If you are into abandoned Communist monuments, love creepy sights or just feel curiosity for anything off-the-beaten path, then Buzludzha monument is for you.
It is by far the most unusual Bulgarian attraction I’ve come across (or anywhere in the world really). A giant UFO shaped concrete block on top of a remote mountain? That’s pretty unique.
**** This post isn’t sponsored nor commissioned but contains affiliate links. If you book anything from them, this doesn’t cost you anything but might give me a little commission to help keep this free blog full of more travel tips and me fuelled with chocolate to keep writing. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ****
Why was the Buzludzha Monument built?
Its history likewise is fascinating. Built in the 70s and opened in 1981, the Buzludzha Monument served as the secret Communist party headquarters of Bulgaria.
The regime lasted only until 10 November 1989 and since then the building has been abandoned and slowly fallen apart. Although its doors were locked up, adventurous visitors have broken in time and again, stealing parts of the impressive mosaics and further damaging its architecture.
Is the Buzludzha Monument Open for Visitors?
Recently, a new restoration project was set into motion, which means that the building is now definitely off limits. Security stands guard and makes sure that this Communist building isn’t entered without permission. So don’t get your hopes up.
Even without entering, however, it is still very impressive. Especially if you arrive during fog. Then, it slowly seems to appear out of nowhere, the closer you get. Very eery! (Check out my video below.)
Take the visual tour inside here.
As of August 2020, the Buzludzha Project has begun working on Buzludzha Memorial. Let’s see what it will become and look like.
Getting to the Buzludzha Monument
Is Public Transport Going to Buzludzha?
I’m sorry to tell you that there are no buses or public transport going anywhere near the former Communist party headquarters. The closest towns you might get to are Kazanlak (~$8 by bus or ~$6 per train from Sofia) and Shikpa.
You could get a taxi from there or hitchhike but really, renting a car or taking a guided tour are the most feasible options.
Should You Rent a Car for Buzludzha?
The easiest way to reach the Buzludzha mountain is via car. You can easily rent a car from Sofia airport. (Just avoid EasyRent as we didn’t have a great experience with that one).
The drive takes a little over three hours and the road is pretty easy to navigate. There are signs towards Buzludzha, so you can’t miss it. Just know that the last bit up Buzludzha mountain is very windy. Take a few travel sickness pills in case you get motion sick.
How to Get to Mount Buzludzha from Sofia
Leave Sofia to the Southeast and drive via Автомагистрала „Тракия“/A1/E80. Just North of Plovdiv (Пловдив) turn North towards Route 64 and then east onto route E871 towards Shipka. Pass the town and follow the signs up mount Buzludzha.
How to Get to Mount Buzludzha from Plovdiv
From Plovdiv, you need to leave town on route 64 and drive along route 6. Turn off towards Shipka and then follow the signs up mount Buzludzha.
How to Get to Mount Buzludzha from Veliko Tarnovo
Leave Veliko Tarnovo on route 4 and then continue on routes 5, which turns into 5522 and then 5005. The road ends up on mount Buzludzha.
Should You Get a Tour to Buzludzha?
If you are a solo traveler like me and rely on getting around on public transport in Bulgaria, you don’t have to miss out either.
If you want to visit from Sofia and make it a full day trip with all kinds of Communist art and landmarks, book the guided tour here*. A good thing is that you get a digital tour ticket and it’s possible to cancel up to 24 hours until the trip.
What to Bring to Buzludzha?
Since you are on a Bulgarian roadtrip, you might pack all the roadtrip essentials, from snacks, to change of clothes/luggage, water bottles, sunscreen, walking shoes and a map/navi app. On top of the mountain, near the Communist building, is a parking lot.
The walk up the monument isn’t far nor difficult, regular city shoes will totally do.
The weather up at the top is colder than normal and when we visited we definitely didn’t anticipate the heavy fog. The sun was shining in Shipka! Therefore, I recommend bringing a light jacket and poncho or umbrella in case of sudden rain.
If you only have little time when you visit Bulgaria, I’d say you can happily skip this one. It is impressive but since you cannot enter it, you can’t see its entire glory anyway.
In case you are staying in Veliko Tarnovo, a day trip would totally work. I definitely enjoyed my visit and cannot wait until the Buzludzha monument is restored and its inside opened to the public.
Would you want to visit the Buzludzha monument?
More Bulgaria travel tips