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Sofia in the fall | © Deensel/Flickr
Sofia in the fall | © Deensel/Flickr

The Best Things to See and Do in Bulgaria in Autumn

Picture of Maria Angelova
Updated: 18 January 2018

Bulgaria is gorgeous in the fall with the bright red, orange, and yellow colors of the canopy of foliage, the harvest festivals, and the renewal of cultural life in the big cities after the end of the summer’s “beach state of mind.” If you visit the country in the fall, here are the best activities and attractions to include in your schedule.

Go wine-tasting

Fall is the busiest time of the year for the wineries, and it is also when the endless vineyards’ changing colors make for a perfect photo backdrop. Several Bulgarian wineries offer tourists the possibility of joining in the grape-picking process, and most have special wine and history tours that include a tasting at the end.

Go to the beach, minus the crowds

The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast tends to get overcrowded in summer, so the best time to hit the beach if you prefer tranquility is mid-September. This is when the sea water is still warm, and the weather may be as hot as in the summer or at least enjoying mild, pleasant temperatures. Many hotels will offer discounted packages for late vacationers, which is another good reason to seize the opportunity.

See the mystical mists while hiking in the mountains

If you love the fall colors of the forest, you should choose between the two Bulgarian mountain ranges with gorgeous seasonal nuances – the Rhodope Mountains and Stara Planina Mountain. The Pirin Mountains and Rila Mountains are mainly rocky and Alpine-like. Wherever you choose to go, however, head out early in the morning or spend the night at a mountain lodge and then wake up at dawn to see the stunning beauty of the crawling mist among the peaks.

Join the Pumpkin Festival in Sevlievo

This joyful harvest festival takes place in the small town of Sevlievo, in central Bulgaria. Street processions, pumpkin displays by local producers, and pumpkin delicacies are among the highlights of the event. If you are into art, you may even learn how to carve a pumpkin. The Pumpkin Festival in Sevlievo is usually held in the middle of October.

Attend the Sofia Biting Docs Film Festival

Sofia Biting Docs is one of the movie events that are worth sticking around for in Sofia. It takes place at several independent cinemas and cultural centers in Sofia and features documentaries from all over the world, tackling topics from social justice to biographies and travel documentaries. All the movies are subtitled in Bulgarian and English.

Cycle around the countryside

The warm fall weekends in Bulgaria are made for cycling day trips. Pack your lunch, grab your bike (or rent one), and venture into the low-traffic minor roads of the country. These roads are pleasant and dotted with picturesque villages. If you feel more adventurous, you can visit any of the hundreds of abandoned villages in Bulgaria.

Go rock climbing or explore rock formations

While summer is a scorching time to be around rocks, the milder weather in the fall is perfect to explore the stunning rock formations sprinkled all over the country or to go rock climbing. Usually, you can combine these routes with light mountain hikes.