Bulgaria's pleasingly laid-back capital is often overlooked by visitors heading straight to the coast or the ski resorts, but they're missing something special. Sofia is no grand metropolis, but it's a largely modern, youthful city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel. Recent excavation work carried out during construction of the city’s metro unveiled a treasure trove of Roman ruins from nearly 2000 years ago, when the city was called 'Serdica'. Away from the buildings and boulevards, vast parks and manicured gardens offer a welcome respite, and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride from the centre. Home to many of Bulgaria's finest museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs, Sofia may persuade you to stick around and explore further.
With an easy grace, Plovdiv mingles invigorating nightlife among millennia-old ruins. Like Rome, Plovdiv straddles seven hills; but as Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city, it’s far more ancient. It is best loved for its romantic old town, packed with colourful and creaky 19th-century mansions that are now house-museums, galleries and guesthouses.
But cobblestoned lanes and National Revival–era nostalgia are only part of the story. Bulgaria’s cosmopolitan second city has always been hot on the heels of Sofia, and a stint as European Capital of Culture 2019 seems sure to give Plovdiv the edge. Music and art festivals draw increasing crowds, while renovations in the Kapana artistic quarter and Tsar Simeon Gardens have given the city new confidence. Once an amiable waystation between Bulgaria and Greece or Turkey, the city has flowered into a destination in its own right – and one that should be firmly stamped on any itinerary through central Bulgaria.
Medieval history emanates from Veliko Târnovo’s fortified walls and cobbled lanes. One of Bulgaria’s oldest towns, Veliko Târnovo has as its centrepiece the magnificent restored Tsarevets Fortress, citadel of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Historic Târnovo is tucked into the dramatic bends of the Yantra River, clasped by an amphitheatre of forested hills. Bulgaria’s 19th-century National Revival splendour is easy to relive along historic lanes such as ul Gurko; similarly evocative is handicraft market Samovodska Charshiya, which retains much the same atmosphere it had two centuries ago.
The modern town has burst these tidy seams, splaying west from busy bul Bulgaria. Today’s Târnovo has Bulgaria’s second-largest university and is home to a multicultural expat scene. Its location between Bucharest and Istanbul has made it a backpacker favourite, though it’s worth more than a stopover if you’re to see it from the heights of its fortress down to its tangle of ramshackle lanes.
Burgas is the fourth largest city in Bulgaria
, situated in the south-eastern part of the country, right at the Black sea coast. The climate is primarily continental with a distinct impact from the Black Sea. The Port of Burgas
is the biggest sea port in the country and the Burgas Airport
is the second largest airport where most of the international flights caring tourists are landing. Despite its location on the seaside, the city is not famous as a beach resort, but more as a turning point to the southern resorts like Sunny Beach, Pomorie, Sozopol, Elenite, Dyuni, etc. Burgas is an important industrial center in Bulgaria, and the city also invests considerable resources in tourism. What attracts people here is mostly the sea. But the municipality supports multiple art and culture venues. One of the biggest is “The spirit of Burgas” 7-days music festival attracting some of the biggest local and international musicians.
Pamporovo ski resort is located in the heart of the Rhodopi mountain. It is the sunniest Bulgarian mountain resort. The ski slopes of Pamporovo are safe guarded and maintained in a very good condition. The gentle profile of the mountain with its rounded slopes and summits makes Pamporovo suitable for beginners. But there are difficult ski runs like "The Wall" for the advanced skiers. Ski rentals are available near the ski runs and the lift stations, you can book ski equipment rental, ski school and lift pass with us, as well.
Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period.
Bulgaria’s third city and maritime capital, Varna is the most interesting and cosmopolitan town on the Black Sea coast. A combination of port city, naval base and seaside resort, it’s an appealing place to while away a few days, packed with history yet thoroughly modern, with an enormous park to amble round and a lengthy beach to lounge on. In the city centre you’ll find Bulgaria’s largest Roman baths complex and its finest archaeological museum, as well as a lively cultural and restaurant scene.
The city also makes an ideal base for day trips to nearby beach resorts such as Sveti Konstantin and Golden Sands (Zlatni Pyasâtsi), and the charming town of Balchik.
Vasilashki lakes in Pirin Mountain
Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.
Sozopol is located on a scenic bay along the southern Bulgarian coast, about 35 km south of Burgas. Sozopol is one of the oldest Bulgarian coastal towns. There are 2 beaches in the town of Sozopol: the Central beach and the Harmani beach, as well as a few excellent beaches and campgrounds close to Sozopol. The city is divided into the Old Town and the modern part of the town. The Old Town mainly offers romantic old houses for accommodation, whereas the modern part of the town is full of hotels of different categories and prices. The resort is famous for its night life, campsites and beaches that offer diverse sports activities such as jet skiing, surfing, beach volleyball, etc.