Bulgaria day trip: Chudnite Mostove and Bachkovo monastery

Autumn is a transcendent time for Bulgaria, as a region stifled in Soviet gray for so many years suddenly alights with fiery orange and gold.

That’s why, rather than showing you the rather drab and utilitarian face of many Bulgarian cities, I prefer to first take you along with me on a day trip in southern Bulgaria, in the region surrounding the country’s second-largest city, Plovdiv.


Southern Bulgaria in autumn near Bachkovo


Heading south from Plovdiv, don’t be surprised to pass pretty churches like this as you drive:

Bulgaria country church

A word of caution: once you turn off Route 86 towards the natural wonder of Chudnite Mostove (or “Wonderful Bridges”) the road can get a little dicey. The last 7 kilometers just might be the longest of your life:
Road to Chudnite Mostove

What you’ll see at the end is entirely worth the bumps and turns:
Chudnite Mostove wonderful bridge bridges
It’s difficult to capture the immensity of these extraordinary stone bridges, but the people down in the gully should help grant a fuller picture.
Chudnite Mostove wonderful bridges bridge Bulgaria

A local vendor displays her homemade honey and preserves near the entrance

After hiking around the bridges, you’ll want to stop for a hearty traditional meal. There are plenty of joints like this along the way. If you get lucky, you might find one with a taxidermy display to rival the one that we stopped at.

roadside restaurant Bulgaria

Tables are always graced with mystery spices that smell like cumin and paprika. We did find out that the red one is called chubritsa, but that’s where the knowledge ends and the seasoning of meats and salads begin.

Further down the road, the red tiles roof of the Bachkovo monastery, lesser known than the Rila monastery closer to capital city Sofia, was framed by such a blazing display of changing leaves that it was simply too pretty for pictures.

Actually, the real reason I have no shots to post is because photography is prohibited. We’ll call on Wikipedia to fill the void:

English: Bachkovo Monastery Български: Бачковс...

Bachkovo Monastery Български (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Unfortunately, these colors are nothing like what I saw today, and the exterior can’t begin to do justice to the frescoes and ornamentation of the interior.

I guess you’ll just have to begin planning a trip yourself….


The author and adventurous travel mate take on the Wonderful Bridges of Bulgaria


  1. That road to the stone bridges looks a lot better than the one to The Claim! It might rival the Road to Hana, but only if it has more curves!

  2. True, at least there were no steep cliffs! It was the length of it that made it seem so arduous. Tourism is definitely not on the Bulgarian radar yet (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

  3. Great photos and your description of the day trip had me smiling. I enjoyed seeing the lady selling the jars of honey and preserves, it reminded me of the “caper” lady at the church square in Oia.

    My, oh my, the thought of eating next to a taxidermy display certainly is…unique, although the spices on the table had me intrigued.

    Sounds like the two of you had a quick but fun trip!

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