Northern Bulgaria

Regional Overview

Imperial Bulgaria

The cradle formed by the wide arc of the Danube Basin, fertile valleys, and rugged limestone peaks laid the foundation for the Bulgarian State. From the ancient capitals of Preslav and Tarnovo, the Bulgarian Kings and Emperors conquered lands as far south as the Aegean, even besieging Constantinople. Today, this legacy is primarily visible as the ruins of their cities and castles, but there are quite a few, and some are truly spectacular. This is a region full of medieval mysteries and dramatic landscapes.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The towns and villages of “Old Bulgaria,” with the cozy revival-period houses and ancient churches, e.g., Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Bojentsi, and Etar
  • Countless Ruins from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, e.g., Veliko Tarnovo, Nicopolis, Belogradchik, Shumen, Pereslav, and others
  • The dramatic landscapes of the Danube Valley, especially the Vratsa Pass, where the Iskar River cuts through the Balkans




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Northern Bulgaria?

Emerging from the ruins of late antiquity, the Bulgarians established a medieval Empire on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Though the centers of Bulgarian life moved south to the Iskar and Thracian Valleys in later centuries, Northern Bulgaria retains its legacy as the heartland of Imperial Bulgaria. If you are interested in the history and culture of Bulgaria, this is the region you want to explore. The north has castles, monasteries, and ruined cities from the early epochs of Bulgarian civilization.

Interactive Map

Traditional Recipies

Tarator (Bulgarian Tzatziki)

Tarator (Bulgarian Tzatziki) Bulgarian Tarator is a classic appetizer from the…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

3 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 4
  • Transportation: 1
  • Volume/Capacity: 3
  • Infrastructure: 1
  • Interactivity: 6

5.3 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 6
  • Monuments: 6
  • Quality: 4

6.5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 8
  • Tradition: 5



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