How to Visit Buzludzha
If you want to visit Buzludzha for yourself, there are multiple ways to get there. As public transport doesn’t reach the monument, you might find that hiring your own car is the easiest approach – but there are also a number of tour operators in Bulgaria who offer informative, high quality trips to the Buzludzha Monument.
This page is offered as a guide to help you plan your own visit to Buzludzha.
Communism Tours in Bulgaria were the first company to begin offering tours to communist-era heritage sites in Bulgaria. With more than a decade of experience, this Sofia-based company can arrange trips to Buzludzha, in addition to countless other contemporary attractions around the country.
From Veliko Târnovo:
Hostel Mostel in Veliko Târnovo provide comfortable, affordable accommodation, as well as offering a 12-hour tour to Buzludzha. Along the way you’ll also get to see cultural attractions such as the Dryanovo Monastery and the Etâr Ethnographic Museum near Gabrovo.
Abandoned Bulgaria are based in Plovdiv, and as the name suggests they offer urban exploration tours to destinations such as urban ruins, abandoned factories, some street art hotspots and also day trips from Plovdiv to the Buzludzha Monument.
Atlas Obscura is a New York-based travel website who offer specialist tours to some of the most interesting places on the planet. Once a year they offer a unique week-long tour of Bulgaria, visiting Buzludzha along with various other highlights around the country.
Please note: it is currently not possible for visitors to go inside the Buzludzha Monument, and none of the tour providers above will be able to guarantee interior access. These tour providers all come with our recommendation, but we receive no commission on bookings, and take no responsibility for the content of tours.
DRIVE TO Buzludzha
If you plan to travel to Buzludzha on your own, the easiest way would be to hire a car. The monument is clearly marked on Google Maps, and can be reached from Sofia in roughly 3-4 hours, depending on road and weather conditions. From experience, we recommend the company MotoRoads for car hire (though as with the tour operators above, we take no commissions and make no guarantees).
Be aware: there are north and south approaches to the mountain peak. The north road can be accessed from the Shipka Pass, just near the Monument to Freedom, while the south road begins near the village of Krân, on the road between Kazanlâk and Shipka town, and is marked with a monument to Dimitâr Blagoev. Do not attempt the north road in winter, as it is often buried in deep snow. The south road also serves several hotels and lodges though, so is usually kept open all year round.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO BUZLUDZHA
Step 1: Train or Bus to the Region
Getting to Buzludzha with public transport is possible, but not ideal. The first step is to reach one of the larger nearby cities – Veliko Târnovo, Gabrovo or Stara Zagora.
You can travel by train, if you’re patient and you enjoy looking at beautiful views (sometimes, for much longer than you planned to). Tickets and timetables are available through the official Bulgarian National Rail website (БДЖ) where tickets need to be purchased a day in advance. Alternatively, you can check the timetables online and then buy your tickets in the station. Aside from national holidays, trains don’t usually sell out.
Buses are much easier to use in Bulgaria, and arrive at their destinations faster. There are multiple companies serving these routes, but the BusExpress website will give you a good overview of all routes and prices.
Step 2: Bus to the Mountain
Next, you’ll need to get from the city you’ve arrived in to the mountain itself. The towns of Shipka and Kazanlâk will be the most helpful. Local bus companies operate routes from Veliko Târnovo and Gabrovo in the north, to Shipka; and from Stara Zagora in the south, to Kazanlâk. Unfortunately though these local companies don’t always post their itineraries online, so your best approach is to ask for details in the local bus station.
Step 3: Taxi, Hitch or Hike to the Monument
By the time you have arrived in either Shipka or Kazanlâk, you’ll be roughly 20km (12 miles) from the Buzludzha Monument. The easiest way to complete this last leg is by taxi. The drive will take around 30 minutes, and you should expect to pay something in the region of 20 levs (about €10) each way. Drivers might charge you more for the difficult roads, and they will probably charge an extra fee for waiting while you visit the monument. It will vary from taxi to taxi, so just be sure to agree on a price before you get in.
Some people hitchhike the last leg up to the monument. Especially in summer there can be a lot of cars going up and down the mountain, and we’ve heard lots of positive reports from people who’ve successfully hitched a ride. Bulgaria is generally a safe place to hitchhike – but naturally, we offer no guarantees and if you choose this approach then you do so at your own risk.
Finally, it’s not impossible to hike to the top. Some of the locals do this, and a few adventurous tourists have been known to walk to Buzludzha too. It’s a beautiful hike in summer, though be prepared to spend your entire day walking and pack accordingly. It should go without saying, but unless you’re an experienced mountain hiker, DO NOT attempt to walk to Buzludzha in winter… unless you want future visitors to see a memorial to you.
Getting to Buzludzha with public transport can be a real adventure. If you have the time and the patience, it can be a rewarding trip, with the opportunity to see various little towns and meet a whole load of interesting people along the way. But it can also go wrong, especially in winter, potentially leaving you stranded in places that you didn’t expect to be spending the night in. If you want an adventure, then good luck – you’ll probably enjoy this.
If you simply want to see the Buzludzha Monument though, then we highly recommend that you either hire a car, or use one of the tour operators listed above.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
For many years visitors continued to gain access inside the Buzludzha Monument through broken doors and windows, even after entry was officially prohibited. Now however, these entry points have been sealed and a guard watches over the site 24/7. (For a discussion of why this is a good thing, please see this news post.)
Buzludzha is still very much worth visiting, however. The monument’s exterior design is unique, while its mountainous surroundings are both beautiful, and densely packed with cultural attractions – so that a trip to Buzludzha can easily become part of a larger cultural tour of the region.
The following interactive map details some other local attractions, including monuments, restaurants, historical sites and accommodation options. Just click on any point to see a description.