Bulgaria is a small country, but it has a vibrant history and its natural scenery is the stuff of legends and songs, so of course it has caught the eye of UNESCO. Bulgaria has 10 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List (with 14 that are on the waiting list!). Here are a bit on these natural and historical landmarks:

Rila Monastery

Possibly the most famous UNESCO protected landmarks in Bulgaria - history, culture and stunning architecture all rolled into one.

Founded in the 10th century, it is home to historical and religious artifacts and intricate wall murals.

A little known fact is that the many buildings comprising the monastery complex give it the status of official settlement with 58 permanent residents.

We strongly recommend the mekitsi (powdered sugar-covered pastries) they sell near the gate.

The area around the monastery is perfect for hiking.

The Magura Cave

This cave has been inhabited since pre-historic times, and it contains evidence of human activity dating as far back as the Paleolithic era.

The ancient cave paintings include the oldest ever sun calendar.

The Magoura cave also provides the perfect conditions for winemaking. For that reason, a section of it is used as a wine cellar. If you want to visit the Magura cave, don't forget to check out...

The Belogradchik Rocks

In the same area as the Magura Cave, the Belogradchik Rocks are a group of 200-meter-tall natural rock sculptures. Unusually shaped, vibrant red-to-yellow in color, uniquely beautiful, and towering over the surrounding area, this is one of Bulgaria’s most striking natural landmarks.

Neither words nor pictures do them justice.

Travellers often consider the Belogradchik Rocks and Magura cave a pair.

Nesebar's Old Town

On the Black Sea coast lies Nessebar and its Old Town, the entirety of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on a peninsula separate from the rest of the town, the Old Nessebar is an architectural reserve made up of houses in the Bulgarian Revival Period style with a unique Nessebar regional twist to it.

Old-timey architecture, ancient churches, a bustling marketplace that follows the winding cobbled streets all come together to form an unforgettable experience splashed in a million colors.

Nessebar is within driving distance of some of the coastline's other sights and attractions.

The Kazanlak Tomb

If you're looking for more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria, look no further than the Valley of the Thracian Kings, home of the Kazanlak Tomb.

The ancient Thracians performed elaborate funerary ceremonies when burying the most significant members of their society. The tombs, hidden under mounds of earth, are scattered all across Bulgaria's region of Thrace.

The Kazanlak Tomb (circa 4th-3rd century BC) is known for the remarkable wall paintings covering the walls of the corridor and the domed ceiling.

Kazanlak is also the capital of Bulgaria's Rose Valley.

The Madara Horseman

This early medieval rock relief was carved into the side of the cliff in the 7th century and depicts a horseman thrusting a spear at a lion before him, a dog running in his wake.

It is located near the Preslav and Pliska archeological reserves, making it ideal for a excursion around the northern Black Sea coast.