Travel

Polya Pencheva: The authentic destinations in Bulgaria that will capture your heart

A mountain lodge in the Central Balkans National Park

(Editor’s note: Blessed with mountains, wilderness and preserved villages, Bulgaria has so many off-the-beaten-path destinations that it takes two posts to list them all. You can see more here in an earlier post.)

As established in previous posts, Bulgaria is one of the top destinations for holiday regardless of your interests and budget. From spa treatments to beaches and mountain getaways, you will find everything you need for your next great trip.

Yet, there are so many great places worth visiting that are rarely mentioned in traditional travel guides or posts. They are replete with beautiful nature, historical sites and just amazing food you have to try. Some of them are typically old school Bulgarian and some are modernized; some are hidden in the mountains while others just give you a magnificent view of them.

This post will reveal some of the cute little places in Bulgaria that are definitely worth visiting … you will be surprised by what you can discover there.

Photo by Polya Pencheva

Tryavna

Tryavna is a very small town situated in central Bulgaria not far way from Gabrovo. For the Bulgarian people, it is famous for its textile industry and its National Revival architecture but also because it is the birthplace of the famous writer Pencho Slaveykov. (I shall not bore with historical facts because most Bulgarian places are full of history and things worth exploring if you are interested specifically in this.)

Everybody in Bulgaria has heard of Tryavna but, foreigners have no knowledge of it. The town is pretty small and most of the things that you would be interested in seeing are located in the historic city center where you can explore the atmosphere and marvel at the old houses, cobbled streets, and traditional vibes.

For the mountain lovers, you can join organized hikes and mountain bike adventures. You can discovered what kind of adventures to embark on Gabrovo Plus websites.

What is more, you can take day trips to Bozhentsi village, one of the most beautiful preserved villages in Bulgaria, and the Sokolsky Monastery.

These are the ultimate destinations for the authentic Bulgarian experience.

Buzludhza monumen

Gabrovo

Gabrovo is another of the places worth stopping by if you happen to be in the region. Again, it is a very historical place full of things to see and experience but this time I’d like to highlight something completely different.

One of my favorite places there is the Museum of Satire and Humour. In my opinion, it is one of the funniest landmarks and you can visit it if the weather is not as hospitable as hoped. It is a nice escape from the outside world.

Another magnificent sight in close proximity is the Buzludhza monument. Of course, it has historical significance, but I assure anyone who decides to visit that the view is more than spectacular, and more than worth your time.

Yes, this huge abandoned monument atop a spectacular mountain is a tribute to Bulgaria’s communist past. But it’s also a monument to the country’s three historical epochs – the Bulgarian “struggle against Turkish oppression, the foundation of Bulgarian social democracy and the anti-fascist fight. And the view is unbeatable

So, in a sense, Buzludhza defines Bulgaria.

In addition, you’ll able to enjoy some of beautiful nature of Bulgaria and spend a day outside of the city.

Last but not least is the ZOH Clay Pots café in the heart of Gabrovo. I have known this place since I was in secondary school and I never miss to pay a visit whenever I am in town.

It is so cute and they have some great cakes.

Troyan

This town celebrates the name of the Roman Emperor Trajan. Yes, I know … again history. But apart from the historical aspect, Troyan is home to three major National Reserves: Kozia Stena, Severen Jendem and Steneto, which are part of the larger Central Balkan National Park. This national park is part of one of the last unspoiled wildernesses in Europe, with ancient trees and wild animals such as the Griffon vulture you can’t see anywhere else in Europe.

These places are full of interesting new adventures and experiences. And the truth is, the town of Troyan itself is not as special as the attractions that are very close by.

Another place you need to know about is Beklemeto Pass. Once you climb to the top of it you can see the view which is beyond amazing. Furthermore, you can also hike to Dermenka, Dobrila and Ambaritsa “huts,” actually rustic mountain lodges where you can spend the night. Troyan and the surrounding spots are extremely attractive for people who enjoy being in the nature, natural beauty and a green environment.

All in all, Bulgaria is a place full of interesting places to see, explore and experience. The Bulgarian landscape and the opportunities it offers can attract anyone – from mountain lovers to people who enjoy beaches and fancy swimming pools. Tourist have the chance to dive into the nature while at the same time enjoy a good meal and some very traditional and typical only for Bulgaria drinks and foods.

Polya Pencheva

Polya Plamenova Pencheva is a young Bulgarian journalist based in Groningen, Netherlands. Polya holds a Master's degree in journalism from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and loves writing and telling the untold stories of interesting people. You can find her dining at cute café, shopping at markets, scouting second-hand shops or just chillin' at home with something great to read.

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