Bulgaria, a captivating country nestled in the heart of the Balkans, offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its ancient monasteries and historical monuments to its stunning Black Sea coastline, Bulgaria is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. In this expert guide, we’ll explore the best cities, must-see attractions, essential travel tips, and provide a 10-day travel itinerary to help you make the most of your Bulgarian adventure.

The Best Cities in Bulgaria


Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends its rich history with modern charm. Key attractions include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National Palace of Culture, and Vitosha Boulevard, known for its lively atmosphere and numerous cafes and shops.


Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe, is renowned for its ancient Roman ruins, including the impressive Roman amphitheater. The Old Town is a highlight, with its cobbled streets, colorful houses, and vibrant arts scene.


Varna, the “seaside capital” of Bulgaria, offers beautiful beaches along the Black Sea coast and a range of cultural attractions. The Archaeological Museum, with its ancient gold treasures, and the Sea Garden park are must-visits.


Shumen might not be the most obvious choice for tourists, but it houses the spectacular Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria. This city, with its mix of old and new architecture, also provides access to the UNESCO-listed Madara Rider rock relief.

The Best Attractions in Bulgaria

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its stunning murals and serene atmosphere. The complex includes a church, hermitages, a bell tower, and a crypt, offering a glimpse into Bulgaria’s spiritual heritage.

Aladzha Monastery

Aladzha Monastery, near Varna, is a fascinating cave monastery carved into a limestone cliff. Surrounded by forest, it offers a peaceful retreat and a chance to marvel at ancient religious architecture.

Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria

Located in Shumen, this monumental complex celebrates Bulgarian history with a unique blend of brutalist and cubist styles. The climb up 1300 stairs to the monument is symbolic and offers panoramic views of the city.


Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Black Sea,” Nesebar is a historic town with a wealth of ancient ruins and charming old houses. Its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list speaks to its cultural and historical significance.

What Not to Miss

The Black Sea Coast

The Black Sea coast is dotted with beautiful towns and resorts. Varna and Burgas are the major cities, but smaller towns like Sozopol, Balchik, and Ahtopol offer unique experiences, from historic sites to vibrant beach scenes.

The Madara Rider

Near Shumen, the Madara Rider is an ancient rock relief depicting a horseman and serves as a testament to Bulgaria’s early medieval history. It is a must-see for history enthusiasts.

The Botanical Gardens in Balchik

The Botanical Gardens in Balchik, surrounding the summer residence of Queen Mary of Romania, are a botanical wonder, particularly beautiful in early summer when the roses are in full bloom.

Weather in Bulgaria

Bulgaria experiences a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Coastal areas, like Varna and Burgas, have milder winters and pleasant summers, making them ideal for beach vacations. The best time to visit Bulgaria is during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and the tourist crowds are thinner.

A Rough Travel Plan for 10 Days

Day 1-2: Sofia

Explore the historic landmarks and vibrant streets of Sofia.

Visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Vitosha Boulevard.

Day 3-4: Plovdiv

Discover the ancient Roman amphitheater and the charming Old Town.

Enjoy the local arts scene and vibrant nightlife.

Day 5-6: Shumen and Madara

Visit the Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria.

Explore the Madara Rider rock relief.

Day 7: Rila Monastery

Spend a day at Rila Monastery, soaking in its serene atmosphere and rich history.

Day 8-9: Varna

Enjoy the beaches and explore the city’s cultural attractions.

Visit the Archaeological Museum and the Sea Garden.

Day 10: Nesebar

Wander through the historic streets and ancient ruins of Nesebar.

Tips for Tourists

  • While Bulgarian is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
  • The Bulgarian Lev (BGN) is the local currency. Credit cards are accepted in most places, but it’s good to have cash for smaller establishments.
  • Bulgaria has a well-developed public transport system, including buses, trains, and taxis. Renting a car can be convenient for exploring remote areas.
  • Bulgaria is generally safe for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, be mindful of your belongings and avoid poorly lit areas at night.
  • Don’t miss trying traditional Bulgarian dishes such as banitsa (pastry), kebapche (grilled meat), and shopska salad.

Bulgaria is a destination that promises a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring its ancient monasteries, vibrant cities, or relaxing on the Black Sea coast, this guide will help you make the most of your visit to this fascinating country.

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