Balkan Regions: Lying along the Balkan Peninsula in the southeastern part of Europe, the Balkan region remains a relatively-unknown destination. Nevertheless, the area is home to an abundance of breath-taking coastlines, dazzling landscapes, unique architecture, and lots of history as it is a territory with a communist and socialist past. The area nowadays includes the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia. Despite having a lot to offer, the Balkans remains an off-the-beaten-path destination, as many people assume it’s poor and dangerous to get around. In the suburbs or lesser-known places, foreigners can rarely be found. Locals tend to be curious and friendly towards tourists.
Serbia- officially the Republic of Serbia, is a landlocked country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans.
Bulgaria- is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts. At the foot of domed Vitosha mountain is its capital city, Sofia, dating to the 5th century B.C.
Romania- is a southeastern European country known for the forested region of Transylvania, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. Its preserved medieval towns include Sighişoara, and there are many fortified churches and castles, notably clifftop Bran Castle, long associated with the Dracula legend. Bucharest, the country’s capital, is the site of the gigantic, Communist-era Palatul Parlamentului government building.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the respective consulates.
Serbia consulate website: https://www.abudhabi.mfa.gov.rs/
Bulgaria consulate website: www.vfsglobal.com/bulgaria/UAE
Romania consulate website: https://dubai.mae.ro/en
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things do & see:
Belgrade - Belgrade is the capital of the southeast European country of Serbia. Its most significant landmark is the Beogradska Tvrđava, an imposing fortress at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava rivers. The fort is a testament to the city’s strategic importance to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Serbian and Austrian empires, and it's now the site of several museums as well as Kalemegdan, a vast park.
Niš- is the third largest city in Serbia and the administrative center of the Nišava District. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 183,164, while its administrative area has a population of 260,237 inhabitants.
Novi Sad- is a city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube River. Standing atop a riverside bluff, much of Petrovaradin Fortress dates to the 17th and 18th centuries, with an iconic clock tower and a network of tunnels. Across the river is the old quarter, Stari Grad, site of the Gothic Revival Name of Mary Church and the neo-Renaissance City Hall.
Subotica- is a city and the administrative center of the North Bačka District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. Formerly the largest city of Vojvodina region, contemporary Subotica is now the second largest city in the province, following the city of Novi Sad.
Kragujevac- is the fourth largest city in Serbia and the administrative centre of the Šumadija District. It is the historical centre of the geographical region of Šumadija in central Serbia, and is situated on the banks of the Lepenica River.
Sombor- is a city and the administrative center of the West Bačka District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The city has a total population of 47,623, while its administrative area has 85,903 inhabitants.
Novi Pazar- is a city located in the Raška District of southwestern Serbia. As of the 2011 census, the urban area has 66,527 inhabitants, while the city administrative area has 100,410 inhabitants. The city is the cultural center of the Bosniaks in Serbia and the region of Sandžak.
Smederevo- is a city and the administrative center of the Podunavlje District in eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, about 45 kilometres downstream of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
Kraljevo- is a city and the administrative center of the Raška District in central Serbia. It is situated on the confluence of West Morava and Ibar, in the geographical region of Šumadija, between the mountains of Kotlenik in the north, and Stolovi in the south.
Sremski Karlovci- is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It is situated on the banks of the Danube, 8 kilometres from Novi Sad. According to the 2011 census results, it has a population of 8,750 inhabitants.
Pančevo- is a city and the administrative center of the South Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. Pančevo is the fourth largest city in Vojvodina by population.
Leskovac- is a city and the administrative center of the Jablanica District in southern Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the city urban area has 60,288 inhabitants, while the city administrative area has 144,206.
Valjevo- is a city and the administrative center of the Kolubara District in western Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the administrative area of Valjevo had 90,312 inhabitants, 59,073 of whom were urban dwellers. Valjevo occupies an area of 905 square kilometers; its altitude is 185 meters.
Požarevac- is a city and the administrative centre of the Braničevo District in eastern Serbia. It is located between three rivers: Danube, Great Morava and Mlava and below the hill Cacalica. As of 2011, the city has a population of 44,183 inhabitants, while the city administrative area has 75,334 inhabitants.
Vranje- is a city and the administrative center of the Pčinja District in southern Serbia. The city has a population of 83,524 inhabitants, while the urban area of the city has 60,485 inhabitants. Vranje is the economical, political, and cultural centre of the Pčinja District in Southern Serbia.
Zrenjanin- is a city and the administrative center of the Central Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The city urban area has a population of 76,511 inhabitants, while the city administrative area has 123,362 inhabitants.
Sremska Mitrovica- is a city and the administrative center of the Srem District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It is situated on the left bank of the Sava river. As of 2011, the city has a total population of 37,751 inhabitants, while its administrative area has a population of 79,940 inhabitants.
Kruševac- is a city and the administrative center of the Rasina District in central Serbia. It is located in the valley of West Morava, on Rasina river. According to the 2011 census, the city administrative area has a population of 128,752, while the urban area has 73,316 inhabitants.
Vršac- is a city and the administrative center of the South Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. As of 2011, the city urban area has a population of 35,701, while the city administrative area has 52,026 inhabitants. It is located in the geographical region of Banat.
Dimitrovgrad- is a town and municipality located in the Pirot District of southeastern Serbia. According to 2011 census, the municipality of Dimitrovgrad has a population of 10,118 people and the town 6,278.
Čačak- is a city and the administrative center of the Moravica District in central Serbia. It is located in the West Morava Valley within the geographical region of Šumadija. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has 73,331 inhabitants, while the administrative area comprises a total of 115,337 inhabitants.
Šabac- is a city and the administrative centre of the Mačva District in western Serbia. The traditional centre of the fertile Mačva region, Šabac is located on the right banks of the river Sava.
Pirot- is a city and the administrative center of the Pirot District in southeastern Serbia. According to 2011 census, the urban area of the city has a population of 38,785, while the population of the city administrative area has 57,928 inhabitants.
Zaječar- is a city and the administrative center of the Zaječar District in eastern Serbia. According to the 2011 census, the city administrative area has a population of 59,461 inhabitants. Zaječar is widely known for its rock music festival Gitarijada and for the festival dedicated to contemporary art ZALET.
Jagodina- is a city and the administrative center of the Pomoravlje District in central Serbia. It is situated on the banks of the Belica River, in the geographical region of Šumadija. The city itself has a population of 43,311 inhabitants, while its administrative area comprises 76,712 inhabitants.
Zlatibor-A mountain with the most healthiest air in Europe.
Kopaonik-One of the most popular mountains for skiing.
Western Serbia-is a prime winter playground. Tara National Park comprises a densely forested massif of hiking trails, bound by the Drina. Waterfalls, caves and a medieval monastery mingle with the towering peaks of Mt Tara and Mt Zvijezda. Hike, drive or go horse riding along isolated snow-covered routes, stopping at viewpoints of deep gorges and azure waters – just watch out for resident brown bears, lynxes and wolves.
Belgrade Fortress - On a tall ridge where the Danube and Sava rivers meet, Belgrade Fortress used to contain the entire city and has lived through 2,000 years of conflict. All of that bloodshed seems very distant when you see the young couples arm-in-arm in Kalemegdan Park, watching the sun go down over Zemun.
Skadarlija - Car-free and paved with bumpy cobblestones, Skadarlija has been a bohemian haunt since the 1800s and is Belgrade’s answer to Montmartre. Like its Parisian counterpart, Skadarlija’s glory days were in the early 1900s when famous but cash-strapped Serbian singers, musicians, writers and poets lived, worked and performed here.
Church of St Sava - The largest Orthodox Church in the Balkan region, and the second largest in the world, St Sava is an ever-present monument in Serbia’s capital. High on the Vračar plateau, you can see the church’s white granite and marble walls from any approach to Belgrade, while the 50 bells that sound noon ring out across the city.
Ada Ciganlija - This island on the Sava has been reclaimed and turned into a peninsula. Even though Ada Ciganlija is in the middle of the city, it has been left to nature, and is still cloaked with mature elm and oak forest. On the south side the Sava is impounded, forming the Savsko jezero lake.
Knez Mihailova Street -Extending diagonally through Stari Grad from the fortress to Republic Square. On what is one of the most expensive streets in the city per square metre, Knez Mihailova has upmarket boutiques and international high street brands like Sephora, Zara and Gap.
Gardoš Tower -In the oldest part of Zemun, a monument from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is lifted over the right bank of the Danube. The Gardoš Tower is also known as the Millennium Tower as it was built in 1896 to celebrate 1,000 years of Hungarian settlement on the Pannonian Plain.
Nikola Tesla Museum -This museum presents the life and work of the great physicist, inventor and electrical engineer and Serbian national hero. The exhibition is in two main sections: The first is a study of Tesla the man, sourcing personal effects, photographs and correspondence to paint a clearer picture of his life and travels.
St Mark’s Church - This cavernous Neo-Byzantine church is one of the largest in Serbia, and although its outer structure was completed during the 1930s interior works are ongoing. The sublime iconostasis for instance was only completed in the 1990s: The frame is marble, while the icons inside and the painting of the last supper were composed by Đuro Radulović, an academic painter from Belgrade.
Republic Square -At the southern end of Knez Mihailova is Republic Square, with some of the city’s most important landmarks and a business district where Belgrade is at its most dynamic.
Zemunski Kej - Also known as Kej Oslobođenja (Quay of Liberation), this waterside promenade is the best place in Belgrade to take in the Danube. The Gardoš Tower is a long green area, with plane trees and sumptuous views of Europe’s second-longest river just where it joins with the Sava.
Residence of Princess Ljubica - A rare survivor from the first reign of Prince Miloš Obrenović, this palace dates to the beginning of the 1830s and was supposed to be a lavish seat for the Serbian court. Prince Miloš was only an occasional visitor until he was forced to abdicate in 1839 and the Obrenović family was expelled.
Avala Tower - This communications tower, the tallest structure in the Balkans, is an easy drive from Belgrade. Catch the bus from Voždovac/Banjica, which departs at intervals on weekends from Nikola Pašić Square. Crowning Mount Avala, it’s another symbol for Belgrade and is a monument with a chequered past.
Belgrade Military Museum - Exploring the Belgrade Fortress you might bump into a cache of modern military hardware along one of the ramparts. Lined up are deactivated mines, German panzers and torpedoes, while there are also antique cannons on the outer still arming the gun emplacements on the outer wall.
Museum of Yugoslav History - The museum is the equivalent of a Presidential library and exhibits all of the gifts Tito amassed during his rule from 1953 to 1980. There are more than 200,000 artefacts in total, and among the many things worth tracking down are the ceremonial batons used in relays to mark Tito’s birthday every year.
National Theatre - On Republic Square the National Theatre is somewhere to go for a feast of high culture. The venue opened in 1869, and has come through war damage and a few architectural updates to remain an esteemed beacon of Serbian culture.
Museum of Aviation - Belgrade’s aviation museum is in a striking geodesic glass building from 1989 next to the city’s airport. The museum has more than 200 aircraft belonging to the Serbian military as well as private collectors and clubs. These range from biplanes like the Tiger Moth, Yugoslav Zmaj Fizir and Soviet Polikarpov to Second World War Messerschmitt and Spitfire fighters, as well as bombers like the Lockheed Lightning.
St Michael’s Cathedral - Walking distance from both the fortress and Princess Ljubica’s Residence, Belgrade’s Neoclassical cathedral is from the 1830s and was instrumental in Serbia’s fight for independence. It is just the latest version of a monument going back to the 1500s and repeatedly torn down during the Ottoman Empire.
Stari Dvor and Novi Dvor - The Old and New Palaces built for the Obrenović and Karađorđević royal families respectively.
The pair face each other across the Andrićev Venac square as part of a grand ensemble on Kralja Milana. The Old Palace dates to the 1880s and has Beaux-Arts architecture, with interiors imported wholesale from Vienna.
House of the National Assembly of Serbia - The seat of Serbia’s National Assembly may well be the finest and most photogenic building in Belgrade. Previously this home to Yugoslavia’s Parliament, and following that state’s breakup, the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro.
White Palace - The National Assembly this royal palace in the upscale Dedinje neighbourhood south of the city isn’t a monument you can just turn up and visit. The effort will be rewarded, and you’ll be taken by bus from the city hall to this Neo-Palladian palace from the 1930s.
Rajko Mitić Stadium (Marakana) - If you come for the fixture when Red Star host their cross-town rivals at the 55,000-capacity Rajko Mitić Stadium you’ll encounter possibly the most intense atmosphere of any football match in the world.
Historical Museum of Serbia - The museum on Nikola Pašić Square stages only temporary exhibitions on themes dealing with Serbia’s past. One recent exhibitions for instance was dedicated to the 13-century prince and monk St Sava, who essentially founded the Serbian Orthodox church.
Ružica Church - The earliest mention is from the 1400s, but it was duly pulled down after the Ottoman Empire conquered Belgrade in 1521. The current building is from the 19th century (requiring a restoration after WWI) and integrates walls from the fort’s old gunpowder magazine.
Zeleni Venac - It is the most central, foubd next to one of Belgrade’s big transport hubs and has been trading since 1847. Price-wise Zeleni Vanac is also the most competitive in the city. Under a metallic canopy that was restored about ten years ago are scores of fruit and vegetable traders.
Splavovi - a night out in Belgrade, be prepared to board a splav. These are the barges and boats that are permanently moored on the Danube and Sava rivers. They can be floating restaurants, bars or nightclubs. And no two splavovi are alike: Some are polished and cultivated, while others are younger and more raucous.
Gallery of Matica Srpska-First established in Pest (part of modern Budapest) in 1826 and moved to Novi Sad in 1864, this is one of Serbia's most important and long-standing cultural institutions.
Kalemegdan Citadel-Some 115 battles have been fought over imposing, impressive Kalemegdan; the citadel was destroyed more than 40 times throughout the centuries.
Petrovaradin Citadel-Towering over the river on a 40m-high volcanic slab, this mighty citadel is aptly nicknamed 'Gibraltar on the Danube'.
Museum of Yugoslavia-This must-visit museum houses an invaluable collection of more than 200,000 artefacts representing the fascinating, tumultuous history of Yugoslavia.
Uvac Canyon-The spectacular meanders of Uvac river are the highlight of the 75-sq-km Uvac nature reserve in southwestern Serbia.
Devil’s Town-in Serbia's deep south, is a trippy cluster of 202 natural stone pyramids looming eerily over bright red, highly acidic mineral streams.
Manasija Monastery-Hemmed in by mammoth walls, 11 towers and a trench, this was a fortified hideout for artists and writers fleeing the Turkish invasion of Kosovo in the early 1400s.
Mt Avala-Looming over Belgrade and topped with the tallest tower in the Balkans (204.5m), Mt Avala is a city landmark that makes for a pleasant break from the capital's bustling streets.
Lake Perućac-was created in 1966 by the damning of the Drina, and has been a favourite with families and fisherfolk ever since.
Museum of Ivo Andrić-Established four decades ago, this memorial museum is housed in the apartment where Ivo Andrić lived since 1958 until his death.
Sofia- is the capital of the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. It’s in the west of the country, below Vitosha Mountain. The city’s landmarks reflect more than 2,000 years of history, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation. Medieval Boyana Church has 13th-century frescoes. Built by the Romans in the 4th century, St. George Rotunda Church has medieval and Ottoman decoration dating to the 10th century.
Varna- is a port city and seaside resort on Bulgaria's Black Sea, next to the coastal resorts of Golden Sands, St. Konstantin and Albena. It's famous for the "Gold of Varna," 6,000-year-old Thracian jewelry discovered in a necropolis, which is displayed inside the Archaeological Museum, along with Greek, Roman and Ottoman antiquities. A bar-lined waterfront promenade fronts 19th-century Primorski Park.
Plovdiv- is an ancient city built around 7 hills, in southern Bulgaria. The Regional Archaeological Museum chronicles the city’s history, with exhibits including mosaic panels, clay lamps and early coins. The Roman-era Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis, which once seated around 6,000, now hosts opera and concerts. A 3D movie at the Emperor Hadrian–era Ancient Stadium re-creates Plovdiv in the 2nd century A.D.
Burgas- is a city on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. At its heart, the Church of Saint Cyril and Methodius is known for striking stained-glass windows over its main entrance. Nearby, the Ethnographic Museum explores Bulgarian folk culture, with colorful costumes and everyday items. Along Burgas Bay is the Sea Garden, with broad promenades, performances at its Summer Theatre and a viewing platform at the end of its pier.
Veliko Tarnovo- is a town in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province.
Pleven- is the seventh most populous city in Bulgaria. Located in the northern part of the country, it is the administrative centre of Pleven Province. It is the biggest economic center in Northwestern Bulgaria.
Velingrad- is a town in Pazardzhik Province, Southern Bulgaria, located at the western end of Chepino Valley, part of the Rhodope Mountains. It is the administrative center of the homonymous Velingrad Municipality and one of the most popular Bulgarian balneological resorts.
Bansko- is a town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, which are part of Pirin National Park, in southwest Bulgaria. It’s a gateway to numerous ski and snowboard slopes on Todorka Peak, including the challenging Tomba run. Footpaths cross the park’s craggy alpine landscape, home to bears and wolves. The park is also known for the high-altitude Vihren Peak, with forested ridges and striking glacial lakes.
Sozopol- is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival that is named after one of the town's ancient names.
Stara Zagora- is the sixth-largest city in Bulgaria, and the administrative capital of the homonymous Stara Zagora Province located in the historical region of Thrace.
Gotse Delchev- is a town in Gotse Delchev Municipality in Blagoevgrad Province of Bulgaria. In 1951, the town was renamed after the Bulgarian revolutionary hero Gotse Delchev. It had hitherto been called Nevrokop. Nearby are the remains of a walled city established by the Romans in the 2nd century AD.
Shumen- is the tenth largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and economic capital of Shumen Province.
Vratsa- is the largest city in northwestern Bulgaria. Administrative and economic center of the municipality of Vratsa and Vratsa district. It is located about 112 km north of Sofia, 40 km southeast of Montana.
Vidin- is a port town on the southern bank of the Danube in north-western Bulgaria. It is close to the borders with Romania and Serbia, and is also the administrative centre of Vidin Province, as well as of the Metropolitan of Vidin.
Ruse- is in the northeastern part of the country, on the right bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, approximately 75 km south of Bucharest, Romania's capital, 200 km from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 300 km from the capital Sofia.
Nessebar- is a town in Burgas Province, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. The cobbled streets of the old town, which sits on a promontory, are lined with ruins such as Byzantine-era fortifications and baths. The ruins of the 5th-century Church of St. Sofia include stone columns and large arched windows. The 11th-century Church of St. Stephen houses hundreds of mural paintings and a huge, richly decorated altarpiece.
Sliven- is the eighth-largest town in Bulgaria and the administrative and industrial centre of Sliven Province and municipality in Northern Thrace.
Yambol- is a town in Southeastern Bulgaria and administrative centre of Yambol Province. It lies on both banks of the Tundzha river in the historical region of Thrace. It is occasionally spelled Jambol. Yambol is the administrative center of two municipalities.
Pernik- is a town in western Bulgaria and is the most populated town after Sofia.
Lovech- northeast from the capital city of Sofia. Near Lovech are the towns of Pleven, Troyan and Teteven.
Dobrich- is the eighth most populated city in Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Dobrich Province and the capital of the region of Southern Dobrudzha. It is located in the northeastern part of the country, 30 km west of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, not far from resorts such as Albena, Balchik, and Golden Sands.
Gabrovo- is a town in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire, as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture.
Razgrad- is a city in Northeastern Bulgaria in the valley of the Beli Lom river that falls within the historical and geographical region of Ludogorie. It is an administrative center of Razgrad Province.
Haskovo- is a city in the region of Northern Thrace in southern Bulgaria and the administrative centre of the Haskovo Province, not far from the borders with Greece and Turkey.
Silistra- is a town in Northeastern Bulgaria. The town lies on the southern bank of the lower Danube river, and is also the part of the Romanian border where it stops following the Danube.
Blagoevgrad- is а town in Southwestern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Blagoevgrad Municipality. It lies on the banks of the Blagoevgradska Bistritsa River. The town is the economic and cultural centre of Southwestern Bulgaria.
Smolyan- is a town and ski resort in the far south of Bulgaria near the border with Greece. It is the administrative and industrial centre of the homonymous Smolyan Province.
Asenovgrad- is a town in central southern Bulgaria, part of Plovdiv Province. It is the largest town in Bulgaria that is not a province center. In 1934 it was renamed in honor of Tsar Ivan Assen II of Asenovgrad.
Targovishte- is a city in Bulgaria, the administrative and economic capital of Targovishte Province. It is situated at the northern foot of the low mountain of Preslav on both banks of the Vrana River.
Pazardzhik- is a city situated along the banks of the Maritsa river, southern Bulgaria.
Kardzhali- sometimes spelt Kardžali or Kurdzhali, is a town in the Eastern Rhodopes in Bulgaria, centre of Kardzhali Municipality and Kardzhali Province. The noted Kardzhali Dam is located nearby.
Montana- is a town in Northwestern Bulgaria, located 50 kilometres south of the Danube river, 40 kilometres northwest of Vratsa and 30 kilometres east of the Serbian border.
Dimitrovgrad- is a town in Haskovo Province, Bulgaria. It is along the Maritsa River in the Thrace region, close to the provincial capital, Haskovo.
Troyan- is a town remembering the name of Roman Emperor Trajan, in Lovech Province in central Bulgaria. The town is about 162 kilometres away from the country capital Sofia.
Aytos- sometimes written Aitos and Ajtos, is a town located in eastern Bulgaria some 30 kilometers from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and belonging to the administrative boundaries of Burgas Province.
Kyustendil- is a town in the far west of Bulgaria, the capital of the Kyustendil Province, a former bishopric and present Latin Catholic titular see.
Kazanlak- is a Bulgarian town in Stara Zagora Province, located in the middle of the plain of the same name, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range, at the eastern end of the Rose Valley.
Kàrlovo- is a historically important town in central Bulgaria located in a fertile valley along the river Stryama at the southern foot of the Balkan Mountains.
Svishtov- is a town in northern Bulgaria, located in Veliko Tarnovo Province on the right bank of the Danube river opposite the Romanian town of Zimnicea.
Sandanski- is a town and a recreation centre in south-western Bulgaria, part of Blagoevgrad Province. Named after the Bulgarian revolutionary Yane Sandanski, it is situated in a valley at the foot of Pirin Mountains, along the banks of Sandanska Bistritsa River.
Samokov is a town in Sofia Province in the southwest of Bulgaria. It is situated in a basin between the mountains Rila and Vitosha, 55 kilometres from the capital Sofia. Due to the suitable winter sports conditions, Samokov, together with the nearby resort Borovets, is a major tourist centre.
Petrich- is a town in Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Belasica Mountains in the Strumeshnitsa Valley. It is the seat of Petrich Municipality. Petrich is located close to the borders with Greece and North Macedonia.
Gorna Oryahovitsa- is a town in northern Bulgaria, situated in Veliko Tarnovo Province, 10 km from Veliko Tarnovo.
Panagyurishte- is a town in Pazardzhik Province, Southern Bulgaria, situated in a small valley in the Sredna Gora mountains. It is 91 km east of Sofia, 43 km north of Pazardzhik.
Svilengrad- is a town in Haskovo Province, south-central Bulgaria, situated at the border of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece.
Sevlievo- is a town in north-central Bulgaria, part of Gabrovo Province. Sevlievo is known as one of the wealthiest towns in Bulgaria owing to the well-developed local economy, high employment rate and major foreign investments, such as the American Standard Companies factory.
Lom- is a town in northwestern Bulgaria, part of Montana Province, situated on the right bank of the Danube, close to the estuary of the Lom River.
Dupnitsa- is a town in Western Bulgaria. It is at the foot of the highest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula – the Rila Mountain, and about 50 km south of the capital Sofia.
Sunny Beach-Largest beach resort in Bulgaria and in the Balkans. Popular among Western European and Russian tourists for its 6 km-long golden-sand beach and vibrant/wild nightlife. Situated next to Sunny Beach is the popular ancient Greek island-town of Nesebar, which is connected to the mainland by a short bridge.
Veliko Tarnovo-Bulgaria's medieval capital. Famous for the ruins of the Tsarevets fortress - the seat of the Bulgarian tsars and Bulgarian patriarchs, and its traditional Bulgarian 19th century architecture.
Bansko-Bulgaria's biggest ski resort. Located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. Popular among European tourists for its affordable price and authentic Bulgarian atmosphere.
Burgas-Famous for shopping, nightlife, beaches, sand sculptures, and the "Sea Garden" Park. Transportation hub for Bulgarian Black Sea resorts such as Sunny Beach. Has a vibrant city center with pedestrian-only avenues. Nearby is the quaint ancient Greek town of Sozopol (known in ancient times as Apollonia).
Ruse-A city on the Danube River known as "Little Vienna" for its architecture.
Plovdiv-The oldest city in Europe and cultural capital of Bulgaria. It is famous for its landmarks dating back to Roman times, charming Old town with cobblestone streets, and pedestrian-friendly city center.
Hike in Rusenski Lom Nature Park and Ivanovo – This park has a nice hiking area and also contains a Rock Monastery with ancient frescoes, as well as a quaint village worth exploring.
Marvelous Bridges – The Marvelous Bridges are natural marble bridges that were formed by erosion in the Rhodope Mountains. The two bridges can be crossed on secure trails, and two tourist huts are located nearby. The site can be reached by an asphalt road and is about 20 miles from the closest town, Chepelare.
Melnik and the Rozhen Monastery – The Rozhen monastery is a medieval Bulgarian monastery nearby, dating from 1259, with many intact frescos to view. Nearby, you can find a hiking area with sandstone ‘pyramids’ (rock formations from erosion). The region is also known for outstanding wine, wine that was preferred by Winston Churchill.
Old Plovdiv – This is a small, well-preserved area where visitors can take walks through different historical ages, see ancient buildings adapted to the modern way of life, and feel the spirit of this town dating back to Bulgarian Revival Period.
Roman spa – This is a well-preserved ancient site, situated in the contemporary city of Varna. The Roman spa is the biggest social historical building discovered in Bulgaria to date.
Museum of Socialist Art – This is a new museum which showcases art from the socialist period (1944-1989). A large outdoor sculpture park contains everything from the giant statue of Lenin that once stood in the center of the city, to the red star that topped the socialist party headquarters. Smaller pieces reveal a gentler side to the socialist ideals. The gallery inside has some excellent examples of 20th century modern art as well as the socialist realism genre we know from the period.
Balkan Mountains – This mountain chain lends its name to the Balkan Peninsula. It stretches all along the country and is popular among the fans of the long-distance hiking trips. One of the famous European Long Distance Routes (E3) follows its main ridge all the way from the western border of the country to the seaside. One of the three national parks in Bulgaria, Central Balkan National Park, is situated here.
Rila Mountains – The highest point of the Balkans, Mount Musala (almost 10,000 feet), is situated in Rila. Beside it, the northwestern section of the mountain are a popular hiking destination, rich with nature, and cultural sights as the Seven Lakes Cirque, Skakavitsa Waterfall (the highest in Rila), Rila Monastery, and the area of Malyovitsa. Rila National Park, the biggest national park in Bulgaria, can be found here.
Veliko Tarnovo – Once the capital of the medieval Bulgarian empire, Veliko Tarnovo is now a charming university town located in the mountains. This quiet little town has a beautiful castle, nearby hiking trails, and monasteries worth exploring. It was one of the highlights of my visit to Bulgaria.
Black Sea – A 250-mile stretch of Bulgarian land lies along the Black Sea, and around a third of this is covered in nice sandy beaches. This is a very popular spot for resort packages, and can be crawling with tourists. I’m not a fan of Sunny Beach, but there are other more secluded beaches to check out as well.
Balchik – This is a quaint town on the coast of the Black Sea. It’s not a great beach location, but the area used to serve as the summer residence for the Queen of Romania. You can tour her palace and the botanical gardens which lie on the grounds.
Go skiing – If you come during the winter months, use the cold weather to your advantage, and hit the ski slopes. Visit
Varna – Varna is the third-largest city in Bulgaria and is a major tourist destination during the summer when its beautiful beaches fill up with visitors. I had a lot of fun wandering the streets, meandering through the big central park, and sunning myself at the beach.
Roses in Kazanlak – Bulgaria is actually one of the biggest producers of rose oil in the world. Since 1903, Kazanlak has hosted the Festival of Roses. During the first weekend of June, the local community organizes this international event and thousands of tourists and guests celebrate the rose valley. Traditions include rose-picking rituals, learning the rose distillation process, a street procession, acapella choirs, folklore concerts, art shows, exhibitions, wine-tasting, shows, and more.
Varna Necropolis – This prehistoric archaeological site is home to the oldest processed gold, dating back 7,000 years. The gold was extracted from 62 graves (it was custom to bury people with gifts at that time). This fascinating exhibit can be found at the Archaeological and Historical Museum Varna.
Bucharest- Bucharest, in southern Romania, is the country's capital and commercial center. Its iconic landmark is the massive, communist-era Palatul Parlamentului government building, which has 1,100 rooms. Nearby, the historic Lipscani district is home to an energetic nightlife scene as well as tiny Eastern Orthodox Stavropoleos Church and 15th-century Curtea Veche Palace, where Prince Vlad III (“The Impaler”) once ruled.
Cluj-Napoca- a city in northwestern Romania, is the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region. It's home to universities, vibrant nightlife and landmarks dating to Saxon and Hungarian rule. Surrounding its central square, Piața Unirii, is the Gothic-style St. Michael's Church and the dramatic Matthias Corvinus Statue of the 15th-century king. The baroque-era Bánffy Palace is now a museum showcasing Romanian art.
Timișoara- is a city in western Romania, known for Secessionist architecture. The central square, Piața Victoriei, is surrounded by baroque buildings and the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral, with its mosaic-patterned roof tiles and icon gallery. Nearby is the Habsburg-era square Piața Unirii and the Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution. The museum houses uniforms, documents and a film on the Ceaușescu dictatorship.
Brașov- is a city in the Transylvania region of Romania, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. It's known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the towering Gothic-style Black Church and lively cafes. Piaţa Sfatului (Council Square) in the cobbled old town is surrounded by colorful baroque buildings and is home to the Casa Sfatului, a former town hall turned local history museum.
Sibiu- is a city in Transylvania, central Romania. It’s known for Germanic architecture in its old town, the legacy of 12th-century Saxon settlers. Around the city are the remains of medieval walls and towers, including the 13th-century Council Tower.
Brukenthal Palace- in the upper town, now houses the Brukenthal National Museum, with European paintings. The nearby Evangelical Cathedral has gravestones in its walls.
Iași- is a university city in eastern Romania, near the border with Moldova. In the center is the huge St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Cathedral, a 19th-century Orthodox church built in Italian Renaissance style. Nearby, the Three Hierarchs Monastery has an exterior decorated with delicate, Moorish-style stone carvings. Backed by Palas Park’s manicured gardens, the Palace of Culture is a vast neo-Gothic building.
Constanța- is a city on the shores of the Black Sea, in southeastern Romania. Its long history, which goes back over 2,000 years, is documented at the National History and Archaeology Museum, near the port. The adjacent Roman Mosaics complex displays tiled floors dating back to the 4th century A.D. Nearby, the Great Mahmudiye Mosque is furnished with a vast Persian rug, while its towering minaret overlooks the city.
Oradea- is a city in northwest Romania, split by the Crișul Repede River. It’s known for baroque and art nouveau architecture, remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Secessionist buildings line central Strada Republicii. Nearby, the neoclassical State Theater dominates King Ferdinand Square. The 18th-century Bishop’s Palace, with its frescoed rooms, is now home to the Museum of the Crisana Region.
Sighișoara- is a city on the Târnava Mare River in Mureș County, Romania. Located in the historic region of Transylvania, Sighișoara has a population of 28,102 according to the 2011 census. It is a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved walled old town, which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Târgu Mureș- is the seat of Mureș County in the historical region of Transylvania, Romania. It is the 16th largest Romanian city, with 134,290 inhabitants as of the 2011 census. It lies on the Mureș River, the second longest river in Romania
Craiova- Romania's 6th largest city and capital of Dolj County, is situated near the east bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia. It is a longstanding political center, and is located at approximately equal distances from the Southern Carpathians and the River Danube.
Arad- is the capital city of Arad County, historically situated in the region of Crișana, and having extended into the neighboring Banat region in the 20th century. Arad is the third largest city in Western Romania, behind Timișoara and Oradea, and the 12th largest in Romania, with a population of 159,704.
Ploiești- formerly spelled Ploești, is a city and county seat in Prahova County, Romania. Part of the historical region of Muntenia, it is located 56 km north of Bucharest. The area of the city is around 60 km².
Alba County- is a county of Romania located in the historic region of Transylvania. Its capital is Alba Iulia, a city with a population of 63,536.
Galați- is the capital city of Galați County, in the historical region of Western Moldavia, in eastern Romania. Galați is a port town on the Danube River. It has been the only port for the most part of Moldavia's existence.
Baia Mare- is a municipality along the Săsar River, in northwestern Romania; it is the capital of Maramureș County. The city is situated about 600 kilometres from Bucharest, 70 km from the border with Hungary, and 50 km from the border with Ukraine.
Bran- is a commune in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. It is about 25 kilometres southwest of the city of Brașov and consists of five villages: Bran, Poarta, Predeluț, Șimon and Sohodol.
Brăila- is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County. The Sud-Est Regional Development Agency is located in Brăila. According to the 2011 Romanian census there were 180,302 people living within the city of Brăila, making it the 11th most populous city in Romania.
Suceava- is the largest city and the seat of Suceava County, situated in the historical region of Bukovina, north-eastern Romania, and at the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe. During the late Middle Ages, more specifically from 1388 to 1564, the city was the third capital of the Principality of Moldavia.
Pitești- is a city in Romania, located on the Argeș River. The capital and largest city of Argeș County, it is an important commercial and industrial center, as well as the home of two universities. Pitești is situated in the historical region of Muntenia.
Bacău- is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. At the 2016 national estimation it had a population of 196,883, making it the 12th largest city in Romania. The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistrița River.
Satu Mare- is a city with a population of 102,400 and the capital of Satu Mare County, Romania, as well as the center of the Satu Mare metropolitan area. Mentioned in the Gesta Hungarorum as castrum Zotmar, the city has a history going back to the Middle Ages.
Deva- is a city in Romania, in the historical region of Transylvania, on the left bank of the Mureș River. It is the capital of Hunedoara County.
Sighetu Marmației, until 1964 Sighet- a city in Maramureș County near the Iza River, in northwestern Romania.
The Old Town - one of Bucharest's earliest settlements, where structures date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Over the centuries, it has been the seat of Romanian princes, a center for trade, a place to worship, and a crossroads for travelers. It also managed to survive Ceausescu's 1980s razing of one fifth of the city to build his vision of a new Socialist capital.
Palace of the Parliament - (Palatul Parlamentului) is one of the top tourist attractions in Bucharest. It is the world's second largest administrative building (after the Pentagon), an architectural colossus that also claims title as the heaviest building in the world.
Romanian Athenaeum - Home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, the stately Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Român) is the city's most prestigious concert hall. The 19th-century building, designed by French architect Albert Galleron, resembles an ancient Greek temple with a 41-meter-high dome and a peristyle of six Ionic columns.
Stavropoleos Church - (Manastirea Stavropoleos) was built in 1724 by a Greek monk, Ioanikie Stratonikeas. With its intricately carved entrance lined with columns, this Brâncovenesc-style church stands apart as a unique landmark in Bucharest. The Orthodox church features fine stone and wood carvings and a combination of Romanian and Byzantine elements. It is surrounded by a garden courtyard filled with 18th-century tombstones.
Curtea Veche: The Old Princely Court- Located in the heart of the Old City, the Old Princely Court (Curtea Veche) was the palatial residence of Wallachian princes. Perhaps its best known occupant was Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker's tale of Dracula.
Revolution Square- earned its name after setting the scene of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's final minutes of power in Romania. On December 21, 1989, a coup d'état ensued here with the help of a crowd of more than 100,000, forcing the leader of the communist party to flee and changing the course of the country's history.
Arcul de Triumf- Finished in 1878, Bucharest's first Arch of Triumph was made from wood and dedicated to the Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I. In 1936, it was reconstructed in granite and designed by architect Petre Antonescu at a height of 27 meters. The arch is adorned with sculptures created by the most notable Romanian sculptors, including Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea.
National Museum of Art of Romania - Housed in the former Royal Palace, the world's most complete collection of Romanian art, including medieval and modern art. Established in 1948, the museum is also where the Royal Collection, including Romanian and European art dating back to the 15th century, can be admired. More than 100,000 works are in the various halls, including paintings by the country's most celebrated artists, Theodor Aman, Nicolae Grigorescu, and Gheorghe Tattarescu.
Winter in Eastern Europe-is to head to the Carpathian Mountains. Romania has a number of skiing resorts. Poiana Brasov is one of the most popular. Its skiing facilities are almost as good as in the Alps.
Azuga-just 135 kilometers from Bucharest, and Parang - best known for its availability of snow and wild ski slopes. Fagaras mountains-which require hiring a guide, but are a perfect spot for heliski. One of the best ways to enjoy winter in Eastern Europe is to head to the Carpathian Mountains. Romania has a number of skiing resorts.
Poiana Brasov- is one of the most popular. Its skiing facilities are almost as good as in the Alps.
The highest peak of the Postavaru mountains- being 1800 m high, often doesn't get enough snow, but there is always a plentitude of artificial snow.
The Bușteni Skiing Area- another skiing resort, is considered to be one of the most challenging.
Azuga- Other skiing destinations in Romania include, just 135 kilometers from Bucharest, and Parang - best known for its availability of snow and wild ski slopes.
Alexandru Borza Botanic Gardens – Located in Cluj Napoca, this is a massive botanical garden with rolling green hills, an observation tower, a rose garden, and even a Japanese garden.
Maramures – This medieval region of Romania is one of my favorites. Peasant culture is still thriving, and there is an interesting blend of traditional music, hand-made wooden structures, and colorful textiles to experience. It’s like stepping back in time (in a good way).
Mount Tampa – Towering above Brasov, this is one mountain that is riddled with interesting history. It’s easy to hop on a cable car, and check out the view from the top, as well as explore with the defensive fortress. Many people like to go hiking here and visit the Brasov sign.
Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral – As one of the most religious countries in Europe, it should be no surprise that there are churches, cathedrals, and monasteries everywhere, many of which date back several centuries. This particular cathedral in Bucharest still has all of its original interior paintings and icons, in addition to some beautiful frescoes.
Wildlife at Northern Dobrogea – Here there are tons of wildlife and exotic birds to see, but you still have a bit of the city to keep from being entirely secluded. There is a decent selection of restaurants and entertainment spots, including theater and opera houses.
Shop at a traditional crafts fair – Every year during the month of June, there is a huge craft fair held in Bucharest. People come from all over Romania to sell goods and provide demonstrations. You can see pottery molding, woodcarving, glass blowing, rug and textile weaving, embroidery, and egg painting.
Danube Delta – Flowing over 1,700 miles from its source, this is Europe’s second largest and best-preserved delta. There is so much wildlife to see here, and the hiking is surreal. You can go bird watching and fishing as well.
Brasov – My favorite place in Romania, this historic city is the launching pad for trips to “Dracula’s castle.” There’s great hiking around here, a beautiful historic center, and beautiful medieval streets. The core of the city is this beautiful medieval destination but walk five minutes out in any direction and you start to see modern glass buildings, malls, and wide streets.
Trek in the Fagaras Mountains – For those of you that are major hiking enthusiasts, this is one of those awesome multi-day hiking experiences. Taking you along the main ridge of the Fagaras, the route is one of the longest and continuous high-mountain traverses in Europe. You will trek over Moldoveanu, Negoiu, and Vista Mare that are three of Romania’s highest peaks.
Hora de la Prislop – Held every August, this festival is a celebration that brings together Transylvania, Moldova, and Maramures. Known more commonly as the Dance at Prislop, you can probably guess that there is lots of traditional dancing and singing, beautiful costumes, parading, and awesome feasting.
Base at Baia Mare – If you are wanting to check out a bunch of the traditional villages, this is a good place to start. It is easy to access many of the famous valleys from here, including Iza, Viseu, Cosau, and Mara – all of which are riddled with interesting villages.
Hunt for Dracula in Sighisoara – Founded during the 12th century, this town is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. A world heritage site, there is a mass of towers, ornate churches, and burgher houses to see throughout the cobbled streets. This is also the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, otherwise more commonly known as Dracula.
Peles Castle – Not too far from Brasov is Sinaia, the site of Peles Castle. The castle itself was constructed between 1873 and 1914 as a getaway spot for the monarch. The building is lavishly decorated and serves as a great indication of the luxurious lives these rulers enjoyed.
Salt mine – Salina Turda is the salt mine in Turda which has been converted into a subterranean museum. The mine dates back centuries and was used heavily during the Middle Ages. The layout of the museum is really neat and looks almost futuristic. If you’re in the area, this is worth a visit.
Cluj-Napoca – Cluj-Napoca is very pleasant university town located in Romania’s northwest and a big stopping point for people coming east from Hungary. The city dates back centuries, and there are a lot of historical churches, museums, and ruins (especially on Cetatuia hill) to visit. Because of the university here, there are a lot of affordable restaurants and a very happening nightlife in the city.
Sibiu – I felt my visit to Sibiu was like walking back into the middle ages. As one of Romania’s tourism capitals, Sibiu attracts a lot of tourists seeking its wonderful medieval charm, excellent views of the surrounding landscapes, great food, and stunning parkland.
Monasteries in Bucovina – These monasteries in north-eastern Romania are one of a kind. They have their painted exterior walls with elaborate 15th- and 16th-century frescoes featuring saints, prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, angels, demons, and other religious scenes. They are a masterpiece of Byzantine art and should not be missed.