Travel Guide to Thracian Valley

The Thracian Valley is one of the largest wine regions of Bulgaria, located along the country’s border with Greece and Turkey. The proximity of the region to the lower reaches of the Maritsa River makes it perfect for viticulture. The terrain of the Thracian Valley is incredibly diverse and excellent for the growth of grapes. The Thracian Valley is one of the two PGI designations for Bulgaria wine that are recognized for exporting within the EU. In 2017, Wine Enthusiast magazine voted the Thracian Valley the second-best wine destination in Europe. Thanks to, its wonderful location and excellent wine, the Thracian Valley provides a wonderful wine tourism experience to all who visit.


Find out about Wine tasting and Tours in Thracian Valley to enjoy if you visit the region.

Experience One of Bulgaria’s most Perfect Wine Tourism Destinations

The name of the Thracian Valley wine region comes from the ancient Greek word Thrace which is linked to Greek mythology and Greek wars. This region was the source of some of the most famous wines consumed during those times and by the people of Troy. The area is also claimed to be the birthplace of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine.

Evidence of winemaking in the Thracian Valley extends back to as far as 4000 BC. Since then, the tradition of winemaking has remained, making the area one of the most prolific winemaking regions in Bulgaria. At some point, Bulgaria was the 4th largest producer of wine in the world until the industry collapsed in the 1980s as a result of centrally imposed limits on the alcohol industry and the downfall of the Soviet Union. Today the Thracian Valley is on its path to a rebirth thanks in great part to the low cost of wine production in the region and the excellent quality of the wines produced.

The climate of the Thracian Valley is temperate continental. The low levels of rainfall experienced in the region make it perfect for the production of red wine and the growth of red wine grapes. The soil of the region is highly varied, but the most predominant soil type is Jory. This soil is reddish in colour because of its high iron content. Across the region there are also calcareous and sandy clay soils that contribute earthy and natural tones to the wines.

The Winemaking Sub-regions of the Thracian Valley

The Thracian Valley wine making region is made up of several sub regions. These sub regions are the districts of Plovdiv, Haskovo, Pazardzhik, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Kardzhali, Yambol and Smolyan. The large number of sub regions and their varying microclimates and terroirs mean that there are a large number of wine makers in the region. These winemakers have come together to focus investment on wine making infrastructure and producing wines of only the highest quality.

Grape Varieties:

Red: Pamid, Gamza, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminer, Merlot

White: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel, Vrachanski Misket, Traminer

vineyard and building of minkov brothers winery
Vineyards of Minkov Brothers Wine Cellar, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria

Bulgarian Wines filled with Character and Flavour

Traditionally the focus of viticulture in the Thracian Valley has been on the production of red wines. In recent years this has changed and the white grape varietals of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and Traminer have been used to produce excellent quality and well received white wines.

Thracian Valley red wines have a deep ruby red colour. The aromas of these wines are of red and black fruits including sweet and sour cherries, blackberries and plums, with accents of chocolate, spices and red peppers. The red wines of the region are rich in alcohol with noble tannins.

Of the red wines made in the region, perhaps the most notable is the Mavrud. Mavrud red gape varietals are used as a blending grape and for varietal wines. It is indigenous to the Balkan region. These grapes produce wine that is powerful and tannic and that can stand alone or be blended with other international varietals.

The white wines of the Thracian Valley have a distinct and vivid golden colour with hints of green. The aromas of these wines are intensive and multi-layered and develop in the glass to acquire a flowery sweetness.

In recent times, the winemakers of the Thracian Valley have begun to make sparkling wines that also show great potential.

Wineries to Visit in Thracian Valley

Zagreus Winery

The ethos at the Zagreus Winery is that the treatment of the vines and the terroir on which they grow determine the flavour of the wine in the bottle. Through this, the wines of Zagreus have won numerous local and international accolades for their excellent characteristics and qualities. The winery at Zegreus is a modern complex that welcomes guests to learn about local wine-making practices and taste the estate wines.

Villa Vinifera

The Villa Vinifera winery and estate was established in 1936 in the Bestovitsa village in the heart of the mountains of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The team at Villa Vinifera welcomes guests to one of the oldest wineries in Bulgaria to learn about traditional winemaking techniques, chat with the winemakers and enjoy delicious wine tasting and food pairing experiences.  

Villa Yustina Winery

The Villa Vinifera winery and estate was established in 1936 in the Bestovitsa village in the heart of the mountains of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The team at Villa Vinifera welcomes guests to one of the oldest wineries in Bulgaria to learn about traditional winemaking techniques, chat with the winemakers and enjoy delicious wine tasting and food pairing experiences.  

Read more about Wineries in Thracian Valley to visit.


The Best Sites to See in the Thracian Valley   

Regional Ethnographic Museum

The Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum is the second largest specialized museum in Bulgaria. The museum was first opened in 1917 in the Kuyumdzhieva house, a cultural monument in Plovdiv. This museum houses over 60 000 cultural artifacts mainly relating to the traditions of the people of Plovdiv. These artifacts include copper items, ceramics, carvings, jewelry, ancient weapons, and items of clothing.

 Bachkovo Monastery – The Second Largest Monastery in Bulgaria

The Bachkovo Monastery of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin is the second largest monastery in Bulgaria. This monastery has an extraordinary location on a ledge overlooking the Chepelarska River. The ease of accessibility to the monastery has made it one of the most visited monasteries in Bulgaria. The most exciting time to visit the monastery is during the weekends and on big orthodox holidays when large groups of pilgrims come to pay their respects and enjoy the picturesque setting. When visiting the monastery allow yourself time to explore the 8000 square meter estate that sits at 440 meters above sea level. The estate includes two yards, four churches and 18 chapels. Mass is served at the monastery twice a day and accommodation is available for those who would like to extend their stay.

Bachkovo Momastery, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
St. Konstantin and Elena Church – The Oldest Christian Church in Povdiv

The Constantine and Elena Orthodox Church can be found in the center of the old town of Plovdiv. It is situated on the ruins of the old fortress wall and is the oldest church in the region. The church was first built in 1832 but has since undergone extensive renovations. So significant is this church that it is included on the list of 100 national tourist sites of Bulgaria and is one of the most visited Orthodox churches in Plovdiv. St. Konstantin and Elena Church are open daily for visitors from 08:00 – 20:00 in the summer months and from 08:00 – 17:30 in the winter months.

Spend time exploring the town of Kalofer

The beautiful town of Kalofer is located in the Plovdiv District of the Thracian Valley in Bulgaria. The town rises high above the ground and sits at 600 meters above sea level. It is located along both banks of the Tundja River, nestled between the Sredna Gora and Balkan Mountains. Towering over Kalofer is the Botev peak – the highest mountain peak of the Balkan Range. Kalofer is well known for being the birthplace of the famous Bulgarian poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev. Within the town center, there is a museum dedicated to him. The top attractions to enjoy in Kalofer are the Central Balkan National Park, the white river eco-trail, Botev Peak, and the Kalofer Museum.


The Incredible Natural Beauty of the Thracian Valley   

The natural beauty of the Thracian Valley means that it is a fantasy land for all nature and outdoor lovers. The deep valleys and gorges accompanied by the towering mountain peaks provide breathtaking scenery from any viewpoint and from any place in the region. For nature lovers, this is a must-see destination in Bulgaria.

Sredna Gora – Experience the Sredna Mountains

The Sredna Gora is a mountain range in central Bulgaria that runs parallel to the Balkan mountain range. The Sredna range extends between the Iska, Tundzha and Yambol rivers, making it one of the most beautiful locations in Bulgaria. The entire range is 285 km long and at its widest width it reaches 50 km wide. The highest peak in the range is Golyam Bogdan which rises to 1604 meters high. The best way to experience the beauty of the Sredna Gora is to hike the mountain range, either over multiple days or as a day trip. There are various clearly marked hiking trails that can be enjoyed with an experienced local guide.

Devil’s Throat Cave – Descend into the depths of the Rhodope Mountains

The Devil’s Throat Cave is located in the Western Rhodope Mountains close to the city of Devin. Inside the caves are some of Europe’s most intriguing rock formations and a wonderful underworld kingdom. The entrance to the cave system resembles a devil’s head with a massive waterfall rushing down its throat, which is how the cave got its name. One of the local Bulgarian legends is that Orpheus descended into the caves to look for this lost love, Eurydice. For visitors to the cave, there are regular guided tours through the cave system. The tour begins in an artificial gallery that leads one along the waterfall to the Hall of Thunder where there are 301 steps descending along the side of the waterfall. From here the tour continues through the rest of the cave system and its chambers. The best time to visit the Devils Throat cave is in spring or summer when the entrance to the cave is encircled by lush greenery.

The Marvelous Bridges in the Rhodope Mountains        

The natural bridges of the western Rhodope Mountains are a natural formation that are a true wonder of nature and are spectacular to see. The bridges are situated at 1450 meters above sea level at the foot of Mount Persenk on Chernatitsa Ridge in the Rhodope Mountains. The series consists of natural rock bridges across a flowing river. The arches were formed by the rushing water of the river which formed cracks in the marble rocks. These cracks then later formed into deep caves. Over time the roofs of the caves became thinner and thinner and eventually collapsed, leaving a rock formation resembling a bridge. The biggest of the bridges is 96 meters long and 70 meters high. When visiting the bridges there a number of clearly marked pathways to enjoy while marveling at the natural scenery.

Ancient Roman bridge near village of Nenkovo at Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

The Delicious Flavours and Dishes of the Thracian Valley    

For many food lovers, the food of the Thracian Valley resembles that of their grandmother’s cooking. The cuisine of the region has a strong emphasis on raw ingredients, seasonal vegetables, grilled meats, and herbs freshly foraged from the forest. Pairing these delicious with the best of the local wines makes the Thracian Valley the perfect Bulgarian food and wine destination.

Kavarma – Delicious Meat Prepared in a Traditional Clay Pot

Kavarma is a traditional meat dish of the Thracian Valley that is prepared in a clay pot that has been used by the locals for generations. The dish can be made with pork, chicken and beef and a combination of fresh vegetables such as carrots, leeks, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and finished with wine. Kavarma is usually served as a main course dish and can be found on the menus of most Bulgarian restaurants where it is enjoyed throughout the year.

Kavarma
Patatni – Savoury Pie from the Rhodope Mountains

Patatnik is a savoury pie that originates from the Rhodope Mountains. The pie is made of a combination of chopped onions and potatoes that are seasoned with pepper, salt and mint. Other ingredients that can be added to enhance the flavour are eggs, cheeses and various peppers. The name of the dish comes from the local work patat which means potato. To cook the dish, it is usually baked in an oven, but it can also be boiled, fried or rolled out in sheets.

Panagyurski Eggs – Not Your Everyday Eggs

Panagyurski Eggs is a traditional egg dish of the Thracian Valley. Legend has it that the local Bulgarians took at old Balkan dish and enhanced it by adding cheese to it, resulting in Panagyurski Eggs. This dish may be simple, but it is filled with flavor. To make it, eggs are poached and flavored with paprika, garlic, Bulgarian yoghurt and cheese. The best way to serve Panagyurski Eggs is with crusty bread and a glass of crisp, dry white wine.


Share about Thracian Valley Wine Region:

Region Highlights

Surface:
Wineries:
Soil: Varied with predominantly Jory soil, calcareous and sandy clay
Climate: Temperate continental

Selected wineries in Thracian Valley

Borovitza Winery
Small artisan winery making unique, natural wines without any conservatives
Dragomir Winery Estate
Changing perceptions of Bulgarian wine, presenting quality and excellent experiences
Four Friends Winery
Producing excellent Bulgarian wines, we make wine for friends
Minkov Brothres Wine Cellar
The heart and soul of true Bulgarian wine making

Wine tastings & tours in Thracian Valley

A holiday experience at Chateau Copsa
Enjoy the local wines while situated in a majestic castle in the beautiful Rose Valley at Chateau Copsa Wine Tasting & Tour
A visit and wine tasting at Four Friends Winery
Enjoy a wine Tasting and tour experience combined with the wine making process at Four Friends Winery
Learn about winemaking at Rumelia winery
Wine tasting of award winning wines while relishing in the local environment during a tour at Rumelia Winery
Visit Domain Trifonoff and taste their wines
Enjoy excellent wine tasting flavours during a tour in a charming and relaxing environment at Domain Trifonoff

Other Wine Regions in Bulgaria

Black Sea Coast
There are a big number of wineries in Black Sea Coast with wine tasting and tour activities that you can book easily via winetourism.com.
Danubian Plain
Danubian Plain has a large number of wineries that offer wine tasting and tour. Visit our website to book beautiful wine-filled experiences and learn more about the wine region.
Struma Valley
Struma Valley wine region is a great destination with a broad offering of wineries with wine tasting and tours. On our website you can book your visits in order to be prepared for your time in the region.
Valley of Roses
You can experience amazing wine tasting and tour activities at the various wineries in Valley of Roses . On our site you can read all about this regions to be prepared for your stay.

Map of Wineries in Thracian Valley wine region

Discover the long wine tradition of Thracian Valley and discover some of the best wineries in this region

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List of Wineries in Thracian Valley wine region

Borovitza Winery