Sopot: A Hidden Gem in Bulgaria

Located in the picturesque Stryama River valley, Sopot is a small town in Bulgaria that offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. Situated 117 km away from Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, and 55 km away from Plovdiv, the second-largest city in the country, Sopot is easily accessible and makes for a perfect day trip or a weekend getaway. With its proximity to the Central Balkan National Park, Sopot is an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the rich history, attractions, and activities that make Sopot an enchanting place to visit.

History of Sopot

The region around Sopot has been inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by archaeological findings. In 2005, a significant treasure was discovered near the village of Dubene, close to Sopot. The treasure, consisting of 15,000 gold items, dates back to the Bronze Age and is older than the city of Troy. This discovery highlights the historical significance of the area and its connection to ancient civilizations.

Coins and Thracian artifacts have also been found near Sopot, further emphasizing its historical importance. Some of these objects have been linked to the time of Alexander the Great, adding to the town’s allure for history enthusiasts.

The contemporary settlement of Sopot emerged in the 15th century. The name “Sopot” is believed to be derived from an ancient Slavic or Bulgarian word meaning a water channel, which is fitting considering the town’s abundance of fountains and water sources. During the revival period, Sopot became a center for craftsmen. However, the town faced destruction during the Ottoman occupation and the Liberation War of 1877-1878, with many locals losing their lives.

In the mid-20th century, Sopot temporarily received the name Vazovgrad, in honor of the renowned Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov. However, it later reverted to its original name, Sopot, reflecting its historical roots and significance.

Attractions and Landmarks

Sopot boasts several attractions and landmarks that showcase its rich cultural heritage. One of the town’s prized possessions is the birth house of Ivan Vazov, located on Vazov Square. Vazov, considered one of Bulgaria’s greatest writers, wrote extensively about Sopot in his famous work “Under the Yoke.” Although the original birth house was destroyed during the Liberation War, an exact replica was constructed in 1932, allowing visitors to step back in time and learn more about the writer’s life and the town’s history.

Another notable landmark in Sopot is the Anevo Kale fortress. Perched on a hilltop, this medieval fortress offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visitors can explore the ruins, admire the architecture, and imagine the fortress’s strategic importance in ancient times.

The Sopot fortress is another historical site worth visiting. Situated near the town, this fortress played a crucial role in defending the region during different periods of history. Exploring its ancient walls and towers provides a glimpse into the town’s past and the challenges it faced.

For those interested in education and history, the girls’ school, also known as the Radino school, is a must-visit. This building houses original old-time classrooms and is described by Ivan Vazov in his book “Under the Yoke.” Stepping into the classrooms, visitors can imagine what life was like for students in the past and gain insight into the educational system of the time.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Sopot’s location near the Central Balkan National Park makes it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park, with its diverse flora and fauna, offers numerous hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and opportunities for wildlife spotting. One of the highlights of Sopot is the Sopot lift, which claims to cover the longest distance on the Balkans. In just 30 minutes, the lift takes visitors to some of the protected areas of the Central Balkan National Park, offering breathtaking views and a chance to immerse oneself in nature.

Sopot is also known for its favorable weather conditions, making it a popular destination for hang-gliding. The town’s local sports club is one of the most active in the country, organizing competitions and attracting enthusiasts from near and far. Whether you are a seasoned hang-glider or a beginner looking to try something new, Sopot provides the perfect setting for this exhilarating activity.

Hospitality and Cuisine

Despite being a small town, Sopot offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses. These establishments provide comfortable and cozy stays, allowing visitors to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the town and its surroundings.

When it comes to dining, Sopot’s restaurants serve excellent Bulgarian cuisine, offering a taste of the country’s traditional dishes. From hearty stews to delectable pastries, visitors can indulge in a culinary adventure and savor the flavors of Bulgaria. The local cuisine is known for its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a delightful dining experience.


Sopot is a hidden gem in Bulgaria, offering a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. From its ancient archaeological findings to its historical landmarks and attractions, Sopot provides a fascinating glimpse into the country’s past. The town’s proximity to the Central Balkan National Park makes it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, while its active sports club and hang-gliding opportunities cater to adventure seekers. With its warm hospitality and excellent Bulgarian cuisine, Sopot guarantees a memorable and enriching experience for visitors. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Sopot has something to offer everyone.

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