Bulgaria is a strikingly beautiful country and is best explored via road. While the cities here more than warrant a short stay – take capital, Sofia, for example – the country has so much to offer that if you do have more time spend it seeing as much as possible. An extensive country, even just by mass, here’s how to see as much as possible without completely wearing yourself out.
Let’s start the journey in Sofia.
- First of all, make sure you hire a car. There are plenty of car hire options in Sofia – remember to take some valid photo ID and a driver’s license.
First to Samokov
- Drive from Sofia to Plovdiv, which is about 3 hours – but go via Samokov to break up the journey and make it a lot more leisurely. Samokov is about 55km from Sofia and is a major tourist centre. Samokov has some of the finest churches and cultural buildings in Bulgaria because of its history of producing famous woodcarving masters and skilled builders.
Arrive in Plovdiv
- There are more than 200 archaeological sites here, 30 of which have a national importance. The city has many ancient remains, including two theatres and what is left of medieval walls and Ottoman mosques. There are also masses of museums and art galleries.
- Plovdiv also has an ancient stadium which was built by the Emperor Hadrian.
- Definitely make the Eirene Archaeological complex one of the first things to see on the list. It is located on the southern part of the Three Hills of the Arheologiceski underpass.
- Four museums worthy of note are the Historical Museum, Regional Ethnographic Museum, Museum of National Sciences and the Museum of Aviation.
- Visit Plovdiv Old Town to see all the various churches.
Drive towards Dryanovo and then towards Veliko
- Tipped as one of the best drives in Europe, this scenic drive starts at the Dryanovo Monastry and then heads towards Veliko Turnovo, which is a medieval town.
- The views are simply magnificent and you’ll go through the Valley of the Roses which contains thousands of rare rose versions.
Drive to Sliven
- Sliven is the administrative centre of Bulgaria and is famous for its Bulgarian Haiduts, a people who fought against the Turks in the 19th
- There is plenty to see here: The Blue Rocks, the national park and natural mineral springs offer some rare experience for tourists looking for something a little different.
- Also check out Peach Valley which contains large peach orchards.
Arrive in Burgas, the final destination
- Burgas is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
- The city is surrounded by the Burgas Lakes which is a hubbub of wildlife and natural activity. You can expect to see a whole variety of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals here.
- The Atanasovo Lake is one of two saltwater lakes in the Black Sea and contains an impressive array of birds: storks, pelicans, cranes and falcons.