10-day road trip in Bulgaria

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Many people know Sofia the capital of Bulgaria and Sunny beach, the area where people go partying, but there is so much more to visit in Bulgaria than those two places. Luckily, I have a friend in Bulgaria that gave a lot of hidden spots.

You can easily adjust your 10 days, here are just some amazing spots in Bulgaria that you should visit! Some of these places are not known among the typical tourist so check them out and have the best time having some places all for yourself.

It is possible to take public transport to visit some places BUT the public transport takes a long time. It’s better to rent a car and drive around, the roads are quite good. In the beginning we took the public transport but on day 5 we decided to rent a car because it’s much faster and easier.

If you want to read more about Bulgaria read my blog What to know about Bulgaria.

Day 1: Burgas

  • Route: Sofia to Burgas
  • Duration: bus 5.5 hours, car 3.5 hours
  • Accommodation in Burgas

Most flights arrive in the capital city Sofia. The first day you travel from Sofia to Burgas. If you go by bus, it will take around 5 hours and 30 minutes. By car it would take 3 hours and 30 minutes. When you arrive in Burgas you should walk around and discover the city. Things you should visit are:

  • Stroll around the Sea Garden and walk on the pier of Burgas
  • Walk around the harbor and waterfront park Poda, it’s a protected area
  • Visit one of the many museums like the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum or the Natural History Museum of Burgas
  • Discover the city center

Day 2: Sozopol and Pomorie

  • Route: Burgas to Sozopol and Pomorie
  • Duration Burgas – Sozopol: bus 1 hour, car 30 minutes
  • Duration Sozopol – Pomorie: bus 1.5 hours, car 1 hour
  • Accommodation in Burgas

Wake up early on day two and visit Sozopol in the morning. With the bus it takes less than an hour to go from Burgas to Sozopol. In the afternoon you can go to Pomorie and stay until the evening.

Sozopol used to be called Apollonia and is an ancient seaside town near Burgas. The best you can do is walk around in the Old Town, discover the Southern walls of Sozopol and Ravadinovo castle. If you want to cool off you can go in the sea at Kavatsite beach.

After visiting Sozopol there is normally enough time to visit Pomorie. The best way to go by bus is to first go back to Burgas and take the bus to Pomorie. From Burgas to Pomorie it takes less than 30 minutes. You should visit the salt museum and black beach, which is next to the museum. People put the mud from black beach on their body because of the healing properties. After visiting these spots, you can walk around in the city center and enjoy the vibe.

Day 3: Plovdiv

  • Route: Burgas to Plovdiv
  • Duration: bus 4 – 5 hours, car 2.5 hours
  • Accommodation in Plovdiv

The third day you should go to Plovdiv. There are busses available from Burgas to Plovdiv which takes around 4 to 5 hours. If you go by car, it’s only a 2.5-hours drive.

The Rayko Daskalov Street is a big street in Plovdiv which is nice to walk around. After visiting this street, you should walk around the creative district Kapana, a cosy district in Plovdiv. This area is also perfect to find a restaurant or bar with delicious food and drinks. Discover Plovdiv and enjoy the nightlife.

Day 4: Plovdiv and Bachkovo Monastery

  • Route: Plovdiv to Bachkovo Monastery
  • Duration: bus 45 minutes – 1 hour, car 30 minutes
  • Accommodation in Plovdiv

On day four you should start your day by walking around the Old Town in Plovdiv and have a nice breakfast. Things you need to visit in Plovdiv are the following:

  • The ancient stadium of Philipopolis are well preserved ruins of a Roman facility.
  • Visit the Old Town and wander around the beautiful architecture.
  • Nebet Tepe is an archeological complex located on the northern hill of the three hills.
  • Walk on one of the six hills (or all of them) in Plovdiv. They said there used to be seven hills, but they destroyed one hill and used the stones for the road.
  • Enjoy the old houses in the Old Town and visit one of the houses like the Hindliyan House and visit the Balabanov House.
  • The Ancient Theatre of Philipoppol, a Roman theatre that had restorations after the earthquake or fire in the early 1980’s. They now use this ancient theatre for performances and concerts. The theatre is a semi-circle and has a diameter of 82 meters and around 5,000 spectators could sit here.
  • The Regional Ethnographic Museum Plovdiv.
  • Alyosha monument in Plovdiv.

Tip: wake up early in the morning so you see how the city comes alive.

Another place you should visit on this day is the Bachkovo Monastery. There is a bus leaving every half hour from Plovdiv to the monastery. It takes around 40 minutes to one hour. If you have time left, you can also visit the Asen’s fortress where the busses pass by.

Good to know: you need to cover your knees and shoulders if you visit the monastery.

Day 5: Sofia and Dupnitsa

  • Route: Plovdiv to Sofia and Dupnitsa
  • Duration Plovdiv – Sofia: bus 2 hours, car 1.8 hours
  • Duration Sofia – Dupnitsa: bus 1.3 hours, car 1 hour
  • Accommodation in Dupnitsa

On day 5 you can go back to Sofia to walk around, enjoy the city, and have some lunch. We went back to Sofia to rent a car because the days after this day it’s more difficult to get around with public transport.  

After enjoying Sofia and lunch go to Dupnitsa. When you arrive in Dupnitsa you can discover the city and find a dinner spot. Make sure to go to bed early because on day 6 you need to wake up early for the hike.

Day 6: hiking in Rila National Park

  • Route: Dupnica to Rila National Park
  • Duration: no direct bus connection, car 45 minutes (in the mountains)
  • Accommodation in Dupnitsa

Hiking in Rila National Park is one of the highlights when you’re visiting Bulgaria. There are many hikes in the National Park but the most well known is the Seven Rila Lakes hike. The chairlift opens at 8.30 am and it’s better to start your hike early in the morning. You can also hike up hill and don’t take the chairlift, this would take around two hours.

When you hike the loop starting at the top of the chair lift, the hike would take around 4 hours. It’s a loop so you end where you started. The views you get with the loop are indescribable. Most people just hike a little bit and return but I recommend doing the whole loop.

Tip: bring a sweater because it can get cold. Don’t forget to bring a backpack with water, snacks, sun protection and rain protection.

Read more about the Seven Rila Lakes hike on my blog Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria.

Day 7: Stob Pyramids, Rila Monastery and Belogradchik

  • Route: Dupnitsa to Stob Pyramids, Rila Monastery and Belogradchik
  • Duration Dupnitsa – Stob Pyramids: no direct bus connection, car 30 minutes
  • Duration Stob Pyramids – Rila Monastery: no direct bus connection, car 35 minutes
  • Duration Rila Monastery – Belogradchik: take bus from Dupnitsa 3.5 hours, car 4 hours
  • Accommodation in Belogradchik

If you visit Bulgaria by public transport, it’s best to take the bus from Dupnitsa to Belogradchik. If you are by car, you should first stop at the Stob Pyramids and the Rila Monastery before you go to Belogradchik.

When you park near the Stob Pyramids you hike around 30 minutes before you reach them. So, you hike 30 minutes uphill and you hike the same way back downhill. It’s a nice morning hike.

After this hike you should drive to Rila Monastery. Make sure you wear decent clothes for the monastery, this means your shoulders and knees should be covered. It’s the most famous monastery and the largest Orthodox Monastery in Bulgaria.

When you visited the monastery it’s time to go to Belogradchik. This place is indescribable. To have an amazing view I recommend you eat or drink something at Mislen Kamak and enjoy the sunset.

Day 8: Belogradchik, Lovech, Devetshka cave, Krushuna waterfalls and Veliko Tarnovo

  • Route: Belogradchik to Lovech, Devetshka cave and Krushuna waterfalls
  • Duration Belogradchik – Lovech: no direct bus connection, car 3.5 hours
  • Duration Lovech – Devetshka cave: no direct bus connection, car 25 minutes
  • Duration Devatshka cave – Krushuna waterfalls: no direct bus connection, car 25 minutes
  • Accommodation in Lovech or Veliko Tarnovo

Wake up early and watch the sunrise near the Fort latin to have an amazing view. After the sunrise you should visit the Belogradchik Fortress which is impressive. The fortress opens at 9 am and closes at 6.30 pm. The entrance fee is 6 Lev for adults and 4 Lev for students. If you want, you can book a tour with a hot air balloon or book a jeep tour.

After visiting the fortress, you should drive to Lovech and check in at your accommodation. You can have a quick look and visit the covered bridge. Make sure you have enough time to visit the cave and waterfalls.

From Lovech it’s around a 20 minutes’ drive to the Devetashka cave. The openings hours for the cave are from 8 am to 8 pm and you pay 2–3 Lev entrance fee. Another place you can pass by is the Krushuna waterfalls, you can easily hike around here. You also pay an entrance fee here.  

In the late afternoon, if there is still time, you should go to Veliko Tarnovo which takes 1.5 hours from the waterfalls. You should wander around in Veliko Tarnovo and visit the fortress during the sunset. If there is not enough time you can do this on day 9 in the morning.  To go from Veliko Tarnovo to Lovech it is still a 1.25 hours drive so makes sure it’s not too late to drive. Another option is to spend the night in Veliko Tarnovo instead of Lovech.

Day 9: Sofia

  • Route: Lovech or Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia
  • Duration Lovech – Sofia: bus 9 hours, car 2 hours
  • Duration Veliko Tarnovo – Sofia: bus 5 hours, car 2.75 hours
  • Accommodation in Sofia

If you did Veliko Tarnovo on day 8 you can go directly to Sofia otherwise you can visit Veliko Tarnovo first if you like. Make sure you will have enough time in Sofia because there is a lot to discover in the capital of Bulgaria. You should visit the following places in Sofia:

  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
  • Boyana church
  • Banya Bashi Mosque
  • Russian church (Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker)
  • Bulevard ‘Vitosha
  • St. George Rotunda Church
  • If you have enough time hike in Vitosha or visit the Boyana waterfall

Day 10: Sofia

On your last day take it easy and wander around in Sofia. Beside that you need to prepare yourself for your flight back home. If you would have enough time you should hike in Vitosha and enjoy the beautiful nature close to the capital city of Bulgaria.

I hope you will have the best time visiting Bulgaria. There are of course many other amazing places that you can visit but make sure to visit the places I have mentioned.

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