Kardzhali is situated in a wide section of the middle of the Arda River's valley. It is surrounded by three Rhodope ridges: Chukata, Stramni Rid and Zhalti Dol. The climate is Transitional Mediterranean.
The town has preserved traces of various ages and cultures - prehistoric, Thracian, Roman, Byzantine, Medieval (from the time of the First and Second Bulgarian kingdoms), and Ottoman. The first inhabitants of these lands were Thracians, subdued later by the Romans. After them came the Slavic tribe of Smoleni. During the Middle Ages the settlement often changed hands. At the time of the creation of the Slavo-Bulgarian state, it was within the territory of the Byzantine Empire. It became part of the Bulgarian state during the rule of Tsar Simeon. The Ottoman Turks conquered it during the 14th century and populated it with colonists from Asia Minor. Circi Ali ruled here around 1650 as the commander of a large military unit. It is supposed that the name of the town has remained since those times. The town was not freed from Ottoman rule until 1912.
• The Town Historical museum.
• Art Gallery, converted from the former konak (Ottoman police-administration centre). A unique icon collection preserves the works of the distinctive masters from the Rhodope and Thracian regions, as well as creations by three generations of Bulgarian artists and sculptures.
• The Dimitar Dimov Drama Theater.
• The Window Rock.
• St. John the Precursor's Church in the Veselchane Quarter.
• Tatul - Orpheus sanctuary.
• The Perperikon Fortress (a.k.a. Hyperperakion, Peiperakion), situated on a high rocky peak in the eastern Rhodopes 15 km (10
miles) northeast of Kardzhali. Archeological studies have discovered evidence of the Neolithic, Stone-Copper (Eneolithic), and Bronze Ages. During the later stages of the Bronze Age (18-12th century B.C.) Perperikon experienced its first great flowering. That is the era of the Cretan-Mycenaean Civilization. The Early Iron Age (11-6th century B.C.), when the Thracian religious and philosophic system was forming, is also well evidenced. Many ceramic vessels have been uncovered with the images of ancient Thracian gods upon them. In general terms, Perperikon consists of four sections - a mighty fortress (acropolis) on the highest part of the hill, palace-sanctuary just below the acropolis, plus northern and southern lower towns. The interior of the acropolis is built up with many chapels and civil structures. Despite the fact that a significant part of the complex is still underground the modern visitor can find many places permitting walking on wide streets, cut directly out of the rock, and also to enter into well preserved whole homes. It is suggested that the palace is possibly a monumental temple ensemble to the god Dionysus, which reached its zenith during the Roman era. The buildings of Perperikon amaze with the incredible talents of the creators. According to specialists, this grandiose archeo-logical complex could be compared to world monuments like Mycenae, Delphi or Crete.
• The old fortresses Monyak and Krivos.
• The rock pyramids on the lands of the villages of Zimzelen, Povet and Dobrovolets - volcanic tufts, in various colors, which are due to the numerous oxides, mainly iron and manganese, in their composition. Among many of them, nature has carved out fairy-tale geological phenomena - Petrified Wedding, Rock Mushrooms, and Turtle Head among others.
• The beautiful resort area of Belite Brezi (The White Birches).
• The picturesque canyon on the Borovitsa River, which flows into the Kardzhali Dam.
• The Vulchi Dol (Wolf's Valley) Reserve for rare vegetation.
• Dam lakes - Kardzhali, Studen Kladenets (Cold Well) and Borovitsa - on the Arda River, full of freshwater fish.
• Dyavolski Most (The Devil's Bridge, a.k.a. Sheytan Kuypruy) on the Arda River - a triple-arched bridge approximately 10 km (6 miles) from Ardino. Its name comes from the legend that only the Devil can cross it. Another explanation is provided by an old picture by an unknown artist, where a reflection of the rocks is seen in the water, above the highest arch: the image appears as the Devil's head. The natural phenomenon appears annually on a certain day, at a certain time and at a certain level of water and position of the sun. The bridge was built during the 14-15th century on an ancient trade route that connects Thrace and the Aegean region. It is 56 m long and 3.5 m wide (180 and 11 feet, respectively); its height at the central arch is 11.20 m (over 36 feet). It is made of stones held together extremely tightly - its lime mortar is purported to be mixed with egg and olive oil.
• Orlovite Skali (Eagles' Cliff's) 2 km from Ardino - a Thracian sanctuary dating from the 1st century B.C. In the sheer cliffs, 96 niches are carved out with a variety of sizes; urns were placed here as a part of burial rituals.
• Crivus Fortress not far from Ardino - built on a steep ridge and surrounded by the Arda River on three sides. The southern half of the fortress is taken up by a citadel with the measurements of 50/40 m (160/130 feet), the walls reach a height of 6 m (nearly 20 feet).
• The Zhenda State Wild Game Station with a rich supply of game - red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, wild sheep (mouflon), and hogs. Two hunting lodges have been built on the territory - Zhenda and Bolyartsi
• The Fortress By the Village of Vishegrad.
• The Cave - Womb
• The Thracian Megaliths Near Lisicite Village