FAMILY ROAD TRIP IN BULGARIA
FAMILY ROAD TRIP IN BULGARIA
With a motorhome, you can enjoy the freedom of the road and choose any direction to head to during your next motorhome holiday trip! In this article, Touring Cars has thoroughly planned and developed a route that you can take for your next motorhome adventure in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is a birthplace of a remarkable scenery, whose traditions, architecture, and cuisine were influenced by the Eastern and Western cultures. Experience a handful of emotions, while travelling through the rugged mountains, ancient towns, broad meadows and enjoy gentle sunlight, while relaxing on the pristine beaches of the Black Sea!
Bulgaria has a lot to offer for every visitor, where each of us will find something unique and memorable, regardless of time of year, in which you are travelling. For example, for mountain lovers and winter sports enthusiasts, Bulgaria offers snow-covered mountain ranges and luxurious sports resorts; for couples, who seek solitude, Bulgaria offers a romantic getaway on the Black Sea coastline; while for families, Bulgaria offers an unforgettable road trip experience through the ancient towns and amusement parks.
This route is specifically designed for family travellers for a summertime period for 11 days. However, you can adjust and extend duration of your stay in certain places or if you do not travel with family, we encourage you to go through our route picked places that might still catch your eye and provoke to start exploring this radiant and welcoming country already this year.
The Land of Roses is waiting for your visit, so pack belongings and head to that long awaiting motorhome holiday!
Day 1 (No driven km)
Arriving to our Sofia rental station
Upon your arrival to Sofia International Airport (SOF), our customer service representative will greet you and provide a transfer directly to our rental station. At the rental station, our professional personnel will provide personal orientation with a motorhome. After the familiarisation process, you will be ready to start an unforgettable motorhome holiday around the Land of Roses!
Introduction to the Bulgarian culture
Upon you receive keys to a premium motorhome, you will be ready to explore the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. Sofia is a charming city that holds a vast cultural heritage and that is home for 1.2 million people. By strolling through the cosy streets of Sofia, you will face with magnificent architecture of the past and ancient Roman ruins. You will notice diversity in architectural styles by stumbling upon churches, mosques, and synagogues. The city infrastructure is built around these impressive historical treasures, combining past with present.
We recommend you visiting an awe-inspiring and iconic Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski and the oldest building of Sofia - Church St. George Rotunda. If you are interested in art, you can visit "Ivan Vazov" National Theater and take a walk afterwards in a nearby City Garden.
Before continuing wandering through the Sofian streets, it is recommended to take a break and feast on the Bulgarian traditional food! Bulgarian cuisine has similarities with other Balkan countries’ cuisine and includes dishes such as tarator (cold soup with cucumbers, yoghurt, walnuts, and herbs), sarmi (wrapped rice and meat in a cabbage), moussaka (potato-based dish with meat) and much more! Find the best local restaurant on the Vitosha Boulevard and enjoy dinner in the surroundings of your loved ones and delicious Balkan dishes.
Quality time with your family
To end your day, we highly advise you to check Borisova Gradina – the oldest and best-known park of Sofia built in late 19th century. At the southern part of the park, you will be able to find Sofia Zoo and spend a few hours exploring 2,000 animals from 280 species with your little explorers.
Find a comfortable spot in the southern suburbs of Sofia and spend your first night in Bulgaria.
Day 2 (Approx. 120 km)
Dive in history
What could be a better way to start your day than to dive into history of your surroundings? Include a visit to the National Museum of History and get to know the past of Bulgaria. If you are travelling with kids, it is possible to send your little explorers to the Children’s Educational Centre, located in the museum, where they will be introduced to the entertaining programs.
An afternoon workout
After an educational start of your day, it is time to engage some physical activities!
While exploring the Sofian streets on your arrival day, you might have noticed in a distance a majestic mountain. Vitosha is a mountain massif, located in the surroundings of Sofia, which is popular among locals and foreigners for its impressive views over the city from any of the mountain’s peaks. Visitors have an opportunity to hike, ski, mountain bike as well as spend the entire day exploring this great territory. There are a few starting points from which you can start your exploration of Vitosha mountain. So, choose the closest starting point and head to explore the beauty of this popular tourist destination!
As Vitosha is a massive mountain with 10 peaks of over 2,000 m high, it is a truly must-see place for every visitor. You can personalise your experience with this destination by choosing activities of your choice, but we strongly recommend you include a visit to Boyana Waterfall, have a picnic at Golden Bridges, visit a 14th century Dragalevski Monastery and Duhlata - the longest cave in the country. Additionally, you can climb to the highest peak of the mountain – Cherni vrah and enjoy the tranquillity of the place by looking at the impressive views of the city.
An iconic national treasure – Rila monastery is situated in a 2-hour drive from Vitosha mountain in the Rila National Park. Rila monastery is the first and largest monastery in the country that holds a historical and spiritual value for local residents. It has been found in the 10th century and it has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983. By visiting this well-known tourist attraction, you will be able to get to know the history of this unusual place, learn how the monastery has survived the Ottoman’s raid in the 14th century and a blaze in the 19th century. On the monastery’s territory you might notice monks in their black coats as well as see graceful frescos in the entrance to the monastery.
To end your day with you can park a vehicle in the surroundings of nature or in the camping site and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere that Bulgarian nature has to offer before continuing your road trip!
Day 3 (Approx. 200 km)
Picnic in a picturesque location
On your third day of a motorhome holiday, you will be heading to Bansko, which is located within a 1.5-hour ride from the Rila Monastery. Bansko is a small town located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, which is one of the most beautiful places to see in Bulgaria. Additionally, Bansko is considered to be a door for the numerous natural landmarks of the Pirin National Park. Here, you can stroll in the old town, visit the information centre to the places that you will most be interested in visiting as well as you can start your adventure already from here.
In case you are traveling to Bansko in the early August, make sure you attend an annual Jazz festival that has been taking place in this town since 1988.
After the exploration of the town, we recommend taking one of the 20 hiking trails and organising a family picnic near one of the stunning lakes: Tevno Ezero, Popovo Ezero, Muratovo or Ribno Banderishko. The beauty of this place will remain in your heart and memory, so make sure you capture these majestic landscapes on your camera or mobile device.
Relaxing evening in the Melnik town
After an exciting hiking trip to Pirin National Park, set your navigator to a peaceful and cosy town of Melnik, located just within 1.5-hour ride from Bansko. The area around Melnik town is widely known for its wine selection. So, you can purchase a bottle of the local wine and enjoy the remaining evening inside the campervan with your family members.
Day 4 (Approx. 185 km)
The smallest town in Bulgaria
To start your day with, we recommend taking a walk on the picturesque valleys of Melnik town. The relaxing atmosphere of this place will certainly define your perfect day! We recommend you spare a few hours in the early morning and walk through the cosy streets in the smallest town of Bulgaria. Additionally, you will be intrigued by the beauty and originality of the Melnik pyramids – a charming symbol of this town that are shaped by mother nature into the sandstone rocks.
Exploring the south of Bulgaria
After a relaxing walk along the streets of Melnik town, we recommend you heading to the Rhodope Mountains that are located within a 4-hour drive.
The Rhodope Mountains is a place that you do not want to miss out on your motorhome holiday around Bulgaria! Located in the southern part of the country, this mountain range offers a lot of hidden gems in combination with the majestic rock formations, authentic villages, and flowery meadows.
Make sure you include a visit to the Eagle’s eye – a panoramic platform that offers incredible views on the whole mountain range. Do not forget to include in your itinerary a visit to the impressive canyon Trigrad Gorge that offers cinematic beauty, the Devil's Throat Cave that resembles a devil’s head and has a waterfall running down its throat and visit an authentic village Gela with charming views around it.
We recommend staying a night in this gorgeous place after an exciting exploration of the beautiful landmarks of this region before continuing your journey.
Day 5 (Approx. 300 km)
In search for an awe-inspiring scenery
After exploring the southern part of the Rhodope mountains, you will be heading north in search for more impressive and photogenic spots. Visit the Devil’s bridge – an architectural marvel that goes through the Arda river. The bridge itself has a few mysterious tails back in its history, so maybe you will have a chance to talk to local people and discover its secret past. It is located within a 2.5-hour ride from the Gela village, so make sure you set an alarm to the early morning to be able to explore a numerous number of impressive landmarks!
Your next stop will be the Horseshoe Bend of Kardzhali Dam that offers ridiculously photogenic views and is a great spot to take outstanding photos! Afterwards, head to the Beli plast to notice unusual rock formations that were formed by water and wind that, nowadays, resembles a shape of mushrooms.
Exploring the cultural capital of Bulgaria
Located just under a 2-hour drive from the Beli plast lays the second largest city of Bulgaria – Plovdiv. The city is located on seven hills, some of which offer a marvellous panoramic view over the city. The city has a long historical past, architecture of which offers an opportunity to go back in time. While wondering through the cobblestone streets of the old town, you will notice ruins from the Roman and Ottoman influences.
The city offers a vibrant atmosphere. We highly recommend you including a visit to the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis that is still in use. The theatre hosts theatrical plays and musical shows nowadays. So, if you are interested in attending an authentic artistic experience, pay a visit to this Roman theatre and enjoy an authentic spectacle! If you want to experience a historical past of Bulgaria, make sure you visit most recognisable landmarks: Stadium of Philippopolis, Plovdiv Old Town, ruins of the Ancient Philippopolis and Asen’s Fortress.
Did you know that Plovdiv became a European Capital of Culture in 2019? Bulgarians have preserved their traditions, festivals and rituals throughout the centuries, the evidence of which is seen in the country’s profound spirituality and its dynamic lifestyle and culture. If you will have a spare day or two, we highly recommend attending one of the annual held events to be able to understand the culture better and maybe make new acquaintances around friendly local people. You can visit festivals such as Young Wine Festival, Plodvid Beer Fest, Kapana Fest, The International Fair of Plovdiv, NIGHT Festival and many others that take place in this charming city.
After an exhausting day, we recommend you staying for a night in the suburbs of the Plovdiv before continuing your journey to the eastern part of Bulgaria.
Day 6 (Approx. 300 km)
The Black Sea coast
Start your day with authentic Bulgarian breakfast before hitting the road to the Black Sea coast. Making breakfast in a motorhome is convenient and hustle-free because we provide all the essential kitchen utilities for each rental. The easiest Bulgarian breakfast dish can be prepared in under 10 minutes! For this, mix eggs, cheese and milk in a bowl and then roll bread loaves in it and fry it on a frying pan until it gets crispy. You can customise with the toppings and use, for example, locally produced jam or well-known Bulgarian cheese! This nutritious breakfast will give you enough energy for a 3-hour ride from Plovdiv to the Black coast.
For a change of scenery, set your navigator in direction to Burgas, which will be your first stop on the Black Sea coast. In Burgas, you will have a chance to stretch your legs and walk around the Sea Garden park. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to spot sand sculptures in this park that are built for the annual Sand Sculpture Festival, here, in Burgas. We guarantee that your children will enjoy wondering through the Sea Garden in search for the most amusing sand sculpture!
If you are travelling during early August, we recommend you attending an International Folklore Festival that is being held annually in Burgas.
Within a 20-minute ride from Burgas lays a small coastal city – Pomorie. For the educational purposes, you can visit a Salt Museum with your little explorers, where you will be able to see the production of salt, watch a movie dedicated to the salt making and get to see the salt extraction in real time. If you are interested in such an education experience, pay a visit to this specialised outdoor museum!
Your next stop around the exploration of the Black Sea coast will be an ancient town – Nessebar. Nessebar is located within a 20-minute ride from the town of Pomorie. It has been included to the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 and is a prominent touristic destination nowadays.
As you have been exploring 2 coastal towns during this day, we recommend you leaving the exploration activities for the next day. However, we recommend you spending evening with your family members, while enjoying traditional Bulgarian dinner in a local restaurant.
Seafood plays an important part of the Bulgarian culture, so do not miss an opportunity to try traditional dishes, while exploring the coastal towns. We recommend you trying out deep fried sprats, Mediterranean mussels and ribena chorba (fish soup).
Day 7 (Approx. 100 km)
Pearl of the Black Sea
It is time to explore the Pearl of the Black Sea – nickname that was given to the ancient town of Nessebar. Nessebar is divided into two parts: the old town and historical treasures of the past are located on the peninsula that is connected to the mainland with modern hotels, resorts, and restaurants with isthmus.
To start your day with you can by heading towards the old part of town located on the picturesque island. By wondering through narrow streets on the peninsula, you will face with many architectural jewels. For example, one of the main eye-catching buildings are the old houses built in the 18th century located in the Old Town. These old houses were built within two main materials: first floor was made of stone and was used as a storage area and the upper floors were made of wood, where families lived and spent most of the time. On this gorgeous island you will have a chance to face with history by strolling along the ruins and churches that stand here throughout centuries and some of which were built in the 5th-6th centuries.
Additionally, don’t forget to include a visit to the Archaeological Museum, the wooden windmill, one of many Aquaparks or go diving or scuba diving with your family members.
After an adventurous afternoon in the town of Nessebar, it is time to hit the road towards Varna! Varna is a coastal city located within a 2-hour ride from Nessebar, which will be your next stop.
Varna is the third largest city of Bulgaria that offers multiple relaxing opportunities to its visitors. To start with, you want to check the panoramic view over the Black Sea and the city itself. For this, you should visit observation deck Galata. After enjoying fascinating views over the sea and city, you can head towards the gold sanded Asparuhovo beach. If are lucky with the weather, you might want to stop here for a while and enjoy warm sunlight after swimming in a precious Baltic Sea.
To end your day with, we recommend taking a romantic walk in the Asparuhov park.
Day 8 (No driven km)
A day in greenery surroundings
On your next morning, you want to wake up early to be able to enjoy this day on fullest!
To start with, we recommend you going to the majestic Sea Garden – an enormous greenery area right on the shore of the Baltic sea. We warn you that you might lose track of time here, wandering through this gorgeous park. Here, you have panoramic views over the sea, Varna Aquarium and Varna Zoo, Kids’ amusement park and Dolphinarium, Varna theatre and sports complex, several fountains, and many places to have breakfast/lunch in. Pick the most appealing attractions to you and have an unforgettable experience by visiting the Sea Garden.
Afterwards, you might want to take a swim in the Baltic sea. For this, you have a perfect opportunity, as alongside the Sea Garden you will find two gold sanded beaches: Rappongi beach and Varna beach. We guarantee you will enhance your day with a combination of an amusing and relaxing way of exploring Varna city.
Exploring the architectural jewels of Varna
After exploring the coastline of the Baltic Sea, it is time to dive into the historical Varna’s city centre. You might want to include places such as Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, Roman Baths and Archaeological museum. Also, you can stroll along the streets in search for the iconic Varna’s architecture and spend a day exploring the third largest city of Bulgaria.
To end your day with, park your vehicle in the nearby camping ground and enjoy deep sleep in the surroundings of nature.
If you have a few extra days, we recommend you including to your itinerary a trip to The Wonderful Rocks – a fascinating landscape, knows as rock phenomenon, that is interestingly shaped due to the erosion of water and wind. For eye-catching landmarks, you should check this place out! You can even get a better angle from being in the water if you go kayaking. By combing an active sport with approaching the rocks, you will be speechless from such natural beauty.
Additionally, you can visit a Stone Forest – a place, where limestone rocks are clustered together and dig into the ground. This is a fantastical natural phenomenon, and it is a landscape that needs to be seen to be believed!
If you are keen on International Festivals
Every year Varna hosts several festivals such as International Music Festival and International Theatre Festival in June, International Jazz Festival in July and International Fair Arts and Crafts and International Folklore Festival in August. So, if you are an art or music enthusiast, diversify your trip by attending one of the above-mentioned festivals!
Day 9 (Approx. 230 km)
Back to road
After an exploration of the third largest city in Bulgaria, you will know start slowly returning to the capital. But your route will still be a unique adventure with stops in the most jaw-dropping and fascinating places! So, set your navigator to Veliko Tarnovo and enjoy the road trip through the Bulgarian landscape!
City of the Tsars
Veliko Tarnovo is located within a 3-hour drive and you will be able to reach it before sunset. Veliko Tarnovo – is a medieval town located along the Yantra river and surrounded by three hills: Tsarevets, Trapezitsa and Sveta Gora. This town offers drastic landscape, and it is easy to see why so many fall for this extraordinary town packed with a beautiful old fortress and horizontally-situated houses along the river.
To start your day with head towards exploring the Bulgarian national treasure - Tsaravets fortress. Impressive views over the river and town are opening up from the fortress, that once was home to the royal family from 12th to 14th century. Here, you can take a walk along the fortified walls and watchtowers, while walking through the ancient ruins of the fortress.
Take a note that throughout the entire year at only at certain days of the year it is possible to spot The Sound and Light show that is being held in Veliko Tarnovo. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to spot a magnificent combination of the past and present, where light installation is projected on the entire antient fortress alongside background music. You do not want to miss such an opportunity, so make sure you check in advance at what days of the year this show will take place.
After exploring the majestic fortress, you want to walk around the cobblestone streets in the Old Town. It is possible to have a free guided tour around the old town, where guide will guide you around the history of the town and show you the most iconic places in the city. If you are more intrigued in discovering the unique architectural jewels by yourself, get a map of the old town and discover historical facts about the city at your own pace!
Additionally, we recommend you paying a visit to the Asen’s Monument – an iconic statue that was built in 1985 and dedicated to the Asen Dynasty that is linked to the 800-anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria against the Byzantine rule back in 12th-13th centuries.
After visiting the Asen’s monument, you want to explore the second hill that surrounds Veliko Tarnovo – Sveta Gora. It is a green heart of the town and a public open space that was renovated just a few years ago. Here, your children and you can spare a few hours by organising a picnic on a fresh air, walking through the park and visiting a panoramic terrace from which incredible views are seen.
To end your day with, just park your car in the nearby camping site and enjoy the tranquil vibes of the Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 10 (Approx. 100 km)
The Rose Valley awaits!
After a fascinating day at the Veliko Tarnovo, you will set your navigator towards Kazanlak, which you can reach within a 1.5-hour drive. From this moment on, you will be getting familiar with the traditional Bulgarian handicraft that is well-known all around the world: rose picking and rose-oil production.
As you may know, Bulgaria is the biggest rose-oil producers in the world and the rose-oil outsourcing industry poses a great importance for the country. Annually, thousands of tourists visit The Rose Valley as well as seek for the best beauty products with a scent of true Bulgaria!
The Rose Valley is not defined geographically, but rather it is a term used to describe the rose fields around the cities of Kazanlak and Karlovo, which are located in the central part of Bulgaria. Kazanlak – is a place that holds an annual Rose Festival since 1903 and takes place from the beginning of June and lasts until the end of the month. During the Rose Festival, visitors have an opportunity to join the rose picking activities in the early morning, attend rose coronation and a rose festival parade, where they can see traditional Bulgarian folklore dance and music as well as see the production of the rose-oil and take souvenirs back home.
Rose Festival is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a must-see event that you do not want to miss on your motorhome holiday in this incredibly welcoming country!
Day 11 (Approx. 225 km)
This is your last day of a motorhome holiday around Bulgaria. After a gentle wake up in the Rose Valley, you will be heading back to our Sofia rental station that is located within a 3-hour ride from Kazanlak. The road on your way is going to offer impressive views as you will be driving through the Balkan Mountain range! Alternatively, you can make a few stops before reaching final destination to relish the jaw-dropping views over the beautiful Bulgarian nature.
Upon your arrival to the rental station, our company representative will greet you at the scheduled drop-off time. We will check a vehicle’s condition and after finalising your rental, we will provide you with a VIP transfer directly to the Sofia Airport, from which you will take a flight back home.
During your flight, you might be going through the earlier taken pictures of your motorhome holiday in Bulgaria and start dreaming of your next motorhome holiday adventure with us!