Family Holiday In Bulgaria With Kids: Family-Friendly Attractions In Bulgaria
Picture this: your children’s eyes light up with excitement as they enter a world of fairy tales, where ancient fortresses and colorful houses transport them to a different time. Imagine their giggles as they discover Roman ruins, engage in interactive exhibits, and marvel at ancient tombs.
Envision your kid’s faces beaming with joy as they immerse themselves in outdoor adventures, hiking through lush mountains, exploring caves, and splashing in the gentle waves of the Black Sea.
Embarking on a family vacation is always an exciting experience, and Bulgaria might just be the perfect destination for your next adventure. Nestled in Eastern Europe, this hidden gem offers a plethora of captivating attractions, breathtaking landscapes, and enriching cultural experiences that will delight both children and adults alike.
Join us as we delve into the wonders of Bulgaria, discovering how this charming country can be an absolute blast for families with this list of things to do in Bulgaria with kids!
What to Expect on a Family Trip to Bulgaria
On a family trip to Bulgaria, you can expect a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that captivates children and adults. On our family trip to Bulgaria, we found that the friendly locals loved children.
Your kids can explore vibrant cities like Sofia and Plovdiv, where ancient ruins, charming streets, and interactive museums await.
Or you could immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Rhodope Mountains, with opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and cave exploration.
You could even choose to discover the allure of the Black Sea coast, where golden beaches and water sports activities beckon.
Throughout the country, I guarantee you’ll encounter warm hospitality, delicious cuisine, and a rich cultural heritage that will leave lasting impressions on the entire family. Get ready for an unforgettable family adventure in Bulgaria!
Sofia With Kids
Sofia is a beautiful and historic city, and we found plenty of kid-friendly activities that kept our kids entertained. Here are some of our top recommendations for exploring Sofia with kids:
- Visit the National History Museum: engage your kids in an interactive journey through Bulgaria’s past with exhibits that showcase artifacts, costumes, and historical treasures
- Explore Vitosha Mountain: take a break from the city and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, or even skiing during the winter months
- Play at Borisova Gradina Park: let your little ones run wild in this expansive park, complete with playgrounds, a lake for paddle boating, and plenty of space for picnics and outdoor games
- Learn at Muzeiko: this interactive children’s museum offers a range of hands-on exhibits and workshops that encourage curiosity, creativity, and learning through play
- Head into Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Kids will love seeing the stunning architecture and learning about the history of this significant site.
- Visit the Sofia City Art Gallery: introduce your children to the world of art through exhibitions that showcase Bulgarian and international artists, often with interactive elements
- Explore the Boyana Church: a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the outskirts of Sofia. Kids can learn about the history of this site and admire its stunning murals
- Visit the National Palace of Culture: a cultural center that houses several theaters, art galleries, and other attractions. Kids will love exploring this unique space.
These are just a few of the many kid-friendly activities available in Sofia.
Plovdiv With Kids
We found plenty of kid-friendly activities in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. From exploring the ancient Roman ruins to playing in the city’s many parks, your family will have a blast discovering all that this historic city offers. Here are some of the best things to do in Plovdiv with kids:
- Explore the Plovdiv Old Town: Wander through the streets of the Old Town
- Visit the Plovdiv Roman Theatre: Step back in time at the well-preserved Roman Theatre, where your children can imagine themselves as ancient spectators and learn about the history of the region
- Plovdiv Roman Mosaics Museum: the museum has a dedicated kids’ area with a hands-on kids’ display
- Climb the Plovdiv Hills: Embark on a family-friendly hike up one of the Plovdiv hills, such as Nebet Tepe or Sahat Tepe, for breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscapes
- Explore the Roman Stadium: Marvel at the ancient Roman Stadium, a historic site that showcases the impressive architecture and provides a glimpse into the city’s past
- Play at Tsar Simeon’s Garden: Enjoy some outdoor fun at this beautiful park, featuring playgrounds, fountains, and open spaces perfect for picnics and family games
- Discover the Kapana District: Stroll through this trendy neighborhood filled with vibrant street art, cozy cafés, and unique shops, creating a vibrant atmosphere that appeals to all ages
- Visit the Ethnographic Museum: The Ethnographic Museum is a great place to learn about Bulgarian culture and history. Kids will love seeing all of the traditional clothing and artifacts on display
Plovdiv is an excellent destination for families. Whether you’re looking to explore the ancient ruins or spend some quality time outdoors, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities to enjoy in Plovdiv.
Black Sea Coast With Kids
The Black Sea Coast is the popular Bulgarian coastline that stretches for over 200 km, making it the perfect place to enjoy some beach time with the kids. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, each with its own unique character, plus your kids will also love to;
- Visit Sunny Beach: enjoy the sun, sand, and gentle waves at this popular beach resort, where kids can swim, build sandcastles, and participate in various water sports activities
- Explore Nessebar Old Town: take a stroll through the charming streets of Nessebar, a UNESCO World Heritage site with its well-preserved medieval architecture and fascinating historical sites
- Splash at Aqua Paradise Water Park: cool off and have a blast at this water park in Nessebar, featuring thrilling slides, lazy rivers, and pools suitable for all ages
- Discover the Sea Garden in Varna: explore this beautiful park along the Varna coastline, offering playgrounds, mini-golf, and a small zoo
- Visit the Aladzha Monastery: marvel at this ancient rock monastery located near Varna, where kids can learn about the history and legends surrounding this unique site
- Take a boat tour: embark on a boat tour along the Black Sea Coast, offering opportunities to spot dolphins, explore hidden caves, and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery
- Enjoy water sports: engage in family-friendly water activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, or jet skiing, available at various beach locations along the Black Sea Coast
- Visit the Retro Museum Varna: step back in time at this museum, showcasing a collection of retro cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia that will fascinate both kids and adults
- Relax and unwind: take leisurely walks along the coastline, enjoy beachside picnics, and make the most of the family-friendly atmosphere that the Black Sea Coast offers
- Other things to do in the Black Sea Coast area your kids might like are the Varna Aquarium, Asparuhov Bridge, Vladislav Forest Park, or just simply building sandcastles in the sun
Veliko Tarnavo With Kids
One of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist destinations is Veliko Tarnovo, the country’s former capital. This picturesque city is on the Yantra River and is home to several important historical landmarks. Kids will love exploring the ancient fortress walls and ramparts and the many churches and monasteries dotted around the city.
Veliko Tarnovo is also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Just outside the city, you’ll find the Shipka Pass, a mountain pass used by Russian troops during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Today, it’s a popular spot for hiking and picnicking, with stunning views over the Balkan Mountains.
If you’re looking for a more educational experience, the Samovodska Charshiya is a great place to visit. This traditional crafts market features local artisans selling handmade goods such as traditional pottery, baskets, and jewelry. It’s a great opportunity to learn about Bulgarian culture and buy some unique souvenirs.
Head to one of the city’s many restaurants and cafes for an authentic taste of Veliko Tarnovo. Here you’ll find traditional Bulgarian dishes like banitsa (a flaky pastry filled with cheese) that your kids will love. Moms and Dads can dig into tarator, a cold yogurt soup, and shkembe chorba (tripe soup).
No visit to Veliko Tarnovo would be complete without visiting Tsarevets Hill. This ancient fortress is perched atop a hill overlooking the city and provides stunning views over the valley below. If your kids are like mine, they will love exploring its old walls and ramparts and its small church, which dates back to 1230 AD.
Where To Stay In Bulgaria With Kids
If you’re looking for family-friendly hotels in Bulgaria, there are loads on the Black Sea Coast. That said, we struggled to find dedicated kids’ hotels elsewhere.
While Sofia is not particularly known for its dedicated kids’ hotels, there are several hotels in the city that provide family-friendly amenities and services. The hotel that was a stand out for us was the InterContinental Sofia.
The location of this hotel is truly iconic, overlooking Narodno Sabranie Square and offering stunning views of Alexandar Nevski Cathedral. It’s perfect for those looking to stay in the heart of the city, with easy walking access to historical landmarks.
I stayed at the Sofia InterContinental in October 2022 with my husband and two sons for four nights. We LOVED this place. The on-request breakfasts, the large family room with two large beds, and the L’Occitane toiletries were excellent.
But, what really was terrific was the service. We used the concierge service to book tours, and also the team at breakfast remembered our coffee orders and the children’s hot chocolate and pancake orders – promptly served them to our table each day. Best way to start each day. Check out the hotel & prices here ↳
Black Sea Coast
If you and the kids are headed to Sunny Beach (and you should), then stay at Barcelo Royal Beach. It is one of the best places to stay in Sunny Beach. It is one of the most beautiful resorts in Bulgaria, and if you don’t mind splurging, a ton of things are offered for entertainment inside the resort. It is a great place to bring the children as there is no shortage of amenities Barcelo Royal Beach offers for the kiddos. It also has a spa which is to die for. Check out the hotel & prices here ↳
Exploring The Thracian Valley Of The Kings With Kids
The Thracian Valley of the Kings is one of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist destinations. Located in the central part of the country, the valley is home to many impressive ancient Thracian tombs sites. If you’re looking for an unforgettable family adventure, visiting the Thracian Valley of the Kings is a must!
The tombs are fascinating; you can find the artifacts in nearby museums! My kids loved driving from tomb to tomb, learning about the kings and the history. So, I am sure your kids will also love exploring the many archaeological sites in the area.
Visiting The Thracian Valley of the Kings with kids is an excellent way to explore Bulgaria’s history and culture while having plenty of fun along the way!
Best Hikes To Do With Older Kids In Bulgaria
Bulgaria offers a variety of stunning hiking trails that are suitable for older kids. Here are some of the best hikes to consider:
- Seven Rila Lakes: located in the Rila Mountains, this iconic hiking destination features a series of glacial lakes. The hike offers breathtaking views and a moderate level of difficulty, making it an excellent choice for older kids who are up for a challenge
- Belogradchik Rocks: explore the unique rock formations of Belogradchik, situated in northwest Bulgaria. The trail weaves through the stunning landscape and includes the option to visit the Belogradchik Fortress, adding historical significance to the hike
- Pirin National Park: home to Bulgaria’s second-highest peak, Mount Vihren, Pirin National Park offers a range of hiking opportunities suitable for older kids. The park boasts alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes, and impressive mountain vistas that will leave lasting memories
- Vitosha Mountain: situated near Sofia, Vitosha Mountain offers various trails catering to different fitness levels. The hike to the summit of Cherni Vrah, the highest peak in the region, rewards hikers with panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes
- Central Balkan National Park: this vast park encompasses diverse landscapes, including dense forests, deep gorges, and picturesque waterfalls. The trail to the impressive Botev Peak is a challenging yet rewarding option for older kids who are experienced, hikers
Remember to plan and prepare accordingly for each hike, including checking weather conditions, bringing proper hiking gear, carrying enough water and snacks, and ensuring everyone is in good physical condition. It’s also advisable to hike during daylight hours and follow safety guidelines to make the experience enjoyable and safe for older kids.
What To Eat In Bulgaria
Exploring Bulgaria with children is so much fun, and Bulgarian cuisine is perfect for your little ones. Here are some popular foods that my kids ate in Bulgaria:
- Banitsa: a traditional pastry made with layers of filo dough and cheese, banitsa is a popular breakfast or snack option for kids
- Kyufte and Kebapche: these are grilled meat dishes, similar to meatballs and sausage, respectively. They are often served with a side of French fries or mashed potatoes, which my kids loved
- Tikvenik: a sweet pumpkin pastry, tikvenik is often enjoyed as a dessert or treat. It is made with layers of phyllo dough and a filling of grated pumpkin, sugar, and spices
- Moussaka: a flavorful and hearty dish consisting of layers of potatoes, ground meat (typically pork or beef), and sautéed vegetables, all topped with a rich and creamy egg and yogurt mixture before being baked to perfection
Bulgaria With Kids Itinerary
Bulgaria is one of the best destinations in Europe to visit with kids. We spent six nights in Bulgaria on our family trip and could easily spend 6 more.
Our itinerary was:
- Day 1: Rila Monastery
- Day 2-3: Plovdiv
- Day 4: Veliko Tarnovo
- Day 5-6: Sofia
Making Memories That Last A Lifetime
As our family adventure in Bulgaria came to a close, we reflected on all the incredible memories we had made. From exploring ancient ruins to spending time with new friends, we truly felt like we had discovered a hidden gem of Europe. We are so grateful to have experienced such a unique and beautiful country with our kids and hope that now your family has our tips for the best family vacations in Bulgaria that you have just as special of a trip to Bulgaria as my family did.