The Best Cities To Visit In Bulgaria

best cities in bulgaria

Have you ever traveled to Bulgaria? If so, tell us where? What have you been doing? Would you return for a second visit? Frankly, exploring Bulgaria’s riches is without a doubt beyond one’s wildest dreams – majestic lands, lush greenery, extraordinary landscapes, rich history, and culture – what more could one wish for?

Know the essentials: top 6 Bulgarian cities

Quartet Varosha with snow
Source: Photo by user Klearchos Kapoutsis used under CC BY 2.0

Described as an exceptionally beautiful and distinctive destination, Bulgaria boasts having the most picturesque mountains, golden beaches, neat villages and traditional food making you “eat your fingers” as the Bulgarian saying goes. All that being said, if you don’t happen to be impressed by Bulgaria, then you must be a hard-hearted individual! All jokes aside, discovering the magnificent beauty of Bulgaria and some of its greatest cities is not only an unforgettable experience, but a phenomenal one.

1.The beautiful capital of Bulgaria: meet Sofia

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user user:MrPanyGoff used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This European country lies on the Balkan peninsula and its current population is 7,061,389, according to US estimates. The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia – the beautiful metropolis featuring a compact city center, cozy cafes and restaurants, alongside worthwhile tourist stops, all of which are within walking distance of one another. Once you set foot in Sofia, you’ll want to explore some of its most prominent landmarks, along with contemplating its magical sunsets and landscapes high up on Vitosha Mountain.

Undoubtedly, Sofia has its own unique riches, taking any tourists breath away. The suburbs of Boyana, the National History Museum, the Vitosha nature park, Borisova Gradina Central Park and the eminent Cathedral St. Alexander Nevski represent only a small fraction of the most notable places around here. There are also various free activities that you can check out there!

Why visit: First-time travelers can get to know more about the capital’s most recognized and worthwhile spots and landmarks around here. In the meantime, adventurers might also want to make the most of the many winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding in the Vitosha mountain, which is only 0.6 km (0.37 miles) away from the capital.

2.Plovdiv: lose yourself in the Old Town quarter

Old Town Plovdiv - panoramio - Colin W (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Colin W used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Being the second largest Bulgarian city, Plovdiv is perhaps one of the most striking and the favorite, even for natives themselves. Visiting Plovdiv is like stepping into a whole new world, catching your eye with its extraordinary Roman Amphitheatre, dating from the 2nd century A.D, the Ethnographical Museum or the Balabanov House – a symbol of the Bulgarian National Revival and another page of the country’s deep-rooted history. Around here tourists are offered a lovely range of sightseeing options jumping from one magnificent and significant spot to another.

Tip: don’t miss out on walking through the Old Town as it will surely remain a memorable experience of yours.

Why visit: Plovdiv will absolutely amaze you with the unique architecture of the Old Town quarter which is very well preserved, even today. Considered one of the city’s best features, you’ll surely love to take a walk down the symbolic, cobbled streets in the Old Town quarter and lose yourself in the spirit of the lovely city of Plovdiv.

3.Pleven offers an incredible historical legacy

Pleven Town Hall Todor Bozhinov
Source: Photo by user Todor Bozhinov / ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Sitting in an agricultural region, the town of Pleven serves as a large cultural and economic center with about 138,000 inhabitants. As alluring as it genuinely seems to be, Pleven is often depicted as a distinguished town known for its rich historical legacy as well as its magnificent landscapes. Considered the 7th largest Bulgarian town, Pleven attracts a myriad of international visitors with its unconventional spirit, cultural landmarks, water cascades, unique art galleries, cave museums dedicated to wine production, and so much more. An excellent example of the city’s charm is the noteworthy water cascade fountain, featuring several water mirrors, a few waterfalls, and fountains. Are you already hooked? Because we certainly are.

Why visit: Pleven is home to an incredibly rich legacy and a wonderful range of cultural landmarks which will totally take your breath away. Once you get in and around this beautiful Bulgarian city, don’t miss out on visiting the prominent cave museum honoring handmade wine production. Besides, what’s better than being able to try out a classy selection of wine?

4.Veliko Tarnovo: enjoy the sound and light show

Bulgaria-1026 - Tsarevets at Night
Source: Photo by user Dennis Jarvis used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Perhaps this city’s most famous feature is the world-recognized Tsarevets fortress, located in medieval Tarnovo city. It’s sound and light show has thousands of visitors come up and dive into the immense beauty and history of the stronghold. Perched on three hills, the old city of Tarnovo rises up amid the meandering of the local Yantra River. The construction of the Bulgar settlement was built in the 12th century and the defensive wall rises up to over 10 m (33 ft).

The symbolic fortress used to have a total of 3 entrances and today we can trace their outlines. The main one, however, defended by the towers, is accessible only from the western side. The second entrance bears the majestic name Asenova Gate as it is located in the north-western part of the fortress. The last entrance is regarded as the most famous one, known as Baldwin’s Tower – after a Latin Emperor of Flanders who was captured by the great Bulgarian king Tsar Kaloyan during the Battle of Adrianople.

In a nutshell, Tsarevets exemplifies a significant page of Bulgaria’s history book and the sound and light show constitutes a magical experience focusing on key moments in the rich culture and history of Bulgaria.

Why visit: Touring across Bulgarian lands without stopping by majestic Veliko Tarnovo – which used to be a Bulgarian capital back in the old days – is like going to the beach without jumping into the sea. Simply nonsense, right? The noted Tsarevets fortress in Veliko Tarnovo represents Bulgarian dignity and history which is definitely worth exploring while in the area.

5.Golden Sands actually have "golden sands"

Golden Sands, Bulgaria - panoramio (9)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Сашка Денисов used under CC BY 3.0

It’s time to discover the Bulgarian Riviera aka Bulgaria’s Golden Sands! Lined with outstanding beaches and ripper sea resorts, Golden Sands provides all the essentials for a magical and sensational getaway. And believe it or not, Bulgaria’s refined Golden Sands do actually offer exceptional “golden sands”.

The best part: nearby beaches are reached within a short distance of about 20 km (12 miles) away from Varna and Sunny Beach – another heavily-crowded summer destination attracting millions of worldwide visitors. Crystal water, amazing nightlife, and wonderful scenery await connoisseurs of nature.

Why visit: Just as much as any other sunny destination in Bulgaria, Golden Sands has it all in one place for swimmers and surfers – lovely beaches, golden sands, crystal waters, lava-hot sun, luxurious hotels and affordable Bulgarian cuisine – what more could you want out of a sunny destination?

6.Blagoevgrad: an appealing town with an amazing park

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Georgi Nikolchev,... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

As charming as it is, Blagoevgrad is a formidable administrative center to a many native and foreign investors. The marvelous city has a population of about 70,000 inhabitants and it serves as a great economic and cultural hot spot for the whole southwestern region of the country. As such, lovely Blagoevgrad is home to two prestigious universities, one of which is the American University of Bulgaria.

Why visit: foreigners are offered a wide variety of outdoor activities once they step into the town. A typical example of the town’s beauty is found in the Old Town quarter, also known as Varosha. Its unique architecture and authenticity are well-preserved by the authorities as some of them are even listed among the 100 National Tourist sites on the planet. Once tourists arrive, they simply get lost in the rich scenery of this place.

7.Bachinovo city park: the perfect getaway

Bachinovo's Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Georgina Petridou used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another quite charming location in Blagoevgrad is the local city park, Bachinovo. Regardless of your plans, Bachinovo city park is never a bad idea when you’re needing to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and breathe in some fresh air. Famous for its magical lake with swans and lush greenery, Bachinovo simply tops the list of must-see tourist places in the town of Blagoevgrad.

Why visit: Bachinovo is known as the perfect gathering spot for runners, joggers and everyone else who simply appreciates the raw beauty of nature. Wouldn’t you want to take a walk through magical Bachinovo park and rejoice in watching and feeding the swans and ducks in the lake?

Don't miss these Bulgarian cities

With all these details in mind, you can now see why these Bulgarian cities are so worthy of exploring at least once in a lifetime. Surely, there are many other great places in Bulgaria to get to know, but why don’t you start off your great Balkan tour with these top 6 beautiful Bulgarian cities?

Have a nice sightseeing tour across Bulgaria!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Marina Yoveva is a creative thinker, adventurer, and a poetry lover. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing on her personal blog and spending time with her family and friends. She's also a...Read more

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