Millions of years of erosion and other natural processes created these magical sandstone and conglomerate formations next to the town of Belogradchik, northwestern Bulgaria. The rocks are spread over an area of more than 50 square km, some of them reaching a height of around 200 m. Together with the medieval Belogradchik Fortress, built around the northern group of the rocks, this is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Bulgaria.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Sofia’s most famous building can be rarely seen from this angle. The symbol of the capital is not just a cathedral, but a monument as well: it was built to commemorate the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War which led to Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire. The cathedral’s remarkable gold-plated domes have a total gilded area of 700 square meters and are covered with more than 8 kg of gold. The bell tower, reaching a height of 53 meters, has a solid gold cross on top. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral can accommodate 5000 people, its constructions finished in 1912.
The Rila Mountains
Rila is the highest mountain range in Bulgaria and the whole Balkan Peninsula. It has nearly 200 glacial lakes and more than 140 main peaks that exceed 2000 meters. The highest among them is Musala – thanks to its 2925 m elevation, Rila ranks as the sixth highest mountain range in Europe. Rila is also one of Bulgaria’s top tourist attractions hosting the Rila Monastery, the Seven Rila Lakes, ski resorts, many hiking routes and hot springs. With its gorgeous scenery, Rila is an amazing destination for both winter and summer.
The northern Black Sea coast
Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast is primarily known for its large sandy beaches. However, some areas, especially in the northern part of the country, offer a very different type of scenery. The rocky shore near the village of Tyulenovo is a paradise for landscape photographers and newlywed couples, also a favored diving and climbing destination. The area is rich in underwater caves and attractive cliff formations. On top of that, even dolphins can be observed from the coast.
This deserted building, originally named the Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, was built on Buzludzha, a peak in the Central Balkan Mountains. It was abandoned in 1989, only 18 years after its opening. Recently, the monument has drawn the attention of photographers and was discovered by filmmakers as well. Currently it is closed to the public due to its bad condition, but there are ongoing conservation and restoration projects.
The Pirin Mountains
Pirin is the second highest mountain range in Bulgaria, famous for its stunning landscapes with marble peaks and crystal clear glacial lakes. Pirin National Park, covering the highest parts of the mountain range, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The well-developed town of Bansko has become the most popular ski resort of the Balkan peninsula, regularly hosting alpine ski and biathlon cups. Pirin is also the home of Snezhnika, the southernmost glacier in Europe, located at the northern foot of Vihren, the highest peak of Pirin (2914 m, the third highest in the Balkans).
Etar is an open-air ethnographic museum located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. It was built in the 1960s to represent the culture, architecture and craftsmanship of the Bulgarian National Revival period. The complex features typical Bulgarian Revival houses, a bazaar with workshops, a church and even a reconstructed, pre-existing water mill. The park has 17 workshops where local masters demonstrate traditional crafts such as wood-carving, pottery, needlework, icon painting, coppersmith crafts, cutlery making and more. Visitors can also taste traditional local sweets.
Devetashka cave is one of the largest karst caves in Bulgaria, with a total length of 2442 m. Its huge central hall, called ’The Altar’ has many large openings on the 60-m-high ceiling. Many important archeological discoveries have been made here, including the finding of valuable remains from the Neolithic period. The earliest traces of human presence in the cave are dating back to about 70 thousand years BC. Apart from the historical finds, the cave is also famous for the diversity of its inhabitants. It is one of the largest habitats of bat colonies in Europe. Due to the wintering and breeding season of the bats, the cave is inaccessible to visitors in certain months. During the socialist era, the cave used to be a secret military site.
The summer view of Snezhanka Peak (1926 m) near Pamporovo in the Rhodope Mountains. Pamporovo is among the three largest ski resorts in Bulgaria with 55 km of ski and snowboard slopes, 38 km of cross-country tracks, 7 chairlifts and 6 surface lifts. The area is also a popular hiking destination, welcoming tourists all year round with a vast amount of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Located deep in a beautiful valley, the Rila Monastery is one of the top tourist attractions of the Balkans with around 1 million visitors a year. The monastery complex and the surrounding mountains are truly breathtaking. Rila Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 and is regarded as the most sacred and spiritual place in the country. It is also the largest monastery in Bulgaria, located at an altitude of 1147 m in the western part of the Rila Mountains. The monastery was established in 927 A.D. by the hermit Saint Ivan of Rila and built by his students. During its 1100-year existence, the monastery changed its place, was demolished and rebuilt several times.