Attractions

Top Choice Monastery in Bulgarian Thrace

Bachkovo Monastery

About 30km south of Plovdiv stands the magnificent Bachkovo Monastery, founded in 1083. Most of the complex dates from the 17th century onwards, with the Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa (1604) as its colourful centrepie…
Top Choice Historic Site in Plovdiv

Roman Amphitheatre

Plovdiv’s magnificent 2nd-century AD amphitheatre, built during the reign of Emperor Trajan, was uncovered during a freak landslide in 1972. It once held about 6000 spectators. Now largely restored, it's one of Bulg…
Top Choice Ruins in Bulgarian Thrace

Red Church

The rust-red ruin of a late Roman church creates an enigmatic silhouette in the fragrant meadowlands outside Perushtitsa, 20km southwest of Plovdiv. The modern visitors centre tells the story of this rare brick cons…
Church in Rila Monastery

Church of Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno

The highlight of Rila Monastery is this magnificent church, built from 1834 to 1837, with distinctive black-and-white archways and three yellow-painted domes. Its exterior frescoes are richly coloured scenes of Bibl…
Museum in Smolyan

Historical Museum

Larger and much better presented than many of Bulgaria's regional museums, this multifloor exhibition space preens from a steep hill behind Smolyan's civic centre. The ground floor displays Palaeolithic artefacts an…
Museum in Plovdiv

Balabanov House

One of Plovdiv's most beautiful Bulgarian National Revival–era mansions, Balabanov House is an enjoyable way to experience old town nostalgia as well as contemporary art. The house was faithfully reconstructed in 19…
Church in Bansko

Sveta Troitsa Church

Surrounded by 1m thick stone walls, this 19th-century church has the air of a fortress. By contrast, the interior is a multicolour marvel with flower-spangled ceilings and columns painted rich shades of green and cr…
Museum in Bansko

Velyan’s House

This richly painted 18th-century mansion stands out among Bulgaria's countless heritage properties. Admire elaborate frescoes within the house-museum and around the courtyard, and peer at intricate wood carvings of …
Monastery in Pirin Mountains

Rozhen Monastery

Standing serenely in the hills 7km north of Melnik, this working monastery has admirable 16th-century frescoes and a holy icon of the Virgin Mary. Its most significant building, the Nativity of the Virgin Church (16…
Church in Rila Mountains

St Luke’s Hermitage & St Ivan’s Cave

About 3.7km northeast of Rila Monastery, on the road to Kiril Meadow, a trail leads to St Luke’s Hermitage. Built in 1798, the hermitage features a courtyard and the Church of Sveti Luka. Take the uphill walking tra…