I know that you are going crazy about free stuff same like me, especially when it comes to travelling. As you know, Bulgaria is one of the top valuable destinations according to the Lonely Planet website for the last two years. So, yes! Most of things in Bulgaria are cheap, but the best part – some of them are totally free. In this article I will reveal many secrets about the budget travelling across my wonderful country – Bulgaria. So, check this out:
Free Tours in Bulgaria
Free Museums in Bulgaria
Bulgarian Landmarks for Free
Churches and Monasteries Free of Charge
The Museum Cities are Free
Free Natural Sights
Free Transport and Accommodation
Free walking, hiking and bike tours in Bulgaria
Free Sofia Tours – http://www.freesofiatour.com
- Meeting point – In front of the Courthouse
- When – Everyday at 11am and 6pm
Discover the most interesting places and landmarks in Sofia for free! The free walking tour is making by a group of cool, local tour guides, who are ready to answer all of your questions. The duration of the tour is around two hours, depending on the weather. The tour is held twice a day.
Free Sofia Bike Tours – http://www.sofiagreentour.com
- Meeting point – front of National Theater “Ivan Vazov”
- When – April – November
There are two free biking tours taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria during the sunny months. The guiding is in English and it’s free, but if you don’t have a bike (and you probably don’t), should pay about 10 leva/5 euros to rent one. The price includes a free bottle of water and health insurance.
One of the biking tours is called “Sofia Green Bike Tour” and as you might imagine it will takes you to some of the biggest and green parks in Sofia – one of the greenest cities in Europe. This tour starts at 11am (April – November) with about three hours duration.
The other free bike tour in Sofia is called “Landmarks Bike Tour” and it will shows you the main landmarks in the Bulgarian capital. The meeting point is the same as “The Sofia Green Tour”, but it starts from 5pm.
Free Boyana Hiking Tour – http://www.sofiagreentour.com
- Meeting point – front of National Theatre “Ivan Vazov”
- When – 11 am (April – November)
Your trip became so urban and you want to spend some more time in the nature? No problem! There are mountain guides who want to help you to finding some cool places close to Sofia, for free. The mountain which surround the Bulgarian capital is a great place for hiking, honestly I love it! All you need is a good pair of shoes. During this free tour you will be able to see the Boyana church, the amazing Boyana waterfall and the Boyana lake.
The One and Only Free Food Tour in the World! – http://www.balkanbites.bg/
- Meeting point – Park Crystal
- When – Every day at 2pm
Yes that’s right. You can taste Bulgarian national cuisine in the centre of Sofia for free. This walking tour starts everyday at 2 pm (excluding the national holidays, of course) at one of the central parks in Sofia, called “Park Crystal”. The tour guides are so awesome that the tour duration of two hours will seem like a blink of an eye for you! The best part – all the food samples which you will taste are free of charge.
Free Varna Tours – http://www.freevarnatour.com
- Meeting point – the Cathedral
- When – every day at 6pm ( May – September)
If you want to diversify your holiday of lying on the beach and drinking cocktails all day long with a bit cultural program can become a part of the free tour in Varna. The route is passing through more than 30 landmarks in the sea capital of Bulgaria and all of this – for free!
Free Veliko Tarnovo Tours – http://www.facebook.com/freevtwalk
- Meeting point -in front of Tourist Info Center
- When – every day at 11am and 6pm (May – October)
The free tour of Veliko Tarnovo is taking place twice per day – at the morning and at the evening. The morning one will takes you through the historical sights of the of the old town, but if you are more interested in street art that history can join the tour from 6pm. Actually, why not both?
Free Plovdiv Tours – http://www.freeplovdivtour.com
- Meeting point – in front of the Central Post Office
- When – every day at 6pm (from May to September) and at 2pm (from October to April)
One of the oldest cities in the world offer a free tour as well. Experience more than 20 landmarks and get close to the Bulgarian history and the spirit that hovers in those places for centuries. This tour take place once per day at different time, depending on the month.
Free Nessebar Tour – https://www.facebook.com/NessebarFreeTour
- Meeting point – The main gates of the old town.
- When – Every day at 6 pm (May – October)
The free English-language sightseeing walking tour of the old town of Nessebar is taking place every day at 6pm during the Summer.
All of the tours above mentioned are free, but the guides work only on donations, so if you like them(it’s just impossible not to do it) and enjoy their tours, be cool and give them a tip.
Free museums in Bulgaria
- May 17th – All the museums in Sofia, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Targovishte and Pomorie are free of charge and open till late night in the middle of May, during the ” European night of the Мuseums”
- September 17th – The Day of Sofia, so the entrance to all galleries and museums in the capital Sofia is free
- The Museum of Earth and People in Sofia is free of charge on the following dates and holidays – February 14th, March 3rd, April 22nd, May 18th, June 19th, August 6th, September 17th, November 1st
- Every Monday after 3:30pm – You can enter the Boyana church without payment
- Every last Monday of the month – The entrance for the National Historical Museum and the National Polytechnic Museum in Sofia are free of charge
- Every last Sunday of the month – you don’t have to pay to enter the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia
- September 12-13 – All the museums in Plovdiv are free at the night between September 12th-13th, because of the “Plovdiv night of the museums”
- The museums in Kotel and Batak (the Historical Museum) are with free entrance on Monday
- The Historical Museum in Panagyurishte is also free every Monday
- In Nova Zagora and Dimitrovtrad the museums are free on every Thursday
- August 15 ( the Day of Varna) – Four museums are free in the sea capital of Bulgaria- Museum “Small Roman Baths”, The Historical Museum of Varna, The Museum of the Renaissance, Museum of old photography “Old Varna”
Free Entrance to Churches and Monasteries
You don’t have to pay anything to take a look to the interior of almost all of the churches and monasteries in Bulgaria. Even the entrance to the Rila Monastery (the most famous Bulgarian landmark) is free. BUT! Most of them have museums, so if you want to get closer to their history, need to pay few euros to get in.
The most famous Bulgarian landmarks are free
As I said, the Rila Monastery is free for visitors, but that’s not all! Almost all of the historical landmarks in Buglaria are free. Isn’t it cool?
The Museum Cities in Bulgaria are free
In Bulgaria there are 9 museum cities which have been restored and preserved to keep all the architectural monuments to preserve the overall appearance, heritage and identity of the Bulgarians. All of them are free, except one! It is called Etar and you must pay to take a look inside its walls.
Free National Parks
The entrance for all the National parks in Bulgaria is completely free. You can go hiking up in the mountains without paying anything. There are many itineraries you can follow in all the National Park Central Balkan, Rila or Pirin.
In Bulgaria there are more than 400 lakes with a total area of 95 km2 and guess what, all of them are free for visitors. You can see the most famous lakes in the gallery bellow and drop me a text in the comments bellow if you need to know where they’re located :)
Cliffs and Rock Formations
More than 50 amazing rock formations in Bulgaria, which you can visit without paying anything! There is just one exception. In the area of the Belogradchik rocks there is a fortress and if you want to get inside you should pay few levs. But is not necessary, because you can still walk on the rocks around for free :) In the gallery bellow you will find four of the most famous cliffs in the country.
Perhaps, I began to bore you with all that free stuff, but I should mention the fact that unlike many other places in the world (especially the US) all the beaches in Bulgaria are free and open 24/7. The most famous and crowded beaches in Bulgaria have lifeguards till 5 pm, then the beaches getting empty, which doesn’t mean that you should leave, too. Just be careful at the evenings and nights, because you are becoming responsible for your own actions. In the gallery bellow you will see some of my favorite beach sides on the Black Sea coast. Actually, there are many many more, but I will keep them in secret.
Waterfalls and Canyons
On the way from Sofia to Veliko Tarnovo the highway is passing through many beautiful places, but unfortunately people are so busy to pull over and realize that the life is not just to be in a hurry all the time. There are few natural sights East from Sofia, which you don’t have to miss during your trip to Bulgaria.
- The Emen Canyon is located about 10 km North from the road E722. You have to take the exit to Pavlikeni.
- One of my favorite places – the Hotnitsa waterfalls, located near Veliko Tarnovo. Just avoid the weekends, because the last year that place become so popular and its too crowded sometimes
- The Krushuna waterfalls are not actually free, because you have to pay 0,50 euros to see them, but please, it’s almost free, isn’t it?
- Even the highest waterfall – The Heaven Waterfall (Raysko Praskalo) in Bulgaria is free for visitors. The problem is that you need to hike at least four hours in the mountain to get to it.
You can see the list of the waterfalls in Bulgaria and their location here – http://www.waterfallsbg.info/en
Mountain Shelters in Bulgaria
There is a difference between the mountain huts and the shelters in Bulgaria. The first are managing by people who actually live there. For that reason you will find warm food, drinks, hot showers and clean sheets on your bed. For all of this you should pay about 6-7 euros/night. On the other side the shelters are totally free. There are many places like this where you can spend a night or two, but do not expect some five star comforts inside. Most of them don’t even have water and electricity, because the is no one to manage them. The mountain shelters are not the best place for a holiday, but can safe your life, especially in the winter.
Fruits and herbs for free
If your trip in Bulgaria is in the Summer – Autumn season, you are lucky enough to have all the Bulgarian natural abundance around you. The mountains and the forests are full of wood strawberry, raspberries, blackberries, apples, mulberries, wild plums, peaches, apricots, blueberries, mushrooms (better don’t touch them, because there are many poisonous species). And of course herbs, for tea, the best tea you have been ever tried! But be careful, because in the national parks picking herbs is prohibited and you have to pay a fine if somebody see your bouquet of wild herbs.
Actually, if you have the necessary equipment will be able to enjoy many free adventures in Bulgaria. You can do whatever – rafting, kayaking, diving, paragliding, or any other outdoor activities. For example:
If you have the climbing equipment can go climbing for free in the region of Vratsa, Karlukovo, Rila, Vitosha mountain or wherever.
In contrast to many other countries in Europe, you can go camping in Bulgaria for free. Yes, that’s mean that you can pitch your tent on the beach, in the mountains or National parks without been charged. BUT! If you decide to pitch it in some camp side and use its facilities you should pay for that.
Free Theaters in Bulgaria
November 15th is the “Night of the Theaters” in Bulgaria, which mean that almost all the theaters are open at least till 3am in the morning and are free of charge.
The list of the free festivals in Bulgari is to say the least HUGE! Guys believe me, there are festivals every week somewhere in Bulgaria. For example, every single village, town and big city has its own holiday. And their number is more than 5000, if you know what I mean. I wrote a short list of some of the most interesting of them.
- Fiery Honey Jars – The Feast of St. Haralambos – February 10th
- The Rose Festival – The last Sunday of May in Kazanlak
- International Bagpipe Contest – every first weekend of August
- The International Festival of Masquerade Games in Pernik January 13th-26th
- The PanEuRhythmy – an annual meeting of the White Brotherhood in Bulgaria is held on August 19th every year on the meadows around the Seven Rila Lakes. You are welcome to watch or even join the White Brotherhood for free.
- Golden Grape Wine Festival in Melnik – February 8th
- The Bulgarian Valentine’s day – February 14th
The list is really huge, so if you want to know is there some free event during your trip to Bulgaria, just drop me a text in the comments bellow. I will find something for you.
Haha, no way, we don’t have such a thing, yet. But the hitchhiking is pretty popular across the country, so yes, you can travel around for free :)
Couchsurfing became so popular in Bulgaria during the last years. There are many couchsurfers who will host you here and I am sure that you will have a lot of fun surfing with them. Here is my personal couchsurfing profile – Don’t forget to text me before your trip to Bulgaria. I will be happy to show you around.
This page is updated frequently, so don’t forget to keep an eye on it from time to time.
If you have any questions, recommendations or ideas for more free things that are not included in my list, please shoot them in the comments bellow or in my “Travel Bulgaria Like a Local” group in Facebook.
COMING SOON – BULGARIA for 10 $
Photos by http://www.tourism-bg.net/ http://bulgariatravel.org
http://kennethgarrett.photoshelter.com / http://alextrek.com
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