Bulgaria in Photos
Bulgaria,  Postcards

Bulgaria in Photos

Last Updated on October 17, 2020 by Polly Dimitrova

Stunning mountain ranges, golden-dome churches, romantic old towns, tiny villages tucked into the mountains and ancient history blend together to make Bulgaria a country like no other. From the untouched nature beauty to the vivid colourful city life, Bulgaria certainly needs your attention. Immerse yourself into a thrilling unforgettable journey along the country with these 40 Stunning Photos of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is just a small country located in Southeast Europe. Sitting on the edge of Europe, the country often gets neglected by travellers. Instead of crossing it off your travel list, scroll down and check out why you should consider Bulgaria as your next travel destination.

For me, Bulgaria is not just another European country, it is my home. I was born and raised in a small town in Bulgaria. I have travelled to different countries all around the Earth and yet I continue to be impressed by Bulgaria’s beauty.

Check out these 40 stunning photos of Bulgaria to inspire your wanderlust! You will certainly want to visit Bulgaria after this!

Hiking in Pirin National Park
Pirin Mountains

Mountains as far as the eye can see


One third of Bulgaria is covered by mountains. Approximately 40 diverse mountain ranges are spread across the country. The southern and western regions are home to alpine resorts, steep summits and picturesque small villages nestled in the mountains.

As the longest range in Bulgaria, the Balkan Mountains run more than 550 km from the country’s border with Serbia to Cape Emine on the Black Sea. This mountain range is also the source of the name for the entire Balkan Peninsula.

Bulgaria is also home to the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula. Located in the Rila Mountains, Mount Musala reaches an altitude of 2,925 meters / 9,596 ft. Around 200 glacier lakes are also situated within the Rila Mountains, including one of the most popular Bulgarian landmarks – the Seven Rila Lakes.

Adventurous hiking paths meander through the Pirin Mountain Range. Located at 2,914 metres / 9,560 ft, Vihren Peak is the highest peak in Pirin Mountains and the second highest in Bulgaria. Pirin is an excellent choice if you would like to enjoy some hiking – click here for my top 6 hikes in Pirin National Park.

While Rila and Pirin Mountains offer various options for hiking with high peaks and alpine ridges, the Rhodope Mountain Range is more notable for the large number of caves and deep river gorges. Divided into two parts – the higher western and lower eastern areas, the Rhodope Mountains present a system of river valleys and crests. Traditional Bulgarian villages, ancient churches and ruins of medieval settlements can also be found in the territory of Rhodope Mountains.

Photos of Bulgaria
Blue Stones Natural Park, The Balkan Mountains

Churches and Monasteries


Religion has played a significant part in the Bulgarian history. There are more than 4,000 churches and monasteries on the Bulgarian territory.

One of the most popular tourist destinations and a major symbol of Bulgaria is Rila Monastery. Founded during the 10th Century, Rila Monastery is the largest monastery in Bulgaria. The holy place has served as an educational and spiritual center throughout the centuries and was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Another distinct mark of Bulgaria is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Located at the heart of the Bulgarian capital – Sofia, it is believed to be one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world. With its Neo-Byzantine style, golden domes, wood carving and beautiful frescos and mosaics, the basilica is a masterpiece in itself.

Saint Dimitar Basarbovski Monastery
Rock Monastery St. Dimitar Basarbovski, Basarbovo, Ruse
Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery – the largest monastery in Bulgaria
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia
Spring in Bulgaria
Spring in Bulgaria in Rhodope Mountains

Beauty of Four Seasons


Bulgaria has a continental climate with very distinct seasons. Gorgeous, colourful spring is followed by a hot summer. Rainy and foggy autumn days foreshadows cold snowy winter.

I love the winter seasons for the various skiing options that Bulgaria has to offer. Click here to read more about my favourite ski resort Borovets. Spring and autumn are all about the short weekend trips in nature and away from the hectic city life. Summer in Bulgaria is perfect for relaxing and sunbathing at the beach or going on hiking adventures in the mountains.

No matter when you are visiting Bulgaria, you will be impressed by its colours and beauty in all four seasons.

Peaceful Eco Trails


In Bulgaria, you will find more than 70 eco-paths offering fresh air, unspoiled nature and breathtaking views.

Photos of Bulgaria
The Devil’s Path Eco Trail, Rhodope Mountains
Photos of Bulgaria
White River Eco Trail, Kalofer

If you are not a big fan of hiking and prefer a more relaxed and peaceful walk in nature, the various eco-trails in Bulgaria might be perfect for you. Small wooden bridges and paths meander through the Bulgarian National Parks offering a perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty.

Photos of Bulgaria
Waterfalls Canyon Eco Trail, Smolyan
Summer in Bansko
Cobblestone Streets in Bansko

Cobblestone Streets


Hundreds of years ago, Bulgarian streets were laid in cobblestone. But even nowadays you can stroll down the narrow cobblestone streets of many cities in Bulgaria.

A lot of cities and seaside towns such as Plovdiv and Sozopol, respectively, have an “old town” that was established long before modern wide, straight roads and asphalt. The best way to immerse yourself into Bulgarian tradition is to get lost in between the charming narrow and authentic cobblestone streets of the old towns. And of course bring a camera to take some stunning photos of Bulgaria.

Old Fortresses and Ancient Cities


Traces of Thracian, Slavs, Romans and others have been found across the Bulgarian territory. The rich and turbulent country’s history has shaped a large portion of Bulgarian cities.

Rising tall on top of a hill and overlooking the town of Veliko Tarnovo, Tsarevets fortress is one of Bulgaria’s major attractions. The fortification served as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom for two centuries.

Ancient ruins and remains of Bulgarian history can also be found in the towns of Pliska and Preslav. While Pliska was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 681-893, Veliki Preslav was announced as the second Bulgarian capital from 893-972.

Photos of Bulgaria
Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo
Hiking in Pirin National Park
Muratovo Lake, Pirin Mountains

Stunning Nature


River valleys, steep mountain ridges, rock and cave formation, natural lakes and spectacular waterfalls shape the country’s stunning nature. The Bulgarian eco-systems are extremely well preserved.

A large portion of the country’s territory has been declared protected areas. Nowadays, Bulgaria is home to 3 national parks, 11 nature parks and 55 nature reserves.

Bulgaria is also the second most biologically-diverse country in Europe thanks to its rare animal and plant species.

Unusual Encounters


Hey! I’m Alex – Polly’s guest writer for this section! She chose me to write this section because I am a massive animal lover and have had unusual encounters with animals on almost every trip to Bulgaria. At this point, I’d say it’s a rite of passage to be accepted not only into a local’s house, but also by the local stray dogs / cats / horses / donkeys / cattle. If you want your very own companion for a day, just show a little kindness (and, always a good rule of thumb: beware of any aggression).

One of the adorable mutts we met along our travels accompanied us for an 8 mile hike: leading the way, enjoying nature, drinking water and eating Banitsa our of our hands! Be careful though – You might just fall in love and want to take the little guy home with you!

Have any of you met an animal companion on one of your adventures? Let me know down below!

Photos of Bulgaria - horses
Horseback riding in Pirin Mountains
Summer in Bansko
Streets of Bansko

Revival Architecture


Dating back to the 18th Century, the Bulgarian National Revival Period is one of the most important stages of the country’s history. Not only was it a period of socio-economic development, but it was also time encouraging literacy, culture and national identity.

The time is also characterized by architectural development. Beautiful traditional houses with rich decorations, bright colours and wall paintings can still be found while strolling down narrow alleys of smaller Bulgarian towns and villages.

Click here to learn more about Bulgaria.

Small Villages Tucked into the Mountains


There is nothing more authentic than taking a stroll down the small streets of villages tucked away into the mountains.

Often times these secluded villages are so remote and faraway that they are quite difficult to get to. The mountainous winding roads offer stunning scenery of green fields, steep hills and old Bulgarian houses.

Keep in mind that these small villages are mainly inhabited by elderly Bulgarians, who do not speak English. Make sure that you have a map or navigation as road signs can be a bit confusing.

If you decide to be adventurous and take this journey you will not be disappointed!

The Meanders of Arda River
Star Chitak Village

Have you been to Bulgaria? Which Bulgarian cities did you visit? Did you manage to go hiking in any of the Bulgarian Mountains? What do you think of these photos of Bulgaria – did you like them? Did you like my guest writer – Alex – my fiance, best friend and travel partner? (I think he might be trying to jump in some other articles in the future) Share in the comments section below!

66 Comments

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Yes, it really is! Yes, people often think of it as the capital city – Sofia and the larger towns. Going to the countryside to enjoy the beauty, though, is certainly much better. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Aga

    I’m probably not the first person to say it, but wow, Bulgaria is stunning! More beautiful than most people realize. I’d love to visit one day!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Yeap, certainly not the first person to say that 😀 Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by travellers. Glad that you find the beauty of it, though. It is certainly worth the visit!

    • Kelly

      Oh, this makes me miss Bulgaira so much. I only got to visit Sofia but I would like to see so much more. Thanks for sharing!

      • Polly Dimitrova

        Thank you, Kelly! 🙂 There is so much to be seen in Bulgaria, besides Sofia. Hopefully, you will get to visit again and explore some more 🙂

      • Polly Dimitrova

        Agree! Both Nessebur and Veliko Tarnovo are absolutely stunning. Veliko Tarnovo, in reality, is one of my favourite cities around Bulgaria. Thank you for mentioning them, Dave!

  • April

    These photos are stunning! I didn’t realize that Bulgaria is so rich with so many hiking and nature trails. It is definitely now on my bucket list. It looks like a country that you can easily loose yourself in.

  • Nina | Lemons and Luggage

    There are some really stunning photos here! I need to explore more of the remote places in Bulgaria, it’s too easy to get caught up in the cities and not explore further.

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you! 🙂 Yes, I think the remote, off the beaten paths, are more authentic and traditional and give you a much better idea of a particular location.

  • Sarah

    Amazing photos! I don’t hear a lot about Bulgaria but I’d love to visit – it seems incredibly quiet compared to some other touristy spots in Europe. I love the architecture and the history! Looks like great photos ops too, especialy at Veliki Preslov!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you! It certainly is. It is not getting as many tourists as other European countries, so it is still a hidden gem, which allows for a more peaceful experience.
      Yes, some of the older towns and villages are excellent spots to admire the architecture and learn more about the history of Bulgaria!

  • Marisa

    Bulgaria looks like such a gorgeous country and one that I still wish to visit one day! I will absolutely be using your guide when I finally do get to go!

  • Shelley

    GREAT blog & also, great photos. Bulgaria is officially *on* my travel radar. I think I’m officially obsessed with Plovid, the Rock Monastery, & those views on the lift at Blue Stones National Park. Just stunning. Thanks for highlighting this gorgeous country… I’m pinning & saving this blog for my next European vacation!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you, Shelley! Yes, Plovdiv is one of my favourite cities in Bulgaria for sure and the Rock Monastery is a more unique and different location to explore! I am very happy that you enjoyed the views from the lift – this is the town of Sliven in the background (which is also my home town 🙂 ) Glad that Bulgaria is now on your travel list! 🙂

  • Jiayi Wang

    This photoguide is just stunning!! I’m speechless! I’ve always wanted to see Bulgaria but this is just making me want to go ASAP! 🙂 The old towns, cobblestone streets and villages look especially enticing. Also love the layout of this post! 🙂

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you, Jiayi! I am glad that you found some inspiration here! Bulgaria is certainly worth the visit 🙂

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Yes, it is one of these European countries that it is not that much talked about. Still a hidden gem – definitely worth the visit 🙂

  • Rachel

    Wow Bulgaria looks amazing! This is such a comprehensive post. I’ve saved it for later as I’m sure I’ll visit lots of these places you have recommended

  • Cass

    What a great post showing just how much Bulgaria has to offer. Definitely makes me wish I could travel around the country and see all these gorgeous places.

  • Lamara Travels

    One of my old friends from university is from Bulgaria. Since graduating we haven’t stayed in close contact, but seeing this guide has made me realise I need to go over there to see her! I didn’t realise how much natural beauty was around, not to mention the cute wildlife

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Yes, reuniting with some old friends, while experiencing a new place is a good idea! Yes, people rarely talk about the natural beauty of Bulgaria, as they focus on the bigger cities, and especially Sofia. There is so much more than this, though. And yes, the wildlife is really cute and friendly – you can always find a furry friend for the day 🙂

  • Margarita

    What an incredible visual introduction to the country! I knew Bulgaria was beautiful, but this post blew me away. Rila monastery and Pirin National Park are incredible. Some of the architecture reminds me of older parts of Istanbul, which is understandable, given historical influences. Thank you for this wonderful description! I would absolutely love to visit Bulgaria in near future.

  • Francesca

    I loved Bulgaria! I was able to visit Sofia and the Rila Monastery. I would love to go back and visit the small villages in teh mountains such as Yakoruda Village.

    • Polly Dimitrova

      I am really happy that you have been to Bulgaria and enjoyed it! Yes, Sofia and Rila Monastery are both extremely beautiful. Sometimes going to the countryside and experiencing the small villages, though, is the way to get the real feel of the country 🙂

  • Hannah

    Wow, Bulgaria looks spectacular! Your photographs are beautiful! I have to be honest, I didn’t know much about Bulgaria but now I’m desperate to go! Rila Monetary looks breath-taking. The mountains also look glorious but you’d never get me on that cable car! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you, Hannah! 🙂 I am glad that you found some inspiration here! The cable car is not so scary as it looks 🙂

  • Kelsey

    We were suppose to travel to Bulgaria this summer and had to cancel our trip! This is great info for us fro next summer!! ( Hopefully we will be able to go next year! ) Thanks for sharing!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Oh, this year is certainly not good for any travels. I am sorry to hear that you had to cancel your trip to Bulgaria, hopefully, you will get the chance to visit next year! 🙂

  • Kelly

    Bulgaria is absolutely beautiful! I have never been before but would love to explore the whole country one day. Thanks for all of the great ideas and amazing photos 🙂

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you, Kelly! I am glad that you found some inspiration and hopefully you will get to visit one day 🙂

  • Ellis Shuman

    Amazing photos – who gets the credit? This brings back warm memories of my many visits to Bulgaria. I lived in Sofia for two years and last year I hiked in the Rila and Pirin Mountains. I hope to go back again soon!

    • Polly Dimitrova

      Thank you, Ellis. All photos are mine 🙂 I am so glad that you have good memories of Bulgaria. Both Pirina and Rila Mountains are so beautiful, I particularly love Pirin and I try to go every year for a week of a hiking adventure. Hopefully, you will be able to visit soon again 🙂

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