8 Days Itinerary For The Best Of Bulgaria

Rila Monastery

This is a suggested eight days travel itinerary for Bulgaria that covers Sophia, Plovdiv & Veliko Tarnovo.


Why Travel To Bulgaria

  • Stunning scenery
  • Interesting culture & history
  • Great architecture
  • Delicious food & wine
  • Budget friendly

Bulgaria Travel Route


Bulgaria Travel Route

Bulgaria Travel Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Sophia
  • Day 2: Explore Sophia
  • Day 3: Day Trip to Rila Monastery
  • Day 4: Sophia to Plovdiv, Explore Plovdiv
  • Day 5: Explore Plovdiv
  • Day 6: Plovdiv to Veliko Tarnovo, Explore Veliko Tarnovo
  • Day 7: Explore Veliko Tarnovo
  • Day 8: Day Trip to Buzludzha Monument
  • Day 9: Depart

If you've more time or want to enjoy the beaches then visit Black Sea coastline.


Best Time To Visit Bulgaria

Just considering the temperatures, the best time to visit Bulgaria would be May through September. June to August the prices of accommodations and flights will be high since it is considered the high season. You could consider travelling during the shoulder months (April-May and September–October) when the prices are lower and the temperatures are comfortable.


Bulgaria Top Experiences

  • Huge Sophia Church
  • Colorful Rila Monastery
  • Performance at Ancient Roman Theatre Of Philippopolis in Plovdiv
  • Charming town of Veliko Tarnavo
  • Buzludzha Monument 
  • Delicious Bulgarian cuisine

Day 1 - Arrive In Sophia

After a long journey to Sophia, it would be best to take it easy on your first day in Bulgaria. Sofia is the capital and the largest city of Bulgaria. In late afternoon explore Sophia city center. Then go to Vitosha Boulevard which is the main pedestrian street with many cafes, bars, restaurants and fashion stores. Dine at one of the authentic Bulgarian restaurants on Vitosha Blvd.

Best location to book your stay in Sofia is the City Center area.

Sofia
Sofia

Sofia Ancient Serdica Archaeological Complex
Sofia Ancient Serdica Archaeological Complex

Sofia
Sofia

Vitosha Boulevard (Sofia)
Vitosha Boulevard (Sofia)
(Image By Stolichanin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39900191)

Day 2 - Explore Sophia

After a good night sleep and a good breakfast at your hotel, start your day with a guided walking tour of Sophia where you'll understand the history and architecture of the city. After the walking tour enjoy authentic Bulgarian food for lunch. After lunch visit Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski. This is a massive church and was built between 1882 and 1912 in memory of the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence. Then visit Banya Bashi Mosque which was completed in 1566. You can also visit The Sofia Synagogue which is the largest synagogue in Southeastern Europe. Please check the tourist visiting hours in advance for the mosque and the synagogue to plan your visit.

Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski
Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski (Sofia)

Banya Bashi Mosque
Banya Bashi Mosque (Sofia)


The Sofia Synagogue
The Sofia Synagogue

Day 3 - Day trip to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

Start your day by visiting the Boyana Church which is a UNESCO protected medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church situated on the outskirts of Sofia. It was built around 11th century. Then visit the Rila Monastery which is the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It was founded in the 10th century and is full of colorful architecture and religious art. Then have a nice authentic Bulgarian food for lunch at a restaurant near Rila Monastery. In the afternoon you can visit the Saint Sofia Church which is the oldest church in Sofia, dating to the 4th century. Or you can just spend time walking around and exploring Sophia.

Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery

Boyana Church
Boyana Church

Regional History Museum, Sofia
Regional History Museum (Sofia)

Day 4 - Sofia to Plovdiv, Explore Plovdiv

Take the transport in morning from Sofia to Plovdiv, which is about couple of hours by road. Plovdiv is the cultural capital of Bulgaria and the second largest city in Bulgaria. In the afternoon join a guided walking tour of the historic old town of Plovdiv. In late afternoon visit the Ancient Roman Theatre Of Philippopolis, which is one of the world's best-preserved ancient Roman theatres. The theatre was constructed in the 90s of the 1st century AD. While in Plovdiv, try to attend a performance in evening at the theatre for an amazing open theatre experience.

Best location to book your stay in Plovdiv is the Old Town area.


Balabanov's House (Plovdiv)
Balabanov's House (Plovdiv)

Nebet Tepe (Plovdiv)
Nebet Tepe (Plovdiv)

Ancient Roman Theatre Of Philippopolis (Plovdiv)
Ancient Roman Theatre Of Philippopolis (Plovdiv)

Day 5 - Explore Plovdiv

Start your day by visiting Regional Ethnographic Museum. The museum has a collection of over 40,000 exhibits. Have lunch at one of the lovely restaurants in the Kapana district. In afternoon visit Dzhumaya Mosque which was built in 1363–1364. Then spend rest of the day walking around and exploring Plovdiv. End your day with dinner in Kapana district.

Regional Ethnographic Museum (Plovdiv)
Regional Ethnographic Museum (Plovdiv)

Dzhumaya Mosque (Plovdiv)
Dzhumaya Mosque (Plovdiv)

Ancient Stadium of Philipopolis (Plovdiv)
Ancient Stadium of Philipopolis (Plovdiv)

Day 6 - Plovdiv to Veliko Tarnovo

Take the transport in morning from Plovdiv to Veliko Tarnovo, which is about 3 hours by road. Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval historic town located on the Yantra River in north central Bulgaria. In the afternoon join a guided walking tour of the historic town of Veliko Tarnovo. Along the way you'll enjoy unique architecture, monuments and street art/murals. End your day with dinner at one of the authentic Bulgarian restaurants with a view of the river valley.

Best location to book your stay in Veliko Tarnovo is the Old Town and City Center area.

Park "Sveta Gora" (Veliko Tarnovo)
Park "Sveta Gora" (Veliko Tarnovo)

Wall Mural (Veliko Tarnovo)
Wall Mural (Veliko Tarnovo)

Monument of Mother Bulgaria (Veliko Tarnovo)
Monument of Mother Bulgaria (Veliko Tarnovo)

Day 7 - Explore Veliko Tarnovo

Start your day by exploring Tsarevets FortressIt is Second Bulgarian Empire's primary fortress dating back to 12th century and is known for its medieval architecture and history. In afternoon visit Museum of the Revival and Constituent Assembly. Then walk around and explore Veliko Tarnovo. You can visit Samovodska Charshiya Complex where you'll encounter blacksmiths, potters, painters, etc. selling their work.

Tsarevets Fortress (Veliko Tarnovo)
Tsarevets Fortress (Veliko Tarnovo)

Museum of the Revival and Constituent Assembly (Veliko Tarnovo)
Museum of the Revival and Constituent Assembly (Veliko Tarnovo)

Samovodska Charshiya Complex (Veliko Tarnovo)
Samovodska Charshiya Complex (Veliko Tarnovo)

Day 8 - Day Trip to Buzludzha Monument

On this last day in Bulgaria you'll visit Buzludzha Monument, which looks like a flying saucer and is located at 1400 meters altitude. It was built by Bulgarian communist government and inaugurated in 1981. Along the way to Buzludzha you can visit The Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar, which showcases Bulgarian customs, culture and craftsmanship. You can also visit The Dryanovo Monastery, which is a functioning Bulgarian Orthodox monastery situated in the Andaka River Valley.

Buzludzha Monument
Buzludzha Monument

Buzludzha Monument
Buzludzha Monument

The Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar
The Open Air Ethnographic Museum Etar

The Dryanovo Monastery
The Dryanovo Monastery

What to Shop In Bulgaria

Bulgaria is known for Rose oil, Rose cosmetics, Bulgarian cheese, spices, wine, Rakia (Bulgarian alcoholic drink), Bulgarian pottery and handicrafts.


Foods To Try In Bulgaria

  • Shopska Salata (chopped vegetables with Bulgarian white cheese)
  • Tarator (Cucumber soup)
  • Banitsa (pastry)
  • Sarmi (stuffed Cabbage vine leaves)
  • Kebapche (grilled minced meat stick)
  • Meshana skara (grilled meat dish)
  • Stuffed peppers

Bulgarian Shopska Salad
Bulgarian Shopska Salad
(Photo by By Popo le Chien - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78453300)


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