Bulgaria is a beautiful country in Eastern Europe full of art, culture, history, and fun. Prehistoric cultures in the area date all the way back to the Neolithic Period, and some of that history can still be seen today. There are also various UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the area, helping to make it a must-see destination on anyone’s travel bucket list. To help you plan your trip, here are my travel tips for what to do in Bulgaria.
Visit the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was discovered in 1982 outside the village of Sveshtari. It dates back to the 3rd Century BC and contains unique decor architecture, with murals and half-human and half-vegetable female figures carved into the walls,Â the only of its kind known in the Thracian region. A visit to this site will give you insight into the ancient Getae tribes, a group of Thracian people believed to be in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean of the ancient world.
Thracian Tomb by Klearchos Kapoutsis
Explore the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rock-Hewn churches reside in the village of Ivanovo and in the valley of the Roussenenski Lom River. A visit here will give you the chance to explore an entire community of rock-hewn churches, monasteries, chapels, and cells. From the 1220’s to the 17th century, monks inhabited the caves around the area, and were actually the ones to create this amazing site. At one time, there existed about 40 churches and over 300 other religious rock-hewn buildings. Today, there are five churches for you to enjoy, all with impressive frescoes and unbelievable history.
Rock-Hewn Churches by Klearchos Kapoutsis
Also known as the Thracian Sanctuary, this site is located near Tatul Village and is an enormous rock structure dating back to the end of the 5th and beginning of the 4th century BC. Surrounding it is a rock pyramid and tombs that date back to the 13th to 11th centuries BC. During excavations of the site, myriad religious artifacts were found like figures of the Sun God, clay human idols, models of vessels, and bronze items. Moreover, circular formations of clay alters used to make sacrifices were also discovered. Visitors can visit the site today and should, as in 2011 it was named one of the 10 Wonders of Bulgaria.
Orpheus’ Sanctuary by Klearchos Kapoutsis
Hike Around Pirin National Park
Pirin National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and encompasses an area of about 150 square miles. Visitors are immersed in unique limestone mountain landscapes, over 70 glacial lakes, caves, waterfalls, alpine meadows, and lush forests. There are also an array of animals that inhabit the area, like brown bears, grey wolves, eagles, owls, wild cats, badgers, otters, and more.
Pirin National Park by frans.sellies
Visit the Dzhendema Reserve
The Dzhendema Reserve, located in Stara planina (Old Mountain), is made up of the catchment area of the Bayala River, the upper part of the Tundzha River, and the gorge of the Tazha River. It is the biggest reserve in the Central Balkan National Park territory and is also considered a biosphere. The name “Dzhendema” literally means “hell”, which is no surprise as there are many steep gullies, dark forests, and unpredictable weather. Although the area is rough, it is also undeniably beautiful, especially with the array of unique and wild flora and fauna, and visitors can enjoy picturesque panoramic views.
Dzhendema Reserve by Evgeni Karalamov
Spend Some Time in the Ancient City of Nessebar
Visit this city for the perfect combination of history and present, as Nessebar has both an ancient area and a modern area. The ancient area contains millennia-old history with preserved monuments like fortress walls from Roman Times and the Middle Ages, old Byzantine churches, and antique houses. In fact, there is so much history in Nessebar that the area was actually named a Museum City in 1956.
Nessebar by Moty@BG
Peruse the Yambol Historical Museum
The Yambol Historical Museum is located in the center of town in Yambol, Bulgaria. Established in 1952, today the museum features 93,000 historical, cultural, and artistic exhibits. Several departments make up the museum, including Prehistory, Antiquity, Middle Ages, National Revival, Modern History, Contemporary History, Ethnography, and Numismatics. See archeological treasures, peruse traditional costume, and learn about local crafts, customs, and beliefs.
Yambol Historical Museum by vintagedept
Explore the Dragoman Marshland
Dragoman Marshland is located in close proximity to Dragoman (to get there you enter the town and turn at the road for the city of Godech). It is the biggest karst swamp in Bulgaria and encompasses an area of about 480 football fields. The Dragoman Marshland is inhabited by much flora and fauna, including 226 bird species, and plants like reed, threadworm, rush, and bulrush. One really unique plant in the area are the insectivorous plants that act as floating predators without roots. For those who want historical and ecological information, a visitor center offers interactive exhibitions and educations materials.
Lay Out on Sunny Beach
Sunny Beach is the biggest beach resort in Bulgaria and is situated on the southern side of the Bulgarian Black Sea Riviera. The beach faces east and blends together with the mountains in the north. This is also one of the few places left on the coast of the Black Sea where you can still find natural sand dunes, and rare plants varieties are preserved within these formations. When you’re done getting tan and swimming, shopping, restaurants, sports, and nightlife can all be enjoyed in the area.
Sunny Beach by Star Tour
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located in Sofia and is a Bulgarian Orthodox church. It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world and can hold about 10,000 people inside. Construction for the cathedral began in 1882, and today visitors can enjoy beautiful features like colorful Italian marble interiors, a temple 12 giant bells, a gold plated dome, and furnishings made with luxury materials. Along with the architecture and design, visitors can also peruse ancient relics of Nevsky himself and a museum and art gallery inside the crypt.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral by David&Bonnie