Theatre in Sofia, Bulgaria
The best places to visit in Bulgaria are filled with contradictions. Use your Eurail Bulgaria Pass to discover a mix of stunning architecture, ancient ruins and contemporary culture. The country is still unspoiled by heavy tourism and much of its initial charm is still intact. From fashionable resorts and a vibrant nightlife to historic tombs and centuries-old monasteries, the traditions and contradictions of Bulgaria await you.
Sofia's streets of gold
Situated at the base of the picturesque Mount Vitosha, the capital city of Sofia is one of the oldest in Europe and the largest in Bulgaria. Your Eurail Bulgaria Pass is the key to uncovering its quaint boutiques, gold-colored streets and dynamic culture. The National Historical Museum will tell you all you need to know about Bulgaria’s past. One of the largest museums in the Balkans offers 650,000 exhibits. View more things to do in Sofia.
The National Historical museum can be reached by bus 66 and 111 and trolleybus 2.
Ancient ruins with a story
Settled several thousand years ago, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, Plovdiv, is rife with ancient ruins and remnants of Roman roads. Especially in old town (Staria Grad), which is a goldmine of artifacts. Don’t miss the Ethnographical Museum, which charts the town’s history, and the ruins of the Roman Theatre of Ancient Philippopolis (Plovdiv’s previous name). Plovdiv’s hilly terrain and colorful architecture is endlessly charming.
Plovdiv is a city best seen on foot. From train station Tsentralna Gara the center of town is a 15-minute walk, and the old town is another 15 minutes beyond that.
The cliffside fortress town
Located in central Bulgaria in an unspoiled countryside, the picturesque town of Veliko Tarnovo features ancient buildings hovering at the edge of a rocky cliff, overlooking the Yantra River. The stunning Tsarevets Fortress dates back to the 5th century, and you shouldn’t miss the sound and light show at sundown. But most of the art and architecture in town has its own story to tell, and it’s a story worth hearing.
Several buses leave from Veliko Tarnovo center and deliver you to the entrance of the Tsarevets Fortress, about 2/3 of a mile (1 km) from the center of town.
The coastal city of Varna and the surrounding areas are rich in history, and also have fantastic beachside resorts. It’s a best-of-both-worlds situation, as the amazing Roman Thermae are the largest ruins in all of Bulgaria, and the Varna Summer Festival includes all of the fun that the Black Sea beachfront has to offer. Don’t miss the Archeological Museum in Varna – some say it’s one of the best in the whole country.
It’s less than a 10-minute walk from Varna central station (Gara Varna) to the beachfront.
When to go
Bulgaria is quickly becoming a tourist favorite, mostly due to its unique archeological sites and fabulous beaches on the Black Sea. Summertime is the height of activity in Bulgaria, but the scenery is beautiful all year round.
The abundance of mountains and proximity to the Mediterranean allow for some pretty constant temperatures, and Bulgaria definitely has four distinct seasons. However, temperatures are rarely extreme, and traveling should be pleasant at any time of year.
- March 1, 2013
In a celebration of ‘Mother March’, and the hope for health and happiness at the beginning of the Spring Equinox, Bulgarians exchange red-and-white decorative dolls (called Martenitsas) and wish each other health and happiness for the new season. Many Bulgarian towns celebrate with their own festive activities.
The Martenitsa festivities take place all across Bulgaria.
Kazanlâk Rose Festival
- June 1-3, 2013
Bulgaria is one of the largest producers of rose oil in the world, and this precious commodity is responsible for the production of perfumes, chocolates, liqueur and jams enjoyed the world over. This annual harvest festival includes costumes, dancing, drinks and much more.
Take the train to Kazanlâk. All festivities are in walking distance of the train station.
Varna summer festival
- May 1 - October 31, 2013
You know a summer festival is good when it lasts 5 months. Varna celebrates its busiest and most beautiful time of year with spectacular music, events, local food and drinks throughout the entire summer (and autumn!).
Varna summer festival takes place in the city center, which is within walking distance of the main train station.