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Bulgaria - Best Tours & Trips 2019

148 trips to Bulgaria tours from 52 tour companies. 96 reviews. 4.6/5 avg rating.
Filled with historical ruins, rugged mountains, ancient cities, and a unique cuisine, Bulgaria is a country on the brink of stardom. From the stunning hiking trails of the Rila Mountains to the medieval fortress in Veliko Tarnovo to the bustling bistros of Sofia, Bulgaria will dazzle all of your senses and keep you coming back for more.
All Bulgaria tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

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Eastern Europe Explorer

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
18 days
$ 171 / day
$ 3,070
From : $ 4,145
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Rich in history, art, architecture, cuisine and nightlife, Budapest is a hot European destination. The Museum of Fine Arts offers free English tours that reveal the famous artwork of Monet, Manet and Goya, just to name a few
  • A homestay with a family in the Saxon village of Viscri in Romania offers insight into local life and the chance to sample some delicious home-cooked food
  • This trip takes you to a mix of exciting capital cities and quaint mountain villages, allowing you to see the many sides of Eastern Europe
  • Transylvania is drenched in history and myth. Discover the medieval city of Sighisoara, the birthplace of one of Romania's most infamous figures, Vlad the Impaler - better known as the inspiration for Count Dracula
  • Journey deep into the forested valley of Rila to find the Monastery of Saint Ivan. Over 1,000 years old, this spectacular building is one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments
Visits:
Brasov, Bucharest, Budapest, Romania, Sofia, Transylvania, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey
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Budapest to Sofia Adventure

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 160 / day
$ 1,599
From : $ 2,159
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discover the rich and varied culture of eastern europe
  • Visit dracula's castle and charming slavic villages
  • Explore the spectacular cities of budapest and sofia
Visits:
Bucharest, Budapest, Romania, Sofia, Bath, Bulgaria, Hungary
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Best of Bulgaria in 12 Days Tour

Rick Steves
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 225 / day
$ 2,695
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Cathedral, famous for its gilded domes and masterful mosaics,
  • Drive through the scenic Rilska Valley, passing traditional villages en route to our destination high in the mountains
  • Enjoy the structures that Plovdiv is proudest of the old town's unique collection of elegant, pastel-pretty "Bulgarian Renaissance"
  • Visit the remote village of Glogovo — a community that converted to Islam under the Ottoman Turks.
Visits:
Sofia, Bulgaria
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Eastern Europe Express

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 148 / day
$ 1,330
From : $ 1,796
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in the communist past and vibrant present of Bucharest, a city often underrated by travellers
  • Travel through the scenic Rila Mountains in Bulgaria, mingling with monks at the 10th-century Rila Monastery
  • The village of Gorno Draglishte is home to a rich cultural heritage and a delightful community of welcoming locals. Experience the best of both worlds during a family home-stay (delicious home-cooked dinner included)
  • The ancient Roman theatre in Plovdiv’s city centre was only discovered when a landslide uncovered it in the 1970s. Explore the amphitheatre and Plovdiv's other significant sights on a guided walking tour
Visits:
Bucharest, Romania, Sofia, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Turkey
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Passage to Eastern Europe

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 245 / day
$ 2,699
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Take guided walk through the grounds of Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Experience two nights in bustling Budapest, cosmopolitan capital of Hungary
  • Sail past dramatic natural wonders like the soaring white cliffs of the Iron Gate region
  • Enjoy Serbian & Hungarian folkloric performances
  • Enjoy the authentic flavors of Eastern Europe, on shore and aboard
Visits:
Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia
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Danube Discovery Cruise

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 233 / day
$ 3,499
From : $ 4,724
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Hofburg Palace (Vienna)
  • St. Martin’s Cathedral (Bratislava)
  • Matthias Coronation Church (Budapest)
  • Gypsy Concert (On Board – Budapest)
  • Old Town with Concert (Osijek)
  • Petrovaradin Fortress (Novi Sad)
  • Kalemegdan Fortress (Belgrade)
  • Iron Gates Gorge
  • Baba Vida Fortress (Vidin)
  • Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)
  • Optional Dracula’s Castle Extension
Visits:
Belgrade, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Croatia, Lucerne, Munich, Prague, Romania, Vienna, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia
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High Peaks of Bulgaria

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 187 / day
$ 1,499
From : $ 2,024
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Ascend Bulgaria's two highest peaks
  • Enjoy the well-preserved flora and fauna of the 'Pirin' and 'Rila' National Parks, with varied birdlife, brown bear, wolves and a wealth of alpine flowers.
  • Visit the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Sample Bulgaria's tasty national cuisine and outstanding regional wines.
Visits:
Sofia, Bulgaria
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Bulgaria: Rodopi Mountains

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 175 / day
$ 1,399
From : $ 1,889
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Stunning mountain landscapes with deep gorges, spectacular caves, ancient forests and flowering meadows
  • Unique flora rich in orchids and endemic species
  • Outstanding fauna, including brown bear, wallcreeper and an exceptional variety of rare butterflies
  • Unique opportunities to experience daily life in a traditional Bulgarian village
  • Delicious home-produced local cuisine
Visits:
Sofia, Bulgaria
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Bulgaria: Realm of the Brown bear

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 206 / day
$ 1,779
From : $ 2,226
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Become directly involved in a Brown bear conservation project
  • Informative daily bear tracking walks
  • Two visits to a hide for wild Brown bear observation
  • Elusive mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and rare orchids
  • Remote landscapes in the Rodopi Mountains
  • Delicious traditional local cuisine
Visits:
Sofia, Bulgaria
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Budapest to Istanbul

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 169 / day
$ 2,099
From : $ 2,969
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Discover the rich and varied culture of eastern europe
  • Visit 'dracula's castle' and charming slavic villages
  • Explore the spectacular cities of budapest and istanbul
Visits:
Bucharest, Budapest, Istanbul, Romania, Sofia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey
View Trip

Wild Bulgaria: Winter Walk & Snowshoe

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 184 / day
$ 1,475
From : $ 1,991
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore remote mountain landscape
  • Discover subterranean caves
  • Taste delicious local cuisine and wines
Visits:
Sofia, Bulgaria
View Trip

Transylvania Tale

15 days
$ 90 / day
$ 1,559
From : $ 1,829
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : N/A
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Tour of Maramures Region
  • Cluj Napoca Visit
  • Entry to Viscri Fortified Church & Prejmer Fortified Church
  • Entry to Dracula's (Bran) Castle
  • Entry to Peles Castle
  • Entry to Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre
Visits:
Budapest, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Turkey
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Balkans & Ski

Topdeck
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 125 / day
$ 1,749
From : $ 2,361
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Visits:
Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Romania, Sarajevo, Sofia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia
View Trip

Experience Harbin Ice Festival & Beijing

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
6 days
$ 200 / day
$ 839
From : $ 1,619
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy the key sites of beijing
  • Experience the world's largest snow festival
  • Marvel at the snow sculptures and ice lanterns
  • Enjoy ice skating and sledding
Visits:
Beijing, Harbin, Tiananmen Square, Sofia, China
View Trip

Balkan Mountains Trek/ Bulgaria

Project Expedition
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 94 / day
$ 749
From : $ 1,056
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Botev Peak (2376 m a.s.l.) the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains
  • The Central Balkan National Park, protecting the unique biodiversity
  • The Heavenly Sprinkler waterfall, 124 meters high
  • Kozya Stena (meaning goat wall), Tsaritchina, Dzhendema (meaning hell) nature reserves
  • The geothermal springs of Chiflik, Pavel Banya and Hissarya
  • The Saeva Dupka Cave more than 3 million years of age
  • Troyan monastery dating back from 16th century
  • The Thracian tomb in Kazanlak, UNESCO heritage site
Visits:
Bulgaria
View Trip
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Top Bulgaria Experiences and Attractions

Top Bulgaria Experiences

Explore the sacred and rustic hills around the peaceful Rila Monastery. 

Relax sunbathing or strolling down the seaside promenade in the ancient town of Varna

The wonder of watching the Sound and Light Show over the medieval Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo

Spend the day tasting wines that the Trojans tried in one of the oldest wine regions in the world in Bessa Valley.

Take in the ancient wonders while walking down the old town of Plovdiv that is older than Greece and Rome.

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Bulgaria Trip Reviews

96 Bulgaria Tour Reviews - Summary 96% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 66
Great 25
Average 3
Disappointing 0
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Tour Reviews Write a Review

DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 2.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0

Worst tour of my life. Unprofessional, disorganised. Whoever designed this intinary should be sacked. Things closed on the day all trip dates visit. No food stops in serbia and croatia.

Read more
Operator Topdeck

Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0

We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it.

Read more
Operator Viking River Cruises

A wonderfully authentic Bulgarian experience; interesting walks, comfortable accommodation and a lovely group

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

This trip provides a great introduction to a very special, unspoilt part of
Europe which maintains traditional practices in agriculture and food
production. Yagodina is a real find and I hope its uniqueness can be
retained; the local people were friendly and the Yagodina Family Hotel
offers a genuinely homely atmosphere, including comfortable accommodation and
plenty of interesting and well presented food. Maria, the proprietor, runs
an impressive operation and is always available to ensure that guests' needs
are met.

The walks were well chosen and the week's itinerary gave an excellent
overview of the Rodopi mountains, including insights into the history,
culture, flora and fauna of the area.
Lunch most days was in beautiful meadows with masses of colourful Spring
flowers and great views of the mountains - a real joy!

The traditional Bulgarian singing and dancing on our final night was very
enjoyable - Maria's mother and her team were an inspiration, and it was nice
to see three generations of the family joining in the fun.


Svetla is excellent, and her passion and affection for the area were
infectious. She is very well organised, always cheerful and positive, and
has a great sense of humour.

Her style in leading the walks was relaxed, whilst highly professional and
she always ensured that all members of the group were comfortable with the
pace.


If you have time, stay an extra night or two in Sofia but make sure you join
the group at the airport for the transfer to Yagodina - this can be arranged
via the Exodus Office when you book. Sofia is an interesting and historic
city, with impressive Roman ruins, a thriving music and cultural scene and
some excellent restaurants. It is compact and easy to get round with a
modern metro system.

There are free city walking tours, which are highly recommended - tips for
the local, well-informed, English-speaking guides are optional but well
deserved


Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

If you go down in the woods today....

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

A superb holiday in beautiful countryside, staying in an excellent local
hotel with walks that make the most of what the region has to offer.
Realising that bears were probably within a kilometre or so of us as we
walked through the forest. Julian's enthusiasm about all things 'bear' was
catching. His expertise was not, however, limited to bears.
The most photographed moment was on the last night when a small group of
ladies from the village came to share traditional songs and dances. Seeing
fellow walkers joining in with enthusiasm was a special moment.


Julian is a superbly knowledgeable leader. His long association with the
region makes him an expert in the area's cultural heritage, as well as in
local flora and fauna. His extensive knowledge of the mountain tracks and
paths meant that there was always an alternative possible if weather
conditions dictated a change of route.


Be prepared for changes in the daily routes - the mountain weather is
unpredictable and thunderstorms meant we had to abandon one climb for a more
sheltered walk. Late snow also meant we did not reach the highest point
described in the trip notes. The alternative were always carefully explained
and fascinating. Bring waterproofs.
Delicious four course meals can become a habit. Be prepared either to keep
up the strenuous walking routine at home or suffer hunger pangs for the first
few days at home.


This is a great way to visit Bulgaria. You could add on a day or so to see
Sofia but the mountains are sufficient to justify the trip. The orchids were
plentiful and the traces of bears were a wonderful reminder of the varied
wildlife that makes its home in the region.


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Operator Exodus Travels

'High Peaks' is rated highly by me.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Pretty much a faultless trip.
Well the tomatoes were consistently wonderful. It was satisfying to be on
the highest point in Bulgaria.


If all his tales and legends were true he is very learned. If they weren't
he has a great imagination. Who knew the difference anyway?

Vladimir can certainly crack on.


The description warns that the trails are rough - note that this is
especially the case on the first couple of days. Also, remember, Vladimir
really can crack on!


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Operator Exodus Travels

Discover these trails before the secret gets out

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

This was a great opportunity for some proper hiking along pristine trails in
the Balkan high country. Routes almost to ourselves, with a mix of terrains
and environments from deep forest and river valley, to high meadows, glacial
moraines and narrow ridges. Plenty of flora and fauna to discover along the
way, against a backdrop of incredible scenery.
After a long, hard day on the trail, with a hearty meal inside and the firey
taste of the local brandy still on the tongue, we were treated to a
mesmerizing session by a trio of passionate village folk singers. Some of us
were even persuaded to get up and make awkward movements vaguely in time
('dancing' I'm told).


Faultless. Vladimir kept the group in check, while being endlessly patient
and cheerful. For me the whole experience was made more complete by
Vladimir's extensive knowledge of Bulgarian history, mythology, culture and
nature


I'm by no measure a foodie (could happily exist on cheese sandwiches) but was
quite surprised at the quality of food, better than experienced elsewhere in
the Balkans. Basic but varied, fresh and healthy, with influences from
Bulgaria's Ottoman past.
Prepare hiking gear well, as can be quite chilly at nearly 3000m, and a drop
of rain isn't unusual.
For seasoned hillwalkers the trails are a good workout but not overly
demanding.


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Operator Exodus Travels

Bulgaria Tours and Travel Guide

Bulgaria Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Filled with historical ruins, rugged mountains, ancient cities, and a unique cuisine, Bulgaria is a country on the brink of stardom. From the stunning hiking trails of the Rila Mountains to the medieval fortress in Veliko Tarnovo to the bustling bistros of Sofia, Bulgaria will dazzle all of your senses and keep you coming back for more. 

Why Visit Bulgaria on a Tour

One of the main reasons you should visit Bulgaria on the tour is the language barrier. Bulgarian can be a challenging language to understand and read. Additionally, only about 25% of Bulgarians speak English. Learning some key phrases and words in Bulgarian can help, but having those expert guides who can help you navigate the restaurants and shops will be invaluable. 

Surprisingly to many, Bulgaria has a very long and diverse past. Bulgaria is actually home to one of the most prosperous ancient civilizations in the world, the Thracians. Their history, along with thousands of years of occupation, has given Bulgaria a detailed and extensive past.

Learning all of this or trying to see the best spots on your own is daunting, but tours to Bulgaria offer you the chance to see the main attractions and delve deeper into Bulgaria’s past. 

Bulgarian Culture

Bulgarian culture is a result of a combination of a variety of civilizations and cultures. With influences from Greece, Thrace, Rome, the Ottoman Empire, the Slavic people, and Russia, Bulgaria’s way of life is distinct in the Balkans. 

Bulgaria has played an important role in the world since the country’s beginnings. The country is home to large amounts of Thracian gold treasures, was a major political and economic power during the Middle Ages, where the Cyrillic alphabet was created, and has made multiple contributions to the arts and music. 

Another claim to fame is that Bulgaria is considered The Rose Capital of the world. The Rose Valley in Bulgaria produces over 80% of the world’s rose oil which is used in soap, perfume, and as a stress reliever. You’ll find countless rose bushes and vines in every part of the country, especially during the spring when the flowers begin to bloom. 


Common Bulgaria Tour Routes

There are three common tour routes of Bulgaria: Bulgaria-only tours, Bulgaria outdoor tours, and tours when Bulgaria is included with other Eastern European or Balkan countries. 

For guided tours of Bulgaria, you’ll often begin and end your journey in Sofia. You’re route typically will follow a counterclockwise path taking you through Rila Monastery on your way to Plovdiv, Varna on the coast, northern city of Veliko Tarnovo, and back towards Sofia. These tours hit all of the major sites and sounds that make up Bulgaria’s unique culture. 

An adventure tour of Bulgaria usually takes place in the mountains of western Bulgaria or in the Balkan Mountains. Hiking tours or snowshoeing tours of the Rila Mountains outside of Sofia are a common destination for these adventurous and picturesque routes. 

With Bulgaria’s central location in Southeastern Europe, Bulgaria is often included in tours of other countries in the area such as Romania, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, and Serbia. These tours last a couple of weeks and don’t spend as much time in Bulgaria as the above tours, but are an opportunity to see more of this region of the world. 

Cities in Bulgaria

While countries like India or Poland have what they call “The Golden Triangle” of cities to visit, Bulgaria has more of a “Golden Diamond.” Bulgaria has four main cities that are included on guided tours of Bulgaria for their rich past and importance to the growth of Bulgaria. 

1. Sofia

The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia has something to offer everyone. With medieval Byzantine churches, funky cafes, retro Communist buildings, and public parks around every corner, Sofia is a bustling blend of each era of Bulgaria’s past. 

2. Plovdiv 

One of the oldest cities in the world, Plovdiv is a hotbed of ancient civilizations. Considered the cultural capital of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is spread out across seven hills and is the home of some of the country’s oldest ancient ruins. 

3. Varna

Bulgaria’s Black Sea mainstay, Varna is a summer oasis in Southeastern Europe. Locals and travelers visit during the warm months to take in the beautiful weather of the sea, relax on the beaches, and stroll down the romantic seaside promenade. 

4. Veliko Tarnovo

Bulgaria’s medieval center, Veliko Tarnovo was the ruling seat for the Second Bulgarian Empire. Nestled atop the bluffs above the Yantra River, the city harkens back to Bulgaria’s power and prestige during medieval times and is a great base for day trips into the surrounding villages. 

Bulgarian Cuisine

Not unlike the rest of Bulgarian culture, Bulgarian cuisine is the culmination of many cultures and peoples. You’ll find traditional Bulgarian dishes, but also influences and cooking styles from Turkey, Greece, and other Balkan countries. 

Traditional meals typically begin with a shopska, or salad, and the main course is based around a stew featuring a main meat and a variety of vegetables.

Grilled meat, especially sausage, is a main staple in Bulgarian diet, as is yogurt, stuffed pastries, the cold soup tarator, and cheese. Bulgarian dishes are noted for their bold flavors from the paprika, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and rosemary that are commonly used. 

Wine is a common drink to have with your dinner, but Bulgaria’s most iconic alcoholic beverage is "rakia". Rakia is a fruit brandy produced in the Balkans and is a staple in Bulgaria. The brandy isn’t for the faint of heart, some rakia can be as potent as 40 - 50% proof!

Nature and Wildlife in Bulgaria

Adventure tours to Bulgaria are growing in numbers. With much of the country dominated by the Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria has become a major hiking and skiing destination. Travelers can hike throughout the Rila Mountains or the Rhodope Mountains in the east or choose a slower, easier vacation by visiting the beaches on the Black Sea Coast. 

Bulgaria is also home to numerous national parks and preserves. Some of the country’s stunning natural wonders are the Rila Lakes, the naturally-formed Melnik Pyramids, and Pirin National Park. 

If you are out hiking and exploring Bulgaria’s natural wonders you may come across some of the country’s commonly spotted wildlife. Bears, foxes, vultures, and rabbits can be found when hiking in the mountains. On the coast you may find pelicans or dolphins swimming in the sea. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll see a local favorite of Bulgaria in the woods or even in the cities, the adorable hedgehog. 

Caving in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has over 2,500 caves with more still being discovered. With such a rugged landscape, caving has become a major activity for travelers visiting Bulgaria.

A few of the most popular caves in Bulgaria are: 

1. Devil’s Throat Cave

One of the largest in Bulgaria, Devil’s Throat Cave is the stuff of legends. Considered by many as the inspiration of some of the myths of ancient Greece and Thrace, the cave is a natural phenomena with large caverns and long underground river. 

2. Devetashka

Devetashka Cave is a karst cave in northern Bulgaria that has been occupied for thousands of years and is a major faunal and floral sanctuary in Bulgaria. Multiple protected species, such as the European trea frog, call this cave home. The cave’s most famous occupants are the some 30,000 bats that reside in the caverns. 

3. Snezhanka

Located in the Rhodope Mountains, Snezhanka Cave (“Snow White”) is small compared to others, but what the cave lacks in size it makes up for in wonder. Snezhanka Cave is home to beautiful and stunning stalactites and stalagmites formations. The Wonderful Hall in the cave even has a naturally created formation that resembles Snow White, which is how the cave came by the name.  

4. Ledenika

Bulgaria’s ice cave, Ledenika Cave is located in the Balkan Mountains and has been open to the public since 1961. Ledenika is considered the ice cave of Bulgaria because of colder temperatures that create ice stalactite and stalagmite formations instead of the salt creations in the other caves.

Top Bulgaria Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

Where is Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe, more commonly called the Balkans. Neighboring countries are Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey. Bulgaria’s eastern bordern is shared with the Black Sea. 

Weather in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s weather is what is called a “continental” climate. This means the winters are cold and the summers are warm. However, with Bulgaria’s eastern coastline dominated by the Black Sea, this part of the country can be slightly cooler than the rest of Bulgaria at certain times of the year. 

Winter in Bulgaria can be cold and windy. If you are skiing in the Balkan Mountains that run through Bulgaria during the winter be prepared for high amounts of snow. For those traveling in the lower lands of the country, there will be less snow and the temperatures will be slightly warmer. 

Spring and fall are both ideal times to visit Bulgaria. The temperatures are mild with very little rainfall. These times of the year do see some dramatic weather changes, especially in the spring. If you are traveling during the shoulder months, make sure to pack layers in case the weather suddenly takes a turn. 

The summer months in Bulgaria can be very warm and still. Temperatures can reach above 90 with some days even above 100 degrees. 

Is Bulgaria Safe?

Yes, it is! Bulgaria is a very safe country to visit. Solo travelers should feel comfortable walking around the major cities of Sofia and Plovdiv. However, it is always recommended to extend caution at night and in busy tourist areas as pickpocketing is known to occasionally occur. 

What is the Currency?

Bulgaria uses the Bulgarian lev. Like many countries, Bulgaria uses a combination of coins and banknotes.

Their coins are called stotika, or stotinki, and are valued at 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50. If it helps when visiting, you can think of stotinki as cents when asking for prices. Something to pay attention to is the Bulgarian notes start out at 5. The 1 and 2 leva are in coin form. This may be slightly confusing for those who come from a country where the smaller whole amounts are in bills. 

Bulgarian Language

The Bulgarian language is distinct in Southeastern Europe and can seem confusing to visitors. Bulgarian is a Slavic language, but their alphabet uses Latin letters, along with Cyrillic letters. However, if you’ve taken Latin in school you may find you don’t understand Bulgarian as the Latin letters used in Bulgarian are are pronounced differently. 

As Bulgarian can be difficult for some to learn and read, there are a few key phrases to remember when visiting: 

  • Hello = Zdravei (zdra-vey); also common is Dobar den (Doh-bra denh)
  • Thank you = Blagodarya (Blah-goh-da-rya)
  • Yes = Da (Dah)
  • No = Ne (Neh)
  • How much is it? = Kolko struva? (Kol-koh stroo-vah)
  • Please = Molya (mol-yah)
  • How are you? = Kak si (kak see)

Essential Tips to Traveling in Bulgaria 

With Bulgaria’s vast countryside, long history, and amazing architecture, there will be no issue filling up your day. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your vacation in Bulgaria and make your time there even more enjoyable: 

  • Learn some of the language: Take some of the key phrases from above and use them! You will find many older Bulgarians do not speak English and knowing some important phrases will go a long way. 
  • Signals for Yes and No are different: In Bulgaria, like in Greece, nodding does not mean yes, but actually means no. 
  • Carry cash with you: Most international stores and some cafes in Bulgaria will take cards, but in the small shops and restaurants, cash is the most common form of payment. This is especially true if you visit any of the local markets. 
  • Bus travel it is!: Like the rest of the Balkans, bus travel is the main form of transportation. The buses run frequently between the larger cities in Bulgaria and to the surrounding countries. 
  • Water in Bulgaria: Water in Bulgaria is safe to drink. If you are concerned, you can buy bottled water or use water cleansing tablets. 
  • Tipping: Tipping is standard in Bulgaria for restaurants and hotel staff. 
  • Converters: If you are visiting from the United States or Canada, make sure to bring a converter for your electronics. Bulgarian sockets are a Type F as where the U.S. and Canada are Type A and B. 

Who Will Enjoy Traveling in Bulgaria?

Firstly, travelers who are looking for an off-the-beaten path or a less visited destination. Bulgaria is growing in popularity amongst travelers as an affordable, but culturally rich destination with an interesting history, cuisine, and stunning landscapes. 

Bulgaria has a history that in some cities dates back to before Ancient Rome and Greece. History buffs will love the countless Greek, Roman, Thracian, Bulgarian, and Ottoman ruins that are scattered throughout the countryside. Along with the more modern churches and Cold War era buildings in Sofia and Plovdiv. 

Bulgaria is a nature lover’s dream, no matter if you are into winter or summer activities. With the Balkan Mountains running down the center of Bulgaria, you can hike the trails during the summer or go skiing down the slopes in the winter. You can also go paragliding outside of Sofia, kayak the Kamchia River, or laze around on the beaches in Varna.

All Bulgaria tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.6 for all Bulgaria trips.

148 trips from 52 tour companies with 96 reviews

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