No doubts you heard a lot about Bulgarian golden sands beaches and great ski resorts near Bulgarian capital – Sofia. But guess what? Bulgaria is full of hidden gems and is a country you can easily explore. Here are 12 best cities in Bulgaria to visit in every season.
Best city in Bulgaria in January: “Surva” festival in Pernik
Visiting a Kukeri festival in Bulgaria is a top sightseeing activity you should absolutely not miss out. The best city in Bulgaria to see the Kukeri carnival remains Pernik and the festival “Surva”. However, for those who prefer to travel in springtime, there are Kukeri festivities all over the country every month (even week) in different regions. Just check out the festival calendar. Keep in mind that the costumes and the masks differ in every region and village, so it might be interesting for you to check out various locations.
Although I selected Pernik as one of the best cities to visit in January, Bulgaria remains one of the best destinations for outdoor winter tourism. For all the ski and snowboard fans, check out Bansko and Pamporovo winter resorts if you are planning to spend your winter vacation in Bulgaria.
Best city in Bulgaria to visit in February: wine-tasting on Trifon Zarezan Day
As per the tradition, Bulgarians celebrate Trifon Zarezan Day on the 14th of February. This is the first day of work on the vineyards and considered being the day of all wine producers in Bulgaria. Trifon Zarezan is the protector of all those who possess vineyards and produce the divine drink. Once the hard work on the vineyards is finished, an opulent feast begins with a lot of food and drinks.
If you are interested in visiting Bulgaria in February, check out the wineries in Melnik region. They will offer a wine-tasting and mouth-melting event for the plate for sure ):
Best city to visit Bulgaria in March: participate in the Bulgarian Liberation Day
Furthermore, if you decide to come to Bulgaria in March, don’t miss out the Celebration of Bulgarian Liberation Day.
I would highly recommend you to visit Veliko Tarnovo – a former Bulgarian capital and an amazing city with a strategic location. Needless to say that Veliko Tarnovo is easily reachable from Sofia and Varna and a great spot for historical sightseeing activities.
Therefore, March is the month of Baba Marta in Bulgaria. Baba Marta (meaning Grandma Marta in Bulgarian) is a pagan tradition and is celebrated on the 1st of March. If you visit Bulgaria in March, you will see people offering each other garments made of red and white thread. If you pay attention you will see red and white bracelets tied on trees everywhere. Baba Marta is the symbol of the upcoming spring and rejuvenation of nature after the cold winter. It’s an amazing joyful tradition you will definitely enjoy.
Best city to visit in April: Plovdiv
April can be unpredictable and I would suggest dedicating your trip to a city break. Plovdiv might be the best city to visit in Bulgaria in April for great sightseeing activities. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and has gained popularity since 2019 when it was elected as a Europen capital of culture. Nevertheless, Plovdiv does not disappoint in terms of musea in the Old Town, a vibrant atmosphere in the Kapana district and charming cafes and restaurants.
May: the best month of the year for sightseeing activities in Bulgaria
Personally, I truly believe that May is the best month to visit Bulgaria. The weather is warm enough, but it’s not so hot as in the summer. However, if you are visiting Bulgaria at the end of May – beginning of June, you might be interested in participating in the Rose festival in Kazanlak. Bulgarian Rose valley where the famous rose oil is produced is famous around the globe and the region is worth visiting during the festivities around Roses.
Therefore, I will give you a little helpful tip: book in advance your stay as everything in the whole Kazanlak region might be fully booked. You can even buy the tickets for all the events around the roses and combined museums tickets online and in advance.
Best city to visit in June: Varna the sea capital of Bulgaria
The summer in Bulgaria is just awesome and there are plenty of various activities to do. I would advise visiting Varna as it is the Sea Capital of Bulgaria. Not only but also, you can plan tons of sightseeing activities and one-day trips from Varna. For example, you can visit Balchik and the Palace and the Botanical Garden of Balchik. If you rent a car, you can also plan a one-day trip to Bolata beach – a hidden gem known only by real adventurers. For all those who prefer more active holidays, there are plenty of musea, places of interests, cafes, restaurants and sites to visit in Varna as well.
Special July morning in Kavarna
Celebrating July morning is something very special that can only happen to you in Bulgaria. July morning is celebrated the whole night before the 1st of July on the beach with music and drinks. This is a typical Bulgarian tradition and I would recommend not to miss out of the party in the best city on Bulgarian Black Sea Coast for this occasion: Kavarna. Kavarna is located 55 km north of Varna. Buses are going back and forth from and to Varna regularly. You can easily book a guest house if you prefer to stay longer and explore the area on your own.
The best city to visit in August: Bourgas
Summer might be the best season to lay on the beach or conquer the mountains. I love both. If you are visiting Sofia, you will have a choice – you can either go to the seaside – there are trains and buses to Varna and Burgas regularly, or you can visit Rila Monastery and hike the 7 Rila Lakes near Sofia.
I would advise visiting Burgas in August. Burgas is the biggest city located on the South Black Sea Coast. Not only Burgas is a great city to visit, but there are also very nice summer resorts and amazing sites to visit around like Nessebar – one of the UNESCO Heritage sites in Bulgaria, the cosy town of Sozopol or the most famous party resort in Bulgaria – Sunny Beach.
Therefore, Bansko and Pirin National Park might be also a go for all the mountain lovers. Bansko is close by Sofia and is a must-do stop for all those who are targeting to climb The Pirin Mountains. It’s a great location to escape the hot summer days as well.
The best city to visit in Bulgaria in September: Shumen
Shumen is a city located very close to Varna and is the best city to visit if you are looking for hiking spots for one day. I would advise visiting Shumen in September because you will be able to admire great autumn colours covering the scenery around you. If you are passionate about paraplanning, The Plateau of Shumen is a very famous place for this kind of experiences. Shumen is located in one hour drive from Varna and there is a regular public transport from and to Shumen.
Best city to visit in October: Stara Zagora
A lot of people will say that the best month of the year to visit Stara Zagora is June. Because the lime trees are blossoming in June and the entire city is perfumed by this sweet smell. However, October is a great month to visit Stara Zagora as well. The city impresses by its musea – you can visit the Historical Museum and the Museums of Religions. The last one is not to be missed out as it is something very unique.
Sweet November and it’s time to head to Lovech
Lovech might be the best option for November. The city itself offers a lot in terms of history and culture, but if you want to hit the road and escape in nature that’s the best region. If you rent a car you will be able to visit many natural wonders located around like Devtashka Cave, Prohodna Cave (called also God’s Eyes), Krushuna waterfalls, Natural Reserve Iskar – Panega and many many others. To sum up, the biggest bonus is that Lovech is located not far away from Sofia.
The most romantic city in Bulgaria to visit in December: Tryavna
I think that Tryavna is the most romantic city in Bulgaria. It’s a little city nestled in Stara Planina Mountain. Chances are high there is snow in Tryavna in December and you will be able to enjoy the great Clock Tower and the little emblematic for the city centre bridge. Whoever you ask in Bulgaria about Tryavna, will tell you: go for it! Nevertheless, the most tricky part will be to get to Tryavna. The easiest way of transportation will be by car. However, the train might be a better option in case of snow. There are trains from Sofia and Varna.
Have you ever visited Bulgaria? What’s the best city in Bulgaria for you?