Undoubtedly, this year has developed interesting. It somehow made us open our eyes wide and pay attention to the things that were happening around us. But each situation opens up new opportunities for us, such as exploring Bulgaria and its tourist treasures.
Now that travel restrictions have been imposed beyond the international borders and local tourism needs support more than ever, there is no more meaningful and proper mission than to travel and enjoy native tourism and its incomparable sights.
That is why we have gathered a series of trips with the favorite places of some of the Bulgarian travel bloggers from ASTOM (Association of owners of tourist online media), with which to prove how rich Bulgaria is, but also to inspire you for the next trip, because to travel in Bulgaria is always a good decision!
Table of Contents
Elеna from Drumi v Dumi: Razboishte Monastery “The presentation of the Blessed Virgin”
The Razboishte Monastery is my favorite place, which I have visited several times. My last visit there happened in May – just shortly after the Covid-19 isolation. I like the place very much for its beauty, history, and opportunity for a very pleasant walk close to Sofia.
The Razboishki monastery is one of the many monasteries near the town of Godech. It was built in the Middle Ages and was part of Sofia’s Little Holy Mountain. Along the monastery flows the river Nishava, which divides it into two parts – on one bank the monastery buildings are located, and on the other – the small church, built high into the rocks above the river.
Dario from Exploring beyond Sofia: Burgas salt-pans
This year I had the opportunity to travel for a longer time in the eastern parts of Bulgaria and there I found my top destination for the year (and for the future) – Burgas salt-pans or also known as Atanasovsko Lake.
The place represents a large lye, which has an interesting dark red color due to the high concentration of salt and precisely because of this fact, one cannot sink into it, but only to float on the surface of the natural pool.
Another indispensable part of the experience here is the healing mud that you can apply to your body. The idea is to put it all over your body and wait long enough for it to dry well to get the most out of it. The last step is to walk to the other side of the road to the salt pans, where the northern beach of Burgas is located. There you can wash off the mud and enjoy your new soft and healthy skin.
Rosie from Trips with Rosie: Sheitan Dere
Sheitan Dere is a true hidden gem in the Eastern Rhodope mountains. Once we got there, I said “WOW” several times out loud – I didn’t expect it to be THIS beautiful in person! It’s like I was back in Iceland. Sheitan Dere is a little harder to get to than the other sights in the area – it’s about an hour-and-a-half drive from Kardzhali (one way), and you’ll need to drive through the infamous Rhodope serpentine roads. It’s totally worth losing 3 hours driving, though! To see it in its full glory, lit up by the sun, don’t go 1-2 hours before sunset (or after sunrise), as it’s located pretty low between the surrounding peaks.
Iliyan from One Ticket Just Go: Euxinograd Palace
During my summer vacation I had the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in Bulgaria – Euxinograd Palace. With its elegant architecture and beautiful gardens, the palace is a real masterpiece of art. The palace is currently a governmental and presidential place, but fortunately you can visit it by prior arrangement. During the tour you will see the famous royal stables, greenhouses, the palace and the park with the magnificent French and English gardens. Walking around the complex you will find many similarities with the classic French castles. And this is no accident. The Euxinograd palace was designed in style of an 18th-century French château style “Louis XIII”, with a figured brickwork, a high attic roof and a clock tower. I highly recommend visiting Euxinograd Palace when in Varna. The tour lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Kiril from Iskam da letya: The Stone Mushrooms near the village of Beli Plast
The Stone Mushrooms are a charming natural phenomenon, which is located near the village of Beli Plast, 22 km from away the town of Kardzhali. Situated on an area of 3 hectares, these are bizarre rock formations in pink-green color, which imaginary transfers you to a fairy-tale world of fantasies. The base of these formations has a delicate pink hue, and the upper “shaggy” part is greenish. The shape of these picturesque rocks resembles mushrooms growing in the rocks. The magical beauty of this natural landmark was complemented when I visited it by a blossoming blue-purple field of spring muscari in front of them, which added extra charm to the already beautiful view.
It is also believed that the area of the Stone Mushrooms is extremely rich in zeolite – defined by some as the mineral of the twentieth century, due to its extremely strong healing and detoxifying power.
Follow Kiril on instagram so you will not miss any of her adventures!
Giorgia from Saveti.bg: The Wonderful Bridg
The more I travel around the country, the more I am convinced that Bulgaria has unique natural sights. The Wonderful Bridges (or the Miraculous Bridges) undoubtedly rank among the brightest examples of Bulgarian natural phenomena.
They consist of several arches and bridges of different sizes surrounded by greenery. A popular destination in the magical Rhodope Mountains, which never ceases to amaze visitors with the views it offers from different angles.
Adrenaline lovers can also take a ride on the longest alpine zipline in the Balkans.
If you haven’t visited the Wonderful Bridges yet, I definitely recommend you to do so and experience the magic of this wonderful place.
For more complete information from the Giorgia you can find on instagram!
Ivan Petrushev from With a backpack without borders: Virgin Mary’s footprint and Golyam Kayryak peak
Few places can combine 4 types of tourism in one visit. Virgin Mary’s footprint combines religious tourism, eco-tourism, picnic-tourism and archeological tourism. You can light a candle in the chapel, you can throw a picnic on the cosy place outside, you can climb Golyam Kayryak peak and check out the remains of the prehistoric metal works in the area. You can reach it easy by car or foot – paths are marked and there are big signboards starting from the Stara Zagora road.
For more unique and beautiful places in Bulgaria you can follow Ivan on instagram!
Veselina from Bougie Streets: villages of Leshten and Kovachevitsa
The picturesque Rhodope villages of Leshten and Kovachevitsa are much more than an attractive destination for rural tourism and a filming location. They have managed to preserve national traditions and customs and are a shelter for the Bulgarian idea. As if by a time machine, you are transported to the 19th century during the zenith of the Kovachevitsa School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, which each year taught 300-450 new masters. Carpentry and masonry were the main crafts in the area and local houses built of wood and stone are evidence of this. The technology of construction of stone buildings is very specific and can rarely be seen elsewhere – stones are arranged and welded with softened soil. Apart from being rich in architectural monuments, the villages are great for a weekend getaway from the dynamics of the big city with its clean air, picturesque nature and the mountain tranquility they radiate.
More useful tips and beautiful destinations from Vesi can be found on her instagram!
Boryana from Patepisanici: The rock sanctuary of Chit Kaya near village Lisitsite
Chit Kaya is a rock sanctuary whose name means “masonry rock”. If you would like to see it, you need to go through the longest rope bridge in Bulgaria which is built over then Studen Kladenets dam (translated as the Cold well dam). This phenomenal construction leads us to the village Lisitsite. Afterwards, our journey continues with climbing up to the top of the village where Chit Kaya is actually located. The sanctuary includes: rock niches, enormous animal-shaped stones as well as ancient fortress remains. Here, we will be able to enjoy an extraordinary view – the inflow of two rivers the Arda and the Varbitsa into Studen Kladenets dam. The place is not easily accessible. Thus, not many tourists visit it which actually makes it so special and dear to me. Indeed, I have the feeling that I am indeed on the top and at the end of the world in the same time.
Follow Boryana to learn more exciting places in Bulgaria and abroad from her and instagram!
Victoria from My traveling self: Dupkata and Sloncheto near the village of Аglen
The village of Аglen and the strange shapes that nature has created in the rocks on its territory are my personal discovery for 2020. Located within the Predbalkan, alongside the river Vit, the village and the landscape around it are characterized by presence of many beautiful hills and limestone rocks where the time has left its beautiful imprint. The rock arch over the river Vit, called by the locals Dupkata (the hole), is the first natural phenomenon, which can be seen from the bridge as soon as you enter the village (at its entrance from the village of Dermantsi). There is a path passing under the bridge, with a length of about 150-200 m, which leads near the rock arch. From there, another forest path, passing behind the arch itself, leads to another peculiarity – Sloncheto (the elephant). It does not take much imagination to see the real size body of the largest land mammal in the rock. So if you admire bizarre rock formations just like me, visit Aglen!
More useful tips and beautiful destinations from Victoria can be found on her instagram!
Nadezhda from Traveler diary: Bolata bay
The views from above are always one of the most magical for me. I invite you to take a look at the bay and Bolata beach from above, which is actually one of the most beautiful in the world. Since 2013, the bay is a full member of the club “The most beautiful bays in the world.” There is no doubt that we fell in love!
Bolata is the only sandy beach in the area of Cape Kaliakra, and the area around it is protected. From here passes Via Pontica – one of the main migration routes of migratory birds from Europe to Africa. All around the bay there are red rocks with caves carved in them, the color of which is due to the content of iron oxides in the clay. These rocks create an incredible background around. The bay also predisposes diving enthusiasts, and if you are lucky, you can see even a dolphin in the nearby waters.
Maria from TravellingBuzz: Golyam Polezhan peak
One of my most favourite places in Bulgaria this year is definitely Pirin mountain – high peaks, lakes, meadows and unbelievable panoramic views. I’ve hiked to more than 10 peaks in Pirin this year but one of the most memorable experiences was, without a doubt, welcoming the sunset from Golyam Polezhan peak (2,851m) and the 7-hour hike from Bezbog hut via Popovo lake and Malak Polezhan peak. I recommend to everyone to do at least one hike in Pirin this year!
Julia Dimova Orpheeway.com: Thracian Rock Sanctuary “Badjaliyata” Strelkovo village
The places we want to visit that are near us somehow remain the last ones on our Bucket lists because they “will be always there at our fingertips”. Very often, when I was travelling to my hometown Silistra, I was postponing the visit to the Thracian Rock Sanctuary “Badjaliyata” for “another time”, although it is situated on the main road “Silistra-Dobrich”.
The area is off the beaten path, and the Rock Sanctuary itself is housed in a 6 meters high cave called “Badjaliyata”. You can easily reach the sanctuary as there is a path carved out in the rocks. There is a big opening in the cave that looks like a throne from the outside. Back at the days, “Badjaliyata” was the perfect place for sacrifice rituals in the name of the semi-mythical creature of the Getae – Zalmoxis. Thracian Rock Sanctuary “Badjaliyata” is a hidden gem and is unknown by the tourists. Most noteworthy, the large meadow under the cave is suitable for a picnic in nature afterwards.
For more complete information from the Julia you can find on her instagram profile!
Lyubomira Danova from Оgledaloto na Mira: Church of St Nicholas in Kalotina
St Nicholas Church is located in the beautiful valley of Nishava river, at the old cemetery in Divina neighbourhood of Kalotina village. Few people come to visit, but even fewer actually know that in this church one of the most successful Bulgarian kings Ivan Alexander got married to his second wife Sarah. There are different versions about how they met, but no matter which one is true, the king who was nearly fifty and this beautiful Jew girl not even in her twenties and not from a noble birth, as a matter of fact, they did astonish everyone with their marriage.
The church is built in a slope and half of it is underground. Since 1977 it is enlisted as a national monument and heritage site. Unfortunately, many of the valuable frescoes have been destroyed. Those which are surviving are in a terrible state. In recent years restoration works are taking place and locals do believe that the priceless frescoes now stand a chance and will be saved.
You can find more inspirational stories from Lyubomira on her instagram!
Alexander from TravelBetter: Ahtopol
Ahtopol is my favorite spot since childhood days. Year after year the good memories I keep are bringing me back to this small town at the Black sea coast at the foothill of Strandzha mountain. You can meet the sunrise beside the old lighthouse, which stands out by the rocks like a watchman, who meets the fisherman’s boats by the first light of the morning sun. The sunset at the bay is also worth any attention, when the sun sets over the mountains, washing its light at the sea below. Apart from the wonderful nature sights Ahtopol meets us with fig trees, small friendly spots for sleep and bite, a lot of smiles, calmness, and leisure sea warmness.
All the sights in town are free of charge. The anchor museum has kept a lot of old maps, photos, anchors, boats, and the old part of the lighthouse in a restaurant with gorgeous view. In the old Greek school there is a small exhibition about the history of the old settlement Agatopolis and close nearby is the old church of Christ resurrection, which keeps the memories of ancient times, that you can also see on the well kept old city wall around the small peninsula with paths by the sea and the old wooden houses.
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Nadezhda and Panayot from Family Travel Spirit: Sinemorets and Veleka
The time has come for us to see with our own eyes that Veleka beach near Sinemorets is the most beautiful place on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. We definitely chose the right moment – the first warm days of June, when the beach was almost empty. We could feel all the wildness in this place. The cold waters of the sea didn’t let us swim, but it helped us enjoy the true charm of the area, without the hustle and bustle. And finally, in the afternoon we experienced the depths of the Strandzhan jungle. We took an unforgettable journey with a boat on the Veleka River, which remained for a long time in the mind of our little boy Steffi.
Panayot from Trips journal: Belmeken
I don’t know why I was underestimating Belmeken so much. After a day in this part of Rila, I was extremely fascinated. It was a wonderful hike, which I called the “Belmeken Triangle” because the route had three main points – a dam, a peak and a hut, all named Belmeken. I first climbed the peak starting from the dam. But it wasn’t the slope that left me breathless. The hike turned out to be incredibly panoramic and despite the fog the views were stunning. After I stepped out of the hypnosis I descended to the hut. It was nestled in a beautiful cirque, on the shores of a crystal lake, and beneath it spread the green massifs of Rila mountain. The way back to the dam rewarded me with all the tranquility of the mountain, walking along the valley of the river Razhdavitsa.
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