Holidaymakers will reel from the myriad of nature, history, and adventures that Bulgaria has to offer. The city life is vibrant, the natural landscape pristine and the eclectic culture unparalleled. A memorable vacation awaits anyone who ventures to Bulgaria, a country rich with a diverse history influenced by Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian traditions. Beaches with sparkling turquoise waters line the coasts where tourists often frolic to their heart’s content. Adventure buffs can conquer the untamed landscapes by trekking the seven mountain ranges across the country. There, hikers may come across a wolf or bear concealed among the trees. Religion is a vital aspect of Bulgarian culture, and their religious art, churches, and carvings will impress the most daring artist. Whatever it may be, Bulgaria has countless things to do and places to visit for any tourist or local. From the capital city of Sofia, venture out to see more of the country by going on one of these top day trips from Sofia, Bulgaria.
Also known as Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, this impressive spectacle in the Rila mountain range stands as the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in the country. Founded as far back as the 10th century by Ivan of Rila, it is an iconic landmark to the people of Bulgaria and a tourist favourite. Bonyana Church complements this tour since it is a Medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was also built in the 10th century and has murals within the walls of the church. During this tour, expect a guide to educate you on the rich history of both churches, and you can use the onboard Wi-Fi to fact check as you follow along. This site is less than two hours away from Sofia.
Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Tour from Sofia
Plovdiv showcases the tradition and culture of Bulgaria’s past. A tour of this city will give you insights on the country’s development over the millennia and how the influences of Ottoman and Roman civilizations have been woven into its current framework. You’ll enjoy a lively, guided tour that shows off the historical landmarks, old towns, music, art, and ancient sites that will help you picture Bulgaria’s rich cultural treasures. So prepare for an intriguing tour of Plovdiv that will teach you a thing or two about Bulgarian history. This destination is 146 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital.
Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia
Duration: 9 hour
Located 220 kilometres (136 miles) from Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo is a city comprised of buildings with incredible architectural design. Tour a city that was once home to emperors and members of the nobility and see structures made with opulent designs depicting their power and strength. Baldwin Tower, a medieval fortress that stands center-stage as part of the tour, will take you back to the Middle Ages. Standing high over a steep hill, it sets a precedent for the dark and ominous tales of the past. You’ll traverse Patriarchal Church of Tsarevets and experience the views of the Arbanasi village. Before you head back to Sofia, be sure to take a stroll to Samovodska Charshia Street and grab a souvenir to remember your trip by.
From Sofia: Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
Duration: 10 hour
Get immersed in the communist period with this day tour. From 1946 until 1989, communism was a real part of Bulgaria’s history. The remnants of this time stand out amid the beautiful terrain in Sofia, Bulgaria. First up on the tour is Museum of Socialist Art, Sofia, which showcases more than 70 sculptures, including one that represented the Party House that was once in power. The tour also includes a trip to the Buzludzha monument, which celebrated the rise of socialism in the country. After the tour, you will enjoy a long ride back to Sofia where you can take in the views of the countryside.
Communist day tour - Landmarks of the Iron curtain
Duration: 10 hours
Explore the quaint town of Koprivshtitsa with a fully guided private tour. Enjoy the scenic route and see surrounding wildlife while learning from your guide about the history of this endearing town. You’ll be able to stroll along the cobbled streets to admire the cosy houses and meander to museums that display artwork and furniture from decades past. Learn about the culture, tradition, and heritage of Koprivshtitsa and the part it plays in Bulgarian history. This destination is 108 kilometres (67 miles) from the capital city.
From Sofia: Koprivshtitsa Full-Day Trip with Optional Lunch
Duration: 8 hour
A tour of the gorgeous wonders of Saeva Dupka and Ledenika is a real treat for nature explorers. Begin your tour with a scenic drive across the Balkan range, which takes you to the cave. Saeva Dupka has five halls of cave formations that were once the perfect hiding places for those who fled during the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. Ledenika Cave in the Balkans features stalactites and stalagmites, as well as 10 halls filled with intriguing rock formations. A walk through Passage of Sinners is one of the fun parts of this tour, as legend has it only the pure of heart can walk through unscathed. After your tour of the cave, enjoy lunch in the city of Vratsa.
Saeva dupka and Ledenika Caves Day-Tour from Sofia
Duration: 9 hours
Cool down in Krushuna Waterfalls with a full-day tour to this colossal waterfall, 2.5 hours away from Sofia. With your tour guide in tow, you get the chance to explore this cascading rush and refresh yourself under its waters. Take a dip in a few of the shallow pools of mineral water and feel the tranquil breeze coming from the mountain. With a beautiful landscape and lush greenery, you may spot a few of the native wildlife peeking through the bushes. The tour will lead you to hidden caves once lived in by Christian hermits. The largest cave, Devetashka, is an impressive sight to behold. After you complete the tour, lunch may be enjoyed at a restaurant nearby.
From Sofia: Full-Day Krushuna Waterfalls & Devetashka Cave
Duration: 10 hour
Test your fate with a trek up Musala Peak in the Balkans by going on a hiking tour of epic proportions. A gondola will bring you to the Yastrebets summit before you start your quest toward Musala Peak. From there, you’ll traverse deep gorges, amazing crests, and steep terrain while exploring the beautiful views and glacial lakes around you. Your final rest stop before heading back from this amazing adventure is the Ledeno Ezero mountain shelter, where you can chill for a bit and catch your breath.
Musala Peak, Rila Mountains: Full-Day Hiking Tour from Sofia
Duration: 12 hour
A tour of this spectacular wonder will not leave your memories for years to come. Start off your tour at the Boyana waterfall that stretches more than 14 meters (35 feet) high - the cascading waters is a sight to behold. Follow the trail up Vitosha Mountain and observe the resident wildlife until you climb to the peak, Kamen Del, where you’ll have stunning views of Sofia. At the end of the trip, relax at the pristine Bonyana Lake as you reminisce on your latest adventure. Vitosha is about an hour away from the capital.
From Sofia: One-Day Tour of Vitosha Mountain
Duration: 8 hour
Calling all geologists to Belogradchik Rocks, home to some of the most spectacular rock formations in the world. Take a tour up the Balkan Mountains where you’ll learn all about the epic rock formations created over thousands of years. Discover Belogradchik Fortress, an intricate part of Roman history that has been well preserved over the ages. Finally, you’ll also explore Venetsa Cave, which is one of the biggest in Bulgaria. Here you can see the rocks up close and admire their brilliant shapes and hues. Belogradchik Rocks is about three hours away from Sofia.
From Sofia: Belogradchik Rocks Full-Day Tour
Duration: 10 hour
Explore the landmarks in these fabulous day trips from Sofia
Charming, picturesque and bubbling with vibrancy, Bulgaria has some truly outstanding places to explore. Whatever your idea of adventure is, Bulgaria has a treasure trove of specialities to fit your fancy. Waterfalls, religious sites, and mountain trekking are just a few. Here’s hoping you find one of these day trips from Sofia to be your perfect match.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.