So you’re planning to visit Bulgaria soon? Great, because you are going to have an amazing time. However, Bulgaria is one of the most undiscovered and unpopular countries to travel. That’s why you need to be prepared and what better way to learn about a destination than from the local experts.
Check out what some of the best local travel bloggers say about the most important things you need to know before visiting Bulgaria.
1. The unique combination between jaw-dropping scenery and delectable cuisine
Bulgaria boasts a unique combination of breath-taking mountains and a drop-dead gorgeous seaside. It is one of the oldest nations in Europe and its cultural heritage is among the top 3 in the world.
Bulgaria’s location has contributed to the diversity of its delectable cuisine which combines the fiery Balkan spirit with the mild fragrance of the Mediterranean and is generously sprinkled with the spicy love drops of the Middle East. If you add the fact that all this comes at reasonable prices and with top-notch service, you will end up with your next travel destination.
– Svetoslav from Svet Dimitrov
2. The multifaceted metropolis
Many people coming in Sofia have no idea what she actually is. Some depart fascinated, others bored, third disappointed. In reality, there’s something for everyone but it`s hidden and can`t be seen immediately.
This is a town with character – aristocratic; gray; sometimes even arrogant, but if you succeed to find the way to her heart, she will enchant you with colors and shapes. The little coquette streets are full of treasures – from quirky bars to creative places. Sofia isn`t for everyone, she`s a challenge for brave and tireless. So coming hither stock up with card, preselected info and discoverer spirit.
– Stela from In Resfebella’s Backpack
3. Go to the mountains!
Many travelers visiting Bulgaria focus on the most frequented tourist sites – the cities and Black Sea coast. But if you want to know the ‘real’ Bulgaria, to taste real food, to see the authentic traditions and to observe the life in its most traditional appearance, go to the mountains!
During the long and turbulent Bulgarian history, mountains were the places where people could preserve their national identity. That’s why you will find fine traditional architecture in Koprivshtitsa, amazing folklore in the area of Bansko, tasty traditional food around Kardjali and the most beautiful views in each of the Bulgarian mountains.
– Geri from When Woman Travels
4. The highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula is located in Bulgaria
This is the top of the Rila mountain – Musala peak, 2925 meters high. Despite its impressive height, Musala is not so difficult to climb up. Hiking to the peak takes about three hours in direction. The starting point of the route is hut Yastrebets. The hut can be reached by cable car from the center of the Borovets resort. The distance between Borovets resort and Sofia is 70 km or approximately an hour and 20 minutes driving.
So, if you come to Bulgaria and you have a free day, you can devote it to climbing the top of the Balkans. For sure, you will be awarded with wonderful mountain views and with amazing feeling!
– Elena from Drumi v Dumi
5. Vitosha mountain
Just a few kilometers outside of the center of Sofia, there is a beautiful mountain called Vitosha which makes for a perfect getaway from the noise and the pollution of the busy city. It is great for skiing in the winter and picnics and hikes in the summer.
You can reach it by bike, car or even bus to some extent, then a nice walk in the nature will lead you to a magnificent view of the city from above that can leave you speechless. If you like to hike you can reach the Boyana waterfall where you can chill and enjoy the fresh air.
– Sianna from EO Stories
6. Go to Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the sixth oldest town in the world and it has been selected as European Capital of Culture in 2019. Yay! Here are some must see places in #pLOVEdiv.
– Kapana (the Trap) – the creative and alternative district
– The Old Town – the historical place
– The Rowing Canal (Regatta Venue) – the largest sport facility in the Balkans
And last but not least, don’t forget to climb some of the hills to see Plovdiv from above! But if you want to survive, please, plan your trip during the spring season, the summer is hot like hell.
– Stanislava from Om Trips Blog
You were a ghost town and I was too patriotic to leave. – Anonymous #pLOVEdiv #mytravelgram #travelgram #diary #personalblog #blogger #blog #zen #europe #travel #travelblog #mytravelgram #plovdiv #bulgaria #mood #namaste #notebook #colorful #architecture #oldtown #free #house #winteriscoming #winter
7. FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST EAT IT!!!
You are thinking about visiting Bulgaria? Wow, you must be quite the adventurous type! You must be reaaally crrrrrrraaazy! Just kidding, you must be awesome and I gotta tell you – you are in for a real treat! 🙂
If I had to give you just the one advise I would say: If a Bulgarian “baba” (grandma) invites you to eat (cooks for you; offers you food; welcomes you into her home; etc.), never, NEVER say no. There’s no such thing as “Oh no, I am too full to eat” or “I don’t eat that or that” FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST EAT IT!!! 😀 Anything else wоuld upset the “baba” or could even make her mad… You don’t want to take that risk, I’m telling you!
– Jo from 99 Lives
8. The great wine
Get ready to discover and enjoy unique wines of Bulgaria, one of the oldest producers of wine in the world. The modern face of the Bulgarian wine combines the traditional with the modern. Local grape varieties such as Mavrud, Melnik and Dimyat are found alongside such famous international blends as Merlot, Pinot Noar and Syrah.
Make sure you try the typical Bulgarian varieties and if you know very little about them, I recommend making your choice in Vino Orenda Wine Shop in Sofia –the Bulgarian wine specialists– where you will find a great wine selection, friendly atmosphere and good advice. However, the best way to discover unique Bulgarian wines is to go on a wine tour and visit some of the Bulgarian wineries.
– Elitsa from Life Tasting
9. The unique handmade crafts
On your way to Bulgaria make sure that you leave lots of empty space in your suitcase for all the lovely souvenirs you are going to buy. Handmade pottery, woodcarvings, jewellery, leather items, even rose-oil and yogurt based cosmetics – the choice is staggering and the prices are a fraction of what you would pay for similar craftsmanship and originality anywhere else in Europe.
Plus, make sure to check some of the many art galleries all over the country. You will find some of the most amazing paintings, sculptures and one of a kind jewels making you feel like a proper art collector.
– Rossi from Rossi Writes
10. The country in which yes is no and vice versa
When you do not speak the local language, you rely on English and the body language. But there are such places as Bulgaria where even gestures might mislead you and you can end up in funny situations. When we want to say YES, we shake head to the left and to the right, and when we want to decline, we nod head up and down, i.e contrary to the general rule. It is good for you to know this fact.
Very often in the supermarkets the women at the cash desk do not speak English and they ask you in Bulgarian do you want a bag. If you respond only with a gesture yes, you will not get one, because the lady will think you are saying no.
– Tsvety from Betty Travels
11. Bulgaria is full of natural phenomenons
People always wonder what is so special about Bulgaria. For me, Bulgaria is a land full of thousands of spectacular natural phenomenons that will leave you speechless once you see them. If you are ready to enjoy some more time in the country, head outside of Sofia to places like Prohodna Cave, Belogradchik Rocks, Melnik Pyramids (on the photo below), Pobiti Kamani, the Stone Wedding rock formation and many more. Don’t plan when to leave the country because once you visit you’ll be surprised how much you can see here!
– Maria from Travelling Buzz
12. Rural Therapy
Rural life in Bulgaria becomes more and more appealing. Either you open guest house, practice traditional local crafts or you’ll just pick herbs in the woods and sell them in the local markets, the choice is all yours. And why don’t you try to become a biological farmer – to grow vegetables, to make your own wine or to take care of beehives?
Rural areas in Bulgaria have great scenery, air is clean, water is abundant, soils are perfect, and property prices are the lowest in all Europe. Don’t think twice!
– Gavrail Gavrailov (“Bulgaria’s Villages – Directions for Tourism and Culture” – Siela)
13. Rose Damascena- One of the symbols of Bulgaria
The valley of the roses is located south from The Balkan mountains (Stara planina). The valley is popular with the cultivation or roses for industrial purpose. They’re one of the symbols of Bulgaria. For centuries Bulgarian people have cultivated Rose Damascena. This beautiful plant has been imported from the Middle East about 300 years ago and was used for the production of popular rose oil.
Nowadays Bulgaria produces more than 70 % of rose oil in the world. It makes our country the largest producer of the valuable rose oil. It is used in perfumery, medicine and cosmetics. It is really interesting that the rose harvest is done manually very early in the morning. The color should be fresh and it is necessary in order to be preserved roses’ flavour and moisture longer. And if you come in May or June in Bulgaria you can attend the Rose festival held in Karlovo, Kazanlyk, Pavel banya and you won’t regret 🙂
– Julia from Time2Travel
14. The impressive historical heritage
Bulgaria is one of the few places in the world that provides such diversity and insight into human civilisations. Between Europe and Asia, this area has been host to tribes, kingdoms and empires. With major artefacts still being uncovered with astonishing regularity, it takes a little while for the magnitude of historical wealth to sink in.
From the smallest details to the grand ascetics of castles and fortresses, the history of Bulgaria is told through its vast and well preserved heritage, and sparks the imagination of young and old.
History buff or just curious traveller, you wont be disappointed!
– Alek from Kukr
15. Heaven’s on Earth
One of the most beautiful places in our wonderful country is the Raiskoto pruskalo waterfall. It’s the highest waterfall in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula – 124. 5 meters. The waterfall is situated under Botev peak in Central Balkan National Park, Stara Planina. The name of the waterfall in Bulgarian literally means ‘’a heavenly spray”, and the whole area around the waterfall is like heaven on Earth. To get to the waterfall you can start a hike from Kalofer.
There is a hut located near the waterfall when you can spend a night under the stars. Camping is also allowed. And after getting to the waterfall why not go a little bit further and climbing the Botev peak, the highest peak in Stara Planina, rising at 2 376 meters above the sea level.
– Bilyana, Owl Over The World
Let us know in the comments – what is your experience with Bulgaria? Are you visiting soon or you’ve already enjoyed its beauty?
kami | March 25, 2016
these are all really interesting, I especially like the yes-no mix up and always catch myself doing it the wrong way in Bulgaria 😉 The country is among my favourites and I think it’s way too underrated! It can offer so much: interesting cities, amazing nature, delicious food yet it’s mostly known for the seaside!
Maria | Author | March 25, 2016
I’m glad you found the charm of Bulgaria and thanks for the great words!
Arun Gera | April 5, 2017
excellent, in fact i visited Bg in 2001 (August)… I wish you had written this article before that…my first blunder was i did not eat the food served by ‘Baba’ mother of my lady friend…seems that started the whole thing on wrong note!
and you forgot to mention that Bg has world’s most intelligent and beautiful girls… their iq level is similar to that of Marie Querie 😉
Tania Mileva | March 27, 2016
Thank you for the beautiful words, there is a lot of charm in Bulgaria, nice places to visit and beautiful people.
Maria | Author | March 27, 2016
I absolutely agree!
Стефан Димитров | August 19, 2016
why its nothing been said about Gabrovo, Etara? I am dissapointed!
Maria | Author | August 19, 2016
Hi Stefan, Etara is a nice place to visit, indeed. Maybe we will include it in a next blog post 😛
Rikki | April 2, 2017
my first trip outside my country was to Bulgaria. it was a business trip, but we were able to explore Sofia and Plovdiv during the winter 3 years ago. i hope to be able to come back again. the food was awesome too!
Maria | Author | April 5, 2017
Ah, you need to see Bulgaria during spring or summer too. The countryside is so beautiful! 🙂
Donovan Boucher | April 10, 2017
My fiance and I will be flying to Bulgaria on Wednesday from South Africa. We will be there for 9 days visiting 3 cities before moving on to Macedonia.
We will arrive in Sofia on Thursday. I would like to know if you have any advise on places to visit in Sofia to meet and interact with the locals? We love meeting new people when we travel and I don’t think there is a better way to experience the culture.
Do most Bulgarians speak english? (I am 26 years old and my fiancé is 22)
Maria | Author | April 13, 2017
I wish you great time in Sofia! It is Easter this weekend so you may feel the festive spirit.
A place where you can hang out with locals is anywhere in the city center – a lot of bars, etc. but there is also a Traveller’s Club (bar) where you can also have a beer and meet local travellers – https://www.facebook.com/TravellersClubSofia/ (sorry the page is in Bulgarian, but you can message them to ask if they are open during this holiday weekend).
I’m not going to be in Sofia this weekend, otherwise I would’ve loved to meet you. Also, if you want to hang out with other bloggers in Bulgaria, you can ask in this FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travel.bloggers.for.bulgaria/
Travel Around The World | May 24, 2017
Very unique place to travel. 😉 Fantastic city, amazing people.
Check this great video about Sofia https://youtu.be/cVdTwkvqP7s
Love Bulgaria. I have been there last year and I know I’ll be back someday soon.
Hayley | May 26, 2017
I’m going to Bulgaria for a week, staying in Sofia (hostel has been paid for already) and possibly doing some day trips.
We will probably eat out twice a day and will definitely be sampling the wine! Not really interested in shopping or clubbing nights out. Mainly just nice meals and wandering around taking it in.
I’m just wondering how much money to bring with me, we won’t be going crazy as we are on a budget but an idea of the rough cost for a week would be gravely appreciated?!
Maria | Author | May 29, 2017
A nice meal out in a restaurant will cost you around 10-15 Euro per person. Check out this website for price references: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Bulgaria&displayCurrency=EUR. I wish you a great trip!
Indu | August 31, 2017
Thanks for the information! My husband and I are traveling to Sofia in a few weeks and planning to do a roadtrip through Bulgaria and a few of the surrounding countries. These are very helpful tips!
Maria | Author | September 14, 2017
I’m happy to hear that. Enjoy your trip in Bulgaira and have fun!
Bob | April 13, 2018
Great write-up. what you say about the wine is so true! i spent a few months in sofia just chilling and had a lot (a whole lot) of mavrud with all of the excellent food.
This summer I’ve got the good fortune to be planning to hike kom-emine and look forward to the rural side of the nation, as well as the nature. i’ll be kicking that off with some urban time in sofia though and look forward to some good eats/drinks/meetings.
Maria Stoyanova | Author | April 13, 2018
Wow, you are doing Kom-Emine? It is on my list of things to do in Bulgaria but still figuring out the time. I am sure you’ll have a great time! Where did you find info to help you with the planning of the trek?
Anne | September 28, 2018
My husband and I are thinking about a hiking trip to Bulgaria and are looking at possibly extending the trip by a few days to go to the beach. What would you recommend? Any easy ways to get from Sophia (we will fly in and out of there) to get to the Black Sea? Would we need to rent a car?
Maria Stoyanova | Author | October 17, 2018
There are buses from Sofia that can take up to 7-8 hours to the Black Sea. The better and faster option is to rent a car. Enjoy!