There haven’t been any official studies in search of Bulgarians’ favorite destinations in their own country, but if you judge by the crowds flocking to some attractions on the weekends, they certainly have preferences. If you prefer to travel like a local, head to some of the best destinations in Bulgaria, according to Bulgarians.
The whole area of Belogradchik town is spectacular with its miles of peculiar rock formations known as the Belogradchik Rocks. Perched on top of one of the rock groups is the Belogradchik Fortress. The fortress is open daily from 9am to 6pm, and the ticket costs BGN 3 (US$1.5).
Belogradchik rocks, Bulgaria, +359 93 630 01
Rila Monastery is the biggest monastery in the country and part of the UNESCO heritage in Bulgaria. Hundreds of people flock to the religious site founded over 1,000 years ago by the Bulgarian Saint Ivan of Rila. One of the must-sees at the monastery is the Rafail’s Cross – a wooden crucifix with more than 100 tiny Bible scenes carved into it by the monk Rafail who was almost blind when he finished it.
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria, +359 705 422 08
Kapana art district in Plovdiv
Kapana is the coolest place you can visit in Plovdiv for arts, culture, and craft beer. Its amazing transformation from a decaying central area with crumbling buildings and cars parked on the pavement to a thriving creative hub open for pedestrians only took a couple of years. If you are lucky, your trip will coincide with one of the arts and crafts festivals taking place in Kapana.
Although there are almost no foreign tourists at the waterfalls, they are crowded with Bulgarians, especially on weekends when the human traffic may be overwhelming. If you want to see the turquoise elegance of the waterfalls for yourself, any local will recommend you visit them on a weekday.
Krushuna Waterfalls, Krushuna, Bulgaria, +359 88 633 1800
The old capital of Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most beautiful historical cities you can visit in Bulgaria with its fortress from the Second Bulgarian Empire era towering on a hill above the streets. Stroll along the old craftsmen street Samovodska Chrashia, sip coffee brewed on hot sand and shop for some of the best artistic souvenirs you will find in the country.
Iskar River Gorge
Iskar River Gorge is a beautiful natural site that is only half an hour’s train ride from Sofia which makes it extremely popular almost all year round. The gorge offers many marked easy-level trails and vantage points as well as rock climbing spots and caves open for visitors – an ideal day out for both families and solo adventurers.
Nessebar’s old town
This is a shared love between locals and foreigners, who all find Nessebar stretching on a tiny peninsula into the Black Sea, a charming summer destination. Whether you are a history buff and want to see all the ancient churches, or you simply enjoy old wooden houses that smell like centuries gone by, you will fall in love with this historical town.
This cave, just 90 minutes’ drive from Sofia, is nicknamed the ‘eyes of God’ because of the peculiar shape of the two openings in its ceiling resembling a mighty power looking down on the tiny visitors. The whole area is full of eco-trails and amazing rocks that will fill a whole day of exploring.