Tourists come to Kazanlak for a couple of reasons. Rose festival, Buzludzha, Russian church and Monument of Freedom in Shipka, and Thracian tombs. You can learn more about those in individual articles. But what to do in Kazanlak when you are staying for a few days? Here are some more ideas from locals that you won’t find anywhere else.
Walk around religious sights and the old town
There are quite a lot of churches in Kazanlak, woman’s monastery, and mosque. If you are really into it, you can read about all of them in the individual article. All others should visit at least the church of St. prophet Ilia in the old town. It was the first orthodox church built around 1812 when Kazanlak was a Turkish town. By that time, the church was much smaller and hidden underground not to upset the Turks. By 1865, when the population of Bulgarians had grown, the church was rebuilt. Besides the church, there are a few more preserved historical buildings that now work as a museum.
The old town in Kazanlak is just one street so it may disappoint you by its size, but it’s a very picturesque and quiet place where you can forget about the rest of the town and the modern world. Consider it as small as it was when the history of Kazanlak began. It used to be a small settlement for Bulgarian servants at the edge of the superior Turkish town.
The old town of Kazanlak is close to the entrance of park Tyulbeto. With the park behind your back, you can see a small fountain across the street on the left side. Right there you’ll turn right. Or turn left and climb uphill to look at the view over the town.
Dance Horo with locals
One of the things to do in every foreign country is to learn about its traditions. You have a chance to be part of it. Every Sunday evening the whole round year, locals gather on the main square and dance the traditional dances. Watch or join. Some of them are pretty simple, you will catch up. Just dare. It’s free.
Try homemade banitsa
If you have already tried banitsa and you weren’t impressed, I can understand. Give it one more chance but try the good one. Homemade with butter and cheese instead of margarine and curd. Visit the Italian bakery Giorgio (paradox heh?) by the park Rosarium. The bakery is entirely Bulgarian, but the owners bring something different from the Bulgarian white bread from their love to Italy. You can still find the traditional pitka, kozunak, and banitsa here, the way a Bulgarian grandma would make it.
A thing to do: Play a game in the park Rosarium.
Shop in the Open Bazar or flea market
You have probably noticed how many second-hand stores there are in Bulgaria. A flea market is another level. It has a soul. If you want to bring an unusual souvenir, you will find it here. There are treasures among plenty of trash (it amazes you how somebody can believe that somebody else would buy it). There are handmade, high-quality products with their own story. They belonged to someone. Maybe they were given as a gift, and they had a special meaning for the owner. Perhaps they were used by many generations.
A thing to do: Experience a life of a treasure hunter, meet with locals, and negotiate the price. Bring home a souvenir carrying a special memory. Create a story about its possessing.
The flea market is in the village Gorno Sahrane every Sunday morning. You can find the place on Google maps.
The Open Bazar is in the city center by the mosque. It’s a kind of square with many shops surrounding the actual open market. Here you can find local producers. They are usually old and don’t have a big offer. For example, they may sell only peppers, but they have a lot. Buying from them is a win-win business. You will get really tasty vegetables, they will earn decent money, and it’s more ecological, but that’s another story. Here you will buy also homemade honey, baked peppers, fresh herbs in the summer, and what’s the best is the experience. Many of the sellers here are extremely friendly.
A thing to do: Bring home woolen socks knitted by Bulgarian grandma.
See the sights from a horseback
Going to Buzludzha is one thing. Going to Buzludzha on a horse is another. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced rider or you have never tried it. Thracian Spirits will take care of you and safely guide your first steps. The nature around with many sights and views makes horse riding a great adventure that you shouldn’t miss.
The horse ranch Thracian Spirits is only 10 km far from Kazanlak in the village Sheynovo. If you have no transport, you can get there with our Tours from Kazanlak. For more info about the rides, and booking, call +359 88 379 9777.
Visit the Ostrich Farm Four Seasons
When you get tired of roses and stuff, you can visit the Ostrich Farm Four Seasons. As the name suggests, the farm has something to offer the whole round year. For example, the local specialty Creme Brulee from the ostrich egg. You can also buy unusual souvenirs from eggshells or local bioproducts. The owners take care of the farm with a great passion that they can transfer on you. If you thought, that ostriches are not interesting, you will change your mind.
A thing to do: Dance together with the ostriches.
The Ostrich Farm Four Seasons lies in the village Skobelevo (25 km from Kazanlak). It is open for visitors every day in the summer 10-19 h, and 10-17 h from 1st November to 31st March. If you are without a car, you can order a tour from Kazanlak.
There are too many things to do in Kazanlak to be in one article. These are the main attractions that will make your holiday memorable no matter the time of the year. Check out also our other tips for trips, sport, or festivals in the region.