Travel Guide to Vidin Bulgaria
Set along the banks of the Danube, Vidin is one of Bulgaria’s oldest riverfront cities. The city of Vidin, located in the northwest area of Bulgaria, links Bulgaria with the Romanian town of Kalafat thanks to daily ferry service.
With a mixture of Roman, Turkish, medieval Bulgarian, and modern architecture, Vidin’s landscape contains well-preserved buildings, colorful gardens, and the lovely Danube as a backdrop. Vidin houses an excellent port from which many Danube cruises depart.
- Province: Vidin
- Population: 68,506 (Year 2005)
- Altitude: 34 Metres
- Postcode: 3700
- Area Code: 094
- Geographic Coordinates: 43° 59′ North, 22° 52′ East
Though some historians believe that Vidin most likely was established by Thracian tribes, others feel there is a link to Celtic tribes from that era. Like many Bulgarian towns and cities, there is no firm archaeological proof to back this claim up. It is not until the Romans that a documented history of Vidin begins. Between 3 B.C. and 46 A.D., Vidin (then Bononia) was part of the Roman province called Misia.
During the 1st century, Vidin changed hands and the medieval Bulgarians overtook the area. They renamed the town Budin and turned it into a thriving military region with the Baba Vida fortress constructed to help protect the town. In the 13th century, the area came under the Turkish (Ottoman) rule and then named the city Vidin. Vidin became a prosperous port community with shipping/trading forming the majority of the city’s revenue.
Several churches, cathedrals, and mosques deserve a closer look. The architecture of these buildings is breathtaking and makes for lovely photos (make sure picture taking is allowed). The Saint Panteleymom was erected in the 1600s. The brick church is built into the ground, so it can prove to be a refreshing area on a hot summer’s day. Saint Petka Church is also built into the ground. Completed in 1636, Saint Petka is an impressive sight. During the 17th century, the Saint Ditmar Cathedral was completed. Eventually, the wooden cathedral fell into a state of disrepair and had to be rebuilt, this time from stone. Completed in the late 1800s, Saint Ditmar is one of Vidin’s most impressive structures and happens to be the second-largest cathedral in Bulgaria. Osman Pazvantouglou’s Mosque and Library was built during the late 1800s. The oriental themes will appeal to many.
Built centuries ago, Baba Vida Fortress is the area’s hottest tourist attraction. The building is well preserved and contains amazing architecture. Many artifacts from the medieval times can be found within the fortress. One other fortress, Kaleto Fortress, is equally impressive and not to be missed.
Antim’s Mausoleum was built for Bulgaria’s first Exarch (bishop’s deputy). Built-in 1934, the building holds Antim’s remains and a mosaic portrait of the esteemed man. The impressive architecture is sure to thrill guests.
Located in the city, Hotel Avramov offers two-star accommodation for a reasonable rate. This hotel stands apart from others because they will arrange tours for you. Hotel Avramov will arrange a four-night stay in one of their great hotel rooms, transfers to and from the hotel, a cruise of the Danube, meals, and other area excursions.
Hotel Bozhuritsa has three double rooms and one suite. Located a short distance from Vidin, the hotel caters well to those interested in water sports, especially fishing. An on-site restaurant is the hotel’s best amenity.
The three-star Zora Hotel is located directly across from Saint Ditmar Cathedral. Rooms are well furnished with minibars, televisions, and private bathrooms. There are six double rooms and three suites within the hotel.
Finally, Bononia is the largest hotel complex in the city. Thirty double rooms, nine single rooms, and four suites are available for guests. Rooms come with private baths, color television, and telephones. An on-site restaurant offers reasonably priced local dishes.
Unfortunately, Vidin struggles to bring in revenue. Some cultural activities (the Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra is an example) that bring tourism money into the community, but often the expenses outweigh the profit. The port that brings tourists to Romania or on Danube cruises also brings in some money.
Salaries in Vidin and all of Bulgaria are rather low. Secretaries tend to earn the lowest income. A couple of manufacturing plants also bring money into the area, but agriculture is the area’s largest industry. Fertile fields help produce many crops (tobacco, cotton/clothing,) that can then be shipped to neighboring countries.
Cuisine in Vidin is typical of Bulgarian cooking. With a strong focus on grilled meats and vegetables, Bulgarian cuisine is healthy and delicious. There are a handful of restaurants in the area.
Viara is a bistro near the city’s largest garden/park. Drinks are cold and refreshing while the food offers an impressive selection of local dishes. There is seating both inside and outside on the patio.
Bononia is located in the Bononia Hotel. The restaurant can hold 150 diners and offers impressive local fare. There are private rooms where group gatherings can be hosted.
If you really want to sample the local specialties, head to Vienna Confection. Here you can sample some of the area’s greatest pastries and confections that are prepared for the local restaurants.
There are many local bars where you can go to have a cool drink and chat with the locals. If you are looking for dancing, one establishment will suit your needs. Sky Club is northwestern Bulgaria’s hottest disco. The dance club can house 800 people and is the most modern disco in the area. A small cover charge must be paid upon entry.
Sadly, Vidin is an area that is still trying to recover from the fall of Communism. Wages are low, so many of the residents struggle to keep out of poverty. Crime and corruption are typical problems throughout Bulgaria. Therefore, you should always be alert when you are walking the streets.