What to see in Bulgaria?

what to see in bulgaria

 

What to see in Bulgaria and what to visit? We know this country thanks to its 378 km long coastline with wide beaches covered with golden sand washed by the blue waters of the Black Sea. Although a holiday in Bulgaria is synonymous with a cheap holiday in a seaside resort, this one of Europe’s cheapest rivieras can offer much more than Golden Sands and Sunny Beach. Thracian buildings, Byzantine fortresses, monasteries carved into the rock and legendary capes – discover with us the most beautiful places and the biggest attractions of Bulgaria!

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Sunny Beach certainly didn’t get its name by chance. The most developed tourist area in Bulgaria in the Gulf of Nessebar boasts golden beaches with up to 300 days of sunshine a year! The 8 km long, dune-protected and gently sloping beach is an ideal place for active and relaxing relaxation. Here you can bask in the sun, swim in the sea and practice all kinds of water sports (ie diving, windsurfing and sailing). The resort has around 600 leisure facilities of various categories and 400 restaurants serving food from around the world. The hotels offer lots of entertainment, including activities for children. There are also several family water parks and amusement parks in the city (for example, Action Aqua Park or Kuban Aqua Park, which is located in the center of Sunny Beach).

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After dark, Sunny Beach turns into a corner of the Bulgarian Riviera with pulsating energy, full of lights, music and party hustle and bustle. Bars, discos and nightclubs are at every turn. After all, the city did not begin to call Eastern European Las Vegas for no reason. What to see on Sunny Beach? There are no historic buildings in the town itself, which is a typical holiday resort. But there is definitely no shortage of them in the whole region. If you are interested in exploring the sights and culture of Bulgarian culture, you should definitely visit the historic Nessebar or Sozopol. Their visit is a real treat for those who are looking for traces of bygone times.

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There is no need to look for monuments in Nessebar. This city museum is one big monument. The Bulgarian resort is over 3,200 years old – it is one of the oldest European cities. The ancient Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Turks made an indelible mark on its history (and its landscape)… What’s left of them? Ancient defensive walls – before 1500 years numerous churches and basilicas from different periods (Church of Christ Pantocrator from the 13th century). In addition, you can see the Greek and Roman fortifications, houses several hundred years old and those from the 18th century, the windmill and other interesting monuments. Nessebar také is also called the pearl of Bulgaria. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.

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The city is divided into two parts: the old and the new Nessebar. The new town is a modern tourist center. The old Nessebar is located on the side, on a small rocky peninsula, cut into the Black Sea, connected to new Nesebar by a narrow neck with the mainland. The whole city has good transport links with the surrounding area. Sunny Beach is only 2 km away.

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City of the Greek god of light and art – Apollo – City of salvation. Sozopol has a divine element, which you can experience on a warm summer afternoon while enjoying a coffee or a salad on the terrace of one of the seaside restaurants. Although Nessebar has been named the pearl of the Black Sea, the oldest Bulgarian city of Sozopol is considered a mecca for artists and photographers and also a popular resort for the Bulgarians themselves.

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Enthusiasts of archeology and historical architecture will not be disappointed when visiting the city. Just cross the threshold of the local Archaeological Museum and Art Gallery, or go for a walk through the narrow streets along the church route. Among the sacral buildings is the church from the 15th century St. Mother of God, whose walls are decorated with iconostasis of Macedonian sculptors. It is also worth going to the chapel of St. Zosyma. You must not miss the architectural and historical complex called the South Wall. It is the best view in the city. Lovers of busy seaside resorts and nightlife will especially appreciate the northern part of the city.

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Fairytale views can be admired not only behind the seven mountains, on them it can be just as beautiful. To see this, you must visit Plovdiv, located among the picturesque hills on the two banks of the Maritsa River. It is the second most populous city in Bulgaria and the third oldest city in Europe. Plovdiv is located in the central part of Bulgaria. It is 130 km from the country’s capital, Sofia, which can be reached directly by bus. You can also get to the seven mountains by train from different parts of the country, as well as by plane. Plovdiv International Airport is the fourth largest airport in Bulgaria in terms of traffic. It serves as an alternative airport for Sofia Airport.

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Plovdiv was settled before the first millennium BC. Macedonians, Romans, Goths, Huns, Turks and Slavs left indelible traces of their presence in the area. To this day, you can admire monuments from the ancient past, such as the still active amphitheater, the Roman stadium, the ancient ruins, the Turkish baths or the Dzhumaya Jamya Mosque. Additional attractions in Plovdiv include the Church of Saints Constantine and Helena and the Archaeological Museum (with the famous Thracian treasure of Panagiurishta). Visiting Plovdiv is a multicultural adventure! The city is also an important economic, scientific and cultural center, with 5 universities.

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A stunning location near the border with Serbia (over 10,000 m2) is a rock formation that is one of the most beautiful rock towns in the world. Stone labyrinths, sometimes up to 200 meters high, hide real treasures of culture and nature. Kaleto Castle is located at the foot of the majestic rock wall on the northern slope of the mountains. Bloody battles and frequent changes of owners did not affect the condition of the fortifications – they are still among the best preserved Bulgarian fortresses. The architecture of the castle against a background of rocky hills – especially in the moonlight – looks like a ready-made scene for the screening of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

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A view of the stars is guaranteed by a visit to the local astronomical observatory. The journey to the beginning of history again a trip deep into the Magura Cave, the walls of the famous cave are decorated with paintings from 12 thousand years BC. Today, the humid interior of the cave today serves as a storage cellar for wine saturated with nature, produced according to a classic French recipe.

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At the foot of the Rila Mountains, at an altitude of 1,147 m above sea level, the most interesting Bulgarian building – the Rila Monastery – is hidden among the deep forests. It is the largest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria, a stunning sacred monument inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. For Bulgarians, it is a real national gem and the main religious place in the country, 120 km from the capital Sofia. It is a symbol of resistance to Turkish enslavement and is also a symbol of national rebirth. The monastery was founded in the 10th century by the monk Ivan of Rila, about 4 km from its current location. The building did not receive its current appearance until the 19th century. At that time, thanks to generous donations from Bulgarian society, an impressive monastery complex was created, which still impresses visitors from all over the world.

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The heart of the Rila Monastery is the Church of the Holy Mother of God, decorated with fabulously colored frescoes. The temple is also decorated with a huge iconostasis carved into the wood. In addition, there are two museums on its premises. In one of them you can admire the wooden cross of Rafael carved with a needle by a local monk. It shows 104 scenes taken from the Bible with 650 miniature figures the size of a grain of rice. In the courtyard of the monastery is also the famous Chrelin Tower, 23 meters high and consisting of 6 floors. The monastery is surrounded by huge walls 24 meters high. Although they look like a fortress from the complex that is hard to get to, you don’t have to spend a single leva to get inside.

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One of the oldest cities in Bulgaria and a symbol of Bulgarian independence and statehood, it is located at the northern foot of the Stara Planina Mountains, amidst the hills intertwined with the Jantry River. As for the city with a name that combines the Slavic word meaning “thorn” and the adjective “big”, Veliko Tarnovo impresses with its centuries-old history and majestic buildings. The history of the city dates back to the Bronze Age. Over the years, the Thracian settlement was occupied by the Romans, Byzantines and Turks until the victorious liberation at the end of the 18th century.

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See the World for Less!

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The ruins of a medieval castle and an Orthodox church dominate the town on Tsarevets Hill. Another hill, the majestic Trapezica, adorns the remains of 17 churches and the ruins of funerary chapels. On the way to the peaks you will pass picturesque residential buildings from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. During a visit to the city, it is worth visiting Velikyyrnov University, one of the most important Bulgarian universities, or the Museum of the Bulgarian National Revival and the Constitutional Assembly.

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It is said that it was created by divine intervention for St. Nicolas – when he ran from the Turks and suddenly reached the border of the mainland, God himself created rocks under his feet. According to legend, the rusty color of the rocks is the result of the heroic deeds of 40 Bulgarian virgins who, in defense of the loss of honor, would rather throw themselves into the depths of the sea than fall victim to the Turks. Although it is not known for sure, the certainty is that Cape Kaliakra is the most romantic part of Bulgaria.

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Cape Kaliakra is located a few kilometers from the town of Kavarna. In fact, it is a peninsula over two kilometers long, formed by monumental, almost perpendicular rocks, sometimes reaching a height of 70 m above sea level. The steep cliffs hanging above the water correspond to the beauty of the local caves, the picturesque canyon and one of the most beautiful beaches in Bulgaria, hidden in the majestic Bolata Bay. At Cape Kaliakra you can sunbathe on the golden sands or stroll among the limestone and sandstone rocks, as well as the ruins of the defensive walls and Roman baths. All this against the background of views of the turquoise waters of the Black Sea, in which – if you are lucky – you can see dolphins.

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When we say Sofia, we often imagine shabby, dirty blocks of flats with several restored monuments and a communist past that is still felt and seen here. However, today’s capital of Bulgaria really deserves the designation “Paris of the East”. This city breathes greenery. It has wide green boulevards and a 2500-year history. It hides a number of monuments: many churches, mosques and the largest synagogue in the Balkans, as well as many early medieval churches, the most interesting of which is the Church of St. George in the 4th century Roman rotunda. The Viennese Art Nouveau mansards and the spa building (unfortunately closed) are charming.

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Sofia is also a city of relaxation and entertainment. It boasts breaking the world record in feasting. 3,000 people from Sofia sat in the city center at a table measuring almost 380 meters and drank 500 liters of rakia. Definitely worth a try, it is the national alcohol of the Bulgarians, as well as to taste the local cuisine, considered one of the healthiest in the world. Bulgarians like to feast, listen to music and enjoy life. On weekends, the whole family takes to the streets to have lunch at one of the local restaurants. It is worth taking advantage of their legendary hospitality and bringing home at least a bit of their optimism and lightness.

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Bulgaria has not only its Paris East (Sofia), but also its Riviera. There are many cities on the Black Sea coast that attract visitors with their picturesque beaches, beautiful seascape, historical monuments or great conditions for water sports. In the northern part of the Bulgarian Riviera, tourists prefer peace, because there are smaller and quieter places. Tourists looking for fun or perhaps forgotten should stay on the south coast.

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The capital of the entertainment part of the coast is Varna – the center of cultural and nightlife. Almost all of the city’s attractions are located in Primorsky Park, one of Europe’s largest man-made parks. Every visitor will undoubtedly find something for themselves, because this place combines culture, nature, sports and history. Here you will find an early 20th-century aquarium, fountains, a casino, a dolphinarium, a museum and a zoo – all immersed in greenery and shaded by treetops.

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