Want to know when is the best time to visit Bulgaria? I will tell you – NOW. From the historical to the fantastic, Bulgaria has amazing festivals on offer throughout the year – here are our top 10 picks.

Check out these top 10 traditional festivals in Bulgaria in 2018 and plan your trip now.

1. Festival of Roses

03 June 2018 –  Kazanluk

In the past years the rose harvest has become one of the most important activities in the region of Kazanluk. The Festival of the Roses is one of the most notable Bulgarian holidays, celebrated every first weekend of June when the roses are in their bloom. The Rose festival was first held in 1903, and ever since then has become an international attraction, when the city is glad to host thousands of guests. The festival program includes the crowning of the Rose Queen and the ritual gathering and distilling of roses. There are other celebrations, such as a carnival and the international folk festival “Youth of the Balkans.”

2. Fire Dancing (Nestinarstvo)

June 3 2018, village Bulgari



The rite of fire dancing is one of the oldest Bulgarian folk traditions and was once practiced by ancient Thracians living near The White Sea. It is performed today in only a few mountain villages in the Strandzha region, such as Bulgari, Kosti, and Brodilovo. In 2009, the ritual was included as a UNESCO World Heritage legacy of non-material culture. According to a number of scholars, the ritual was performed by a Thracian cult that worshipped the sun.
The dance is performed barefoot on live coals, and this unique rite is now connected with groups whose patron saints are Constantine and Elena. While fire dancing is connected with celebrations that are observed year round, the day most closely connected with the practice is June 3 (according to the old calendar), since that is the day these two saints are honored.
During the day of June 3, the icons that are sacred to the fire dancers are “clothed” – a bright red cloth is placed over them that has old silver coins sewn on it and is colorfully decorated. The whole village then takes part in a procession to transport the icons to the holy spring of Saint Constantine, where the handles used to carry the icons are washed.

3. Cherry Festival in Kyustendil

24-25 June 2018

Two consecutive days in June are devoted to the celebration of cherries associated with Kyustendil’s reputation as the Fruit Garden of Bulgaria. The celebration includes exhibitions of various sorts of cherries. Celebrating the fruit orchards started in the town of Kyustendil in 1896 when the first national fruit growing exhibition was founded and the city proudly received the title “Mother of the Bulgarian Fruit Gardens”.

The aesthetic of the cherry blossom turned toward the sun is full of mystic depth. The cherries are a symbol and decoration of aristocracy and diplomacy in every society. The cherry is one of the renowned symbols of Kyustendil.

At the “Cherry Festival” life simply turns into buckets of cherries. The focus of the festival is a competitive exhibition, which involves community centers, NGOs, associations, schools and kindergartens from Kyustendil region. Display tables are arranged and covered with this bright and tasty fruit. In the diligent hands of Kyustendil’s culinary experts this fruit finds wide applications – carving art, beautiful cakes, jam, jarred fruit, cherry syrup adorn and the tables which are participating in a competition for the best looking table. Meanwhile the people of Kyustendil and guests walk around in amazement discovering the many varieties that make up the cherry world.

4. Zheravna Festival of the National Costume

18-20 August 2018

The Festival of the National Costume is the largest event of this kind held in Zheravna architectural reserve. Everyone should be dressed in a national costume during the event. It’s an experience to remember.

Anyone who want to attend the festival area must be dressed in folk costume -authentic or stylized stage-. Men can have an voivodeship or revolutionary clothing, as well as old military uniforms and weapons. It is allowed and clothing from the beginning of the twentieth century, also priestly garments. They are allowed and folk costumes- traditional for other peoples and countries.The prohibition of objects of modern life have to give the fullest possible authenticity of the situation in our desire it to be as close as possible to the Bulgarian way of life 100- 150 years ago, which is one of the conditions of the festival. The idea is for participants to make a leap back in time as possible close to the National Revival, our atmosphere – such as lived in our great-grandfathers and great- grandmothers.

5. International Bagpipe Contest in Gela

5 – 6 august 2017 

The festival aims to promote the authentic Rhodopes folklore. A prerequisite for Bulgarian participants is performances are a hornpipe. The event has gained popularity and grew into an international forum. Bagpipe Contest in Gela 2017 will be held on 5th and 6th August 2017. Gelais a small village in southern Bulgaria, near the city of Smolyan. A legend says that Gela is Orpheus’s birthplace and that he was stepping down to seek Eurydice in nearby Devil’s Throat cave.

Gela International Bagpipe Contest in the picturesque village has attracted more than 15,000 tourists, including many foreigners. The eleventh edition of the traditional bagpipe contest in Gela gathered thousands of music fans from Bulgaria, Sweden, Japan and France. Over 100 bagpipers competed during the exciting event. The ”gaida” or bagpipe is Bulgaria’s traditional and emblematic musical instrument and it is one of the most important elements of Bulgarian local folklore.

6. WakeЪп! Open Air Festival

More info: facebook page

Wake Up started as an event aiming to inspire people of today to be more creative and positive by becoming a part of a like-minded community for a few days. The festival takes place on several hills near the Kuklen Monastery, a 20-minute drive from Plovdiv. There are several stages with different musical styles, a reenactment of Bulgarian traditions like Nestinari (fire-walking), yoga classes, spiritual lectures, etc.

7. A to Jazz Festival

More info: Facebook page

The International A to JazZ Festival is one of the symbols of music Sofia, spreading the jazz spirit in the city and transforming it into a capital of improvised music for three days. Established in 2011 by a team, young and inspired by music, and with the exclusive support of America for Bulgaria Foundation, the festival traditionally marks the beginning of summer, presenting the best of worldwide jazz music in open air. The beautiful South Park 2 has welcomed an audience of more than 100 000 people and great musicians such as Kenny Garett, Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Richard Bona, Michel Camilo, Dianne Reeves, Jose James who performed on its stage.

More information about bulgarian festivals – here.