14 Most Beautiful Castles in Bulgaria

Updated On October 5, 2023
Belogradchik Fortress

There are dozens of castles throughout Bulgaria, many of which look as though they’ve been plucked out of fairytales.

Some castles have been used as the residences of royalty while others have been fortresses to offer security from neighboring areas.

Exploring the castles of Bulgaria can be a great way to learn about history and explore different types of architecture.

14 Most Beautiful Castles in Bulgaria

Castles in Bulgaria are scattered all over the country.

Many are still standing and even provide options to tour the inside and the surrounding grounds.

Asen’s Fortress

Asen’s Fortress is just outside of the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains.

It is a medieval castle that has served a total of six different civilizations/empires.

With its view over the Asenitsa River, it is considered to be the gem of Asenovgrad.

It is unknown just how old the fortress is, though there is archaeological evidence that dates at least parts of the building to the Thracians in the 5th century BC.

While the fortress is uninhabited today, it is still well-preserved.

However, much of the original structure was destroyed by the Ottomans.

It is nearly impossible to access as there’s only one steep road that leads to its entrance. It’s best to view it from afar.

Belogradchik Fortress

The Belogradchik Fortress was constructed during the Roman Empire sometime between the 1st and 3rd centuries.

It is tucked into the Balkan Mountains and is often identified as the best-preserved ancient castle in the country.

Bulgarian tsar Vidin Ivan Stratsimir also added to the building in the 14th century, providing fortified garrisons.

The site is open for visitors, making it possible to see the fortress as well as the Belogradchik Rocks, which are part of the surrounding area.

There are lots of steep climbs and stairs that surround the area.

Ovech Fortress

The Ovech Fortress, located in Provadia, days back to the Middle Ages during the First Bulgarian Empire.

In the Second Bulgarian Empire, the fortress served as the seat of a metropolitan.

Then, in 1388, it was captured by the Ottomans.

There are still many components that are on display including some of the posts.

It provides incredible views of neighboring towns.

There’s also a wooden bridge that leads to the ruins.

At the entrance, there’s a small visitors area where souvenirs are also available.

Baba Vida Castle

Baba Vida is a medieval castle located on the Danube riverside in Vidin.

It was constructed in the 10th century and has been well preserved.

Legend has it that the castle was named after the boyar’s eldest daughter, Vida.

The layout of the fortress was built for strength and durability, with two layers of exterior walls as well as eight towers – four main and four small.

There is a moat that surrounds the fort as well as cobblestone paths that helped to connect everything together.

Today, it’s possible to visit the location and even see the underground prison that features weapons used for torture.

Cherven Castle

Cherven Castle is in ruins now, but there is evidence that it dates back to the Middle Ages – and the village that it is in dates back 2,000 years.

In 1235, it was the seat of the Bulgarian Orthodox Bishopric of Cherven.

Then, there were raids from the Mongol Golden Horde, which damaged the structure.

By the late 13th century, the castle was completely besieged.

At one point, it was an elaborate defensive system.

It was also a hub for various artists, ironworkers, and goldsmiths.

A tower from the 1300s as well as excavations of a feudal palace and several workshops and churches can be seen, creating a popular place for tourists.

Mezek Fortress

The Mezek Fortress dates back to the 11th century and is considered to be one of the best-preserved castles from the Medieval Ages.

Archaeologists studied the site in the 1930s to learn about its history.

It is just north of the border between Bulgaria and Greece and is also within close proximity to Turkey.

The fortress features nine towers and was built out of stone.

Two lines of brick along the wall also serve as decoration.

Some destruction occurred around 1900 when stones were used to create the Ottoman barracks located in Svilengrad.

It was partially restored from 2007 to 2013 as a result of receiving funding from the EU.

Tsavarets Fortress

The Tsavarets Fortress served as a medieval stronghold in the northern part of the country.

It is 676 feet above sea level and served as the primary fortress for the Second Bulgarian Empire from 1185 to 1393.

It housed both the royal and the patriarchal palaces and features three entrances to the complex.

While much of the property still stands on the hill, it has required some restoration, which began in 1930 and was finished in 1981.

Today, it is possible to visit many of the grounds, including the battle towers, the castle church, and the throne hall.

Palace of Balchik

The Palace of Balchik is also referred to as the Quiet Nest Place.

It was built between 1924 and 1927 while Balchik was still a part of Romania.

Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg of Romania wanted a summer residence that would overlook the Black Sea and had Italian architects commissioned to build the massive complex.

Every need for the queen was met, including a minaret beside the chapel.

It is sometimes referred to the Queen’s Villa and shows off the Revival period of architecture.

There are also Moorish-styled patios surrounding the villa.

Swiss horticulturalists were also used to create the gardens.

Today, the gardens are managed by the Horticultural Society and feature 2000+ plant species.

The Castle of Ravadinovo

The Castle of Ravadinovo is what many think of as the perfect fairytale castle and it has even been compared to the Neuschwanstein Castle of Germany.

It is located just kilometers from Sozopol.

It has ornate towers and steeples and a significant amount of detailed architecture.

The castle was built in 20 years by one man and is commonly known as “In Love with the Wind.”

The castle grounds are just as elaborate as the building itself.

There are black swans that swim in the lake and a significant amount of landscaping with bright flowers.

Due to the beauty of it all, it is one of the top tourist destinations in Bulgaria.

Kaliakra Castle

Kaliakra Castle is in ruins, but there are still elements that are standing.

The 4th-century fortress was built by the Thracians and overlooks the Black Sea.

There are tours of the area, which provide amazing photos, particularly with one of the central arches still in relatively good condition.

This area is known for its medieval ruins.

The name of the castle was based on the Greek word “kalos” which means beautiful.

Matochina Castle

Matochina Castle stands in ruins, though an entire half of the building is still standing.

The fortress is cross-shaped and dates back to the 12th century.

It is located in Burgas, Bulgaria, and is close to the Turkey border.

This castle is where a barbaric war between the Romans and the Goths took place.

However, it wasn’t until the 12th century that the castle was built.

Emperor Baldwin Flanders was captured near the site in 1205.

Touring of the area is allowed at no cost and provides 360-degree views of the area.

Nessebar Fortifications

The Nessebar Fortifications may not technically be a castle, but the grounds are beautiful – and it holds an important part of history.

The city of Nessebar is 3,000 years old and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was once a Thracian settlement located on the coast of the Black Sea and later became a Greek colony.

There are various ruins and buildings throughout the city, many of which date all the way back to the Hellenistic period.

You’ll see some of the greatest examples of preserved Thracian fortifications including a temple of Apollo.

More recently built is the medieval Stara Mitropolia Basilica.

The Euxinograd Residence

The Euxinograd Residence is close to Helena and St. Constantine.

It has been used as the summer residence of the monarchs before the liberation of the country from the Ottoman Dominion.

In 1880, Prince Battenberg visited Varna and was welcomed into the St. Dimitar monastery.

He loved the local area so much that in 1882, the municipality gifted him the monastery and the adjoining lands, which was then turned into the Euxinograd Residence.

King’s Castle in Vrana

The king’s castle is the former royal palace and is found on the outskirts of Sofia.

It has served as representative purposes and is also the official residence of Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria and his wife.

It is where the royal family will spend most of their time, often being used when not at the Euxinograd Residence (often as a summer home).

Also known as Vrana Palace, the land was purchased by Tsar Ferdinand I in 1898.

The first building was placed there in 1904 as a hunting lodge and the second was constructed in 1909 as the palace itself.

Both were built with money provided out of the state budget.

Within the palace, many of the rooms were commissioned to Nikola Lazarov, a noted architect of the time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the oldest castle in Bulgaria?

The Shumen Fortress, which is part of the Shumen Plateau Nature Park, is one of the oldest castles and traces back to the 5th century.

What is the most visited castle in Bulgaria?

The Belogradchik Fortress is considered one of the hidden gems in Bulgaria.

It is one of the more popular places to visit and various tours can be booked in order to see it.

The cost to enter the grounds is BGN 3, which is less than $2 USD.

Can you stay in a castle in Bulgaria?

There are a few castles that have been transformed into hotels, providing accommodations.

Perhaps the most well-known one is Hotel Horlog Castle, found in the southern part of the country.

Are there any castles for sale in Bulgaria?

Private residences can go on sale at any time.

The last time one was on sale was in Borovets in the Sofia region.

It went on sale in 2021 but the sale price was not listed.

2 Comments on 14 Most Beautiful Castles in Bulgaria

  1. The King’s Castle in Vrana is a beautiful castle with an interesting history.

    It has served as the residence of royalty and offers insight into Bulgarian architecture.

  2. As a local, I believe that the castles in Bulgaria are not only stunning but also hold immense historical and cultural significance.

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