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TOP 5 Small Towns to Visit in Bulgaria

Looking for the best small towns to visit in Bulgaria? As local experts who love exploring our country, we’re happy to share our tips with you. While you won’t find trips and programs listed for all these locations on our website, we are nevertheless very familiar with them and always happy to share our insights and offer travel advice for visitors! That being said, if you are looking for a guided or self-guided visit in any of these Bulgarian small towns, we would be happy to prepare a Tailor-made Tour for you. So, feel free to contact us if you’d like to create your own itinerary. 

Now, let’s get into which small towns to visit in Bulgaria and what you should do in each one…

1. Koprivshtitsa

Lyutova Museum House in Koprivshtitsa
Lyutova Museum House in Koprivshtitsa

This charming small town in central Bulgaria offers an abundance of things to see and do. Situated slightly over 1000 m.a.s.l. in the heart of Sredna Gora mountain, it was at the center of the historic April uprising against Ottoman rule over Bulgaria in 1876. One of the best ways to understand the roots and dynamics of Bulgarian resistance during that time is to learn more about Koprivshitsa and its colorful houses, surrounded by high stone walls and gates.

The area around Koprivshtitsa further offers ideal conditions for a variety of outdoor activities – hiking trails, cross-country and downhill bike trails, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding among others.

Revival Era Museum Houses to Visit in Koprivshtitsa:

  • Oslekova House
  • Lyutova House
  • House of Todor Kableshkov
  • House of Dimcho Debelyanov
  • House of Georgi Benkovski

Just for the record, we explore the first two museum houses listed above during our Koprivshtitsa Sightseeing and Hiking Tour. Come join us to get the most of your visit to this beautiful small town in Bulgaria!

2. Belogradchik

Belogradchik Fortress
Belogradchik Fortress

For a truly memorable experience, combined with amazing nature and breathtaking scenery, head northwest to the small town of Belogradchik.

Because it is further away from Sofia, Belogradchik unfortunately often gets sidelined. However, once you have visited this Bulgarian small town it will forever stay in your heart and draw you back. The name Belogradchik means “white city,” standing for the shining fortress rising above the town. Said fortress is a beautiful fortification built into the impressive Belogradchik Rocks. Essentially, it’s a man-made structure on top of a nature-made fortress like no other.

But even if ancient and medieval fortifications are of no interest to you, the Belogradchik Rocks themselves are a sight like no other. This group of strangely shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock formations is located on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. They vary in color, shape, and form and each has its name and tells a story of ages come and gone.

Things to see and do in Belogradchik:

  • Visit Belogradchik Fortress
  • Visit Magura Cave
  • Hike to Lepnitsa Cave
  • Rent an E-Bike and explore one of many biking trails through Belogradchik Rocks
  • Wine tasting in Borovitsa Winery

3. Melnik

Sand Pyromids above Melnik
Sand Pyramids above Melnik

Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria with a little over 200 residents. It is nestled among sand pyramids with queer forms in the slopes of Pirin Mountain in the south-western part of the country, very close to the border with Greece.

The area is one of the biggest wine regions in Bulgaria, famous for its one of a kind Melnik wine. It is produced from an indigenous Bulgarian grape variety – the broadleaved Melnik vine, which grows only here and nowhere else in the world. If you are interested to learn more about winemaking and wine culture in Bulgaria, check out our Guide to Bulgarian Wine.

What to see and do in Melnik:

  • Visit Kardopulov House
  • Hike to the sand pyramids above Melnik
  • Visit Rhozhen Monastery
  • Enjoy a glass of Melnik wine at “Pri Shestaka” wine cellar at sunset

4. Vratsa

Borov Kamak Waterfall above Vratsa
Borov Kamak Waterfall above Vratsa

This inconspicuous small town in northwestern Bulgaria hides many secrets. The history of Vratsa is ancient and its dramatic surroundings with majestic gorges, hidden waterfalls and untouched nature make it a hot sport for adventure enthusiasts and adrenalin junkies.

Vratsa is perhaps the most popular rock-climbing destinations in Bulgaria. It offers up several climbing opportunities, from sports climbing to traditional climbing. It does not matter if you are a beginner or a professional climber, “Vratsata” Gorge has it all. The sheer number of climbs in the area will keep you busy, but if you want to try out something else you can also enjoy good hikes, mountain biking, explore some caves or maybe try paragliding.

Visit the Open Vratsa platform, where you can find in one place all information you need when visiting this small town in northwestern Bulgaria – accommodations, places to eat, things to see and do. Here are however a couple of our recommendations:

What to see and do in Vratsa:

  • Go rock climbing in “Vratsata” Gorge
  • Go hiking in Nature Park “Vrachanski Balka”
  • Visit Ledenika cave
  • Visit the Regional Museum of History with a rich selection on Thracian gold treasures

5. Madzharovo

Wildflower Fotography in Madzharovo
Wild Orchids in Madzharovo

Madzharovo is one of a kind. It is a former mining town in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains that almost turned into a ghost town when the last mine was closed in the early 1990’s. However, Madzharovo is ideally located inside a volcano crater and is currently considered the center of nature tourism in the Eastern Rhodopes. It also happens to be one of our favorite destinations in Bulgaria and we have several dedicated blogs you can read through if you wish to learn more.

You can also have a look at our tailor-made example itinerary for an 8-day rural Tour in the Wild Eastern Rhodope Mountains.

Things to see and do in Madzharovo:

  • Birdwatching
  • Wildflower photography
  • Visit the Wild Farm in Gorno Pole village, 4 km away from Madzharovo
  • Visit the “Eastern Rhodopes” Nature Conservation Center and learn more about the vulture population in Bulgaria  
  • Gem and crystal hunting in the craggy Devil’s Canyon
  • Hike to long forgotten Thracian sanctuaries

So those are our TOP 5 small towns to explore in Bulgaria for a wide variety of interests. If you’re visiting and need help with planning, we’re happy to oblige! Take a look at our tailor-made example itineraries that feature some of these towns or contact us to help you craft your individual guided or self-guided trip around our beautiful country. You can also reach out any time if you have any questions at all about traveling to Bulgaria.