I always highlight that Bulgaria is very affordable and budget friendly destination. The most amazing things to do in Bulgaria though are actually absolutely free of charge. I also always like to point out that Bulgaria has an amazingly beautiful nature. I repeat it again now because the most of the things listed in this article would be related to outdoor activities, but not only. So keep reading to discover the most amazing things to do in Bulgaria for free.
Bulgaria has 3 national parks – Rila, Pirin, and Central Balkan. And yes, all of them are free. They provide endless opportunities for you to enjoy them. And of course, many itineraries to follow. High peaks, wonderful lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, incredible landscapes, you will find all of this. Central Balkan National Park is in the heart of Bulgaria. The highest peak here is Botev, rising at 2 376 meters above the sea level. Here you’ll also find the Raiskoto pruskalo waterfall (literally translated to ”heavenly spray”). It is the highest waterfall in Bulgaria and in the Balkanian Peninsula – 124.5 meters. Rila National Park is the biggest one from all of the three. He is home to the highest peak in Bulgaria, as well in the Balkanian Peninsula, Musala (2 925 meters). In Rila are also the famous Seven Rila Lakes. The highest peak in Pirin National Park is Vihren, rising at 2 914 meters above the sea level. He is the second highest peak in Bulgaria and the third one in the Balkans. There are many beautiful lakes in Pirin Mountain, and difficult peaks to climb.
Of course that if the National Parks are free the hiking is free also. And for me, hiking is the most amazing thing to do in Bulgaria for free. Like I said above there are many itineraries to follow in the national parks, but not only. The other parts of the mountains, as well the others mountains also provide many itineraries and amazing landscapes.If you love hiking and you also love adventures, here’s an idea for you. Kom – Emine is the longest hiking trail in Bulgaria. Is long approximately 650 kilometers and goes through the ridge of Stara Planina, crossing more than 100 peaks. The average time for the whole trail is around 2 weeks. The adventure Kom – Emine is part of my bucket list. Would you add it to yours as well?
”If I fall to fulfill my greatest dream for a world tour, then I will settle for a trip along the ridge of our fascinating Stara Planina, from end to end. And I believe it will be very fun and useful wandering because we know our country not better than Asian and African deserts because we live in our homeland as indifferent foreigners.” -Aleko Konstantinov
Another of the amazing things to do in Bulgaria for free is camping. Basically, you can put your tent wherever you want without being charged for that. Though, note that if you put it near to a hut in the mountain, for example, you may be asked to pay for that. The campsites are also paid.
Bulgaria has a 354 km long coastline. It begins at the Romanian border in the North and ends at the Turkish border in the South. There are many resorts on the coast, some of them even with a private beaches. There are also a lot of beaches where they charge you for the use of umbrella and a lounge. However, you don’t need to pay for this. Just stretch your towel somewhere, wear your own umbrella and your fine. There are also many wild beaches, some of which no one knows about. Wanna be the first one to discover them?
Most of the monuments around the country are also completely free. This includes the abandoned monument of Buzludzha, Shipka Monument, Madara Horseman, Asenevtsi monument, many monuments dedicated to the history of Bulgaria and others.
Events / Festivals
Bulgaria is a country with rich culture and unique traditions that are represented through many festivals and events. There are hundreds of festivals and events in Bulgaria each year. Some of the most famous ones are the Rose Festival, Zheravna Festival, Nestinari, the International Festival of Masquerade Games (just to name a few). And one not so famous one, but my personally favorite, the Blueberry Festival. I went there last year as a volunteer. I meet many cool people there and had a great time. The festival is conducted at the Ambaritsa hut, high in the beautiful Stara Planina. If you want to join the festival this year, check their Facebook page for the announcement of the dates. I can’t wait!
Historical And Museum Cities
In Bulgaria, there are town and villages, which are declared as historical and museum cities or architectural reserves. Most of them, of course, are free. To wander around them, transferring yourself back in time, you don’t need to pay a lev. Some of them: Bansko, Bozhentsi, Tryavna, Shiroka Laka, Koprivshtitsa, Melnik, Nessebar, Sozopol, Zlatograd, etc.
Churches and Monasteries
Almost all of the churches in Bulgaria are free to enter. This applies also for the Rila Monastery, which is one of the symbols of Bulgaria. Note that many of the churches have museums and if you want to get in, you will have to pay a fee for that.
Free accommodation in Bulgaria
Besides camping, there are also other ways to sleep for free in Bulgaria. One of them is Couchsurfing. Though, that applies only to the big cities, Sofia and Plovdiv. You may also have a chance to find hosts in Veliko Turnovo, Varna or Burgas, but don’t count on that. However, Sofia and Plovdiv has a growing Couchsurfing communities, so it won’t be hard to find a host. The other one is the mountain shelters. They are different from the huts because no one manages them. They don’t have electricity or water. But if you get into a storm or other type of bad weather (because remember that the mountain is unpredictable) they can save you life.
Except for the free accommodation, you can also get a free transportation. Hitchhiking in Bulgaria is safe and pretty common. With all that being said, I think that you would agree with me that these amazing things to do in Bulgaria for free are absolutely awesome. And if you still haven’t started planning your trip to Bulgaria, check this 7 reasons to do it ASAP.