Bulgaria is a country in Southeast Europe, situated on the Balkan Peninsula. It has a rich and varied history, culture, and nature, that attracts millions of tourists every year. Whether you are looking for ancient monuments, medieval towns, modern cities, or stunning landscapes, Bulgaria has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore some of the best destinations, cities, hotels, restaurants, shopping, transportation, and tips for travelers who want to visit this amazing country.


Bulgaria has a diverse geography, with mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, and the Black Sea coast. Some of the most popular natural destinations are:

  •  The Rila Monastery: This is the largest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria, and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila, the patron saint of Bulgaria. It is located in the Rila Mountains, and it has a unique architecture, frescoes, and icons.
  •  The Seven Rila Lakes: These are a group of glacial lakes, located in the Rila Mountains, near the Rila Monastery. They are named after their shapes or characteristics, such as The Tear, The Eye, The Kidney, The Twin, The Trefoil, The Fish Lake, and The Lower Lake. They offer a spectacular view and a hiking opportunity.
  •  The Rose Valley: This is a region in central Bulgaria, famous for its rose oil production. It is also known as the Valley of the Thracian Kings, because of the many ancient tombs and monuments that are found there. You can visit the town of Kazanlak, where the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located. You can also enjoy the Rose Festival, which is held every year in June, and celebrates the rose harvest.


Bulgaria has many cities that offer a mix of history, culture, and modernity. You can find ancient ruins, medieval churches, museums, galleries, festivals, and nightlife in these urban centers. Some of the most visited cities are:

  •  Sofia: This is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria, with over 1.2 million inhabitants. It is also one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to the 8th century BC. You can visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans, the National Museum of History, the National Palace of Culture, and many other attractions.
  •  Plovdiv: This is the second-largest city in Bulgaria, and one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to the 6th millennium BC. It is also the European Capital of Culture for 2019. You can admire the Roman amphitheater, the Old Town, the Ethnographic Museum, and the colorful houses. You can also enjoy the International Fair, the Opera Festival, and the Night of Museums and Galleries.
  •  Varna: This is the third-largest city in Bulgaria, and the largest seaside resort on the Black Sea coast. It is also known as the Sea Capital of Bulgaria, because of its maritime history and culture. You can enjoy the beach, the Sea Garden, the Naval Museum, and the Dolphinarium. You can also visit the nearby town of Nessebar, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has a charming old town with many churches and monuments.


Bulgaria has a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses. You can find something that suits your budget and preferences, depending on the location and the season. Some of the best hotels in Bulgaria are:

  •  Grand Hotel Sofia: This is a five-star hotel in the center of Sofia, near the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the National Art Gallery. It offers elegant rooms and suites, a spa, a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, and a casino.
  •  Ramada Plovdiv Trimontium: This is a four-star hotel in Plovdiv, near the Roman amphitheater and the Old Town. It offers modern rooms and suites, a spa, a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, and a conference center.
  •  Graffit Gallery Hotel: This is a five-star hotel in Varna, near the Sea Garden and the beach. It offers stylish rooms and suites, a spa, a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, and an art gallery.

 Meals and Restaurants

Bulgaria has a rich and diverse cuisine, influenced by its neighbors and its history. You can find dishes that are based on meat, cheese, vegetables, grains, and fruits, seasoned with herbs and spices. Some of the most typical dishes are:

  •  Shopska salad: This is a fresh salad, made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and white cheese, sprinkled with parsley. It is usually served as a starter or a side dish, and it is considered the national dish of Bulgaria.
  •  Banitsa: This is a pastry, made with filo dough, cheese, eggs, and butter, baked in the oven. It can also have various fillings, such as spinach, pumpkin, or meat. It is usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack, and it is often served with yogurt or ayran, a salty drink made with yogurt and water.
  •  Kebapche: This is a grilled minced meat roll, seasoned with salt, black pepper, and cumin. It is usually served with bread, fries, or salad, and sometimes with cheese or ketchup. It is one of the most popular fast foods in Bulgaria, and it is often eaten with beer.

Bulgaria also has many restaurants that offer international cuisine, such as Italian, French, Chinese, or Indian. Some of the best restaurants in Bulgaria are:

  •  Talents: This is a gourmet restaurant in Sofia, run by the students and teachers of the HRC Culinary Academy. It offers creative and seasonal dishes, made with local and organic ingredients, and paired with fine wines. It also has a cozy atmosphere and a friendly service.
  •  Pavaj: This is a traditional Bulgarian restaurant in Plovdiv, located in a renovated house in the Old Town. It serves authentic dishes, such as shopska salad, banitsa, kebapche, and sarmi, stuffed grape or cabbage leaves. It also has a garden and a fireplace, and often hosts live music and events.
  •  Staria Chinar: This is a classic Bulgarian restaurant in Varna, located near the Sea Garden and the beach. It serves delicious dishes, such as tarator, a cold soup made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and dill, shkembe chorba, a spicy tripe soup, and musaka, a baked dish made with potatoes, minced meat, and eggs. It also has a large selection of wines and rakia, a traditional fruit brandy.


Bulgaria has many shopping opportunities, from modern malls and boutiques to traditional markets and handicrafts. You can find something that suits your taste and budget, whether you are looking for clothes, accessories, electronics, or souvenirs. Some of the best places to shop in Bulgaria are:

  •  Paradise Center: This is a large shopping mall in Sofia, near the Vitosha Mountain. It has over 300 stores, selling clothes, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, books, and more. It also has a food court, a cinema, a bowling alley, and an ice rink.
  •  Kapana: This is a creative district in Plovdiv, near the Old Town. It has many small shops, selling art, design, fashion, and crafts, made by local artists and entrepreneurs. It also has many cafes, bars, and galleries, and often hosts cultural events and festivals.
  •  Grand Mall: This is a modern shopping mall in Varna, near the city center. It has over 200 stores, selling clothes, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, books, and more. It also has a food court, a cinema, a playground, and a fitness center.


Bulgaria has a well-developed transportation network, with roads, railways, airports, and ports. You can choose the best option for your travel needs, depending on the distance, the cost, and the comfort. Some of the main transportation options are:

  •  Car: This is the most flexible and convenient way to travel around Bulgaria, as you can explore the country at your own pace and stop wherever you want. You can rent a car from various companies, or use a taxi or a ride-sharing service. However, you should be aware of the traffic rules, the road conditions, and the parking fees.
  •  Train: This is the most affordable and scenic way to travel around Bulgaria, as you can enjoy the views of the countryside and the mountains. You can use the national railway company, BDZ, or the private operators, such as Express Service or Transfer Bulgaria Group. However, you should be aware of the timetables, the delays, and the comfort levels.
  •  Plane: This is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel around Bulgaria, especially for long distances. You can use the national airline company, Bulgaria Air, or the low-cost operators, such as Ryanair or Wizz Air. However, you should be aware of the fares, the luggage limits, and the airport transfers. You may need to book a shuttle bus, a taxi, or a car rental to get to your destination from the airport.
  •  Bus: This is another option to travel around Bulgaria, especially for short and medium distances. You can use the national bus company, Biomet, or the private operators, such as Union Ivkoni or Etap Group. However, you should be aware of the schedules, the comfort levels, and the safety standards. You may need to buy your tickets in advance, or at the bus station.

 Tips for Travelers

Bulgaria is a safe and friendly country, with hospitable and helpful people. However, as with any travel destination, you should be aware of some tips and advice that can make your trip more enjoyable and hassle-free. Some of the tips are:

  •  Visa: Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, but not of the Schengen Area. This means that you may need a visa to enter the country, depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. You can check the visa requirements and the application process on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.
  •  Money: The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev (BGN), which is divided into 100 stotinki. You can exchange your money at banks, exchange bureaus, or ATMs, but you should avoid the ones at the airport or the tourist areas, as they may charge higher fees or offer lower rates. You can also use your credit or debit card at most places, but you should inform your bank before your trip, and check the transaction fees and the exchange rates.
  •  Weather: Bulgaria has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons. The average temperature in winter is around 0°C, and in summer is around 25°C. However, it can vary depending on the altitude and the region. You should pack accordingly, and bring warm clothes, rain gear, and sunscreen. You should also check the weather forecast before your trip, and be prepared for any changes.


Bulgaria is a wonderful country to visit, with a lot to offer to any traveler. You can enjoy its natural beauty, its cultural heritage, its urban attractions, and its gastronomy. You can also experience its hospitality, its diversity, and its charm. You will surely have a memorable and satisfying trip, if you follow the suggestions and tips in this article. We hope you have a great time in Bulgaria.