Somehow, amid the burgeoning tourist trade of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria is still considered a little “out-there” to Western tourists. Situated on the Black Sea, Bulgaria ticks every box: affordability, beaches, skiing, culture and, of course, captivating landscapes. Sometimes, words just don’t do a country justice, so here is some of our favourite Bulgarian scenery.
Golden Sands Beach
Its beaches are one of the jewels in the crown of Bulgarian scenery: endless expanses of sand connected by traditional fishing communities, historical sites and hotels. Golden Sands Beach offers a little luxury and fantastic views. You will feel as though you are in St Tropez, without the price tag: the perfect place to while away the days under a clear blue sky and dazzling sunshine.
One of Bulgaria’s hidden gems, the Devetaki Cave dates back to the Neolithic age. At over a mile long and sixty metres high, you can walk through the cave’s winding pathways and explore galleries, or take a boat trip to explore the less accessible parts. A truly breath-taking experience.
Situated on the eastern edge of the Stara Lanina Mountain, Belogradchik Fortress resides among an incredible rock outcrop. Amid the crisp mountain air, unspoilt countryside, and feeling of absolute isolation, the perfect harmony of the natural rocks and manmade fortress are an awesome combination: more like a scene from a fantasy book than a piece of Bulgarian Scenery.
There are plenty of “secret” beaches waiting to be discovered, so ask around, hire a car, and find your private idyll. We love Irakli Beach, 9 km from Obzor, which boasts protected species of flora along its coastline. Totally unspoilt and often deserted, this Irakli beach is well worth a visit.
The Eyes of God
The world-famous Prohodna Cave is more commonly known as “The Eyes of God”. Although not massive in comparison to many caves, its scale is still awe-inspiring. The acoustics of caves tend to insight a sense of wonder; the finding of something lost, the feeling that you are, somehow, closer to the earth’s past. Imagine, then, looking up and discovering that your light source appears to be two empty eye sockets in a face of rock: The Eyes of God. The experience is simultaneously eerie, magical, and truly unforgettable.
With its cobbled streets and remains of numerous mediaeval churches, Nesebâr is, unsurprisingly, one of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist spots. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on a rocky outcrop which is connected to the mainland by a manmade bridge. With its postcard-perfect Bulgarian scenery, Nesebâr is packed with tourists during the summer, but if you head to it slightly out of season, you will be able to enjoy the captivating scenery unhindered by tourists and souvenir markets.
The Seven Lakes
According to legend, the Seven Lakes were formed by the tears of a giant, as she wept for her loved one. The cluster of glacial lakes is located in a valley in the Rila Mountains. Snow drifts and wild flowers adorn the landscape and complete the exquisite sight of the lakes, which are joined together by streams and waterfalls. Travelling to the lakes can be challenging, but you can get a ski lift part of the way. Even in summer, take warm clothing, as it is not unusual for the lakes to be frozen over in June.
Despite being the most popular ski resort in Bulgaria, Bansko is still relatively unspoilt. The result is a perfect winter sports combination: excellent snow, fantastic après-ski and unspoilt mountains – the very pinnacle of Bulgarian scenery.
Nestled in the curves of the Yantra River, Veliko Târnovo is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. Oozing mediaeval charm with its cobblestones, fortresses and authentic craft markets, this former citadel of the Second Bulgarian Empire feels as though it has barely changed over the last two centuries.
When looking for the best Bulgarian scenery, visitors often look to the mountaintops and beaches, dismissing what is right under their noses. With its domed churches and Ottoman mosques, Bulgaria’s laid-back capital is packed with things to see and do. Explore museums and galleries, dine in world class restaurants, promenade through beautifully manicured gardens, or hop on the bus and head to Mount Vitosha for a spot of hiking or skiing; Sophia is an up-and-coming city that shouldn’t be ignored.