Welcome to Bulgaria


Black Sea Beaches

Long, sandy beaches and fine weather reel holidaymakers into Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts each summer. Bulgarian inlanders are helplessly drawn to the freshening sea breeze and miles of turquoise water. Foreign visitors, too, are wise to Bulgaria’s coast, thanks to gorgeous seaside resorts such as Primorsko (and prices that compete well with Western Europe). Even the coast's two big cities, Varna and Burgas, have attractive beaches within minutes of their urban hearts. And while Sunny Beach, Sozopol and other favourites are thoroughly developed, there are still plenty of undiscovered coves north and south of the major hubs.

Churches & Religious Art

No visitor to Bulgaria can fail to be impressed by its religious art, from vast gold-domed churches to miniature icon paintings. Sofia’s Aleksander Nevski Church and 10th-century Rila Monastery draw visitors and pilgrims galore, while Tryavna’s wood carvings and Bachkovo’s apocalyptic murals are gathering fame. But Orthodox churches in even the tiniest villages have much to admire: emotive paintings of saints, often set in carved wooden screens (iconostases), appear magical when bathed in flickering candlelight. Almost as spectacular are the settings of many sacred buildings: granite cliffs, thrashing streams and lonely mountain passes.

Mountains & Forests

Bulgaria’s untamed landscapes quicken the pulse of hikers, mountain bikers and skiers. Seven mountain ranges ripple across the country; glacial lakes sparkle between these snow-dusted peaks, and tangles of forest conceal wolves, bears and lynx, a glimpse of Europe’s primeval past. Networks of trails and hizhas (hiking huts) allow access to such raw beauty as mist-cloaked panoramas in the Stara Planina range and sunrise from Bulgaria’s second-highest peak, Mt Vihren (2915m). Between trekking among Rodopi villages, thundering across ski fields in Bansko or birdwatching in Pirin National Park, Bulgaria has much to delight (and exhaust) lovers of the great outdoors.

Ancient History

Whispers of history emanate from Bulgaria’s fortresses and ruins. Caves secreted in Bulgaria’s river-sculpted wilds hold traces of Neolithic settlements. The mysterious Thracians left behind dazzling hauls of gold and silver, and tombs that can be explored to this day. The Romans built cities of breathtaking scale, the bathhouses, walls and amphitheatres of which sit nonchalantly in the midst of modern cities such as Varna and Plovdiv. Successions of tsars strutted along the ramparts of Tsarevets Fortress at former capital Veliko Târnovo. And these histories are no less relevant today, with Thracian art and Bulgaria’s victory over the Ottomans continuing to inspire.


Top experiences in Bulgaria

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Bulgaria activities

$34.25 Day Trips & Excursions

Sofia Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Guided Day Trip

Meet your guide near Alexander Nevsky Square in central Sofia and settle into your air-conditioned minivan. Then, relax on your roughly 2-hour journey to UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery, tucked in the pine-forested Rila Mountains in southwest Bulgaria.Enjoy the views over rural Bulgaria as you travel and hear enlightening facts about the monastery. Founded in 927 AD by hermit monk Ivan Rilski or ‘John of Rila,’ Bulgaria’s patron saint; this photogenic walled complex came to symbolize the Bulgarian national identity and is considered a masterpiece of Slav architecture for its arcaded balconies and splendid frescoes.On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the main courtyard and five-domed church, admiring its vivid, fresco-coated colonnades as you enter. Then, head inside to gaze at the richly gilded wood-carved iconostasis, the largest in the Balkans; and the tomb of Bulgaria’s last monarch, Boris III. If you wish, you may also head inside the monastery museum (own expense) to see its priceless exhibits.After, enjoy free time to look around independently and have lunch (own expense). Perhaps fill up with some delicious mekitsi (Bulgarian donuts served with fresh buffalo yogurt) at a local bakery or visit a restaurant to enjoy specialities such as fresh local trout.Next, return to the minivan and drive back to the fringes of Sofia to visit Boyana Church, a UNESCO-listed Orthodox church famed for its medieval frescoes. After paying your entrance fee, take in the breathtaking cycles of 11th- and 13th-century murals that depict Christ, angels, saints, apostles and other religious figures, and hear how they predate the Renaissance in Florence.Having explored here, return to central Sofia, where your tour concludes with a drop-off at the original departure point.

$51.38 Cultural & Theme Tours

From Sofia to Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Day Trip with Guide

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia, Sofia Region08:00 departure time from the parking lot in from of "La Cattedrale" restaurant.Duration: 20 minutesStop At: Municipality Koprivshtitsa10:00 - estimated arrival time in the center of Koprivshtitsa. Guided tour of the historical part of the city.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Municipality Koprivshtitsa12:00 - Approximate departure time from Koprivshtitsa Duration: 1 hour 30 minutesStop At: Plovdiv Old Town, Plovdiv, Plovdiv Province13:30 - Approximate arrival time in the Old Town in Plovdiv. Free time for lunch.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Plovdiv Old Town, Plovdiv, Plovdiv Province14:30 - Guided tour of the Old Town in PlovdivDuration: 2 hoursStop At: Plovdiv Old Town, Plovdiv, Plovdiv Province16:30 - Free time for shopping, when the guided tour concludes.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Plovdiv Old Town, Plovdiv, Plovdiv Province17:00 - Departure time from the Old Town in Plovdiv, heading back to SofiaDuration: 2 hoursPass By: St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia, Sofia Region19:00 - Estimated arrival time at the starting point of the tour

$11.42 Kid Friendly

Communist Walking Tour of Sofia

During the approximately 3-3.5-hour-long walking Communist Tour you will learn about the 45-year-long communist period of Bulgaria in an objective and informative way. The 365: Communist Tour welcomes its guests every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4 pm in front of the Palace of Justice in Sofia. The tour includes the main landmarks of communist history in the city of Sofia: former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party, secret police investigation facility, destroyed mausoleum, monument of the Soviet army, National Palace of Culture, among others. During the 3-3.5-hour-long walking tour you will learn about the theory of communism, what Marxism-Leninism is, the history of communism in Bulgaria, the pros and cons of the period and the relation between the communist government and religion, industry, economy, culture and everyday life of the people.

$46.81 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Sofia Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour

Meet your expert guide and the rest of your small group in central Sofia and set off on your walking tour. Filled with elegant buildings and squares, Sofia is a dream to explore. As you stroll, discover the main landmarks, hear insights about the city’s history and culinary heritage, and enjoy three or four food stops to try delicious local specialities.Walk past the stately National Theater and admire the King’s Palace and the Presidency building. Then, stop at a cozy cafe popular with the locals. Savor some shopska — a salad made from cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and onions — complemented by some frothy, cold ayran.Continue to ‘Small Jerusalem Square,' so-named for its proximity to four religious buildings: the Christian Church of St George, St Nedelya Church, the Banya Bashi Mosque, and the Sofia Synagogue.Walk to your next food stop, the Central Market Hall (Tsentralni Hali). Delve into this covered market and view its century-old architecture as you linger at some enticing food stalls. Sample classic Bulgarian sweets including baklava — filo pastries stuffed with nuts and soaked in syrup — and deep-fried tolumbichki, and perhaps taste some rustic sausages and nuts, depending on what’s available.Finally, ride Sofia’s metro system, the newest in Europe, to your last stop, a popular Bulgarian restaurant set in four converted houses and decorated in distinct 19th-century regional styles.Head inside to sample some fruity Bulgarian wine and mezze of local meats such as lukanka (salami), babek (cured sausage), fillet Elena (dry cured meat) and pastarma (cured beef).Your tour ends at the restaurant, so you can stay on and enjoy more tasty Bulgarian fare before returning on your own.

$92.48 Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trip to Bulgaria from Bucharest

This astonishing one-day trip to Bulgaria will start in the morning at around 8 a.m. We will transport you through a stunning landscape into the foothills of the Balkan Mountains, where the adventure begins.The tour’s first stop, St. Dimitrie Basarabov Monastery, is the only Bulgarian example of such a structure carved into a cliff that is still inhabited today, and its atmosphere will fill you with wonder. You will have a little time to explore this beautiful religious monument before we continue to the remarkable medieval settlement of Veliko Tarnovo, which was once the medieval capital of Bulgaria. Prepare to be transported back in time; this gorgeous city has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valley, as well as ample history for you to explore and absorb, and architecture that will take your breath away. Veliko Tarnovo is home to the magnificent Tsaravets Fortress, the strongest Bulgarian fortification from the Middle Ages. Once home to royalty this ancient stronghold is now a striking tourist attraction standing proudly atop Tsaravets Hill.Once you have explored Veliko Tarnovo and enjoyed lunch, the tour will continue to its final stop; Arbanasi Village. Nestled on a high plateau between the settlements of Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa, Arbanasi Village provides spectacular views and incredible examples of medieval architecture dating back several centuries. This tour is truly one for the enthusiastic history buff, and anybody that appreciates beautiful buildings, stunning scenery, and the opportunity to discover a little more about Bulgaria.

$91.34 Cultural & Theme Tours

Bulgaria and Macedonia Full-Day Tour from Sofia

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Boyana Church, Sofia, Sofia RegionBoyana Church – UNESCO site, located on the outskirts of SofiaDuration: 1 hourStop At: Zemen Monastery, Zemen, Pernik ProvinceA Bulgarian Orthodox monasteryDuration: 30 minutesStop At: Osogovo Monastery, Kriva Palanka, Northeastern RegionHidden in the tranquility, lush forests and surrounded by Osogovo Mountain.Duration: 3 hours