The Belogradchik Rocks and Kaleto Fortress are the most famous local landmark , Source: Depositphotos

Will Elon Musk boost tourism in Bulgaria?

Will Elon Musk boost tourism in Bulgaria?

A leaked email and a Twitter exchange in which the billionaire compared the Belogradchik Rocks to scenes from Elden Ring could draw needed attention to EU’s poorest region

Elon Musk has allegedly decided to come to Bulgaria in April 2023. This stems from a leaked email from his team to a restaurant near the town of Belogradchik, showing that the richest man in the world asked for reservations. To this moment, the authenticity of the reservation request has not been confirmed.

This development came after yesterday the Twitter user Aesthetica posted a photo of the Belogradchik Rocks, a picturesque formation in the region that houses a dreamy, fantasy-like Medieval fortress named Kaleto.

Musk commented on the photo of the formation shot by Bulgarian photographer Vladislav Terziiski, comparing it to scenes from the videogame Elden Ring:

This prompted a response from the Municipality of Belogradchik and Bulgaria’s Minister for Tourism Ilin Dimitrov, inviting the billionaire to experience the region’s underappreciated yet comprehensive tourism offer.

Additionally, the visit could provoke a spur of infrastructure redevelopment in the Northwestern region, the poorest in the European Union, according to Eurostat data. Tourism, which is a big industry in Bulgaria, is also underdeveloped in the region, despite its rich history and nature, and the 70,000 tourists Belogradchik attracted since the start of 2022.

The mayor of Belogradchik, Boris Nikolov, said for TheMayor.EU that the city will definitely experience some needed attention due to the story. However, he also explained that if the story was happening during the spring, the effects would be much more profound. 

The restaurant and the village Stakevtsi

The main information about Elon Musk’s supposed visit to Belogradchik originated from what is claimed to be a reservation request from Musk's team, posted on social media by the restaurant ONÀ. Later, the news was repeated by Minister Ilin Dimitrov for the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.

Moreover, in the restaurant’s post on social media, they tried to push local authorities in Belogradchik to do more redevelopment in the region. The post continues: “We have around five months, which is not a short time to pave at least the main street in our broken little village and replace some measly 200 metres of pipes.”

Belogradchik's Mayor's take on things

During an interview for TheMayor.EU from today, the Mayor of Belogradchik, Boris Nikolov, explained that the city is currently going through a redevelopment and so is the village of Stakevtsi. Mayor Nikolov said that the sewer system in the village has been finished and roadworks are scheduled to start next Monday.

He also pointed out that sewer redevelopment and roadworks have been a centre point of his administration for the past 10 years, both in Belogradchik and the surrounding regions. According to him, around half of the city has gone through public works and is very different from what it used to be.

Moreover, Mayor Nikolov pointed out that all municipal buildings and at least 1,000 apartments have gone through insulation works, making them very energy efficient.

He continued: “Look, the whole country is talking about the Elon Musk story today, which is great advertising for us! However, these stories tend to have a short lifespan and after three days, everyone will move on. The only thing I am sorry about is that this situation did not develop over the spring, which is the best time to visit Belogradchik. Because otherwise, it would have an enormous and immediate boost to local tourism.”

Authorities trying to attract Elon Musk

Yesterday, a slew of Bulgarian officials tried to draw Elon Musk’s attention to Bulgaria, inviting him to try out the many offers in and around Belogradchik. The list includes the Minister for Tourism, who promoted the oldest processed gold objects in the world – a treasure from the Chalcolithic Necropolis of Varna and an annual cosplay festival held in the city of Belogradchik.

City authorities apparently created a Twitter handle specifically for the occasion, as the profile lacks any activity prior to the exchange under Aesthetica’s post. Nevertheless, authorities offered the billionaire an experience of the local landscapes, as well as a visit to the birthplace of Prof Widen Tabakov - a famous airspace engineer and researcher who participated in NASA’s Apolo programme.  



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU