Landmarks in Bulgaria are a window into the soul of the Balkan country. Each one is special and has its own story to tell, which is why they are worth discovering. There are a variety of Bulgarian landmarks waiting for you to discover, some are prominent tourist destinations, while others can be more off the road.
Nonetheless, you can use them as guiding points to plan a trip and discover different regions of the country. Here are some of the most famous and meaningful Bulgarian landmarks you can visit when traveling to Bulgaria.
Most Famous Landmark in Bulgaria
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Bulgaria, and for good reason. Standing proud in central Sofia, this stunning cathedral is dedicated to Saint Alexander Nevsky, a Russian prince who was canonized for his heroic defense of Bulgaria against the forces of the Fourth Crusade.
Construction on the cathedral began in 1882 and wasn’t completed until 1912, making it one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in the world.
The cathedral’s lavish interior features mosaics, marble columns, and gold-leaf icons, while its exterior has six onion domes.
Visiting the Cathedral and the surrounding Bulgarian landmarks is a popular thing to do in Sofia.
Other Famous Landmarks in Bulgaria
The Saint Sofia Church, Sofia
The Saint Sofia Church is one of the most famous churches in Bulgaria and it is also one of the oldest. The church dates back to the early fifth century and it is one of the most important early Christian churches in Europe. You can find the church in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
The Rotunda of St. George
The Rotunda of St. George is a famous landmark Bulgaria is known for and is located in the city of Plovdiv. The Rotunda is from the 4th century AD and is one of the oldest preserved structures in the country.
It is a small circular building that has a diameter of about 9 meters, made out of stone with a conical roof. The Rotunda interior features reliefs of animals and hunting scenes. It was originally built as a tomb for a high-ranking Roman official.
Today, the Rotunda is a popular tourist destination and is one of the most visited landmarks in Bulgaria.
The Madara Riderr, Shumen
The Madara Rider is a famous landmark in Bulgaria in the Madara region. It was carved into a cliff face in the late 800s AD and is one of the most impressive pieces of medieval art in Europe.
The Rider is a large relief that depicts a man on horseback. The relief is very well-preserved and is a masterpiece of Bulgarian art. The Madara Rider is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
The Boyana Church is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church located in the Boyana suburb of Sofia. The church construction goes all the way back to the 10th century AD and features some of the best examples of medieval Bulgarian art. It is part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1979.
The church is accessible from Sofia via bus number 84 or trolleybus number 18. It is also a short walk from the Boyana Waterfall.
The Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery is a famous landmark in Bulgaria. It was founded in the early 900s AD and is one of the most important monasteries in the country.
The monastery is a large complex that consists of a church, residential buildings, and other structures. It is famous for its beautiful architecture and stunningly intricate carvings. The Rila Monastery is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
The Rila Monastery is in the Rila Mountains, about 116 kilometers from the city of Sofia.
Etara is a town in central Bulgaria, located in the Gabrovo Province. It is famous for its ethnographic complex, which was built in the 18th century by the Bulgarian National Revival master craftsman Hristo Botev.
The complex consists of buildings, shops, and workshops typical for Bulgarian Revival architecture. Etara is an open-air museum where traditional Bulgarian crafts are still practiced.
The town is on the banks of the Yantra River, close to the villages of Gorna Oryahovitsa and Tryavna.
Shipka Memorial Complex
The Shipka Memorial Complex is a memorial located in the Shipka Pass of the Balkan Mountains, near the town of Kazanlak, in central Bulgaria. It commemorates the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and Bulgarian victory over Ottoman forces. The complex contains a museum and an eternal flame.
The Shipka Memorial is one of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist attractions, with over 350,000 visitors a year.
It was constructed between 1934 and 1981 on the initiative of the Bulgarian government and sculptor Andrey Nikolov.
The Memorial contains the tombs of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who died during the war. The complex also includes a chapel, an alley of honor, and a park.
The Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis, Plovdiv
The Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis is a must-see historical landmark in Bulgaria. The theater was built in the 2nd century AD and it is one of the oldest theaters in the world that is still used for performances.
It is also one of the most well preserved ancient theaters, with nearly all of its original structures still intact. The theater has a capacity of around 7000 spectators and it is used for various cultural events throughout the year.
The theater is in the city of Plovdiv, which is the second largest city in Bulgaria.
The Tsarevets Fortress in the city of Veliko Tarnovo and is one of the most famous landmarks in Bulgaria. The fortress was originally built in the 12th century as a royal castle and it served as the main residence of the Bulgarian emperors.
It was heavily damaged during the Ottoman invasion in the 14th century but was later rebuilt in the 19th century. Today, the Tsarevets Fortress is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bulgaria.
The fortress rests on top of a hill and offers spectacular views of the city below. There are a number of different buildings and structures within the fortress including the Palace of the Bulgarian Emperors, the Patriarchal Cathedral, the Church of the Holy Ascension, and the Bell Tower. You can also visit several museums within the fortress.
Banya Banshi Mosque
The Banya Banshi Mosque is located in the city of Plovdiv. The mosque dates back to the 15th century and it is one of the oldest mosques in the country.
Banya Nanshi mosque gets its name from the Banshi, a type of Bulgarian folk song. The mosque is also known as the “Mosque with two domes” because it has two domes.
This is a popular tourist attraction in Plovdiv and attracts tourists from all over the world.
The Church of Saint George
The Church of Saint George is located in the city of Veliko Tarnovo, which is located in central Bulgaria. The church was built in the 12th century and it is one of the oldest churches in Bulgaria.
The church has been damaged by several earthquakes over the years, but it has been restored each time. The Church of Saint George is a popular tourist attraction in Veliko Tarnovo and it is visited by tourists from all over the world.
The Eastern Mound
The Eastern Mound is in the southwestern part of Bulgaria, near the border with Greece. It is an archaeological site that has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. However, the gravesite was only discovered in 2008.
The ancient Thracians used the mound as a necropolis. If you visit the site today, you can still see the remains of original Thracian chariot with horses.
The closest town is Nova Zagora, about 10-20 minutes drive away.
The Bachkovo Monastery
The Bachkovo Monastery is in the Rhodope Mountains, about 28 kilometers from the city of Plovdiv. It was founded in the 11th century by St. Nicholas of Ohrid and his student St. John of Rila.
The monastery has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, and it currently has a church, a bell tower, and a monastery school.
The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is one of the most important historical landmarks in Bulgaria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to the Hellenistic period.
The tomb is decorated with frescoes and has been described as “one of the best-preserved monuments of Thracian art in the world”. It is located in Kazanlak, which is a town in the Rose Valley.
Natural Landmarks in Bulgaria
Vitosha Nature Park
The Vitosha Nature Park is the oldest nature park in Bulgaria and it is just south of the capital city of Sofia. The park is a protected area that is known for its biodiversity and its many different types of flora and fauna.
There are more than 1,500 plant species that can be found within the park’s boundaries, as well as a wide variety of animals, including deer, foxes, rabbits, and even bears.
The park is also home to Vitosha Mountain, which is the tallest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula. At this popular nature landmark, you can enjoy hiking, camping, picnicking, and even skiing in the winter months.
The Seven Rila Lakes
The Seven Rila Lakes is a group of glacial lakes in the Rila Mountains, Bulgaria. The highest of the lakes, Prespa, is at 2,847 metres (9,352 ft) above sea level.
They are in the north-western part of Rila Mountain, between the peaks of Musala and Ezeren. The lakes are a major tourist attraction in Bulgaria with many tourists coming to take in the breathtaking views each year.
The Seven Rila Lakes is one of the most famous Bulgarian landmarks and truly a nature wonder. It is also one of the oldest protected areas in Bulgaria, with the country declaring it as a nature reserve in 1934.
The lakes are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
The Stone Desert
The Stone Desert, also known as The Bulgarian Sahara, is a famous landmark in the country. It is in the Kyustendil Province and famous for its vast desert landscape.
The Stone Desert covers an area of around 100 square kilometers, consisting of sandstone formations and cliffs. It got its name because of the similarity of the landscape to that of the Sahara Desert in Africa.
The Stone Desert is a popular tourist destination and is famous for its hiking trails. There are also several caves located in the area, which make for interesting exploring.
The nearest city to the Stone Desert is Kyustendil, you can get there by car or bus.
The Devetashka Cave is a natural landmark in Bulgaria that is known for its vast underground cave system. The cave is in the Rhodope Mountains, about 30 kilometers from the city of Plovdiv.
The cave was first discovered in 1878 and was used as a shelter by the Bulgarian Rebels during the Ottoman rule.
The cave has since been turned into a tourist attraction and is open to the public. It is one of the most popular caves in Bulgaria and one of the most impressive caves in Europe.
If you are looking for an adventure, then the Devetashka Cave is definitely a place to visit.
Discovering Landmarks in Bulgaria
These are just some of the many famous landmarks in Bulgaria that will be interesting to visit. Landmarks are an important part of any country’s culture and heritage. They can tell you a lot about the people who live there and their history, as well as uncover fun facts of Bulgaria.
When you visit Bulgaria, make sure to check out some of its famous landmarks where possible. Discover these Bulgarian landmarks along with the people, tasty Bulgarian food, and bustling local life for an all-rounded experience.