Now this monastery is included in the list of monuments under state protection.

Wine Museum

Deciding to see all the sights of Bulgaria, you should pay attention to the Museum of Wine, located in the city of Pleven. Its entrance is decorated as if carved in a cave. Because of that, the museum looks more interesting and unusual. There are rough bars on the windows, which makes the building look like the buildings of the Middle Ages. Here you can not only taste the best wines, but also learn a lot of interesting things about winegrowing. There are two tasting rooms, as well as a history room. There is also an exhibition hall.

Hagia Sophia Cathedral

It is one of the most attractive sights in Bulgaria. The temple acts as a functioning church. It belongs to the buildings of IV century. Over the years it has been destroyed many times, but the massiveness of the building and its coloring required restoration and reconstruction. It is very important to the city, so its condition is now quite acceptable. The cathedral is depicted on the coat of arms of Sofia. Its form is in the form of a cross with unusual flat domes. On the windows are lattices. The building itself has an impressive appearance, which arouses the interest of travelers.

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What else to see in Bulgaria?

When choosing what to see in Bulgaria, you can pay attention to the small sights. They are no less interesting and worth a visit. Among them are the unique natural places.

The town-reserve Veliko Tarnovo

This is a small town, which is of cultural value. It is recognized as the center of literature of the country. The town has picturesque nature. In the 14th century it was built up with beautiful houses and monuments, but later it was almost burned down by the Ottomans. In 1878 everything began to be built anew. As a result, today the city acts as a nature reserve. Especially the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Ascension is especially appreciated here.

Gabrovo

The town of Gabrovo can be fully considered an architectural landmark of Bulgaria. It is well developed economically and is of great importance for the whole country. The town is notable for its traditional jokes that are known all over the world. It has a House of Satire and Humor, which keeps interesting exhibits. Every year Gabrovo hosts humorous festivals.

Dzhumaya Mosque

Bulgaria has not only Christian churches and monuments, but also mosques. One of them is the Dzhumaya Mosque. It is located in Plovdiv and was erected in 1364, but was later rebuilt and changed by order of Sultan Murad 2, who wished to erect a more majestic building. Today the mosque attracts attention with its large size and rich interior decoration. There is more of a floral-themed sculpture. Tourists can only enter the mosque if they are dressed accordingly. The entire body must be covered with clothing and shoes must be removed. Women enter only in headscarf.

City of Varna

To see the sights of Bulgaria, it is worth going to Varna. It is a port city with a well-developed hotel service. Here guests can stay in comfort or find inexpensive accommodations. One of the famous places to visit is Varna Aquarium. The building where it is situated was built in 1912 and has an attractive façade with bas-reliefs. There are three halls containing aquariums with more than 140 species of various aquatic inhabitants. These include not only fish, but octopus, crabs and all kinds of sea birds.

Another tourist attraction in Varna is the Archaeological Museum. It will be of interest primarily to those who are interested in history and culture. The museum has an attractive appearance. Here are collections of ancient exhibits. Anyone can see them. There is a lake near the city that can be considered a natural landmark. It is the largest and deepest in the country. Those who wish can ride here on water transport.

Belogradchik Fortress and Rocks

Belogradchik rocks are very popular. They can rightfully be called the natural attractions of the country. They are surrounded by picturesque nature. Among the rocks there is an ancient fortress that used to be a fortress for the Romans and later for the Turks, Byzantines and Bulgarians. It was built of stone and red sandstone, as well as brick. Nowadays there are two caves in the rocks and in the fortress itself there is an observatory.

Reserve Kamchia

This is a unique area with distinctive flora and fauna. The reserve has become a UNESCO site. Here, forests and plants are preserved. Cutting trees is strictly forbidden. Tourists will be able to see the beautiful scenery. There are excursion routes through the reserve. Under protection is also the animal world. Many species of rare birds live on the protected territory of Kamchia. Necessary conditions have been created for them to maintain their population. Climatic conditions of the area are well suited for a relaxing vacation.

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Rotunda of St. George

It is an ancient landmark built in the IV century. It is located in Sofia. It used to be a baptistery and then a mosque. Today the rotunda works more as a museum, but it is still used for services. The building is made of brick and has narrow windows. Inside, there are ancient frescoes. Next to the building there are six annexes.

Boyana Church

There is another church in the village of Boyana. It stands at the foot of Vitosha Mountain. Its peculiarity is that it consists of three parts. So it happened due to the fact that it was built in three stages. The first part is the temple, the second part is a two-storey church, and the third part is an annex to the temple. The walls of Boyana Church still bear murals, which were made in the Byzantine style during the medieval period. Their main peculiarity is contrast and flattened depiction of saint faces. This makes them more emotional.

Ruins of ancient Pliska

Another antiquity in Bulgaria are the ruins located in the town of Pliska. They occupy a large area, which is about 2,300 hectares. There used to be an entire city with stone buildings on this site. During the excavations of the ancient city a water supply network made of clay pipes was discovered. Excavations in the ruins are still going on.

Valley of Roses

Nature lovers can go to the Valley of Roses. It is a large magical garden that blooms in early summer. Roses are grown here mainly for industrial purposes. They are used to make the useful rose oil. Tours of the valley are arranged. During them you can see the process of collecting precious rose petals, as well as buy products made of them. These can be incense based on extracts or natural cosmetics. The local climate is favorable for the cultivation of damask rose. The bushes are dotted with flowers of different shades. Their scent spreads to the surrounding area. In honor of the harvest of flowers festival with dances and festivities until night.

Baba Vida Fortress

The building stands in the town of Vidin. It is a large medieval fortress with a large moat. Its area is 9 hectares. The outer wall of the fortress is 2 meters thick. Inside the walls were built buildings. Here you can see the towers and the former prison, which now houses a museum. Its exhibits are medieval instruments of torture. Everything is very realistic and interesting. On the terrace there is a real gallows. In the fortress are often held festivals, summer theatrical performances, concerts and interesting events for tourists.

Seven Rila Lakes

This is a beautiful area with unforgettable nature. The lakes are located on the Rila Mountains. To get to them, you need to climb the elevator. Of course you can walk, but it will take more time, because you will have to walk through the mountains and forest vegetation. Glacial lakes amaze by their beauty and purity of water. They are located against the backdrop of mountain peaks, which makes the picture even more colorful.

The description of the attractions in Bulgaria allows you to choose the places you want to visit first. It is an interesting country with its own culture. Its medieval buildings and churches attract tourists from all over the world. To see all the interesting places you will need a lot of time, so it is advisable to come here for a few weeks.

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