When you think of Bulgaria what comes to mind? Traveling through Bulgaria may not seem like the quintissential European vacation, and it isn’t. But as I found out last year, the country holds natural beauty, an amazing history, and scrumptious local gastronomy.
I visited large cities, explored several UNESCO World Heritage sites, sampled delicious wines and homemade rakia, and got the chance to try Bulgarian delicacies like the infamous yogurt, iconic shopska salad, and hearty kavarma stew.
See: Top 25 restaurants of Bulgaria
As with all my trips, I posted several photos to my Instagram account. I wanted to share my experiences to show that Bulgaria really is full of surprises! Here are 100 of my favorite images from this eastern European gem.
The Roman Ruins of Deultum
Incredible sand sculptures at the Burgas Sand Festival
Theme of the festival: People that changed the world
Abraham Lincoln presiding over the crowd
Another shot of the colorful skyline of Burgas
Antique Beehive Tomb in Pomorie
Bathers at the Pomorie Salt Lake
Pomorie Beach on the Black Sea
Exploring the ancient city of Nessebar
Byzantine ruins of Nessebar
Late night meal at Restaurant Vodenitsata in Burgas
Relaxing on Burgas Beach
Fried sardine lunch by the water
Can’t forget the wine!
Day trip from Burgas to the beautiful seaside town of Sozopol
Ancient fortifications in Sozopol
Tomb stone carvings
A nice welcome!
Views from our hotel in Burgas
Delicious meze spread at Ethno Restaurant in Burgas
World’s oldest golden treasure in the Museum of Varna
Gourmet meal at Horizont Restaurant in Varna
Bulgarian National Revival architecture
Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral in Varna
Ancient Roman Bath Complex in Varna
Exploring Bulgaria’s “Stone Forest” Pobiti Kamani
Traditional dining experience at Mehana Chuchurra in Varna
Knyaz Boris boulevard is the main pedestrian and shopping street in Varna
Touring Ovech Fortress
Danube River views
Antique buildings in Ruse
Fantastic seafood rice at Korona Restaurant in Balchik Palace
Sea views from Balchik Palace
Homemade sausage served on traditional earthenware at Staria Chinar Restaurant in Varna
The ruins of Pliska, capital of the First Bulgarian Empire
Visiting the Roman Military Base of Abritus
A husband and wife immortalized in a headstone at Abritus
See our article: Travel Guide to Ruse, Bulgaria: What to See and Do
Walking around Ruse, Bulgaria’s “Little Vienna”
Ruse’s Svoboda (Liberty) Square
Danube River terminal in Ruse
Classical architecture in Ruse
Wine barrels at the Leventa Complex
Pantheon of National Heroes in Ruse
Rock cave church of Basarbovo
Interior of the Ivanovo Church – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ruins of the ancient Roman city, Nikopolis Ad Istrum
See our article: Travel Guide to Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria: What to See and Do
Panoramic view of the Tsaravets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo
Old Town Veliko Tarnovo
Helping a tortoise cross the road near Veliko Tarnovo
Grand entrance to Tsaravets Fortress
Delicious meal at Van Hassan II Restaurant
Touring Tsaravets Fortress
Old town Veliko Tarnovo
More old town views
Touring the boutique Maryan Winery 45 minutes from Veliko Tarnovo
Aging barrels at Maryan Winery
Another incredible spread of Bulgarian cheese, meat, and veggies
We finally made it to the capital, Sofia
St. George Church in Sofia
Gold Thracian funeral mask displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia
Amazing homemade dessert at Izbata Tavern and Winery in Sofia
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia
Ruins of the ancient theatre of Serdica beneath a modern building in Sofia
Roman necropolis in Sofia
Food in Bulgaria = amazing
Shopping street in Sofia
A tasting menu to remember at Talents Restaurant in Sofia
An interesting architectural mix of communist buildings and classic Bulgarian Revival
Exploring Rila Monastery
Fresco in Rila Monastery
All you can eat at Manastirska Meritsia, or “Monastery’s Kitchen” in Sofia
Sausage and veggie dish at Dayana Restaurant in Plovdiv
See our article: Travel Guide to Plovdiv, Bulgaria: What to See and Do
Ancient Roman Theatre in old town Plovdiv
strolling old town Plovdiv
Old town Plovdiv
Eastern gate of the Philippopolis citadel
Ruins of Philippopolis
Armenian dancers at the annual Plovdiv Folklore Festival
Roman Stadium in Dzhumaya Square
Seeing the ancient ruins of Hisarya
Starosel ancient Thracian complex
Pork and potato stew
More amazing food at Restaurant Megdana in Plovdiv
See our article: Travel Guide to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria: What to See and Do
Exploring the Regional History Museum of Stara Zagora
Neolithic Dwellings Museum
The old Roman Cardo Maximus
Subterranean Roman mosaics
Strolling around Stara Zagora
Taste-testing at the Zagorka Brewery
Zesty salad at Restaurant Castela
Defenders of Stara Zagora 1877 Memorial Complex
Defenders of Stara Zagora 1877 Memorial Complex
Have you ever considered traveling to Bulgaria? If you’ve been or are thinking about going, let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.
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My girlfriend is Bulgarian. I’d like to surprise her with a trip home next year. I’ve never been, but I’m looking forward to the experience. Thank you for the tour.
Beautiful pictures! You have quite an eye for the beauty and unique flavor of Bulgaria. I lived in Pazardjik for a few years, and learned to love Bulgaria, the people and places, and the food you so beautifully pictured. Your photos brought back so many memories of places I’ve been, and set new aspirations for places yet to visit.
Hi Bruce, I’m glad you liked our Bulgaria photos. It was an incredible experience! Thank you for your comment and if there’s any info you need, please let me know 🙂
Dear David, thank you for the wonderful presentation of Bulgaria!
I have a little note to you … The name of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen = John Asen. You wrote Van Hassan (this is the Turkish name)
During his time Bulgaria was touched by three seas. http://clip2net.com/s/39S8DWM
Nice also visit the Rhodopes mountains and Stara planina ( Smolyan, Pamporovo, Devin, Tryavna, v.Bojenci -UNESCO, the stone city Perpirikon ; Belogradchik Rocks and more Krushuna waterfalls, caves Uhlovitsa, Devil’s Throat, Jagodina … These places are unique! I take the liberty to send you a few original images… and thank you again!
Rhodopes: http://clip2net.com/s/39SfBhB ; http://clip2net.com/s/39Sea59 ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SeC9D ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SeOat ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SeZoA ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SfbTB ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SfSen ; http://clip2net.com/s/39Sg6Mt ; http://clip2net.com/s/39Sgvb2 ; http://clip2net.com/s/39SgSz0 ; http://clip2net.com/s/39Si3vC ; caves : http://clip2net.com/s/39ShxjN ; http://clip2net.com/s/39ShkFr ; http://clip2net.com/s/39ShMnw ; http://clip2net.com/s/39ShUit ;
Belogradchik rocks : http://clip2net.com/s/39SiWKt ; http://prntscr.com/5odp4u ; http://prntscr.com/5oddox ;
http://prntscr.com/5odghb ; http://prntscr.com/5odful ;
Devil’s Throat: http://prntscr.com/5odi4s ; http://prntscr.com/5odj5r ;
Gabrovo – “Etara” : http://prntscr.com/5odl35 ; http://prntscr.com/5odmwf ; http://prntscr.com/5odok4 ; Shipka : http://prntscr.com/5odq50 ; http://prntscr.com/5odr68 ; http://prntscr.com/5odrp6 ;
Sipka – temple Nativity: http://prntscr.com/5odtvo ; http://prntscr.com/5odv59 ;
v.Bojenci – UNESCO : http://prntscr.com/5odvt9 ; http://prntscr.com/5odwtj ; http://prntscr.com/5odxhf ;
Burgas : http://prntscr.com/5odz0o ; http://prntscr.com/5odzco ; http://prntscr.com/5odzzi ……………………………… 🙂
Thank you, Rayna!
Hi I am Bulgarian and These are really some of our beautiful view.Thanks for choosing Bulgaria for your destination.
And thanks that you show the people our good side cause most of the people think that we have only bad side.Have a nice time Tke care and be well and be welcome again.
I only know the good side 🙂
Signe R Ssays:
I really love Bulgaria!
Signe , Sweden
Signe, me too!
Wow! Great job on capturing my country. I was born in Sofia, I am Armenian and I grew up in New York. There is so much history and so many amazing olaces to see in BG! My first return was in 2009 and I spend the entire week just walking through the center if Sofia (where I grew up) and ended up taking over 2000 pics of the people and architecture! I left feeling that I barely scratched the surface of my homeland….Kudos on a fantastic job of giving a glimpse of this magical place to others!
Hi Mari, Thank you for the kind words. Happy 2015!
Thank you Mari! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
You should visit Pleven and a small town 35km south – Lovech on your next trip.these are two magnificent cities with a lot of history.
I have it in mind for the next time I go. Thanks for stopping by!
You really show Bulgaria for its best. Sadly, like some other person pointed out, things aren’t nearly as good as a whole. There are many more places you could pay a visit to but some of them are difficult to reach even for us who live there. Raysko praskalo, Kaylaka park in Pleven.. there are museums in Tryavna, Kotel.. the rocks near Blagoevgrad are worth a visit too. It’s as you say, we have potential in the tourism sector but since we’re a rather poor country the government has no funds to invest in it (invest when you can steal? nonsense! :D)
Hi David! Your photos are awesome! Thanks for sharing them.
Thank you Anelia!
Hi Dave, as a bulgarian living in Germany and visiting my home unfortunately not to often, i have to thank you for your post. Weil done! The feeling by read it was amazing! Visit the rhodopes and the vallay of the thracian kings and roses next time!
My pleasure, Petar! I’m glad you like them.
TA, David! Bless you!
Thank you Aglika!!!
Thanks, David, for the beautiful pictures and the heartwarming words! But you should also visit other spots from Bulgaria, especially the Rhodopes mountains!
Yes I have to return to Plovdiv and go from there. I have good contacts out there so once I have a project for Rhodopes I will go back!
Beautiful pictures. You totally caught the essence of Bulgaria. Tasty food and rich history. I just wish for us also to have a future, but this is another story. 🙂
Your country has a big future in tourism. My work is a prime example of it!
Hi David,glad you enjoyed your trip,I live with my wife about 70KM from Burgas and 45KM from Yambol,been here 13 years and love it,and as for the food,the sheer range of food is beyond belief. If you are coming again email me and I will be able to help you with your itinerary.
all the best,
Richard and Janie Feather.
Thank you Richard! What do you do work wise in Bulgaria?
In seven years of living here, I have been to virtually all of the locations that you have photographed, often more than once. Although, I would guess, your intention is to show everything at its best, the sad fact is that Bulgarian tourism is in a sorry state and the environment is not always as pleasant as you might expect. A prime example is the pedestrian area in front of the Varna theatre which has looked like a bomb site for several months now and will probably continue to appear so for a long time. Having said that, anything that encourages people to visit the country can’t be bad.
Yes I understand where your coming from. The only problem I had in Bulgaria was the road conditions in certain areas. Going 120km on the highway and then a pot hole just jumps our in front of us, at least it was exciting!
I’ve been thinking about visiting bulgaria! How many days do you recomend me to spend there in order to really enjoy it??
It really depends but if you want to explore the whole country non-stop it would be one month but if you want to base yourself somewhere and explore from there I would say at least two months. Anything else you need just ask me!
Bulgaria looks breathtaking! Thanks for sharing these incredible photos! http://nomoneywilltravel.com
Thank you Andrea! Yes Bulgaria is a very special place. Have you been?
proud to be bulgarian! Really happy you enjoyed you stay! 🙂
thank you! Yes I am also very happy to have visited!!
Great photos!! I lived in Provadiya for two years and used to walk to Ovech all the time. Here’s a shot from last time I was there, in May: http://instagram.com/p/niyjLQJNe6
Thank you for sharing! Great photos
Great pictures! I’m glad you enjoyed your Bg food!
Hi Elena, thanks for the comment! I did absolutely love the food there.