24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit

best places to visit in Bulgaria in summer

Planning a trip to Bulgaria? After traveling all over the country last summer, let me share with you my favorite Bulgarian destinations and the best places to visit.

What I loved most was hiking in the mountains, I’d never have thought the scenery would be so gorgeous, and strolling around all the medieval towns. People are also super friendly and incredibly helpful, even when they don’t speak English.

It’s now one of my favorite destinations in Eastern Europe and I highly recommend it to people looking for a blend of historic places, cultural experiences, and outdoor activities.

So pack your bags and get ready to explore this beautiful country and discover all the best things to do in Bulgaria!


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit



24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


24 Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions and Top Places to Visit


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Must-Visit Bulgarian Historical Sites

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

The Rila Monastery is one of Bulgaria’s most famous landmarks. I visited as a day trip from Bansko but you can also plan a day trip from Sofia even by renting a car or booking a tour.

Founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilski, it is located in the Rila Mountains and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The beautiful frescoes and architecture, combined with the peaceful atmosphere, make visiting it a fantastic experience. While it’s pretty crowded, people are not allowed to talk (whispering is ok), so it stays pretty quiet. There are even people whose job it is to shush you!

Tsarevets Fortress

Tsarevets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

The Tsarevets Fortress is located in Veliko Tarnovo and used to be the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Situated on a hill, it offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is a must-visit while in Bulgaria.

You can stroll around the ancient fortress just be ready to climb up quite a bit. You can also book a tour with an English-speaking guide to learn more about the place and Bulgaria’s history.

The site is also organizes an impressive sound and light show, which tells the story of the fortress and the history of Bulgaria. Make sure to check the schedule beforehand.

I highly recommend planning to spend a few days in Veliko Tarnovo if you have a car, as there are plenty of amazing places to visit nearby. If you’re traveling by public transportation, one day is enough to stroll around the historic town, explore the fortress, and visit a museum or two.

Ancient City of Nessebar


The Ancient City of Nessebar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is located on the Black Sea coast. The city features well-preserved medieval architecture, and it is home to many churches and museums.

It is a great place to learn about the history of Bulgaria and to see some beautiful architecture while enjoying the seaside and the laid-back vibes.

Buzludzha Monument

The Buzludzha Monument is a unique landmark in Bulgaria. It was built in the 1970s to commemorate the Bulgarian Communist Party, and it is located on a mountain peak. The monument is abandoned now, but it is still an impressive sight to see.

I personally would only recommend checking it out if you have a car and want to visit other things nearby. It’s located in the Rose Valley near Kazanlak, known for the many Thracian tombs found in the area. Nearby you can also visit the open-air museum in Etar, showcasing traditional houses and buildings from the Balkan.

Best Bulgaria Tourist Attractions for Nature Lovers

Bulgaria is a country with a diverse landscape that is home to a variety of natural wonders. From mountains and lakes to waterfalls and rock formations, there is no shortage of breathtaking sights to see.

Seven Rila Lakes

Seven Rila Lakes

Located in the Rila Mountains, the Seven Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes that are a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.

Each lake has its own unique beauty, and together they create a stunning landscape that is sure to take your breath away.

I’d say it’s only worth going if you like hiking, you can take the cable car to the top, but without a good hike, you won’t see anything worthwhile. The best time to go hiking is during the summer months – in the winter it turns into a ski resort.

I absolutely loved it, you can plan to spend the day there, taking as many breaks as you want, and you can choose to only see a few of the lakes and not the seven. Note that it is forbidden to swim in any mountain lakes in Bulgaria.

From where the cable car takes you, you can buy food and drinks if needed but I recommend packing a lunch and plenty of snacks.

It will be cold up there, even in summer, and the weather can turn extremely fast, so bring a coat even if it’s sunny.

There are even areas where you can camp if you want to spend more than a day up there.

In the town at the bottom, you’ll find plenty of hot spring resorts if you want to relax after a day of hiking.

Pirin National Park

Pirin National Park

Pirin National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in Bulgaria. The park is home to over 70 glacial lakes, as well as a variety of plant and animal species that are unique to the region.

I actually liked hiking in Pirin better than in Rila, because it is quieter and sees fewer people. There are a lot of different paths you can take so you’ll probably be by yourself most of the time – and the scenery is just stunning.

The starting point to visit the park is from Bansko, which is also a must-visit. In the winter you can ski and in the summer go for hikes. From town, you can catch a van that will take you to the start of the hiking trails – there’s a restaurant and bathrooms there.

To get around the trails, I’ve used the Maps.Me app and it’s pretty accurate.

Belogradchik Rocks


The Belogradchik Rocks are a series of rock formations that are over 200 million years old. The rocks have unique shapes and colors that you won’t see anywhere else.

Start by visiting the fortress, from where you’ll get an amazing view over the rock formation. Then you can go for a hike.

While I highly recommend visiting Belogradchik, I didn’t really enjoy the hike because you don’t see much from the ground, plus there were A LOT of small flies flying right around my face. If you can afford it, take a hot air balloon ride, the views from above must be amazing.

I also recommend taking the train from Sofia – the landscape along the way is stunning – and the route is considered one of the most scenic train rides in the country.

Pobitite Kamuni

Pobitite Kamuni

Pobitite Kamuni, sometimes spelled Pobiti Kamani, features unique rock formations in a desert-like setting. The rocks are known for their unusual shapes and sizes, and the area is perfect for hiking.

The best way to visit it is as a day trip from Varna.

Krushuna Waterfalls

Krushuna Waterfalls

The Krushuna Waterfalls are a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by a dense forest.

You can book a tour from Sofia, drive there, or take a bus from Lovech to the village of Krushùna (it’s a 20-minute walk from where it leaves you).

Try not to go on weekends during summer to avoid the crowds.

Ardino and the Rhodope Mountains

The Horseshoe Bend of Kardzhali Dam, Ardino, Bulgaria
Horseshoe Bend of Kardzhali Dam

Ardino is a small town located in the Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria and is a great base to explore the region’s beautiful landscapes.

I recommend renting a car otherwise you’ll be pretty limited in what you can see and do. The area is perfect for a 2 to 3-day road trip visiting small mountain villages and natural wonders.

Near town, don’t miss the unique Thracian cult complex and the Devil’s Bridge.

Vitosha Moutain

Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria

Located just outside of Sofia, Vitosha Mountain offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside. It’s a great day trip destination to escape city life – plus, you can easily reach the hiking trails via public transportation.

Balchik Botanic Garden

Balchik Botanic Garden

If you like botanical gardens, then you can’t miss the Balchik Botanic Garden, on the Black Sea coast. The garden is home to a variety of plant species from around the world and is one of the most popular gardens in the country. It’s particularly famous for its cacti collection.

The complex was built as the summer residence of the Romanian Queen Marie in the 19th century and you can visit some of the buildings as well.

Best Historic Towns And Cities to Visit in Bulgaria

Plovdiv Old Town


Some of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria are found in Plovdiv’s Old Town where you’ll find a mix of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture, as well as charming cobblestone streets and colorful houses.

I loved the vibe there, it’s Bulgaria’s second-largest city yet it’s not overwhelming. Stay in the historic part of town, and just stroll around, getting lost in the small streets.

From Roman times, be sure to visit the Roman Amphitheater and the Ancient Stadium, both of which are well-preserved and offer a glimpse into the city’s past. The Regional Ethnographic Museum is also a must-visit to learn more about the country’s rich culture. It’s housed in a beautiful traditional house.

In the Kapana district, you’ll find many restaurants, cafés, and bars. It’s a great area to go for lunch and have a drink at night.


Bulgaria’s capital is a must-visit!

You’ll probably start your trip in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, don’t skip it and plan to spend at least one full day there.

If you’re short on time it’s also a good base to explore the surroundings with many day trip options to Bulgaria’s top tourist attractions.

You can explore ancient ruins at the Serdica Archaeological Complex, visit the stunning Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, or stroll through the city’s many parks and gardens. Don’t miss the National Museum of History and the women’s market.

I recommend joining a free walking tour of the historic center. It’s a great way to learn more about the city’s past and its iconic sites – and you can decide which sites you want to visit further on your own later on.

Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo
The quaint streets of Veliko Tarnovo are definitely worth a stroll

Veliko Tarnovo, located in central Bulgaria, was once the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and is one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria. Today, you can visit the Tsarevets Fortress, which offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse into Bulgaria’s medieval past.

You’ll also find plenty of charming shops and restaurants in the Old Town. Do stroll around town, many houses have kept their traditional style and most streets are still paved. In summer, there are flowers everywhere, making the town even more lively.

I also enjoyed visiting the Prison Museum and taking a day trip to visit the surroundings. If you have a car, head to Hotnitsa waterfall, hike in Emen Canyon, and visit the Dryanova Monastery.


Ruse historic district, Bulgaria
Ruse is a beautiful city that should be on your Bulgaria itinerary

Ruse, located on the banks of the Danube River in Northern Bulgaria, offers beautiful and colorful architecture and a rich cultural heritage – it’s often referred to as little Vienna, for its resemblance with the capital of Austria. The architecture is a mix of classic styles, Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic, and Rococo.

You can explore the city’s many museums, historic houses, and galleries, or take a stroll along the riverfront promenade. Don’t miss the Pantheon of National Revivalists, which honors some of Bulgaria’s most important historical figures. Take a guided walking tour to not miss anything.

The Sexaginta Prista, the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress along the Danube, is also a must-see.

If you have a car, outside of town, you can visit the Orlova Chuka Cave, Cherven Fortress, the Churches of Ivanovo, and the Rock Monastery of Basarbovo.


The small town of Koprivshtitsa makes a nice day trip from Sofia

Koprivshtitsa is a small town located in the Sredna Gora Mountains. It’s known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and important role in Bulgaria’s struggle for independence.

You can visit the many museums and historic houses in the town, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery.

I went there by train from Sofia as a day trip – a couple hours is enough to visit the town but it can also be nice to spend a night at one of the guesthouses there and enjoy the small village vibes.



Melnik, located in southwestern Bulgaria, is known for its stunning natural beauty and historic architecture. You can explore the town’s many churches and museums, or take a hike in the surrounding mountains.

Don’t miss the Melnik Pyramids, unique rock formations that are a popular tourist attraction.

Best Bulgarian Beaches on the Black Sea Coast

If you’re visiting during the warmer months, make sure to add a beach destination to your itinerary. You can pick anything between laid-back fishing villages and lively party towns, all featuring beautiful beaches.

Sunny Beach

Sunrise over Sunny Beach bay in Bulgaria
Don’t miss watching the sunrise over the Black Sea

Sunny Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bulgaria, and for good reason. The beach is over 8 km long and offers plenty of space to relax and soak up the sun. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy, from water sports to beach volleyball. At night, the beach comes alive with bars and clubs, making it the perfect spot for partygoers.

Golden Sands

Beach in Bulgaria

Golden Sands is another popular beach destination in Bulgaria. The beach is surrounded by a natural park and offers stunning views of the Black Sea. The sand is soft and golden, and the water is crystal clear. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area, as well as a casino for those who want to try their luck.



If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach experience, Sozopol is the place to be. This charming town is located on a rocky peninsula and offers stunning views of the sea. The beaches are smaller and less crowded than some of the other popular destinations, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. Be sure to check out the old town, which is home to some of the best-preserved medieval architecture in Bulgaria.

Best Ski Resorts in Bulgaria

If you’re planning a winter vacation, Bulgaria boasts some of the best ski resorts in Europe, with Bansko, Borovets, and Pamporovo being the most popular destinations.


Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is a charming town located in the Pirin Mountains and is known for its well-groomed slopes and modern facilities. It has something for everyone, from beginner to expert skiers. The town itself is also worth exploring, with its cobbled streets and traditional architecture.


Borovets, Bulgaria

Located in the Rila Mountains, Borovets is another popular place in Bulgaria for winter sports. It offers 58 km of slopes and 13 lifts, making it one of the largest ski resorts in Bulgaria. The resort is also known for its vibrant après-ski scene, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.


Pamporovo, Bulgaria

Pamporovo is a smaller ski resort located in the Rhodope Mountains. It’s a great destination for families and beginner skiers, with gentle slopes and a friendly atmosphere. The resort also offers plenty of non-skiing activities, such as snowmobiling and ice skating.

Festivals in Bulgaria

Rose Festival in Kazanlak

Every year in early June, the town of Kazanlak hosts the Rose Festival, a celebration of the country’s rose-growing industry. The festival features a parade, music and dance performances, and a beauty pageant where the Rose Queen is crowned.

You can also visit the Rose Museum to learn more about the history of rose oil production in Bulgaria.

Kukeri Festival

Kukeri Festival in Bulgaria

Another unique cultural experience is the Kukeri Festival, which takes place in January and February in various locations throughout the country.

The festival is a pagan tradition that dates back to ancient times, and it involves men dressing up in elaborate costumes and performing dances to scare away evil spirits. The costumes are made from animal hides, and they often feature large bells that ring as the performers move.

Here you are with some of Bulgaria’s top tourist attractions. As you can see there are plenty of great destinations in Bulgaria, no matter what time of year you visit.

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Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria in Summer
Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria