Tourism in Bulgaria

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Tourism in Bulgaria is a significant contributor to the country's economy. Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Bulgaria has been home to many civilizations - Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgars, and Ottomans. The country is rich in tourist sights and historical artifacts, scattered through a relatively small and easily accessible territory. Bulgaria is internationally known for its seaside and winter resorts.

Bulgaria attracted 11.1 million foreign tourists in 2015, according to the Worldbank.[1] Tourists from five countries - Greece, Romania, Turkey, Germany, and Russia - account for approximately 50% of all visitors.[2] The sector contributed to 15% of GDP and supported 150 000 workplaces in 2014.[3][4]

Tourist attractions

UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Intangible Cultural Heritage List

There are ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria. The first four properties were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1979, and the last in 2017. Bulgaria currently has fourteen additional properties on the Tentative List.[5] Nestinarstvo, a ritual fire-dance of Thracian origin,[6] is included in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Surva, Masquerade games 
Koprivshtitsa folklore fair 

Ethnic, cultural and historical tourism

The Bulgarian cultural heritage has many faces and manifestations - archaeological reserves and monuments, museums, galleries, rich cultural calendar, preserved folklore and magnificent architectural monuments.

Historical monuments and sites


Sofia History Museum 
National museum "Vasil Levski", Karlovo 
Dorkovo Museum 
Agushevi konatsi, Mogilitsa 
Museum of the rose, Kazanlak 
Varna dolphinarium 
Mining museum, Pernik 

Thracian treasures

Golden mask of Teres I 
Bronze head of Seuthes III found in Golyamata Kosmatka 
Letnitsa treasure 
Yakimovo Thracian Treasure 
Ravnogor Thracian Treasure 
A thracian golden necklace found in Arabadjiiska Mogila 
Sinemorets Gold figurines 
Thracian helmet found in Pletena 
Vazovo Thracian Pegasus 
Kralevo Treasure 
Golden treasure found in the Sveshtari Mound 
Odrysian Wreath of Cersobleptes, Zlatinica-Malomirovo 
Mogilanska Mogila funeral offerings 

Rural tourism

The Bulgarian town house is an embodiment of the owner's social status, craft and traditions. Many old buildings that demonstrate this type of architecture—e.g. in the villages of Arbanasi, Leshten, Kovachevitsa, Melnik—have been preserved to the present day.

Lovech, Varosha 

City tourism


Cherepishki Monastery 
Shipka Monastery 


Church of the Nativity of Christ in Arbanasi 
Church of Sveta Arhangeli Mikhail & Gavril, Arbanasi 
Saint Nicholas, Slokostitsa 

Festivals and events

Epiphany's horo in Kalofer 
Festival of the rose, Kazanlak 
Paneurhythmy dances at the Seven Rila Lakes 
Tsarevets Sound and Light 
Surva, Masquerade games 
Koprivshtitsa folklore fair 

Resorts and nature tourism

Seaside resorts

The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is picturesque and diverse. White and golden sandy beaches occupy approximately 130 km of the 378 km long coast. The temperatures during the summer months are very suitable for marine tourism and the water temperature allows sea bathing from May to October. Prior to 1989 the Bulgarian Black Sea coast was internationally known as the Red Riviera. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, however, its nickname has been changed to the Bulgarian Riviera.

Hiking and skiing

The country has several ski areas which offer excellent conditions for skiing, snowboarding, ski running and other winter sports.

National and natural parks

Rila National Park 
Vitosha Nature Park 
Sinite Kamani Nature Park 
Strandzha Nature Park 
Rusenski Lom Nature Park 
Shumensko Plato Nature Park 

Caves and waterfalls


Nature landforms and formations

Stob Pyramids 
Melnik Pyramids 
Rock wedding, Kardzhali 

Top 20 sources of international visitors to Bulgaria

Most visitors arriving in Bulgaria on short-term basis came from the following countries of nationality:[8][9][10]

Rank Country 2017 2016 2015
1  Romania 1,943,436 1,743,697 1,499,854
2  Turkey 1,437,276 1,312,895 1,237,841
3  Greece 1,272,997 1,157,062 1,024,527
4  Germany 1,046,219 1,003,030 826,142
5  Macedonia 583,026 562,365 506,052
6  Russia 565,754 589,844 493,989
7  Serbia 541,303 490,668 501,091
8  Poland 424,724 388,833 285,455
9  Ukraine 388,645 342,214 310,777
10  United Kingdom 352,054 281,777 250,038
11  France 231,348 195,571 171,305
12  Austria 216,986 204,489 175,024
13  Israel 209,304 183,846 155,276
14  Czech Republic 209,218 219,349 160,978
15  Netherlands 183,755 147,882 125,378
16  Italy 177,250 152,078 143,446
17  Belgium 152,739 119,429 100,777
18  Hungary 111,405 118,805 102,189
19  United States 90,963 82,465 81,979
20  Spain 89,155 N/A N/A


  1. ^ "Worldbank Tourism in Bulgaria". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  2. ^ Bulgarian Tourism in Facts and Figures (January–December 2014) National Statistical Institute
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Statistical references 2013 - National Statistical Institute" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  5. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre - Tentative List: Bulgaria". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  6. ^ MacDermott, Mercia (1998). Bulgarian Folk Customs. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 1-85302-485-6. Retrieved 20 December 2011. While dancing round fires and jumping over fires forms part of many Slav customs, dancing on fire does not, and it is therefore likely that nestinarstvo was inherited by the Bulgarians from the Hellenized Thracians who inhabited the land before them. 
  7. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "UNESCO World Heritage Centre - New Inscribed Properties (2017)". Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  8. ^ "Arrivals of visitors from abroad to Bulgaria by months and by country of origin - National statistical institute". Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  9. ^ "Tourism figures : Purpose of visit" (XLS). Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  10. ^ [2]

External links

  • Official Bulgaria tourism website
  • Media related to Tourism in Bulgaria at Wikimedia Commons
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