Tsari Mali Grad
Rediscovered in 2007, the Tsari Mali Grad (Tsar’s Little Town is a restored fortress an hour south of the capital. The sprawling 10-acre site provides insight into the country’s Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine history, and its religious ruins, rural trails, and hilltop views are a must see for any first-time visitor in Bulgaria.
Spend a few hours browsing the ruins and exhibits, with audio or live guides available to book on site. Within the fortress, you can browse ancient artefacts, study original and restored architecture, or dress up in traditional battle costumes. Besides archaeological attractions, the site is also home to a children’s play park, complete with climbing frames, swings, and slides, as well as scenic hiking trails.
Things to know before you go
- Tsari Mali Grad is a must-see for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
- The full ticket price also includes access to Belchin’s Ethnographic Museum.
- Entry is free for children under seven and guests with disabilities; the funicular railway provides step-free access to the site.
- There is no charge to access the children’s play area and walking trails.
How to get there
Tsari Mali Grad is around an hour’s drive from the capital. From the parking lot, you can either ride the funicular railway up to the fortress, or take a 20-minute walk up the eco-trail.
When to get there
The site is open between Wednesdays and Sundays, with extended opening hours on the weekend and during summer. Be aware that in poor weather, the funicular train does not operate.
The fortress is located on a hilltop above the village of Belchin, known for its mineral springs and close proximity to Borovets Ski Resort. Here, you can unwind after an active afternoon with a dip in the mineral pools, which are famed for their healing properties and are thought to have inspired Tsari Mali Grad’s spiritual associations.
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