Bulgaria – is, generally, a country poor at interesting sights. It is difficult to compare with popular European resorts, it is inferior even to Montenegro. But here you can take just excellent photos of seascapes. The country itself is very beautiful.
But there are also advantages in Bulgarian vacation. In contrast to popular resorts of Turkey and Egypt, where in most cases you can only see a beach and a desert, in Bulgaria you will live in a small city (in the country, in general, are not many large cities) together with locals.
Most interesting sights in Bulgaria are located deep in the country. To get to them is quite expensive and long, and therefore most of tourists visit only those, which can be seen along the coast. So they are able to combine pleasant with useful – see something interesting and swim almost in every major resort.
What beach resorts are worth seeing?
Among seaside resorts we liked most of all Nessebar, Burgas, Varna, Pomorie and Balchik. Let’s try to estimate basic pros and cons of each of these resorts, compose a brief description of their sights and add a lot of photos.
The sights of Nessebar – what is worth seeing?
Nessebar – one of the oldest cities in Europe. All the old part, which is located on a peninsula, is protected by the UNESCO world organization.
By itself, the peninsula is quite small, but you can walk through its narrow streets for hours. Walking along stone-paved walkways and viewing old Bulgarian houses and churches, you will not even notice how time flies.
In Old Nessebar is worth visiting old churches, among which only one operates, half of them are destroyed, and in half are located mini-museums. Not be amiss to visit local amphitheater or stroll through the corridors of a historical museum.
Do not miss:
- A selection of photos from Nessebar with captions to them.
- The sights of Old Nessebar – what can be seen in the ancient city
- Churches in Nessebar – their photos and descriptions
- A selection of the most interesting beaches of Nessebar
The sights of Burgas and a few words about shopping in this city
Burgas – a major port city in the southern part of the Bulgarian coast. Of course, there are a lot of churches that are worth visiting. Special attention in our view deserves the Church of Cyril and Methodius, the Armenian Church and the Church of the Assumption.
On the main street of the city stands a tall monument to Alyosha. Here are often organized installations, called to demonstrate the beauty of Bulgaria.
If you walk to the sea, you will surely come out to a large and beautiful seaside park. It stretches several kilometers along the coast. There are benches for rest, sculptures, cages for dog walking, bike paths, clubs and many more interesting things.
On the north side of the park, you can see an exhibition of sand sculptures, which are made by sculptors from around the world. Themes of the exhibition changes every year. Several dozens of sculptures up to 3 meters really cost 3 levs for ingress.
Find out more: a detailed description of the sights of Burgas and many photos
The sights of Varna, the largest city on the coast
Varna – one of the largest cities on the coast of Bulgaria. The city is famous for its churches and parks, the presence of Eco-park, supermarkets and shops. There are also cons. the purity of the sea water in Varna leaves much to be desired.
But the majority of tourists come to Varna because of the Dolphinarium, which is considered one of the best on the coast of the Black Sea.
From Varna buses go in almost every corner of Bulgaria and even abroad.
Not far from Varna, you can see ancient rock monastery Aladzha.
And if you suddenly do not like local beaches, we recommend you to go to Gold Coast – one of the most popular resorts in Bulgaria
The sights of Pomorie – our favorite city in Bulgaria
Exactly this small, quiet and pleasant holiday village has become our favorite. Here live the most friendly people, prices are of the lowest on the coast, and the most amazing sea views.
Despite the fact that in the city is actively advertised Thracian tomb, we do not recommend you to visit it. Entrance costs 4,5 levs, and is nothing to watch. Although you can look at it from the other side – next to the tomb, you can see a large plantation of kiwi.
Description and photos: our article about the sights of Pomorie
The sights of Balchik – a very beautiful botanical garden
We did not like Balchik. The city is quite neglected, especially if you walk towards a bus station. In Balchik we found three small museums and two churches, which were looking quite modest.
But in the city there is also a true gem that is considered to be the main attraction in the coastal area of Bulgaria – the Botanical Garden of Balchik.
In the garden is assembled an amazing collection of rare plants, trees and flowers. In greenhouses grow cacti and palm trees, from the slopes of local hills flow small streams falling down as picturesque waterfalls.
The Botanical Garden of Balchik is considered to be a masterpiece of landscape art. Here, we’ve got to make a huge amount of gorgeous photos. It is a pity that in the framework of a short article it is impossible to share them all.
Also in the botanical garden is situated the palace of Romanian Queen Maria. Outside it was much more beautiful and interesting than inside. Unfortunately, tourists were allowed only at first two floors, where in addition to antique furniture and few paintings there were nothing interesting.
We recommend: a detailed description and photos of Botanical Garden in Balchik.
What excursions upcountry are better to choose?
If you plan to see not only the resort part of Bulgaria, you need to travel deep into the country. To make such trip is most convenient by a rented car or during excursions.
We do not recommend you to use public transport for one day – you will have to go with a change in Varna, and the time of departure and arrival of routes is not most convenient for tourists.
If you have time and money, but do not want to drive a car, it is advisable to arrange a small tour for 2-3 days. Hotel or apartment in major cities in Bulgaria in summer will cost much cheaper than on the coast. They can be booked with the help of AirBnB (a flat) or Hotellook (a hotel). You can move between cities by bus.
Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi – visit the ancient capital of Bulgaria, which is 7000 years old
Veliko Tarnovo – one of the most visited sights in the continental part of Bulgaria. Despite the fact that the first settlements in this area are really dated back more than 7000 years, the annals of the town was first mentioned in IX century.
Previously, the city was the capital of Bulgaria, Bulgarian tsars were crowned here and here was the residence of Archbishop.
In 1393 the city was taken by Turks. A large part of the city’s attractions were destroyed and burned.
But it is really something to see in modern Veliko Tarnovo. We advise you to pay a special attention to the residence of Bulgarian kings and streets of the ancient city. It is interesting to walk around the city, located on the hillside. Buildings seemed to hang over each other, as in Italy or Greece.
Arbanassi – is authentic Bulgarian village, which preserved many ancient Bulgarian houses. The interesting thing is, that in many of them been preserved also interior decoration.
Kazanlak and Shipka – see mountains and the Valley of Roses
The Valley of Roses – the second most popular excursion in the mountainous part of Bulgaria.
It is worth to visit exactly in the period of blooming roses – since the second half of May and June.
In the Valley of roses are grown both red and white roses, and is regularly held a holiday of roses – an enchanting act, dedicated to harvesting.
Of rose petals further make oil, which is a part of cosmetics Bulgarian Rose.
Plovdiv and Bachkovo – a beautiful city and an ancient monastery
Plovdiv is a major industrial city in Bulgaria. If you look at Bulgarian products in supermarkets, almost half of them are made exactly in Plovdiv.
The city both modern and ancient, one of the oldest cities in Europe and the largest industrial center in Bulgaria. It, like Rome, is built on seven hills.
Bachkovo Monastery – the second largest in Bulgaria. Founded in 1083, it is even today has kept not only the beauty of old buildings, but also the kind of atmosphere that can be felt only in holy places.
An excursion to Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Despite the fact that it is located quite far from the seaside and it is difficult to get into the city (it is necessary to to travel almost a whole day), it is very interesting to visit.
City residents are very careful to preserve sights. For example, in a modern ordinary subway station may be preserved stone or brick masonry, which dates back over a thousand years.
In Sofia there are a lot of sights, but it is still far behind other European capitals.
Maybe is not worth visiting the city, coming from Bulgarian coast. The trip will be too difficult. But you should definitely arrive here, if you will drive past.
From Bulgaria to Istanbul – the largest city in Europe
Istanbul – the only city that is located both in Europe and in Asia. In terms of population it is the largest city in Europe (including the Asian part of its inhabitants).
The city has an ancient history – once it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In that time Russian ambassadors were so impressed with the city, that they decided to accept Christianity on the territory of Ruthenia.
Among the sights of Istanbul we would like to highlight Hagia Sophia and The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (or The Blue Mosque) – two fantastic temples, which are just opposite to each other. Also an interesting option seems to us visiting of former sultan’s palace and harem.
As you probably know, Istanbul is the capital of Turkey. Together with exciting attractions here you can see also markets – shopping in Turkey is interesting, but specific.
To Istanbul there are a lot of sightseeing options – from shopping for one day, to visiting the city and its attractions with 3 nights in Istanbul.
Is it better to travel independently or watch the sights during excursions?
If you primarily plan to watch the coast of Bulgaria, then independent travel by public transport or by a rented car will cost you much cheaper. In this case you will not be limited to timeframes of the tour and will be able to stay in the place you like a little bit longer. But keep in mind that public transport is only from city to city and so you will not be able to see many sights. Notable examples: Pobiti Kamani (also known as The Stone Desert), Aladzha Monastery, Kaliakra, the valley of Ropotamo or Ravadinovo Castle. In your own car, of course, there are no such problems.
If you prefer to see Bulgaria seriously and to visit Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo, for example, you should think about buying of an excursion – it turns out much more convenient.
Interesting and useful articles, which we can recommend you:
- Which is better in Bulgaria: an independent tourism or an excursion?
- What to see in Bulgaria? What sights to see and how to reach them?
- Pros and cons of holidays in Bulgaria – our view
- Which resort to choose to see the sights?
- Our reviews about the holiday in Bulgaria, Nessebar
- An overview of the most popular resorts of Bulgaria
- Our hiking along Bulgaria – 20 km, 5 cities and fantastic beaches.