Much of northern Bulgaria is quiet, off-the-beaten-track territory and sees very few foreign visitors. Though it's one of the poorest parts of Europe, it's a rewarding region to explore. Unspoilt mountain landscapes, wild nature reserves and peaceful monasteries await discovery. The mighty Danube River shimmers along most of the country’s border with Romania, and the riverside city of Ruse, famed for its Viennese-style architecture, brimming with cafes and museums, is the gateway to Bucharest.
The enigmatic rock churches and rich wildlife of the Rusenski Lom Nature Park and, further east, serene Lake Srebârna, home to numerous rare bird species, are well worth visiting.
Away from the Danube, the bizarre rock formations at Belogradchik and the Sveshtari Thracian burial tomb are top national sights. The remote, charming monasteries at Lopushanski and Chiprovtsi, and the dramatic hiking country around Vratsa will delight outdoor enthusiasts.