Black Sea Beaches
It isn't hard to see why so many foreign – and Bulgarian – holidaymakers descend on the Black Sea coastline each summer. The long, professionally maintained sandy beaches at the big resorts are the equal of some of the most popular Mediterranean destinations, and, if you just want to relax, top up your tan or try out some water sports, there's nowhere better. Away from the parasols and jet skis you'll find smaller, more traditional seaside towns ideal for young families, as well as ancient settlements with cobbled lanes, quaint wooden houses and long, fascinating histories. Even the coast's two big cities, Varna and Burgas, have attractive beaches within minutes of their busy urban hearts.
Churches, Monasteries & Icons
Bulgaria has a long tradition of religious art, and wherever you go, you can't fail to notice the beautiful, timeless icons appearing in museums and, of course, countless churches and monasteries. The luminous images of saints are at their most evocative and powerful inside candlelit Orthodox churches, often set into a gilded wooden screen known as an iconostasis. Engaging religious murals were created in the 19th century and adorn the walls of Bulgaria's most important monasteries. Older churches built during the Ottoman occupation can be identified by their sunken and deliberately unobtrusive appearance.
With no fewer than seven diverse mountain ranges criss-crossing the country, Bulgaria is a true haven for hikers, mountaineers and anyone interested in wildlife and the great outdoors. An extensive system of hiking trails and huts makes it easy for walkers to enjoy the country's rich and varied landscapes. Unspoiled alpine forests, lakes, waterfalls and bubbling streams are all there to explore; bears, lynx and wolves still roam and activities from skiing and snowshoeing to caving and kayaking are all available.
With such a long and tumultuous history, it's hardly surprising to find that Bulgaria still harbours impressive stony reminders of the ancient peoples and civilisations that have risen, fallen, conquered and passed through this land. The fearsome Thracians left their mark across the southern and central areas of Bulgaria, and the tombs of some of their kings and nobility can still be seen today. Signs of 2500-year-old Greek and Hellenistic colonisation are evident along the coast, while elsewhere, fortifications, bathhouses and theatres indicate the reach and resources of the Roman Empire at its zenith.
Best places to stay in Bulgaria
Romania & Bulgaria travel guide
Though distinct countries with different cultures, Romania and Bulgaria share a magnificent landscape of mountains and monasteries, riveting history of domination and rebirth, and a long stretch of Black Sea beach.
Lonely Planet's top 10 best value stays for 2014
Amazing experiences aren’t reserved for unlimited budgets. These characterful places to stay around the world offer comfort and charm in superlative settings - all of them are well under US$100 per night, and plenty have dorm beds for only a few dollars. Here are our top 10 wallet-friendly hotels and hostels for 2014. 1...
Romania & Bulgaria - Plan your trip Bulgaria (Chapter)
Your journey to Bulgaria starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus a useful summary of Romania’s regions.
Black Sea Coast
For most foreign package-tourists, the Black Sea coast is Bulgaria, and the big, purpose-built resorts here are becoming serious rivals to Spain and Greece in attracting international holidaymakers.
Road-tripping the Balkan Peninsula
The Balkan Peninsula is one of the last unexplored frontiers in Europe. But with a wealth of history, endless cultural treasures and great nightlife, it’s not going to be long before the region becomes the next travel hotspot...
Romania & Bulgaria - Understand Bulgaria & Survival Guide (Chapter)
All the info you need on everything from history, outdoor activities & wildlife, food and wine to flights, public transport, climate, money, the internet...you name it. Get hints on money matters and tips for travellers with disabilities and...
Explore Eastern Europe
Travel across romantic Eastern Europe from Hungary to Turkey and experience the diverse range of cultures and landscapes in between.
Budapest to Istanbul
From pastoral countryside to forbidding forests and magnificent mountain ranges, experience the romance of the east on your way from Budapest to Istanbul. In two well-paced weeks, explore the weathered architecture of Budapest, grand Ottoman palaces and mosques in Istanbul for an introduction to the artistic and cultural heights of two very different empires.
Best places to have a cathartic breakdown
My flight to Romania was suddenly cancelled, leaving me stranded in New York’s JFK airport at midnight, without access to my luggage and 24 hours before the next flight...
Eastern Europe - Bulgaria (Chapter)
Bulgaria is known for its long, sandy Black Sea beaches, but there’s much more to see than that. It boasts seven mountain ranges and varied landscapes ideal for hiking, cycling, climbing and wildlife-watching. The cities reward visitors, with...
Sights in Bulgaria
Activities in Bulgaria
Tours in Bulgaria
Restaurants in Bulgaria
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
By far Bulgaria’s biggest city, Sofia (So-fia) is one of Europe’s most compact and walkable capital cities, although it’s still one of the least known by foreign travellers.