Belogradchik Rocks
Belogradchik Rocks / iStock / iluziaa
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Fortress Baba Vida
Fortress Baba Vida / iStock / Nickolay Stanev
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Vidin, Bulgaria
Port
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Most ships dock in Vidin for excursions to Belogradchik Rocks, about an hour away. But don't be afraid to poke around town in the afternoon. While it is not a thriving city, you can use your imagination to see the surviving baroque buildings and stone temples as they were in the town's heyday before it was greatly altered by communist rule.

What We Love

Belogradchik Rocks: This striking series of rocks has taken on intricate shapes over the centuries, and many local legends have been passed down through the ages. Some, such as the Cuckoo and Bee Stone, are named for the sound the wind makes while passing through the rocks.

Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque: This mosque in Vidin is the only one in the world topped with a heart instead of a half moon.

Best Known For

Fortress Baba Vida: Easily the top attraction in Vidin, this is the most well-preserved medieval fortress in Bulgaria. Admission is inexpensive, but you must have cash and it must be Bulgarian lev. Also, be aware that at some spots there are no ropes separating ledges from 100-foot drops.

Vidin Synagogue: Built in 1894, this unusual neo-gothic temple is in ruins — roofless, crumbling, and surrounded by weeds. Still, you can imagine what it looked like back in the day, and see the testament to wealth and pride it once was. Restoration efforts began and collapsed with the fall of communism. There is a plan to turn it into a museum, but no actual work has begun.

Who It's Best For

History Buffs: Vidin dates back 2,000 years and has the Roman, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Soviet architecture to prove it. From the Baba Vida fortress to the Church of St. Demetrius, the country’s second largest church, and the Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque and Library, the past is easy to see in the present.

Intrepid Travelers: Vidin is an undiscovered town. If you can get past the tired look of the city, you can see the remnants of what Bulgaria’s main gateway to the West looked like before communism came to town.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Skip the Sandals: The streets are a hodgepodge of different materials, and not in good condition. It’s very easy to catch a toe and go flying. Sturdy shoes are a must.

Closed for Business: Those hoping to pick up souvenirs in town could be disappointed. Most stores were not open while our ship was in port — on a Saturday.

Dena Roche
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger
Dena Roché is a luxury travel expert who stays on top of trends in the luxury travel space traveling the world on assignment for a variety of luxury lifestyle and travel magazines and online publications. Her travel, spa and lifestyle articles have been featured in Modern Luxury, Robb Report, Great Golf, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Life Refined, LuxeBeat and more. Dena is often quoted in media like USA Today, The Street and TripIt on the subject of luxury travel. Her travels have allowed her to experience luxury travel on six continents and 61 countries. As a certified health coach, Dena has a special passion for luxury wellness travel. She has spoken on the subject at The New York Times Travel Show, Travel Industry Exchange and on behalf of Lincoln Motors. She works directly with brands to help them compete in the lucrative luxury wellness travel market. Her social campaigns routinely garner over 25 million social impressions for brands like Swissotel, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and more. Dena is the creator of The Travel Diet, an idea that travel teaches travelers how to feed their spirit, nourish their brain AND whittle their waist. The idea was born from her own luxury travels where she often loses weight and stress on the road