Vratsa is a small town in northwestern Bulgaria, filled with history and beautiful landscapes where you could go mountain hiking or just have chilled out walks around the centre of the city. The historical museum is not far from the big monument of Hristo Botev (One of the freedom fighters during the Ottoman’s occupation on the Balkans).
Everyone in Bulgaria has heard how wild the Vratsan people are and how hard their character is and how hard it is to live there. Despite that Vratsa is worth going to visit it’s a wonderful city under the foot of the great mountains, the Balkans.
The History of Vratsa
Vratsa is a city in northwestern Bulgaria, situated at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The city is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, which dates back to ancient times. In this article, we will take a look at the history of Vratsa, including a timeline of important events.
Prehistoric and Ancient Times
The area of Vratsa has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the numerous Neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts found in the region. The Thracians, an ancient Indo-European tribe, also lived in the area, leaving behind many ancient ruins and artifacts.
The Roman Period
The Roman Empire conquered the region in the 1st century AD and established a military fortress, which served as an important strategic point for controlling the Balkans. The fortress was located near the present-day city of Vratsa and was called “Acra”. The Romans also built a road, connecting the fortress with the Danube River.
The Middle Ages
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. Later, in the 7th century, the Bulgars established the First Bulgarian Empire, which included Vratsa and the surrounding areas. During this period, Vratsa became an important center of trade, crafts, and culture.
In the 14th century, Vratsa was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, who ruled the region for almost five centuries. During this period, Vratsa was a small town with a predominantly Bulgarian population. The town suffered greatly during the Bulgarian uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1876, when many of its buildings were burned down.
The Modern Era
After Bulgaria gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, Vratsa started to develop rapidly. The town became an important center of agriculture, industry, and education. Many schools and cultural institutions were established, and Vratsa became known as a center of Bulgarian literature and culture.
In the early 20th century, Vratsa witnessed significant social and political changes. The town became a stronghold of the Bulgarian Communist Party, and many of its citizens participated in the struggle for a socialist society.
Today, Vratsa is a modern city with a population of over 60,000 people. It is an important economic, cultural, and educational center in northwestern Bulgaria, attracting many tourists with its historical landmarks and natural beauty.
Timeline of Important Events:
- 1st century AD – The Roman Empire conquers the region and establishes the fortress of Acra.
- 7th century AD – The Bulgars establish the First Bulgarian Empire, which includes Vratsa.
- 14th century AD – The Ottoman Turks conquer Vratsa and rule the region for almost five centuries.
- 1876 – Vratsa suffers greatly during the Bulgarian uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
- 1878 – Bulgaria gains its independence from the Ottoman Empire, and Vratsa starts to develop rapidly.
- 20th century – Vratsa becomes a center of Bulgarian literature and culture and witnesses significant social and political changes. Present day – Vratsa is a modern city and an important economic, cultural, and educational center in northwestern Bulgaria.
You should definitely visit the cave Ledenika (Led means Ice), in this area, there are more than 500 caves and there are many caves in Bulgaria, but the most famous one is the Ledenika cave because of the icy stalagmites. It has been famous for centuries from the Ottoman occupation to the present.
The shepherds have used to it to store sheep milk. Ledenika has amazing acoustic which is why many concerts are being performed there. You can also see 4 species of birds, including hawks. This is a place you definitely want to visit while in Vratsa. The great mountain is waiting for you!
How to get to Vratsa from Sofia by train
To get from Sofia to Vratsa by train, you can take a regional or express train from Sofia Central Station. The journey takes about 2 hours and trains run several times a day.
Here is a step-by-step guide to getting to Vratsa from Sofia by train:
- From Sofia, go to Sofia Central Station. This is the main train station in Sofia and is located in the city centre. You can get there by taking the subway, bus, or taxi.
- Once you arrive at Sofia Central Station, go to the ticketing office or use the ticket machines to purchase a ticket to Vratsa. Make sure to check the schedule to ensure that you are catching a train that goes to Vratsa.
- Board the regional or express train to Vratsa. The train will depart from a platform at Sofia Central Station and the journey to Vratsa takes about 2 hours.
- Get off the train at Vratsa. The train station in Vratsa is located in the center of the town, so you can easily walk to your destination from there.
What do you like best about your city?
Skaklia – It’s the highest waterfall on the Balkans Peninsula, even though many people don’t know this fact since there is not a constant flow of water. Skaklia is 142 meters high, which is around 20 metres higher than the officially the highest waterfall on the Balkans Peninsula – Raiskoto Pruskalo (The Heavenly sprayer) – high 124,5 meters.
Best Walk in Vratsa
The Hut and the stunning views from the monument of the Herald of Freedom is standing proudly. In order to reach that heavenly place from the center of the city, you need literally 5 minutes, but that place instantly throws you in the atmosphere of the Vratsa’s Balkan. The Tourist home The Hut is built in 1926 from the goodwill of the citizens of the city. It has been a place for joy, business meetings, and tourist fellowship, for one night or more.
Best Hotels in Vratsa
I have added a list of the most popular hotels in Vratsa. If you’d like more details and customer reviews please hit the links where you will be taken to TripAdvisor
- Hemus Hotel -is a family-friendly hotel that brings the best of Vratsa to your doorstep. The rooms offer a minibar, air conditioning, and a refrigerator, and getting online is possible, as free wifi is available, allowing you to rest and refresh with ease.
- Hotel Rade 1 – is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Vratsa, offering a family-friendly environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.
- Hotel Leva Vratsa – Situated in Vratsa, Хотел “Лева” Враца offers a garden. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free WiFi throughout the property.
Best Restaurants in Vratsa
Located in the northwestern region of Bulgaria, Vratsa is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage. Known for its stunning natural scenery and proximity to the Balkan Mountains, it’s also home to some of the best traditional Bulgarian cuisine. From hearty meat dishes to flavorful salads and soups, Vratsa’s food scene is sure to satisfy any craving. Here are some of the best places to eat in Vratsa, Bulgaria:
- Mehana “Horo” – This traditional Bulgarian restaurant is located in the heart of Vratsa and serves up some of the most delicious meat dishes in the city. The cozy atmosphere, live music, and friendly staff make it a must-visit spot for anyone looking for an authentic dining experience.
- Restaurant Chiflika – This restaurant, situated on the outskirts of Vratsa, is famous for its mouth-watering grilled meats and homemade Bulgarian dishes. The outdoor seating area offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.
- La Casa Pizzeria – If you’re in the mood for something a bit more casual, La Casa Pizzeria is the perfect spot. This cozy pizzeria offers a wide variety of pizzas, salads, and pastas, all made with fresh, local ingredients.
- Kashtata – This charming restaurant is located in a traditional Bulgarian house and serves up some of the best homemade soups and stews in Vratsa. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great spot for a family dinner or a night out with friends.
- Vratzata Tavern – Located in the heart of Vratsa, this traditional Bulgarian tavern offers a wide range of Bulgarian dishes, including grilled meats, stews, and salads. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a meal on a sunny day.
- Restaurant “Mihaylov’s House” – This elegant restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century mansion and serves up some of the most delicious Bulgarian cuisine in the city. From traditional meat dishes to fresh seafood and vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone on the menu.
- Cafe-Restaurant Galleria – If you’re looking for a cozy spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat, Cafe-Restaurant Galleria is the perfect spot. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a sunny day, and the menu offers a wide variety of light snacks and drinks.
- Restaurant Gardenia – This charming restaurant is located in the heart of Vratsa and offers a wide range of Bulgarian dishes, including grilled meats, stews, and salads. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a meal on a warm summer evening.
- Restaurant “Borov Kamak” – This cozy restaurant is located in a traditional Bulgarian house and serves up some of the most delicious traditional Bulgarian cuisine in the city. The menu features a variety of meat dishes, soups, and salads, all made with fresh, local ingredients.
- Pizza Etna – If you’re in the mood for pizza, Pizza Etna is the perfect spot. This casual pizzeria offers a wide variety of pizzas, salads, and pastas, all made with fresh, local ingredients.
No matter what your taste, Vratsa’s food scene has something for everyone. From traditional Bulgarian dishes to international cuisine, these restaurants are sure to satisfy any craving. So if you’re visiting Vratsa, be sure to check out some of these top-rated eateries and experience the best that Bulgarian cuisine has to offer.
Best Music/Festival in Vratsa
The “Music in the Cave” which is performed in the Ledenika Cave, as the acoustics there are beautiful and folk signers perform these festivals and concerts there. Many people gather there to hear the unique sound of their favorite singers in a natural acoustic and enjoy the music they produce. Vratsa’s Ledenika offers such an amazing and unique sound at the same time that even the people who usually wouldn’t like such type of music will be tangled in the charm of the sound from the cave.
Best Nightlife in Vratsa
Vratsa is a small but vibrant city located in northwestern Bulgaria. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, including the nearby Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park, which attracts many outdoor enthusiasts. However, Vratsa also has a lively nightlife scene, with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. In this article, we will explore some of the best nightlife and bars in Vratsa.
- Lollipop Club – Located on the main pedestrian street in Vratsa, Lollipop Club is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. It has a lively atmosphere, with a DJ playing music until the early hours of the morning. The club also offers a variety of drinks and cocktails, making it a great place to unwind and enjoy a night out.
- Bar Fir Tree – Bar Fir Tree is a cozy and relaxed bar, with a rustic and warm atmosphere. It offers a variety of drinks, including local Bulgarian beers and wines, and has a small menu of snacks and light bites. The bar is a popular spot for locals, and is a great place to socialize and meet new people.
- Backstage Club – Backstage Club is a popular nightclub in Vratsa, with a large dance floor and a variety of music genres. It is known for hosting live performances by local and regional artists, as well as popular DJs. The club also offers a variety of drinks and cocktails, making it a great place to dance the night away.
- Cubo – Cubo is a popular bar and restaurant located in the heart of Vratsa. It has a modern and stylish atmosphere, and offers a variety of drinks and food options. The bar also hosts regular events, including live music performances and DJ sets.
- Retro Club – Retro Club is a unique and fun nightclub in Vratsa, with a retro-themed decor and atmosphere. It offers a variety of music genres, from 80s and 90s hits to modern pop and dance music. The club also offers a variety of drinks and cocktails, making it a great place to let loose and have fun.
- Night Train – Night Train is a small but popular bar in Vratsa, with a laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff. It offers a variety of drinks, including local beers and wines, and has a small menu of snacks and light bites. The bar is a popular spot for locals, and is a great place to relax and unwind after a long day.
Overall, Vratsa may be a small city, but it has a lively and fun nightlife scene. Whether you are looking for a cozy bar to socialize in or a lively nightclub to dance the night away, Vratsa has something to offer for everyone.
Best Day Trip Out of Vratsa
It is a good idea to visit the “Mogilanskata Mogila” – This is a tomb that has been built around IV century B.C. This is a really stunning place to visit outside Vratsa. Scientists believe that this tomb has been a family tomb of dynasty members, which have been ruling the “Tribals”. “Vratsa’s Balkan” is the second biggest natural park in Bulgaria. It covers the Vratsa’s mountains with “Lakatnishkite Skali” and the “Ritlite”.
It was made official in 1989, so it could be protected as it has animals and plants that need to be protected. This territory is considered as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Bulgaria, it is really beautiful and colorful, for the people who like mountains, that can be heaven and unforgettable experience.
Something that not many travelers would know about Vratsa
The Coat of Arms of Vratsa was made in 1967, the author was an artist named Luben Orozov, who won a national competition.
The graphics of it symbolises a specific orographic rainfall phenomena, which carries the name of its city – the natural phenomena – the passage of the Vratzata Gorge.
The graphical depicts two sheer rocks with two topographic triangles, between which makes the way to the passage. The whole image of it is over a shield, to symbolize the unity of it. The motto of the city is “City like the Balkan – ancient and young” it describes and depicts the glorious past of Vratsa as an old Bulgarian tradition and its new and developing city.
10 interesting facts about Vratsa
- Vratsa is a city located in northwestern Bulgaria, with a population of around 75,000 people.
- The city is located in the Vratsa Balkan Mountains, which are a popular destination for hiking, climbing, and other outdoor activities.
- Vratsa is known for its rich cultural heritage, with many historic buildings, museums, and galleries located in the city.
- The city is also home to the Vratsa National Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the region.
- Vratsa is an important economic centre, with many industrial and manufacturing companies based in the city.
- The city is also home to several universities and colleges, including the University of Forestry and the Vratsa Free University.
- Vratsa is known for its vibrant nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from.
- The city is also home to several sports teams, including the Vratsa football team, which plays in the Bulgarian First League.
- Vratsa is located in a beautiful natural setting, with many parks and green spaces to enjoy.
- The city is easily accessible by train, bus, or car from other major cities in Bulgaria, such as Sofia and Plovdiv.