Be sure to pack your camera, because Bulgaria is filled with stunning sightseeing adventures to embark on, where you can capture some superb scenery, as well as natural bridges and monuments. The intricately detailed Eagles’ Bridge in Sofia was built in 1888, to mark the eastern border and to this day, still stands tall and proud.
Located in the Western Rhodopes of Bulgaria, Devil’s Throat Cave is a popular attraction for tourists, cave-explorers, and photographers. The cave’s entrance resembles a devil’s head, and down its throat rushes a massive waterfall that from ancient times has stirred people’s imagination and given birth to numerous legends.
The water cascades from the cave into “The Hall of Thunder” which is the second largest cavern in the country. From here the water flows down once again, before merging with an underground river. It is said that nothing carried into the Devil’s Mouth Cave by the river ever surfaces from it on the other side.
Entrance to the cave is only allowed with a tour guide, who will take you through manmade galleries and staircases that lead up along the waterfall. Along the walls are various carvings of men, demons, and devils. An unusual and spectacular place to visit.
Eagle’s Bridge is a late 19th century landmark that crosses the Perlovska River and connects two beautiful parks. The bridge was designed by Czech architect Václav Prošek, his brother and his cousins.
It’s one of the most iconic bridges in Bulgaria’s capitL, Sofia, and is aptly named after the 4 bronze shaped eagles adorned on it as patrons and protectors of the bridge.
Getting to the bridge is easy as there are great transport links nearby.
The Ivan Vazov National Theatre is Bulgaria’s national theatre, as well as the oldest and most authoritative theatre in the country and one of the important landmarks of Sofia. It was built in 1907 by the Austrian architects Helmer and Fellner and is one of Sofia’s most elegant and ornate buildings.
The building is fronted by a large triangular gable, supported by six white marble columns, depicting Apollo and the muse. The twin towers that rise up behind are topped with sculptures of the goddess Nike.
The interior was destroyed by fire in 1923 and restored again six years later increasing the theatre’s seating capacity to over 1000. The ornate main hall itself can hold 850 people.
Although you are unlikely to want to see a play unless you speak Bulgarian, you can still sit outside at one of the many cafes and soak up the atmosphere.
Musala is Bulgaria’s highest summit and is in the Rila Mountains and derived its name from the Islamic “Throne of Allah”. It is located in the eastern part of the Rila Mountains and in 1992 the Musala and its neighbours were given a protected status when the Rila National Park was formed.
The easiest way to get to the top is to take the cable car from Borovets to the summit of Yastrebets and then slowly descend to the Musala Hut centre on the shore of Musalenski Ezero and then continue up to the summit from there.
If you prefer to do it all on foot, you could forgo the cable car and walk up from Borovets to the Musala huts and it is worth noting that you can if you wish to spend a cheap night there before talking the rest of the mountain.
Located in the Eastern Rhodope range, one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient places in Bulgaria is the Thracian city of Perperikon which is considered to be the largest and oldest megalithic centre in Europe. The site consists of an ancient megalithic sanctuary, a sacred city, and medieval fortress.
It is entirely carved into the rocks and was a place where pagan priests carried out their sacred rituals with fire and wine, thousands of years ago. Huge stone blocks were used to construct temples and altars.
According to experts, an open, oval hall with a circular altar carved out of the rock, niches, artificially made caves, basins, channels and rock-cut steps support the theory that this site was also used as a sanctuary.
It can be reached by a well-maintained tarmac road, and there is a parking area at the foot of the hill.
The Pirin National Park spreads over 40,000 hectares in the Pirin Mountains and is famous for its beautiful glacial lakes and the huge range of plants. Within the park, there are 1,315 species of flora plus another 182 types of medicinal plants. It is also home to Bulgaria’s oldest tree, the Baykuchevata as well as 320 different kinds of moss and lichen and 165 varieties of algae.
This wide variety of plant life supports many kinds of animals – more than 2,000 invertebrate species and more than 200 vertebrate species. Since 1983, the park has been protected as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
This amazing park has sundry limestone mountains, lakes, waterfalls and caves and with its great hiking trails is a very popular tourist destination. It is also home to the renowned Bansko ski-resort, one of the very best in Bulgaria.
Rila is Bulgaria’s largest National Park, hidden in the heart of the famous Rila Mountain covers a vast area of 81,000 hectares. Its name comes from the word ‘roula’ and means lots of water which is quite apt as there are over 120 lakes as well as many rivers.
The park is home to many rare and endangered wildlife species with more than 3,000 animals and over 100 types of birds. However, the majority of its grounds are taken up by coniferous trees and a remarkable network of eco-trails (some more difficult than others) that are accessible all year round.
Bear, wild boar, deer and several species of eagle are just a few of the wildlife found here. The scenery in the park is breath-taking and the sound of the water flowing over the rocks in the many streams and rivers makes it a peaceful and relaxing place to visit.
Irakli beach is situated between the Black Sea towns/resorts of Obzor (north) and Nessebur (south).
No need for clothes here as this is a nudist beach and is popular with young people who wish to ‘be at one with nature’. There is little in the way of infrastructure here but if you are not one to need your creature comforts you can camp on the beach for free. Many hippies descend on Irakli on the 30th June every year for ‘July Morning’, which celebrates the sun rising above the Black Sea.
The beach has fine sand, clear clean water and attractive beach rocks along its 3 km length. It is listed as a protected area in order to preserve the coastal habitats of rare and endangered floral species, as well the many birds.
Perhaps not everyone’s choice of a holiday destination, but for naturists who want to just chill-out, it’s brilliant.
Melnik Pyramids are a breath-taking natural rock formation on the outskirts of Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria. They are basically, jagged or rippled sandstone hills that have formed simply because of soil erosion and often look quite similar to actual pyramids.
Because Melnik is situated almost in the Pirin Mountains, the terrain is quite hilly and you will, therefore, find plenty of these pyramids in all shapes and sizes. They are very well known by the locals but not so much by tourists. However, it is really worth taking time to go and see them.
The pyramids were declared a national monument in 1960 and can be reached by a well-marked eco-trail from the town of Melnik or from Rozhen monastery.
Some of the Melnik hotels have rooms with a view of the Pyramids, a lovely sight to behold when relaxing after a delightful day sightseeing
Vihren is Bulgaria’s second highest peak after Musala and the name “Vihren” means “windy peak”. It is situated in Northern Pirin and is a part of mountain’s main ridge that stretches from the northwest to the southeast. It looks like an enormous pyramid as it is covered in a layer of marble stone which dates back to when Pirin Mountains were at the bottom of the sea. Glaciers that appeared afterward destroyed the marble layer in the other parts of the mountain and they are now covered in granite.
The easiest access to Mount Vihren is along its southwest slopes following the main tourist trail. Starting from Vihren Hut, it will take 2.5 to 3 hours to climb to the top (depending on the speed you climb). There are various alternative routes, but remember, the whole area is avalanche hazardous in the winter.