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, Eastern Romans or 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 nearly 12 million foreign tourists in 2017, according to the World Bank.[1] Tourists from five countries (Romania, Turkey, Greece, 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

Main article: List of World Heritage sites in Bulgaria

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 sixteen 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.

Ethnic, cultural and historical tourism

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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


Thracian treasures

Thracians made beautifully ornate golden and silver objects such as various kinds of vessels, rhytons, facial masks, pectorals, jewelry, weapons, etc. They used to bury rich hoards of precious objects both to hide them in times of enemy invasions and unrest as well as for ritual purposes. To date, more than 80 Thracian treasures have been excavated in Bulgaria which was the cradle of the Thracian civilization.

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.

City tourism


During the 13th and especially during the 14th centuries the construction of monasteries thrived. Due to the troubled times many monasteries resembled fortresses. They usually had rectangular shape, the buildings surrounded a yard in which the main church was located. From the outside they had high stone walls reinforced with counterforts, and from the inside there were galleries with several stores which led towards the dwellings of the monks.


Festivals and events

Resorts and nature tourism

Seaside resorts

Tourism in Bulgaria is located in Bulgaria
Golden Sands
Golden Sands
Beaches in Bulgaria

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 Parks

Bulgaria has 3 national parks, 11 nature parks and 55 nature reserves.[8] The first nature park in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula is Vitosha Nature Park, established in 1934.

Caves and waterfalls

As of 2002, there are around 4,500 discovered underground formations in Bulgaria.[9] The earliest written records about the caves in Bulgaria are found in the manuscripts of the 17th century Bulgarian National Revival figure and historian Petar Bogdan. The first Bulgarian speleological society was established in 1929. The caves in the country are inhabited by more than 700 invertebrate species and 32 of the 37 species of bats found in Europe.

Nature landforms and formations


Arrivals by country

Most visitors arriving in Bulgaria on short-term basis came from the following countries of nationality:[2][10][11][12]

Rank Country 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
1  Romania 3,400,340 2,035,606 1,943,436 1,743,697 1,499,854
2  Turkey 1,628,231 1,534,809 1,437,276 1,312,895 1,237,841
3  Greece 1,277,610 1,290,313 1,272,997 1,157,062 1,024,527
4  Germany 1,245,400 1,063,502 1,046,219 1,003,030 826,142
5  Serbia 679,336 632,902 541,303 490,668 501,091
6  North Macedonia 670,450 609,591 583,026 562,365 506,052
7  Ukraine 596,993 487,400 388,645 342,214 310,777
8  United Kingdom 589,342 424,384 352,054 281,777 250,038
9  Russia 460,770 522,085 565,754 589,844 493,989
10  Poland 445,316 474,984 424,724 388,833 285,455
11  France 250,014 260,099 231,348 195,571 171,305
12  Israel 246,404 245,567 209,304 183,846 155,276
13  Czech Republic 214,550 236,265 209,218 219,349 160,978
14  Austria 214,179 217,541 216,986 204,489 175,024
15  Netherlands 176,122 193,362 183,755 147,882 125,378
16  Italy 167,658 181,770 177,250 152,078 143,446
17  Belgium 155,367 170,146 152,739 119,429 100,777
18  Hungary 111,132 102,956 111,405 118,805 102,189
19  United States 109,283 101,220 90,963 82,465 81,979
20  Slovakia 87,227 101,887 81,318 78,167 74,770
Total[13] 14,450,400 11,596,167 10,604,396 9,316,624

See also


  1. ^ "Worldbank Tourism in Bulgaria". Archived from the original on 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  2. ^ a b "Arrivals of visitors from abroad to Bulgaria by months and by country of origin - National statistical institute". Archived from the original on 2017-11-23. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  3. ^ "Страницата не е намерена".
  4. ^ "Statistical references 2013 - National Statistical Institute" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-12. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  5. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre - Tentative List: Bulgaria". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  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)". Archived from the original on 2022-07-06. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  8. ^ "Register of protected areas in Bulgaria". Executive Environment Agency. Archived from the original on 2018-03-11. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  9. ^ География на България. Физическа и социално-икономическа география. „ФорКом“. 2002. p. 64. ISBN 954-464-123-8.
  10. ^ "Tourism figures : Purpose of visit" (XLS). Archived from the original on 2019-08-22. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  11. ^ "TUR 1.3 For en". Archived from the original on 2019-08-22.
  12. ^ "TUR 1.4 For en". Archived from the original on November 18, 2019.
  13. ^ "Резултат от справка". Archived from the original on 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-05-01.