It is a fact that I, even spending half of my time in my home country Bulgaria, am not so well acquainted with all its beautiful and quirky places. A country like this, with long past (more than 1300 years now), with piebald political history and rich culture, has a lot to show. For this article, I asked for the help of those who know most of the hidden touristic gems. Several Bulgarian travel bloggers shared some unusual places in Bulgaria. And I am sure you will feel touched by the uniqueness of the Bulgarian nature and culture.
Tsari Mali Grad and the Village of Belchin
Julia from Time2Travel says that this place has “exceptionally mild climate, amazing landscapes and land soaked with history”. For her, this is a place emotionally connected with her childhood and the happy summers spent with the family and young cousins. And we believe her, who can know more secrets about a place than the kids who discover the world with wide open eyes?!
Why does Julia recommend this region? Here are her reasons:
- The village of Belchin is only 50 km away from the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia.
- Tsari Mali Grad is a place that saw its development through different eras. For the first time, it was used as a pagan sanctuary of the Thracian people but later was transformed into an early Christian church in the fourth century.
- In the area were also found ruins from the time of the Roman Empire when a fortress with strategic position was built here.
- The Romans had well-developed road network and in Bulgaria, you can see many traces of these important for its time Roman roads. Tsari Mali Grad is not an exception. The place was chosen because it was at the crossroad of two ancient main roads – to Macedonia and Constantinople.
- Another important reason why Romans built the town in the region was the mineral deposits found here.
- Another reason to visit Belchin and Tsari Mali Grad, especially for the adventurers, can be the way you can visit the place – walking in nature, taking the small train or by car (but better is to have an offroad vehicle).
Temple-well Near the Village Gurlo,
the Region of Pernik
Elena from DrumivDumi reveals this so special and mystical place.
“And right there, when you glimpse the stone steps down leading to the temple, it seems that time stops. Then, you start to feel like you go back, very backwards in time. That this temple is not maintained and not a museum only reinforces the sense of connection with that ancient time.”
Why the Temple-well worth visit?
- This is probably one of the oldest temples in Bulgaria. It is dated 12th – 10th century BC.
- Was discovered in 1972 but it is still not organized to be easily visited.
- Not well know and popular for a visit which makes the place even more interesting.
- As the access to this place is not easy, your visit can be seen as an adventure from Indiana Jones movies.
- The temple is considered to be the sole representative of the culture “Nuraghe” (wow, just found something common with Sardinia!) in Bulgaria.
Maria from TravellingBuzz says that Tryavna is one of those places that everyone should see in Bulgaria. Here are her reasons:
My absolutely most favourite little town in Bulgaria that I think everyone should visit at least once is Tryavna. It is situated in Central Bulgaria, in the mountains. Tryavna is absolutely charming and picturesque place with preserved Revival spirit and atmosphere.
There are plenty of things to do in and around Tryavna. The region itself is full of sightseeing opportunities such as the architectural-ethnographic complex Etara, Bacho Kiro cave, Dryanovo and Dryanovo Monastery… In Tryavna you can just walk around the old town and feel the unique atmosphere that will bring you back in time.
I can add that Tryavna is one of these small places in Bulgaria that are typical and easy to visit. In addition, mass tourism is far from Tryavna – on the Black Sea side and Sofia/Bansko so you can enjoy your visit fully.
Adriana from AdventureFlair also shared one of her favourite places in Bulgaria with WWT. Here’s what she says about it:
Buzludzha monument is one of my very favourite places in Bulgaria and probably the creepiest one I ever been to. The last years it became popular among the foreign tourist, but it is still one of the off beaten Bulgarian sights. I absolutely love that place, because every time I visit it seems like I go for the first time. Every visit is totally different. The monument could be covered with snow, lit by the sun, wrapped by fog or surrounded by greenery or colourful autumn landscapes. It’s absolutely worth it!
I can add that Buzludzha monument has been a favourite place for photographers as well. Some really impressive pictures were made here.
Its construction started in 1974 but was opened to the public in 1981. The place is closely connected with the socialist ideology and it is considered as a holy place from the members of the Socialist Party because here in 1891 was organized the founding congress that was the first step toward organized labour movement in Bulgaria.
Dancing Bears Park, Belitsa
Now, let me show you one of my (Geri) unusual favourite places in Bulgaria. I don’t believe many foreigners know about this place and I think is one of those suitable for everybody.
The idea behind the park is to shelter all the bears that were used during a long time as an attraction by the local gipsies. I still remember when I was a young girl and saw for the first time one of these poor animals. I was curious and liked to watch them and then, at such a young age, I didn’t have a clue how they were taught to ‘dance’. Now, I am happy that I don’t see bears dancing on the streets and fairs for the people’s entertainment and for their owner’s financial benefit. Now I like to see them in their natural habitat and to admire their beauty and strength.
The exact name of the park is “Park for re-adaptation of dancing bears”. Their stories are terrible. These bears were kept in slavery (I have no other word to use for that practice) and they didn’t know how to survive on their own in nature. It is the Brigitte Bardot’s Foundation that made this project possible.
Now you can see all the dancing bears in the park and every one of them has its own history and name. Just like humans. I love to visit the park – because of the bears but also because of the wild nature and fresh mountain air. There are few places for picnicking and you can spend the whole day around. You will not regret your visit! Read my guidelines on how to visit the park.
The Scary Lake, Rila Mountains
Bilyana from Owl Over the World says that this place is one of the best for peace-searching souls and despite its name, not scary at all.
This is one of this places where you forget about time and worries. Not popular even to the Bulgarians, the Scary Lake is a special place, and once you go there you would want to come back for more. The place captures you with his unique beauty and silence.
The lake is located in the northwest parts of Rila mountain, at the foot of the peaks Little, Middle and Big Kupen. Next to the lake there is a shelter where you can spend the night. The shelter is free to be used. It’s equipped with oven and supplies of fuel left from people who have been there. Water can be found near the shelter where a small stream flows out of the lake.
The name Scary was given to the lake because of the sounds that are heard during the storm. The best way to get to the lake is from the Central Mountain School ‘’Maliovitsa”, to where you can reach by car or by bus from Samokov. From there starts the green mark for the lake. The hike is around 2 hours.
Why should you visit the Scary Lake?
– To immerse yourself in the beauty of the Bulgarian nature;
– To escape from the reality (even for a little);
– To enjoy a wonderful time on the mountain;
– To feel free
Scary or not, the place is stunning and the time spent there is an absolute joy.
The Meanders of Arda River
According to Polly from One Flight Away, the most beautiful places are often quite remote and difficult to get to. The Meanders of Arda River are the perfect example for this. Arda is the longest and most beautiful river in the Rhodope Mountains. It meanders beautifully through the mountains, forming stunning curves along the river valley. The most spectacular meander, though, is the one near Kardzhali Dam.
Something you have to keep in mind before you hit the road – getting to the meanders is not so easy. You will have to drive more than 100 km through the winding and rough roads. Along the way, you will stumble across abandoned houses in small isolated villages extremely far from any bigger town.
The views along the way are breathtaking. You will find yourself surrounded by the untouched beauty of nature. With no cars, no traffic and no urban noise, this place will make you feel like you are at the end of the world.
Stop for a second and appreciate the stunning views. The Rhodope Mountains is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Bulgaria and there is something extra magical about it. As you are standing on the edge with the meanders of Arda River beneath your feet, your heart will fill with happiness and peace.
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path, this place is totally worth it and you will not be disappointed.
These are some of the special places that Bulgaria has to offer to the curious traveller. The Bulgarian travel bloggers are the ones that have the most knowledge and are passionate to show you their home country and its hidden gems.
Follow them to gain more insights and to prepare your Bulgarian trip by including some really unique places in your itinerary.