Bulgaria is an ancient land with historical and natural attractions that always captivate tourists. The beauty and grandeur of nature keep visitors coming back again and again. If you have decided to visit Bulgaria and are wondering which sights to see, we will give you some suggestions.
There are many interesting places in Sofia and its surroundings that you can visit by car. Here are some suggestions for day tours:
- Rila Monastery and the Seven Rila Lakes: This is one of the most popular tourist routes in Bulgaria. You can visit the Rila Monastery – a symbol of Bulgarian spiritual history, and then continue to the Seven Rila Lakes, where you will enjoy incredible nature.
- Vratsa and Ice Cave: Visit the town of Vratsa and explore natural and cultural attractions such as the Vratsa Monastery and the Vratsa Fortress. Then you can go to Ledenika cave, which is one of the most beautiful caves in Bulgaria.
- Plovdiv and Bachovski Monastery: Visit the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv. Stroll around the beautiful old town and visit the historical sights. Then you can continue to the Bachkovo Monastery, known for its rich history and art.
- Koprivshtitsa and Etara: Koprivshtitsa is a small town with a rich history from the period of the Bulgarian national revival. After exploring the house museums and architecture, you can visit the Etara open-air museum, where you can see how the old Bulgarian craft tradition is worked by hand.
Before you set off, pay attention to the condition of the roads, look at the route in advance, and prepare for the trip with the necessary information and equipment.
Apart from a private car, you have different options to get to the sights around Sofia:
- Public transport: Sofia has a developed network of buses, trolleybuses and metro, which allow you to reach many of the tourist areas and nearby cities. For some more remote locations, such as Rila Monastery or Bachkovo Monastery, a combination of different types of transport may be needed.
- Tourist buses and excursions: Many travel agencies offer organized day tours to popular sights around Sofia. This can be a convenient option if you do not have your own transport or want to enjoy a ready-made program with a tour guide.
- Private Tours: You can take a private tour with a specialized company. They will ensure you a comfortable trip with an accurate English-speaking driver.
- Car Hire with Driver: You can hire a car with a professional driver who will take you to the desired attractions and tell you about the history and interesting facts around them.
- Taxis and passenger services: Taxis are also an option, but before using this mode of transport, it is good to make sure about the reliability and prices of taxi services.
- Ride-sharing and car-sharing platforms: Platforms and apps have emerged in recent times that allow people to share their cars for a ride to a particular destination. It can be an economical and environmentally friendly way to travel.
When choosing a suitable mode of transport, pay attention to time, budget and your preferences for comfort and convenience.
Visiting the Rila Monastery and the Seven Rila Lakes is one of the most significant adventures you can do in Bulgaria. Here’s what you’ll see at these two locations:
The Rila Monastery is the largest and most important Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, and also a symbol of Bulgarian spiritual history. It is included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Visiting the monastery allows you to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Bulgaria.
In the monastery you will see:
- The main Church of the Assumption: This is an amazingly crafted church with rich decorations, icons, and frescoes.
- History Museum: Here you can learn more about the history of the monastery, religious artefacts, and rare manuscripts.
- The Rila monastery courtyard and the pillar-shaped temple: The courtyard is covered with greenery, and the pillar-shaped temple is the only architectural element of its kind in the monastery complex.
The seven Rila lakes:
The seven Rila lakes are one of the most picturesque and natural treasures in Bulgaria. They are located in the Rila mountain and offer incredible views and experiences for tourists and nature lovers. The lakes are formed by glacial activity and are located at different levels.
On the excursion to the Seven Rila Lakes, you will see:
- The Lakes: Depending on the weather and your fitness, you may visit several of the lakes. Each lake has its unique character and beauty.
- Natural beauty: Expect impressive landscapes with waterfalls, crystal clear water, and majestic mountain peaks.
- Trekking and hiking: Visiting the Seven Rila Lakes is ideal for trekking and hiking enthusiasts, as you can choose a route that matches your physical fitness.
All in all, during this day tour you will enjoy the beauty of nature and the riches of Bulgarian culture and history.
Visiting Vratsa and Ledenika Cave is extremely interesting and varied. Vratsa is a city in the northwestern part of Bulgaria, and Ledenika Cave is one of the most famous and impressive caves in the country. Here’s what you’ll see on this tour:
- Vrachan Monastery “St. Nicholas”: This monastery is located on a rocky plateau above the Lutovitsa River and offers impressive views. It has a history related to the resistance of the Bulgarian people against the Ottoman yoke.
- Vratsa Fortress: Located on a rocky plateau, the fortress provides great panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. It has a long history associated with different eras and civilizations.
- “Ledenika” cave: This is one of the most impressive caves in Bulgaria. Inside, you can see beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, and various cave formations. The cave is known for its characteristic ice structures throughout the year.
- The natural surroundings: The cave is located in a picturesque region, with beautiful forests and mountains. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery during a walk before or after visiting the cave.
All in all, you will enjoy historical and natural attractions during this tour. Vratsa offers you the opportunity to get to know the local culture and history, while Ledenika Cave will impress you with unique cave formations and natural phenomena.
Plovdiv and Bachkovo Monastery are two of the most significant places to visit in Bulgaria, where you can enjoy rich history, culture, and architecture. Here’s what you’ll see on this tour:
- Old Town (Stariya Plovdiv): This is one of Europe’s best-preserved old town centers. You will explore beautiful Renaissance houses with rich architectural decorations, cobbled streets, and cosy restaurants. The central Jumaya Square with the Jumaya Mosque (the Bear) is also a landmark.
- The Roman Theater: This ancient Roman theatre is one of the icons of Plovdiv and offers an incredible panoramic view of the city. It is one of the best-preserved old theatres in Bulgaria.
- Kapana: This is a picturesque and creative neighbourhood known for art galleries, cafes, and shops. Here you can enjoy the modern atmosphere of Plovdiv.
- Bachkovo Monastery “Saint Michael the Archangel”: This monastery is one of the most important spiritual and cultural treasures in Bulgaria. It is known for its amazing architecture, decoration, and icons. The church part is beautifully decorated with frescoes and an iconostasis.
- Monastery Gallery: The monastery also has a gallery with a rich collection of icons, manuscripts, and other valuable artefacts.
All this combined offers an opportunity to experience Bulgarian history, culture, and architecture in one incredible day.
Visiting Koprivshtitsa and Etara is an exciting journey through Bulgarian history, culture, and craft traditions. Here’s what you’ll see on this tour:
- Historic houses and museums: Koprivshtitsa is a small town with an extremely rich historical heritage related to the Bulgarian national revival. You will explore beautiful houses that have been preserved as museums, including the houses of Todor Kableshkov and Dimitar Voivoda, who were active in the struggle to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke.
- St. Nicholas Church: This is the largest wood-carved church in Bulgaria and is impressive both with its exterior architecture and the rich decoration inside.
- “Etara” open-air museum: This unique museum represents an old Bulgarian craft and cultural tradition. You will walk through the streets of the museum, where you will see various crafts, such as pottery, glassblowing, blacksmithing, and others, as well as magnificent wooden houses and shops with handmade products.
- The Bridge of Vladaiska River: One of the symbols of Etara, this stone bridge crosses the river and provides an amazing atmosphere.
Visiting these two places will give you a unique insight into Bulgarian history, traditions, and heritage. You will enjoy the beauty of architectural styles, handmade products, and the unique atmosphere of Bulgarian places with deep roots in the past.
We are sure that after giving you so many options for locations, you will undoubtedly choose the interesting ones for you. You will enjoy the sight and the feeling, you will remember Bulgaria! And we also believe that you will want to visit again.