Bulgaria Attractions

Historical Sites

Regarding sightseeing, Bulgaria offers an array of impressive historical sites. In addition, Bulgaria has a diverse array of cultural attractions, from ancient ruins to monasteries and castles. These sites are absolutely a must-see for anyone exploring Bulgarian culture and history.

From incredible churches and monasteries to towering fortresses and ancient ruins, let’s take a look at 8 of the top historical sites to visit in Bulgaria:

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is located in the Rila Mountains of southwestern Bulgaria and was founded in the 10th century by St. John of Rila, a renowned Bulgarian hermit. It is one of Bulgarian history’s most important cultural, historical, and architectural monuments. Its paintings, frescoes, and carvings are famous for their exceptional beauty.

The monastery’s vast collection of religious artifacts trace its long existence as a significant spiritual site for Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. It is also well-known for its library, which contains some 4,000 manuscripts and 9th-century printed books. In addition, the architecture of the monastery complex reveals its long history from the original 10th-century building through subsequent centuries as it was expanded by successive generations to accommodate additional monastic quarters, churches, and chapels, as well as support facilities, including kitchen clock towers.

In 1983 it was declared a National Historical Monument by the Government of Bulgaria. It is an active monastery under the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and a popular tourist attraction. The grounds include several springs believed to have healing properties which many visitors flock to daily seeking cures for various ailments, including infertility, depression, and poor vision, among many others.

Boyana Church

Boyana Church is an Eastern Orthodox monument whose construction began in 1259 AD and was completed in the 19th century under the patronage of several feudal rulers. It is located on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria, and has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979.

The Boyana Church architecture consists of three distinct buildings and belongs to the Bulgarian style of churches, which emerged during the 11th century. This style differs from the traditional Byzantine form by its reduced size and roofed galleries that wrap around the interior in a corbel arch technique. Its exceptional frescoes have been depicted on many Bulgarian postage stamps and coins, highlighting its significance as a national landmark.

The main building, belonging to the 13th century, contains 89 figures across 23 compositions depicting scenes from Jesus’ life, traditional Bulgarian customs and holidays, and donors paying homage to Jesus. Characters vary in facial features showcasing Europeanized figures (usually identified as Bulgarian rulers) and figures with Oriental origins depicting sultans or traders from countries such East Roman Empire or Persia.

A few layers of later-dated fresco were also added, showing St Nicola, among others, and a self-portrait believed to be from one of its painters. All are now landmarks that constitute part of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage within Boyana Church’s UNESCO status.

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is a unique architectural and archaeological monument located in the village of Sveshtari, Isperih Municipality, Razgrad Province. This archaeological treasure was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and is one of the most important Thracian treasures.

The tomb was discovered in 1982 by a team of archaeologists from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology led by Prof. Dr. Bozhidar Dimitrov. It dates back to the reign of King Seuthes III (311 – 300 BC), from the Odrysian kingdom at the time. It is characterized by its impressive architecture and fresco depictions, some of the unique artistic expressions coming out of Ancient Thrace.

The monumental chamber tomb has three facades lined with tall Lorica panicles, richly molded ornaments, vegetation motifs, and mythological scenes involving Centaurs, Amazons, and Gorgons. The interior walls feature exceptional detail-rich frescoes depicting griffins and mythological female figures. The south wall features a bust-length figure that is believed to depict King Seuthes III himself – making this discovery particularly important for research on Ancient Greek land-holding patterns.

All in all, this unique find retells how people lived some 2200 years ago – an insight we wouldn’t be able to get any other way! Thus, making it a precious monument for all history students that you can’t miss if you have the opportunity to visit Bulgaria!

Natural Wonders

Bulgaria is home to some of Europe’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Bulgaria has everything from the majestic Black Sea coast and its many beaches to the stunning mountain scenery of the Rhodope Mountains and the spectacular Seven Rila Lakes.

Here we will explore the best natural wonders that Bulgaria has to offer, from snow-capped peaks to crystal-clear lakes and rivers:

Seven Rila Lakes

Nestled in Bulgaria’s vast and rugged Rila mountain range is a string of seven great lakes known as “the Seven Lakes.” This natural wonder consists of seven glacial lakes joined together by meandering channels that hold their beauty and charm. In the summer, the waters are a deep blue-green color; in winter, they reflect the snow-covered mountaintops, creating an alluring yet peaceful atmosphere.

The series starts with the lowest lake, stated as ‘Baznoto Lake,’ which lies at 2170 m above sea level. Next comes ‘Bliznaka Lake’, followed by ‘Trilistnika Lake.’ The fourth lake is called ‘Ribnoto Lake’, situated at 2600m above sea level and is known for its variety and number of fish living there. The fifth lake ‘Okoto Lake’ is one of the larger ones, connected to Ribnoto Lake via a narrow channel. The sixth lake – ‘Dolnoto Ezero Lake’ makes a perfect backdrop for any photo, and finally, lying 2275m above sea level, is the seventh Highest – ‘Fish Lake’; home to rich wildlife such as brown bears and golden eagles.

The entire circuit hike around all seven lakes will take you through some of Bulgaria’s most stunning wilderness, so it pays to be well-prepared. From tranquil waterside views amidst snow-capped peaks to shimmering reflections from all angles, these natural sights can only truly be appreciated when seen in person!

Pirin National Park

Pirin National Park is a stunning natural reserve located in the western part of the Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria. This protected park covered 40,356 hectares and was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 due to its exceptional beauty and diversity.

The landscape of Pirin National Park is dominated by glacial lakes, dense evergreen forests, alpine meadows, waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks that tower over 2,900l m above sea level. Some of the most spectacular attractions of the national park include:

  • Glazne Lake
  • Baikusheva Mura Meadows – one of the highest alpine areas in Europe.
  • Ulen Reservoir
  • Tevno Lake – unique mountain lake with large rocks jutting out every few meters.

Additionally, you can explore incredible mountainous caves and picturesque bridges that make excellent spots for photographs.

No matter what time of year it is, you will be able to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, such as long walks and treks to discover hidden nooks while breathing in the fresh air or skiing during winter months. Also, make sure to see distant landmarks like Vihren peak (the highest summit) lit up by golden lights at night for an unforgettable experience!

Belogradchik Rocks

Belogradchik Rocks are a unique formation of naturally occurring red boulders within the Balkan Mountains’ foothills. They have existed as an impressive landmark for over 200 million years, and their mysterious beauty has attracted visitors from around the globe. In addition, several ancient dwellings were carved into the rocks over 1000 years ago, adding to their mystique. Walking trails provide stunning views of surrounding valleys and cliffs with sheer drops.

Belogradchik’s rocks come in an array of sizes, shapes, and vibrant colors ranging from white to deep reds and yellows, even purples, that change depending on the viewing angle. Some towers are almost 200 meters tall and look like creatures from another world. Not only rock formations that enchant visitors – several caves within them are also worth exploring from a geological standpoint. The area is referred to as “The Valley of Colors” due to its colorful landscapes featuring dramatic layers of rock types that span centuries in age.

Belogradchik Rocks are designated a natural landmark in Bulgaria and are protected by law to preserve the unspoiled landscape. They provide a home for a diverse array of wildlife living amongst them, including:

  • Golden eagles
  • Wild boars
  • Black storks
  • Chamois

Cultural Attractions

Bulgaria is a country rich in culture, offering a variety of cultural attractions to explore. From the cobblestone streets of the nation’s capital, Sofia, to the winding paths of the ancient Thracian city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria offers an array of unique sites and monuments for visitors to explore. So whether you’re interested in exploring the ancient culture and monuments or want to experience the vibrant nightlife, Bulgaria has something for everyone.

Let’s take a look at some of the best cultural attractions in Bulgaria:

National Palace of Culture

The National Palace of Culture (NDK) is one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural attractions and is located in the heart of Sofia, the capital city. The Palace Features a distinctive combination of different architectural styles. In addition, this complex gathers sports and entertainment facilities, congress and exhibition halls, and business and shopping centers.

Opened in 1981 to mark the 1300th anniversary of Bulgaria’s founding, NDK is one of the largest multi-functional complexes in all of South Eastern Europe. It has a total area of 880 thousand square meters and houses 400 shops, an IMAX cinema, bowling alley lanes, and other exciting recreational options. The complex also hosts world-famous musical concerts in its multiple halls with capacities ranging from 1000 to 10 000 people.

Apart from being a tourist attraction per se due to its stunning architecture, over 1 million events have taken place in NDK so far, including:

  • Political congresses and other state-related issues
  • Exposition fairs
  • Music concerts from both Bulgarian and foreign artists
  • Spectacular theatre performances each year, which occur mainly during February – NDK’s traditional Cultural Month

Due to its versatility, venues for corporate events are also available for rent all year round so that companies can host their official meetings or product launches without needing to worry about any logistic requirements. As such, it has become an iconic landmark that any visitor will surely take advantage of and experience during their trip!

Ivan Vazov National Theatre

Ivan Vazov National Theatre is a cultural institution located in the heart of Sofia, Bulgaria. It is the country’s oldest and most prestigious theatre and is considered a national landmark. The theatre was first opened in 1904, and since then, it has appeared in major international cultural events and hosted numerous local theatrical performances.

The historic building is built on the site of a medieval monastery and features beautiful neo-baroque designs that highlight all its grandeur. Although it suffered some damage during World War II, careful renovations were undertaken to restore its original architectural splendor. Inside, one can find two magnificent auditoriums, able to hold up to 600 people each; initially, they hosted mostly opera performances, but nowadays, they welcome different genres, including musicals, ballets, and plays.

Ivan Vazov National Theatre is home to a large number of resident companies as well as international projects; it hosts numerous connotations and festivals throughout the year, even during summer when most other theatres are closed for the vacation period. Besides enjoying electrifying art performances inside this renowned entertainment house, visitors can also go for theatre tours that give insights into the exciting history of this national asset or walk around the premises and admire the timeless beauty of its exterior façades.

National Museum of History

The National Museum of History, based in Sofia, is the largest in Bulgaria and has a comprehensive array of artifacts that document the country’s history from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. It contains over 650,000 objects on display, including stone-age tools, medieval weaponry, and archaeological discoveries. In addition, visitors can explore diverse artifacts that reflect Bulgarian culture and its many layers of socio-political development. This popular attraction was established by King Ferdinand I in 1892 and is an important hub for learning about Bulgarian traditions and values.

The basement level at the museum houses a gallery named Memory that showcases items from Bulgaria’s past, such as works of art, furniture, and jewelry from ancient tribes. The following two floors provide the leading exhibition, divided into eras, making it easy for visitors to take a chronological journey through Bulgarian history. One section documents 17th-century foreign domination, while another provides insight into 19th-century national movements. Additionally, numerous murals depict scenes from folklore stories and several artifacts related to World War II. The museum also contains an impressive library containing books on archaeology and history, architecture, and coins.

Outdoor Activities

Bulgaria has a diverse range of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From hiking in the lush Bulgarian mountains to walking around the ancient towns and castles, there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed. Visiting the Black Sea coast also offers fantastic opportunities for shopping and relaxation.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in Bulgaria:


Winter is a prime season for skiing in Bulgaria, and the country offers excellent ski resorts, both large and small. Bulgaria’s two world-class ski resorts, Bansko and Borovets, receive millions of visiting skiers annually who take advantage of the many lifts served by modern snow machines.

The slopes at Bansko boast varied difficulty levels and international standard equipment for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and night skiing. The resort also contains one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, with seven sections for safe water sports, such as wakeboarding, water skiing, wake biking, and kayaking.

Borovets is set among pine trees at the foot of majestic Mount Musala Ourselves, which stands at 2,925 meters above sea level on Rila Mountain. Enjoy wide slopes with lifts and crossings that span 33 km (21 miles), plus an array of Italian restaurants serving mountain specialties a few steps away from the ski slopes. There are also over 60 km (37 miles) of marked off-piste trails combined with Para-ski jumps, which provide visitors with ultimate winter adventures! Whether guests prefer to practice Alpine skiing or freestyle areas outdoors designed specifically for boarders, Borovets has something to offer all winter sports enthusiasts.


Thanks to its vast (nearly 4,000 km), varied and spectacular mountain terrain, Bulgaria is an excellent destination for hikers. Renowned for its pristine nature, the country offers a wide variety of trails that can suit everyone, from the beginner hiker to the experienced mountaineer.

Taking a hike in Bulgaria is an ideal way to explore the many landscapes available in this corner of Europe:

  • Lush forests and meadows
  • Rugged mountains dotted with lakes
  • Pristine rivers flowing through gorges and valleys

Popular destinations include Rila National Park with its majestic Seven Lakes hike and Pirin National Park, best known for the challenging Vihren Peak climb. Other attractions, such as Vitosha Nature Park or the Rhodope Mountains, offer excellent hikes suitable for all experience levels.

To fully immerse yourself in nature, try taking part in guided hikes arranged by organizations such as Balkan Walking Tours or Eco Lodge Adventure Activities. Hikers are provided with vehicle transfers from their departure city to the starting points of each excursion. They also benefit from knowledgeable tour leaders who provide safety instructions and tell them about local landmarks.


Bulgaria is the perfect destination for those who love biking. With diverse terrain, stunning scenery, and plenty of trails, Bulgaria offers something for recreational cyclists and cycling enthusiasts.

For the more experienced mountain biker, there’s a wealth of challenging off-road trails to explore in Bulgaria’s diverse landscape. Every course has its sights and obstacles, from rocky cliffs to gently rolling hills and mountain meadows.

Riding along the coastline is also popular with tourists. Bulawayo has a well-developed cycling infrastructure that includes bike paths along seafronts in parks and forests suitable for all skill levels. The many river valleys offer great opportunities for discovery since there are no traditional roads connecting them all; instead, they have slender bicycle paths that can be explored by bike.

For those looking for an adventure beyond road cycling, Bulgaria boasts some excellent opportunities for fat biking on snow or dunes and through creeks or riversides between April and October when temperatures are higher. Experienced cyclists can also use affordable bike rentals throughout Bulgarian cities like Sofia or Burgas, where amateur cyclists can enjoy flat trails and meandering roads leading up picturesque hillsides.

Other Attractions

While exploring the sights and culture of Bulgaria, there are many other attractions to enjoy. Throughout the country, you’ll find unique museums, architectural sites, and a variety of activities to engage in. From taking in the stunning views of the Black Sea to visiting natural parks, exploring Bulgaria is a great way to spend your time.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the other attractions located throughout Bulgaria:

Vitosha Boulevard

Vitosha Boulevard is one of the main attractions of Sofia, Bulgaria. This iconic boulevard is situated in the city’s heart and stretches for some 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles). It boasts many monuments and interesting sights that give tourists an unforgettable experience visiting this vibrant city.

The area around Vitosha Boulevard has something to offer everybody; it includes parks, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and many cultural attractions such as museums, galleries, and theatres. In addition, the boulevard can be used as a starting point to discover many hidden gems that Sofia has to offer, including exciting monuments such as St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral or Boyana Church.

The street itself radiates energy with its vibrant stores that host a variety of goods: souvenirs, food products, clothing, and jewelry can all be found here at very reasonable prices. In addition, food lovers can enjoy traditional treats such as Banitsa (Phyllo pastry triangle with eggs and cheese) or katak (similar to chicken kebab wrapped in pita bread), combined with a refreshing glass of boza (a fermented drink made from wheat).

As night falls on Vitosha Boulevard, there are plenty of entertainment options – electronic music clubs for those who wish to party late into the night or cozy restaurants for romantic dinners under the stars. No matter which option you choose, you are guaranteed an unforgettable evening!

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

The magnificently ornate Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is easily one of the most iconic sights in Bulgaria. Built between 1882 and 1912, this majestic Eastern Orthodox church sits atop Nevetsky Square in Sofia – a stunning reminder of its protected National Legacy.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is dedicated to Bulgaria’s patron saint, Alexander Nevsky. The building is a stunning example of Neo-Byzantine architecture – the intricately decorated domes and the vivid mosaics on both the interior and exterior walls create an enchanting atmosphere. Take some time to explore each of the 12 chapels within The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, each exquisitely decorated with gorgeous icons and frescos.

Due to extensive renovation works from 2015 until 2022, visitors can only explore half of the cathedral. However, this does not stop admirers from being taken back by their sheer size or marveling at their remarkable artistry. Marvel in awe at this incredible monument with this half visit – you won’t be disappointed!

Shopping in Sofia

Nestled in the heart of Bulgaria, the capital city of Sofia offers plenty to see and do. So naturally, shopping is one of the top attractions in this vibrant city. From bustling open-air markets that offer a variety of local items to luxury boutiques, there is something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for designer fashion or inexpensive souvenirs, you can find it all in Sofia.

Explore open-air stalls selling traditional folk costumes and embroidery throughout central Sofia to taste Bulgarian culture. In addition, you can purchase farm products such as honey, eggs, and delicious produce from vendors along these streets. Bartering is common; just be prepared to walk away if you don’t get your desired price point.

High-end shoppers will also find plenty to do in Sofia–stroll down Vitosha Boulevard and browse designer stores such as Zara and H&M or indulge at luxury boutiques within shopping malls like the famous Arena di Serdica mall or Mall Paradise Center. Be sure to check out The Lighthouse Mall, too – here, you can find local products alongside unique international items curated by specialty shops worldwide!