In your holiday in Bulgaria you will appreciate our dramatic mountains, haven-like monasteries, Roman and Byzantine ruins, and the excellent coffee you'll be offered wherever you go!
Bulgarian Tourist Information and Services
Sea Resorts Mountain Resorts Hotels & Hostels
Main Page


Facts for the Traveler
Cities and Towns
Money & Costs
When to Go
Best Of
Off the Beaten Track
Recommended Reading

Southern Bulgaria






Trains heading from Bulgaria to Greece follow the Struma Valley south from Sofia (read more), skirting some of the country’s most grandiose mountains on the way. Formerly noted for their bandits and hermits, the Rila and Pirin Mountains contain Bulgaria’s highest, stormiest peaks, swathed in forests and dotted with alpine lakes awaiting anyone prepared to hike or risk their car’s suspension on the backroads. If time is short, the two spots to select are the most revered of Bulgarian monasteries, Rila (read more), lying some 30km east of the main southbound route, and the village of Melnik (read more), known both for its wine and its vernacular architecture. More traditional architecture is to be found in the village of Bansko (read more)on the eastern side of the Pirin range, a small detour from the main north–south route.

Another much-travelled route heads southeast from Sofia towards Istanbul, through the Plain of Thrace, a fertile region that was the heartland of the ancient Thracians, whose culture began to emerge during the third millennium BC. The main road and rail lines now linking Istanbul and Sofia essentially follow the course of the Roman Serdica–Constantinople road, past towns ruled by the Ottomans for so long that foreigners used to call this “European Turkey”. Of these, the most important is Plovdiv (read more), Bulgaria’s second city, whose old quarter is a wonderful melange of Renaissance mansions, mosques and classical remains, spread over three hills. Thirty kilometres east of Plovdiv is the Bachkovo Monastery (read more), whose churches and courtyards contain some of Bulgaria’s most vivid frescoes.

Cities and towns: