Dobruja - Towns, Villages, and Hidden Gems
This is certainly not the first place you'd think about visiting in Bulgaria. It's not the second either. Most visitors don't ever go in this region because it's not popular among all the other places here. So, is it not worth a visit? I'd like to argue a little bit.
As you already know, on this site we favor the hidden pearls more than the best known touristic destinations. So, the area of Dobruja has something to offer as well.
What Is It Like?
Dobruja is a flat to hilly area in North-East Bulgaria (and South-East Romania) with lots of fields and unique nature. Part of the Bulgarian sea coast also belongs to it. You can see some of these places on our interactive Black Sea coast map.
Because it lacks any of the most popular landmarks, Dobruja is often neglected by foreign visitors - except those who go to the sea.
This is good for you - welcome to the real Bulgarian Provence. I'll tell you about the main towns and interesting places in this area, so start making your plans.
A view from the Old Dobrich
The town of Dobrich is the unofficial "Capital" of Dobruja. With population of about 100,000 it's one of the big towns in Bulgaria and has all the stores, hotels and restaurants you may need. While in Dobrich you may want to visit the city park which is one of the biggest and oldest parks in Bulgaria. Make a trip also to the ethnographic Old Dobrich (easy to reach on foot from the city center, just ask anyone about "Staria Dobrich") to see crafts, drink boza, eat traditional food and specific Bulgarian pretzels.
You can get to Dobrich from Sofia by bus or train. It's a 6 to 10 hours journey depending on what you take. There is also a night sleeper train which is relatively comfortable. If you are in Varna, getting to Dobrich is super easy and cheap (€ 2.5) with the minibuses. There are two intercity bus stations in Varna and both have buses to Dobrich every 30 minutes, from the early morning to 7:30 PM.
Silistra is far Noth town and a port on the Danube river. The population is close to 40,000 which puts it in the middle-range here. There are two popular landmarks in Silistra - a late ancient tomb and the Medzhit Tabiya fortress (sadly, I couldn't find any English-language sites about these).
Travelling to Silistra from Sofia is a bit harder - there are less buses and they take nearly 9 hours. Train jorneys are even worse with duration between 10 and 13 hours and multiple changes involved. Travelling from Varna is only slightly better - 6 hours by train. Buses take only 2 hours and half though.
Kavarna is getting increasingly popular here in the last few years due to the concerts of several old popular rock bands from USA and UK. If you are not much into this, don't worry. This small town is pretty charming and has much else to offer. There are two old churches, old fountains, and the national archaeological reserve Yailata. And Kaliakra cape is also close (12 km away) which should be telling you also that the town is on the sea coast.
The easiest way to get to Kavarna is by bus from Varna and takes about 80 minutes. Of course you can also go by car.
Albena is one of the popular sea resorts and probably the most important one in Dobruja. The resort doesn't have notable landmarks but is considered to be good. My own impressions are mixed and I'd advice you to skip it in favor of Balchik.
Balchik is a sea town and resort and unlike Albena has a bit more character. It's also popular due to the Balchik Palace / Quiet Nest Palace. Getting to Balchik is easy from Albena, Varna and Dobrich and takes 30 minutes or less. Note that it can be pretty overcrowded in the Summer.
Provadia is mostly known for the closely located Ovech Fortress. The town itself is small and not popular but looks like a nice place to visit. It's locaed on the main Sofia - Varna railway so it's easily reached by train from both cities.
The villages in Dobruja are kind of unique and very different than the villages in the mountains for example. There is well growing large agriculture business and increasing number of family farms, large wheat fields, animals, and rich houses with large square gardens. Many orchards were created in the recent years so if you are interested in farming and agriculture, this is the place to visit in Bulgaria.
If you are more interested in nature, visit Durankulak - the far northeastern village of Bulgaria. The Lake Durankulak is a habitat of many rare birds and other species.
If you've ever been to Dobruja, please let me know what you saw there in the comments!
comments powered by Disqus