In 2020, I visited 20 amazing places in Bulgaria. Continue to read and check out my 20 places visited in Bulgaria in 2020!
Place 1: The Stone Mushrooms near village Beli Plast in the Western Rhodopes region
The first place I visited in 2020 was the Stone Mushrooms near village Beli Plast in the Western Rhodopes region. I wanted to visit these lovely stone formations for years and finally, the occasion showed up! In February I headed to a weekend trip in search of snow and lovely places. I have to say that I was impressed by the Stone Mushrooms – they really look like giant mushrooms. Also, it’s an amazing spot to make great pictures in the winter!
My detailed review of my trip to the Stone Mushrooms and the region can be checked here: In search of Thracian sanctuaries and stone mushrooms
Place 2: The Monument of the Holy Mother of God in Haskovo
Next on the list comes The monument of the Holy Mother of God in Haskovo. The statue is 31 meters high and is recognised as the tallest statue of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus in the world. Climbing the stairs located behind the monument and watching at it, I got the feeling that the Holy Mother is looking down the entire city and protects its citizens. I highly recommend you to visit Haskovo and to take the time to see the Monument of the Holy Mother of God.
Place 3: Veliki Preslav – a former capital of Bulgaria
Veliki Preslav literally means “The Great Preslav”. I paid a visit to Veliki Preslav on the Bulgarian Liberation Day, celebrated on the 3rd of March every year. By coincidence, that was the last place I travelled to before the lockdown in Bulgaria. On this occasion, there was a performance of the last battle between the Ottoman soldiers and Bulgarian liberators played at the city centre of Veliki Preslav. The performance itself was very interesting and needless to say that the main square was crowded.
Afterwards, we visited the remnants of Veliki Preslav and the Historical Museum. The museum is worth visiting for those who are passionate about history.
Place 4 on my list of 20 places that I visited in Bulgaria in 2020 is Petrich Kale
Another place of my 20 favourite places for 2020 is the ancient Fort Petrich Kale. Although the Fort is located near Varna, it’s a hidden gem and chances are high you won’t meet any tourists on your way. Petrich Kale is a wonderful place out off the bitten path. To reach the remnants of the Fort, you have to hike for 30 minutes through the woods. There is a scary crevice in the rocks and wooden stairs will welcome you if you are curious to see what’s behind. Be careful, the stairs are not reliable at all!
Place 5 on my list of 20 places that I visit in Bulgaria in 2020 is the cosy Black Sea Town Balchik
I have to say that Balchik is an emblematic place for me as the best family vacation with my parents took place there and my wedding celebration as well. That why I love Balchik. Although Balchik is popular with the Botanical Garden and the Balchik Palace, the favourite summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania, it’s a lovely place for a promenade near the sea. The walking path ends at the Botanical Garden and the Palace, so if you decide to spend a few hours admiring the beautiful plants and the colourful roses, you’ll have the chance. For those who are looking for a great location for wedding photo shooting, the Botanical Garden is the perfect spot as the light is amazing. I highly recommend the landmark, as it does not disappoint in terms of backgrounds and lighting.
Place 6: Endless poppy fields in the Silistra region are the next place on my list of 20 places that I visited in 2020
Not to mention that one of the greatest benefits of the COVID-19 lockdown is that Mother Nature has taken some time off to rejuvenate and offer us stunning sceneries like these poppy fields. The fields were everywhere. I’ve never seen that before, although I love spending some time in Silistra in spring. Take a few moments to admire the different seasons and the charm they do have.
For more information what to do, see and eat in Silistra, check out my review here: Things to do and discover in Silistra – the apricot paradise of Bulgaria
Place 7: Thracian sanctuary Badjaliata
Additionally, in June I visited a hidden gem near my hometown Silistra called Badjaliata. Few are the ones who know about Badjaliata as it’s hidden between villages and woods. Badjaliata is an ancient Thracian sanctuary and it represents a cave where Thracian have lived and have hidden from their enemies. A great spot in the middle of nowhere and in the heart of Mother Nature.
Place 8: Sunrise at Fichosa Beach in Varna
Furthermore, one day, me and a friend of mine, we decided to wake up early the next day and to greet the sunrise at Fichosa Beach. Fichosa Beach is located outside the city of Varna and is considered being a wild beach. This is the best spot to see the sun rising from the sea early in the morning.
Place 9: Thracian Sanctuary Begliktash
Begliktash is a Thracian Sanctuary located near Primorsko in the South Black Sea Coast. Moreover, this is the biggest megalith left by the Thracians on the South Black Sea Coast. It is a park with 14 giant megalith stone formations in different shapes named after the shape each of them has.
However, the most famous stone remains Apostle Tash – a rock formation in the shape of a turned upside-down heart. If you visit Begliktash at sunrise or at sunset, you will see the ray of light passing through the upside of the heart. That’s the main reason why Thracians have chosen that place for their religious sanctuary.
Place 10: The Palace of Euxinograd
It’s always a good idea to spend a day like a tourist in the city you live in and to discover places you’ve never been to before. Summer 2020 brought me to the Palace of Euxinograd near Varna. Check out my list of interesting facts about Euxinograd here: Interesting facts about The Palace of Euxinograd
Place 11: Durankulak Lake
Durankulak Lake is located near the village of Durankulak well-known as the northernmost point of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Durankulak is situated in 100 km north from Varna in Bulgaria an 60 km south from Constanta in Romania. The Lake is the natural habitat of rear birds and the archaeological reserve open to visitors witnesses of an ancient civilization’s life in this piece of land. Durankulak Lake and the village are the perfect spots for a one-day trip from Varna and Balchik as well as it can be combined with a visit to Shabla and Krapets beach. For all the photography addicts and birds lovers as well as wanderlust this is one of the best sights for great pictures.
Place 12: Thracian Beehive Tomb of Pomorie
Last summer I managed to finally visit the Thracian Beehive Tomb of Pomorie. The trip was one of a kind, but my goal was accomplished – I saw the Tomb of Pomorie. The most interesting fact about the tomb is that it is the only one of its kind on the Balkan Peninsula. Visitors and archaeologists are impressed by its mushroom-shaped dome. This is the reason why the Tomb of Pomorie is considered as an architectural and a constructional monument of national importance.
Place 13: Summer 2020 brought me unexpectedly to Bansko
Therefore, I wanted to spend a weekend in the mountains and our hiking trip passed by this amazing town. My biggest wish by this time was to clear my head and to see beautiful sceneries. That’s why I decided to go for a walk to Shiligarnika ski slope as I was sure that nobody will be seen out there out of the season. I was walking and taking pictures. I was thinking about nothing. Just kept walking. On my way back it started raining and as goes the saying “After the rain, there is a double rainbow in Bansko”.
Place 14: Dancing Bears Park in Belitsa
Another key site I visited last summer was the Dancing bears park in Belitsa. Actually, 21 former dancing bears live in the sanctuary. The park is 120 000 sq m and hosts 21 bears. There are enough greenery and space for all the animals and they seem to properly recover from their terrible previous life. The tradition of dancing bears is forbidden in Bulgaria since 2002 and all the exploited animals now live in Belitsa. They even re-accustomed to their winter sleeping natural habit which seems a good sign for their recovery. I have to say that I really enjoyed the Dancing Bears Park in Belitsa and highly recommend it and support its activity.
Place 15: Rock Monastery and Sanctuary Shashkanite near Provadia
After three unsuccessful attempts to visit Rock Monastery and Sanctuary Shashkanite I finally made it with the great help of a professional local guide. I have to say that one visit was not enough for me and I hope to go back to Shashkanite once the spring comes back again as the sceneries from the rock cells are worth photo shooting when rejuvenating! Please check out my detailed review of Ovech Fortress and Shashkanite Rock Monastery here: The Great Bulgarian Wall – Fortress of Ovech and Shashkanite Rock Monastery near Provadia, Bulgaria
Place 16: Suspension Bridge near Lisitsite village
One of the top places on my Bucket List for 2020 was the Suspension Bridge near Lisitsite village. Lisitsa means “fox” in Bulgarian and the place has gained popularity thanks to the Suspension Bridge leading to the village. The village of Lisitsite has 29 inhabitants and the only meaning of transportation is passing by railway.
When we were in the village, all its inhabitants were playing cards under the shadow of a tree as you can see on the picture. The village is calm and is located in the picturesque Kardzhali region near Arda river and numerous Thracian sanctuaries. Don’t pass by the village of Lisitsite, pay it a visit!
Place 17: Late Antique Fortress of Sveti Atanas Cape in Byala
My day trip to the Late Antique Fortress of Sveti Atanas Cape in Byala near Varna was one of the best for 2020. The weather was very warm and sunny for October and I enjoyed the day at the fullest.
However, the most interesting thing I’ve learned about this site is related to the ritual of bathing back at the days. The bath shows the continuity of Roman tradition into Late Antiquity. The bathing process was as follows: bathing with cold water in the cool room (frigidarium); with warm water in the warm room (tepidarium) and with hot water in the hot room (caldarium). In the end, this ritual continues in reverse order. I saw the remains of the Antique Bath as well as of the whole former Roman village.
Place 18: Cape Emine – another great place of 20 places visited in Bulgaria in 2020
“The distance of the road does not matter, what really matters are the friendships you create during your journey!” – that what is written at the end of the trail Kom-Emine in Bulgaria.
Place 19: The Secret Waterfall in Nenovo village (Varna region)
The secret waterfall as I call it is a hidden paradise on earth. I went there several times last summer to charge my batteries and to enjoy the crystal waters of the waterfall. An escape in nature far away from the city and the crowd is the best therapy for me.
Place 20: the last place of 20 places visited in Bulgaria in 2020 is Teke Ak Yazala Baba – St Atanas
The Teke Ak Yazala Baba – St Atanas is the last hidden gem I visited for 2020. It was an unplanned trip on a rainy day, but with a very satisfying result.
The Teke is located in Obrochishte village on the road to Balchik. Obrochishte village is famous for its Orthodox Church, but we decided to keep it for the next visit.
The Teke Ak Yazala Baba – St Atanas is declared as an artistic monument of local importance. It’s dated as of the 16th century and represents a large religious complex dedicated to the Muslim saint Ak Yazala Baba. The saint on his side was the leader of the order associated with the dervishes. It was believed that he has reached the highest level in the mystic knowledge (haqiqat) as was considered as a perfect man.
Ak Yazala Baba Teke is one of the four medieval tombs of Muslim Saints preserved until today in our land in a very good condition.
Did you get inspired by my selection of 20 places visited in Bulgaria in 2020?
Are you ready for more adventures in 2021?
Thanks for reading!