Friday, January 28, 2022

Things To See in Bulgaria

EuropeBulgariaThings To See in Bulgaria

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There is a great variety of historical, natural, religious and artistic sights to see in Bulgaria. Throughout the country there are remains from different eras and periods, societies and peoples, spiritual and artistic figures, creating a beautiful blend of ethnic culture full of unique traditions and rituals, combined with a sense of belonging to the movements that shaped the world as we know it today. The Bulgarian tourism movement, founded more than a hundred years ago, has promoted the recognition of all the sights that make up the special Bulgarian identity through the programme “100 Tourist Attractions in Bulgaria” [www], which includes most of Bulgaria’s “must-see” attractions. Of course, the programme now includes more than 250 unique sights, but the names are still relevant today. Here are some of the most popular sites:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Old Town of Nessebar, Boyana Church, Madara Riding Stone Sculpture, Rila Monastery, Ivanovo Rock Church, Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari as historical sites and Pirin National Park, Srebarna Nature Reserve as natural sites.
  • the other great monasteries of Bulgaria that were centres of Bulgarian culture under Ottoman rule, such as the Bashkovo Monastery, the Troy Monastery, the Dryanovo Monastery, the Osenovlag Monastery, etc.
  • the natural creations in the Bulgarian mountains, which are a combination of amazement at the beauty of the natural forms and the exciting feeling of danger in front of the sharp ridges and deep gorges created only by wind and water. Among the most famous natural creations are the caves Dyavolsko Garlo (Bulgarian: Дяволското гърло, Devil’s Gorge), Ledenika (Bulgarian: Леденика, The Ice Cold), Magurata, whose walls are decorated with cave paintings, and Snezhanka (Bulgarian) : Снежанка, Snow White), the gorges of Trigrad and the river Erma, the rock phenomenon Chudnite Mostove (Bulgarian: Чудните мостове, The Wonder Bridges) and the natural pyramids near the town of Melnik and those near the village of Stob.
  • the still preserved medieval fortresses such as Tsarevets in Veliko Tarnovo, Baba Vida in Vidin, Tsari Mali Grad near Samokov, Samuil Fort near the village of Strumeshnica and Asenevtsi Fort near Asenovgrad.
  • the remains of the cities of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire in Sofia, Plovdiv, Nessebar, Sozopol, Razgrad and many other cities
  • historical architectural reserves such as the towns of Koprivshtitsa, Bozhentsi or Daskalolivnitsa in the city of Elena, the old town of Plovdiv, the Varosha district in Blagoevgrad and the Arbanasi district in Veliko Tarnovo
  • the sacred sites of Perperikon and Rupite, the country’s many ancient and medieval churches and the tombs of the Thracian kings
  • Sites of historical importance to the Bulgarian people, due to the actions of those who visited them, such as Mount Shipka, Mount Okolchitsa, the Oborishte region, the houses of Vasil Levski and Ivan Vazov, and the church of Batak, among many others.

There are many unique and interesting traditional rituals to be seen in Bulgarian culture, some of which have existed since pagan times and are still practised. Some of the most interesting rituals are:

  • nestinarstvo – a fire ritual that originated in the villages of the Strandzha Mountains and consists of dancing barefoot on the embers of the solder. Originally it was practised in the square of some Strandzhan villages, but today it can be observed in many places in the country on the night of Saints Constantine and Helena – 3 vs. 4 July. It is a unique blend of Eastern Orthodox Christian beliefs and pagan rituals in the Strandzha Mountains.
  • surva – a New Year ritual for good luck and healthy bonnets. It is practised by young children (up to 12 years old) on New Year’s Day by tapping older parents on the back with a survachka (a stick made of horn sticks decorated with wool, dried fruits and popcorn) and reciting a text for good luck.
  • kukerstvo – a traditional Bulgarian ritual to drive away evil spirits. The ritual is performed by men wearing masks and grotesque clothing made of animal skins, horns and hooves, and belts with large bells. The men dance, make loud noises with the bells on their belts and thus chase away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest, health and good luck for the whole year. The ritual usually takes place on New Year’s Eve, when “the monsters are hiding”.

How To Travel To Bulgaria

By planeThere are four international airports in Bulgaria, located in the cities of Sofia, Varna, Burgas and Plovdiv, but the traditional national airlines (such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Turkish Airways, etc.) only serve Sofia International Airport. However, there are numerous offers for charter and last-minute flights to Varna or...

How To Travel Around Bulgaria

By busThe fastest way to travel around the country is by bus. Buses often connect all major cities (you may need to ask for a taxi or have a taxi take you to the bus station). Timetable information in English is available online ( or ). Always confirm timetables...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Bulgaria

Bulgaria has committed to implementing the Schengen Agreement, although it has not yet done so. For citizens of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), an officially recognised identity card (or passport) is sufficient for entry. For other nationalities,...

Destinations in Bulgaria

Regions in BulgariaNorthern BulgariaLocated between the Danube to the north and the Balkans to the south, it is a lowland region. Also called Moesia in Roman times, the region is full of the remains of ancient fortresses in northern Bulgaria, including the large port city of Sexaginta Prista in...

Accommodation & Hotels in Bulgaria

Finding accommodation in Bulgaria is very easy, regardless of the price. You can find everything from hostels in Sofia and Plovdiv, from very cheap guesthouses along the coast to cheap hotels in all cities and luxury hotels in the big cities. There are many "mountain huts" or villas to...

Things To Do in Bulgaria

Hiking - This is a popular activity in Bulgaria, where a wide choice of areas for day or multi-day hikes is available. The best time to hike in the higher parts of the mountains is in summer, between the end of June and September, as the snow has already...

Food & Drinks in Bulgaria

Food in BulgariaBulgarian cuisine is representative of the cuisine of South-Eastern Europe. It has some Turkish and Greek influences, but it has some unique elements. The relatively warm climate and diverse geography provide excellent growing conditions for a variety of vegetables, bean, herb and fruit crops. Bulgarian cuisine is...

Money & Shopping in Bulgaria

Money in BulgariaThe Bulgarian currency unit is the Lev (лев, abbreviated "лв", plural: Leva), which comprises one hundred Stotinki. The Lev is pegged to the euro at 1.95583 Leva to the euro (which is the same rate as the old Deutsche Mark, to which the Lev was previously pegged...

Festivals & Holidays in Bulgaria

Holidays in BulgariaThe hanging of Vasil Levski, 19 FebruaryThe day when the Bulgarian people will pay tribute to the life and work of the revolutionary Vasil Levski - the apostle of freedom. (it is not a public holiday)Baba Marta (in Bulgarian: Баба Марта, which means grandmother Marta), 1 MarchA...

Traditions & Customs in Bulgaria

Bulgarians are incredibly friendly and very interested in talking to foreigners. Bulgarians tend to be much more open than some other Eastern Europeans and it is very advisable and useful to engage in dialogue with them. In small towns, especially in the Rhodope Mountains, people may invite you to...

Internet & Communications in Bulgaria

Domestic PhonesDomestic telephone service is available in almost all population centres (regardless of size) via PSTN or VoIP.Mobile phonesMobile phones are very common in Bulgaria - many people have two or three phones with different providers. There are three networks (M-tel, Globul and Vivacom), all of which use the...

Language & Phrasebook in Bulgaria

Bulgarian is a South Slavic language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet.Bulgarian is mutually intelligible with Macedonian (considered by many Bulgarians to be a variant of Bulgarian) and also closely related to Serbo-Croatian. Russian and other Slavic languages are more distant, but still similar. If you know some of them,...

Culture Of Bulgaria

Traditional Bulgarian culture contains mainly Thracian, Slavic and Bulgarian heritage, as well as Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Persian and Celtic influences. Nine historical and natural objects have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Madara Horseman, the Thracian tombs of Sveshtari and Kazanlak, the Boyana Church, the Rila...

History Of Bulgaria

Prehistory and AntiquityHuman activity on the territory of present-day Bulgaria dates back to the Palaeolithic. It is believed that the animal bones carved in the Kozarnika Cave are the first examples of symbolic human behaviour. Prehistoric societies organised on Bulgarian soil include the Neolithic Hamangia culture, the Vinča culture...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Bulgaria

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