There is plenty to experience and explore while holidaying in Bulgaria. Stroll around or take a swim in the calming pool at the ageless Sea Garden public park. If you’re looking to embark on a historic journey, venture over to Nessebar Archaeological Museum, home to a display of ancient tetradrachm coins, as well as fascinating architecture.
The Alyosha monument is a huge statue of an unknown Russian soldier watching over the ancient city of Plovdiv, commemorating the arrival of the Soviet troops that marked the end of World War 2 two. ‘Alyosha’ is short for Alexei, the Soviet soldier whose photo was used as the model for the statue.
Though the monument has faced destruction attempts and vandalism the Alyosha has survived and continues to be one of the most prominent reminders of the Soviet period in Bulgaria.
The views from the top of the structure are amazing if you have the energy to make it up there. Climbing the weaving path to the top is no mean feat but if you do manage it, the Roman amphitheatre on an adjacent hill can be seen and the old town’s famous “Kapana” area is also visible, looking like a labyrinth of winding cobblestone paths.
The National Art Gallery is Bulgaria’s national gallery and houses over 50,000 pieces of Bulgarian art.
Part of it is located on Battenberg Square in the capital city of Sofia, in what used to be the royal palace of Bulgaria. It was created in 1934 and moved to the palace in 1946, after the abolition of the monarchy. However, this former palace now houses only a small specialized collection of art and is not really the main art gallery which is a newer building the Kvadrat-500, right beside the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Every year the gallery halls hold about ten exhibitions, dedicated to great Bulgarian artists and basic elements of contemporary and modern art. There is also a very good gift shop and the old palace itself is a very interesting building. The Gallery is open every day except Mondays from 10 am to 6 pm
The National Museum of History in Sofia is one of the largest history museums on the Balkans with 650.000 items and the largest archaeological and historical archive. The Museum’s collections are its greatest treasure. They have exhibits from the first prehistoric settlements through to the National Revival period and the Bulgarian State (1878–1945); covering the Greeks, Romans, the First Bulgarian Kingdom in the Middle Ages and the Byzantines.
In the splendid main hall on the first floor, with its full height glass windows opening onto Vitosha mountain, visitors can see the development of the Bulgarian alphabet and early Bulgarian Christian art. There are also unique gold treasures from Panagyurishte and the Thracian silver from Rogozen as well as silver and bronze jewellery from the Bronze Age. The museum is open all year round and is an ideal place to spend an hour or so.
For history lovers, a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Nessebar is a must. Although only a small museum, each period of the historical development of Nessebar is presented in a different hall and by following your guide through the museum you will step from one century to another and will encounter one nation after another. The knowledgeable guides will be able to add more information and answer any questions you may have
Among the unique artefacts displayed in the museum is an open vital-sign decree in honour of the Thracian ruler Sadat, dated from III century BC. and tetradrachms which are ancient silver coins.
The museum is located in a building specially designed by the architect Hristo Koev which has five rooms including four large exhibition halls and books, specialised literature, guidebooks, cards of all museum sites in town, and souvenirs are sold here.
The Rose Museum in Kazanlak, is said to be the only museum in the world dedicated to the most classic of all blooms, the rose.
One of the biggest attractions in the museum is a rose oil vessel which was last used in 1947 but still smells of the musky, floral fragrance. It also contains reproductions of the first laboratory for rose oil studies as well as a 1912 rose warehouse. Photos, documents, and vessels for storing and transporting the precious oils are also on display.
Visitors can purchase informational materials, souvenirs, cosmetics, rose jam, rose liquor and aroma oils in the museum gift shop.
Even today, rose-picking is an important event in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria and every year the Rose Celebration Festival takes place on the first weekend of June. A brilliant time to visit this lovely area.
The Sea Garden is located in the city of Varna and is its biggest, oldest and best known public park. Used extensively by the locals, young and old alike it is now also becoming a favourite with the tourists.
There are paths for taking a walk, a swimming pool complex, many excellent restaurants, bars and clubs and lots of children’s play areas. What could be better on a lovely sunny day than taking a stroll round the park, watching others playing tennis, running, meditating or cycling? Of course, if you are up for it, you could join in all of these activities.
Just before the main path through the Sea Garden is a small bridge called “The Bridge of Wishes” which is believed to make your wish come true if you cross it walking backward and with your eyes closed. Got to be worth a go.
Bulgaria is one of Europe’s fastest growing ski holiday destinations, popular for its reliable snow and its inexpensive resorts. Taking into account ski hire, lift passes, nights out and accommodation, a skiing or snowboarding holiday in Bulgaria is almost always cheaper than most other destinations.
Bansko is the top skiing resort in Bulgaria, where the slopes cover two mountains and the fourteen lifts include a six-person chair, four quads, and a modern gondola, which goes up to the main mountain from the top end of town. The nursery slopes are reached from the gondola mid-station as well as at the top of the ski area. Further up the mountain there is enough to challenge more experienced skiers, provided the snow conditions are good
The lively après scene includes wine bars, pizzerias and plenty of traditional pubs called mehanas that often have live music.
Sofia Zoo was founded in 1888 and was initially located in the park of the former royal palace. At the time, the main attraction was a Eurasian Black Vulture caught in Bulgaria and exhibited in a cage in the garden. Once other animals were added there was not enough space to house them so Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria ordered a grant of land to be awarded to Sofia Zoo on the grounds of the former botanical garden, then in the outskirts of the city.
Today, there are many different animals in the zoo including a black panther, tigers, hippopotamus, lama, monkeys, the Leopard Gecko and the Yellow Anaconda. The most interesting place in the Zoo is the contact zone where you can touch, pet and even feed animals such as goats, ponies, rabbits, ducks, and geese. The children love it.
The Archaeological Museum of Varna was established in 1887 by the brothers Karel and Herman Škorpil (archaeologists and scientists of Czech and Bulgarian origin). There are finds from the Paleolithic Age to the Middle Ages, many of which are of great significance to the archaeology of Europe and the world. The largest Mesolithic collection of flint tools in South-East Europe, the largest collections of ancient terracotta, tombstone reliefs, lamps and glass vessels in Bulgaria are all on display here.
The entrance foyer has an information and ticket desk and a souvenir shop where various memorabilia can be purchased. Off the foyer is a corridor which runs right around the building and the exhibition halls are all off this corridor, arranged chronologically to follow the development of the human race during thousands of years in the Varna region.
The library and the children’s education museum are located in the basement area.
Bulgaria is a great place for many water sports including water sliding, surfing, wind-surfing, water skiing, parasailing, kayaking and jet skiing. There are many dams, rivers and of course the Black Sea which are perfect for these sports.
Why not try rafting along the Struma River which is the sixth longest river in Bulgaria? The river flows between Pirin and Malashevska mountain and it offers excellent conditions for wild water rafting. You are able to canoe and kayak in almost all of the rivers and dams in the Bulgaria and is a sport that can be enjoyed by all the family.
Divers can also enjoy dives to interesting wrecks in the sea or in dams, lakes, and caves. Even if you are new to the water sports, don’t worry, numerous private instructors and schools can train you for your unforgettable active holiday in Bulgaria.