One of the most fascinating of the historic Eastern European nations is Bulgaria. The country of about eight million inhabitants sits in the southeast region of Europe and is filled with rugged mountains, lowland areas near the Danube River, rich farmland, and miles of sandy beaches along the coast of the Black Sea.
It’s one of the continent’s least densely populated countries, meaning there’s a lot of room to enjoy yourself and explore all of the hidden treasures located here. These are some of the best destinations to visit in wonderful Bulgaria.
1. Rila National Park
This is an amazing sanctuary in the mountains and this is filled with a wide range of interesting animals and plants. You’ll come across eagles, deer, goats, bats, and owls as well as many other species of wildlife. There are also 282 different moss species in the park as well as 233 different types ofmushrooms.
Mount Musala is in the park and this is Bulgaria’s highest point as it reaches just over 9,500 feet in the air. Rila Park is popular with hikers since a portion of the European E4 trail goes through it. If you get hungry, you can always stop at a mountain hut for a hot local meal.
Sofia is the capital and largest city in Bulgaria. This is where much of the nation’s history and culture lies and it can be experienced via the local museums, churches, and beautiful architecture. TheNational Museum of History is highly recommended.
The population is about a million people, but it has a small town charm to it. The nightlife is quite active and when you want to relax you’ll find plenty of parkland. Summer markets are popular along the cobblestone streets as nearby farmers head to the city to sell their produce.
3. Shiroka Laka
The picturesque village of Shiroka laka lies in the southern region of the country and takes you on a trip back in time. It sits in the Rhodope Mountains and is home to traditional two-story homes. There’s also a music school here where you’ll hear bagpipes and singing. The architecture is wonderful and the traditions of the 17th century can still be witnessed here. It’s an ideal spot to walk around and explore. If you head 10 miles out of town you’ll come across hot springs near the town of Beden.
This small village sits beneath sand hills and is the home to about 400 people. It’s located about two hours by car from Sofia. The landscape here is perfect for growing wine grapes and the results are quite tasty. In fact, the wine is so good just about every home here comes with its own wine cellar. One of themost popular sites is the Damianitza Winery. Also, just a few miles from the village you can visit the Rozhen Monastery where you’ll find some beautiful carvings, icons, and stained glass.
The small town of Belogradchik sits close to the Serbian border at the foot of the majestic BalkanMountains Bulgaria’s northwest region. It features some tremendous rock formations which are quite exceptional to see when the sun starts to set and shines upon them. You’ll also find the Kaleto Fortress here, which blends in magnificently with the ancient rocks.
Varna lies on the coast next to the Black Sea and is known as quite a hopping resort. It’s also home to the best archaeological museum in Bulgaria as well as numerous churches and a national naval museum. In addition, the country’s biggest Roman baths can be found here along with an art gallery and a marine park known as dolphinarium. One of the best beaches here is Sveti Konstantin.