What Can You See in Bulgaria in the Summer? + Lots of photos


Bulgaria – If you want to have a low-cost but high-quality and enjoyable vacation, go to Bulgaria. Many people are hesitant to go there because they still think of the country as a Communist state (just like the former USSR). But Bulgaria has long changed their system of government, so no worries! Besides that, Bulgaria has many beautiful and interesting places for rest, relaxation, recreation and entertainment. It almost has it all, even for the most demanding tourist.

Aside from the Communist thing which is now left in the past, there are many other misconceptions that people have about this wonderful Balkan country, which we debunk in our tips for travelers.

The country is very multifaceted. Apart from several five-star hotels and dozens of discos, you can see one of the oldest cities in Europe.

Only in Bulgaria we were able to walk to get to deserted “wild” beaches with amazingly clear water, clean sand and unspoilt natural beauty.

And, of course, in Bulgaria, any tourist will feel as comfortable as possible: friendly people, low prices and European quality of products will please anyone. Let’s try to understand what and how is in Bulgaria that can be seen here and how to spend your time there better.

What tours and attractions can be found in Bulgaria during the summer?

What tours and attractions can be found in Bulgaria during the summer

Most of the excursions, in Bulgaria promote coastal towns and resorts. You can go there by yourself by choosing public transportation or a rented car, or through packaged bus tours.

The advantage of going to Bulgaria on a DIY fashion is that you do not depend on anyone where to go. It is also 2 to 3 time cheaper. But the disadvantage is that you will not be able to visit some of the great tourist spots comfortably.

We offer to look at the most interesting corners of Bulgaria, and determine which of them can be visited without difficulty, through bus excursions, public transport or by private transport services.

One of the oldest cities in Europe - ancient Nessebar

One of the oldest cities in Europe – ancient Nessebar

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Easy

Ancient Nessebar is one of the default places to go whenever you to Bulgaria — either in packaged tours or in your own personal travel agenda. The city is one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Bulgaria, and we were fortunate to have visited there.

Nessebar is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The old town is located on a small peninsula, that is connected with the shore by a wide automobile and pedestrian bridge. Nessebar has a large number of preserved ancient churches, some of which belong to the Byzantine era. Most of them are small museums. A day’s visit to any of these ancient churches may cost you up to 2 levs.

We lived in Nessebar during our 14 days in Bulgaria. We learned about the city a lot and we had the opportunity to swim at local beaches and took several photos of Nessebar. In addition to interesting sights, we consider the main advantage of the city – its location. You can get to Nessebar without difficulty by public transport from almost any seaside resort of Bulgaria.

Sunny Beach is located close to Nessebar. It is one of the most popular and expensive resorts in the country with five-star hotels and discos that do not stop for a minute.

Good articles about Nessebar:

A luxurious botanical garden in Balchik a place with surprisingly beautiful nature
Balchik Palace, the gardens

A luxurious botanical garden in Balchik – a place with surprisingly beautiful nature

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Easy

Personally, we did not really like Balchik as a resort. It was a bit dull and uninteresting. Besides, its location is not very convenient —  except Varna and Nessebar, you can get to every point from Balchik easily.

However, there is one interesting and beautiful part of Balchik — the famous local botanical garden. However, visiting it is not exactly cheap. It cost us 12 levs per head for the entrance to the garden. But the place was definitely worth it. The park was vast and amazingly beautiful — it was as if we were in a fairy tale! It boasted a variety of exotic plants, flowers, trees and cacti, as well as old and charming houses and even the palace of the Romanian queen, Maria. For those who wish, there is a degustation of elite Bulgarian wines, but we have ignored it.

Personally, we didn’t like the palace — a visit to it cost 5 levs per head at the entrance. There was almost nothing to see in it, and tourists were allowed to go only the first two floors. So based on our experience, we do not recommend you to go there, unless you are curious enough — it is a waste of time and money.

Other than that, the park was definitely worth our while. It seems that the five hours we spent there are even not enough to appreciate the beauty of the place. If only we didn’t have to catch for our tourist bus, we would have simply spent more time there.

You might be interested: A detailed article about the Botanical Garden in Balchik.

Burgas and Varna - the largest cities in seaside Bulgaria

Burgas and Varna – the largest cities in seaside Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Easy

Burgas and Varna – the largest cities on the coast of Bulgaria. Despite the fact that they are primarily large industrial centers and ports, there is really something to see.

In Burgas (correct accent – BurgAs) is a lot of churches and temples, a very beautiful Seaside Park, an annual exhibition of sand sculptures several meters high, a good selection of souvenirs. If desired, you can go to an opera or to a theater, visit local lakes or travel from Burgas inland. We really liked the city and we would gladly come here again.

Varna creates an impression of a large modern city. Since it is also an old city, you can also find historical sites, a number of churches and temples. Of course, much of the city is modernized, with large shopping centers as well as smaller shops and modern attractions such as the famous Dolphinarium, which is heavily visited by tourists annually. From Varna you can get not only to every point in Bulgaria, but also to other countries – regular buses to Istanbul and Europe, Kiev, and even Moscow.

Pomorie - a small town with lots of things to offer

Pomorie – a small town with lots of things to offer

Attractiveness: Medium
How to reach: Easy

In terms of Pomorie is a modest option. Here you can visit the monastery of St. George, where the icon of St. George the Victorious is preserved. You can also find the museum of salt, where you will learn about the ancient way of extracting salt. There is also the famed Lake Pomorie which is also a bird sanctuary — you can watch swans, pelicans, cormorants and herons in wildlife. You can also obtain the curative mud from the bottom of the lake.

There is also a wild beach on the spit, which is deserted and very beautiful. We do not recommend to visit the Thracian tomb – there is nothing interesting, and the price for the entrance can be equated to three good museums.

Pomorie is interesting exactly by its local color – the city is very calm and quiet, and not so tourist-y. Many people choose to live here permanently. There is almost no noisy discos, but there are regularly held festivals and concerts. Not to mention there are also excellent beaches, and beautiful seascapes — and you can enjoy them for a low price. In other words, Pomorie was our favorite seaside resort.

You can get to Pomorie by bus from Burgas or Nessebar, costing about 3 levs per head.

Read more about Pomorie:

Lake Pomorie and a wild beach on the spit – bird watching and swimming

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Medium

Lake Pomorie is located near the town of Pomorie. In itself, the lake is very beautiful, there is a lot of species of rare birds and plants, as the lake is also a bird sanctuary that protects over 200 species of birds which are feared to become extinct. The most convenient way to enjoy the lake is to pass along the spit that separates it from the sea. This way, you can see something new, and swim at clean and beautiful deserted beaches.

Visiting Lake Pomorie is highly recommended in windy weather in to keep aquatic midges at bay. Bringing binoculars and/or a camera is a must when you go to Lake Pomorie. You should also bring an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun as well as picnic food to avoid yourself from getting peckish. Lake Pomorie, again, has a curative mud and also evaporated salt from the waters, so swimming in the water is not only allowed, but even encouraged as it can provide you health benefits.

More details: a detailed article about Lake Pomorie.

what to see in Bulgaria during the summer
The Monastery of Saint George

The Monastery of St. George

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Easy

The monastery of St. George is located in the new town of Pomorie. You can see the preserved icon of St. George. There is also a small museum where you can see ancient frescoes. There is also a “miracle” spring reputed to have healing properties; you can drink the water from it.

The monastery itself is very well maintained. It even has a parochial school, a small vegetable garden and a poultry house. Mushrooms are also grown there. The territory is decorated with care, churches were restored. There are even prompts with a description of sights in English, Bulgarian and Russian.

Getting there is mostly easy — just take a bus to the new part of Pomorie and take a short walk to there. A ticket from Sunny Beach and Nessebar costs 3 levs, and 3.5 levs from Burgas.

Check out an article about the Monastery of St. George, if you are interested.

Sunny Beach and Golden Sands

Attractiveness: Bad
How to reach: Easy

Getting to Sunny Beach or Golden Sands is not difficult. You can come here from almost any seaside resort by bus. But there is nothing special to do here. Prices are too high, there are no particularly interesting sights. There is a water park though, as well as five-star hotels. You can go to discos and nightclubs if you’re into that kind of stuff.

The beaches of Sunny Beach did not impress us — they are far from the advertisements that travel agencies use to attract tourists. The same sand, the same sea, as everywhere else — but the beaches are crowded and, unless you are filthy rich, you may get turned off by their high prices.

If you plan to go to Sunny Beach for a slice of its nightlife, think about how you could get back to your suite after that. Night taxi fare is about 6 levs  per kilometer. To Pomorie, for example, is 20-25 kilometers – total trip will cost you about  150 levs — that is, if the drivers won’t cheat. Public transport, which is cheaper, are almost nowhere to be found at night.

In general, if you are very fond of discos and nightclubs, go to Nessebar instead, so you can walk to Sunny Beach and dance all night.

Read these articles: The beaches of Sunny Beach, Sunny Beach resortг

Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi - one of the most beautiful places deep in the country

Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi – one of the most beautiful places deep in the country

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi are in the hinterland. Getting there by bus is quite difficult – you will have to travel with a change in Varna and book a hotel for an overnight stay in place. You can select one of the popular excursions to these places. They cost from 70 to 90 levs  depending on the resort and travel company.

You will be able to see the city with a history which goes back to nearly 7000 years, which seemed frozen somewhere in the Middle Ages. Narrow streets, hanging one above another houses, steep stairs and unexpected twists of paths – so you will remember the ancient capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Tarnovo.

Arbanassi is an ancient Bulgarian village, where you can find several preserved ancient buildings with rich interior as well as and several churches.

Rose Valley

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

“Stop and smell the roses,” as the old adage goes. Well, there is no better place to do that than to check out the Rose Valley (or the Valley of Roses) in Bulgaria.

It is a vast field of tens of thousands of roses which yield much valuable oil. The commercial Bulgarian rose oil is used in several cosmetics and beauty products. The rose valley itself is not just fascinating, but also its surroundings. We recommend to visit Plovdiv, Kazanlak and Shipka, climb to local mountains or see the Thracian tomb.

The nearest airport is located in Plovdiv. To get to the Rose Valley you may hail a bus from Sofia (200km), Plovdiv (100 km) and Gabrovo (50 km). Arriving here makes sense only from May to the end of June, when roses bloom and bear their fragrance.

An excursion to the Valley of Roses will cost about  70-80 levs  per person.

what to see in Bulgaria during the summer

Sofia – the ancient and modern capital of Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. The city is interesting not only by a huge number of attractions. The journey to the Sofia is also interesting as you pass by several mountains. It is surprising that even after going down to a subway, you can see an ancient masonry or archaeological excavations.

Getting to Sofia is easier with a change in Varna. An excursion to Sofia with a stop at Rila Monastery would cost approximately 130-150 levs . In our view, Sofia is far behind most European capitals by the number of attractions, but for Bulgarians it is one of the best options.

Aladzha Monastery – a shrine directly in the rock

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

Aladzha – an ancient cave monastery which is located close to Varna and Golden Sands. As the monastery is not open for its original intended use any longer, it is now mostly a tourist attraction. According to photos in Internet, there is really something to see. However, the tourists themselves say that visiting the monastery is clearly not worth the time.

To reach the monastery, you can take a taxi, rent a car or during an excursion to Balchik.

Rila Monastery - one of the largest in Bulgaria

Rila Monastery – one of the largest in Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

Rila Monastery is the largest stauropegic (the highest status) male monastery in Bulgaria. It is located in the continental part of the country, 117 kilometers from Sofia. The monastery was founded in the 10th century A.D. and is somewhat reminiscent of churches in Nessebar, but it is much more majestic.

what to see in Bulgaria during the summer

An excursion to Istanbul – one of the most beautiful cities of Turkey

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

You can also do excursions to any of Bulgaria’s neighboring countries. One of them is the city of Istanbul in Turkey. Various tour operators offer lots of excursions for every preference. You can go to and stay in Istanbul for up to three days where you can do lots of things such as shopping and sightseeing. The Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul are some of the recommended places to visit.

Ropotamo – a nature reserve not far from Burgas

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

Not far from Burgas is a protected area named Ropotamo, located on the lower section of a long river, also called Ropotamo. It is a big and beautiful nature reserve where tourists come with excursions. A visit to Ropotamo cost about  50-60 levs . As our guide told: “there you can see turtles”.

Ravadinovo Castle – modern, but very beautiful

Attractiveness: Excellent
How to reach: Hard

One of the recommended things to do in the seaside town of Sozopol is to visit the Ravadinovo Castle. This whimsical fairy-tale castle is not really an authentic historical structure, as it was built around the 20th century by its architect/designer named Georgi Kostadinov as a realization of a boyhood dream.

Despite being a new building, its materials and architectural details mimic those of the ancient castles and fortresses. It is a beautiful, magnificent and well-maintained castle. There is a park and a small lake. To get there you can go in a rented car or by a tourist bus.

The cape of Kaliakra - one of the most beautiful views of the sea in Bulgaria

The cape of Kaliakra – one of the most beautiful views of the sea in Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Medium
How to reach: Hard

From the cape of Kaliakra offers one of the most beautiful seascapes in Bulgaria. AYou can also look at wind generators that produce electricity.

Pobiti Kamani – one of the most mystical places in Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Medium
How to reach: Hard

Pobiti Kamain — the “Stone Desert” — has always been filled with mysterious aura. It’s as if there’s some special energy around it for some people. But for others though, it is just one of those popular tourist attractions.

What you can see: peculiar stone pipes, many of which are several meters high. Some of them are hollow, with an almost ideal diameter, while others more like a tree trunk. Its mystery owes to when or how it was created or came to be — many historians still debate about its origins. Many people believe that it is simply a giant fossilized algae from ancient times, when there was the sea.

To reach and see Pobiti Kamani you can go by a rented car or by a tourist bus. It is not accessible by public transport.

Sozopol - one of the most overpriced places in Bulgaria
Sozopol old town

Sozopol – one of the most overpriced places in Bulgaria

Attractiveness: Low
How to reach: Hard

Sozopol is often called Bulgarian Athens and local Jerusalem. But the fact is, we did not see such as comparison, except for a small amphitheater and a few ancient ruins. One of our acquaintances aptly described Sozopol: “Were you in Nessebar? In Sozopol everything is the same, but 10 times less.”

You can get to Sozopol by bus, by boat or during an excursion. But since the city is located far in the south, going there from most resorts would take a long time.

Other sights of Bulgaria

Of course, in Bulgaria you can see lots of different attractions. The country is rich in beautiful nature: picturesque valleys, mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and bays. There are also ancient monasteries that keep and preserve many miraculous icons.

In Bulgaria, you can get from ancient cities to ultramodern resorts to the unspoiled beauty of nature which are only a few kilometers away from each other, without any much difficulty.

Useful links and articles:


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