With Greece and Turkey to the South, Bulgaria often gets overlooked as a holiday destination. However, the advantage Bulgaria does have over it’s more popular neighbours, is that it’s generally quite cheap and a lot less crowded.
Also, unlike some of the more Southern European countries, Bulgaria is a great place to visit all year round. The mountains in the East are great for skiing or snowboarding in the winter and the Black Sea coast to the west, provides plenty of golden sand to top up your tan in summer. In between, there’s old quaint villages, ornate monasteries and thriving cities that are ripe for exploring.
Sofia, the capital, is steadily beginning to attract a more affluent crowd. Fast cars and fancy bars are popular with the younger generation and are just one sign of how this country is developing from its pre 1990’s communist ruled days. Expect to see a unique country with beautiful scenery, great weather and an individual culture. The best thing is, it won’t break the bank either!
Bulgaria is a fairly cheap place to come on holiday, especially compared to its European counterparts. What a great excuse to really try the local food and drink with it costing the earth! Bulgarian cuisine is a mixture of Greek, Turkish, Slavonic influences made out of fresh and natural ingredients.
Venture out to local restaurants and try specialities such as Banista, a cheese-filled, traditional Bulgarian pastry dish; Sample stuffed peppers, which are a favourite here in Bulgaria; Or enjoy Moussaka, a potato and meat based dish accompanied by a white creamy sauce and yogurt.
Of course in the main tourist resorts there’s a big variety of food, from sushi bars to pizza places! But don’t go home without trying some of the Bulgarian drinks on offer. The beer they make in this country, is strong beer. Averaging around 10% alcohol, it might knock you off your feet slightly if you have a few too many!
Bulgaria has changed a lot in the last few decades. Once a country under communist rule, tourism was uncommon and visitors went to other European countries for their holidays. That has all changed though since Bulgaria became part of the European Union and there’s a lot going on in this country for tourists to do!
In the east of the country the Rila Mountains are the highest in Bulgaria and this is perhaps where you’ll find some of the most scenic views in the country. Hike through the hills, and you’ll come across Rila Monastery. Nestled in the coniferous forest, this fortress type building was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and has occupied this site since the 10th Century!
If you’re here in winter, stay in the mountains and practice your skiing at one of the many winter resorts in the area. Bansko is the most popular with plenty of bluebird days and trails climbing 2600m into the mountains and the party doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either. The apres-ski is enough to tempt anyone to the mountains, even if you don’t ski or board!
Head out of the mountains in the summer, travel through the sunflower fields to the coast of the Black Sea. Bulgaria’s coastline is one of the main draws for tourists coming here. Miles upon miles of Blue Flag beaches are punctuated by pretty towns such as Nessebar and Ozbor. Soft sand occupies the main resorts of Sunny Beach and Bourgas as well as lively bars and traditional restaurants. If you want more of a rural experience, local villages are a great way to see how local people spend their time. Expect to see the older generation sat on communal benches, catching up on local gossip and waiting for animal herds to come home for the evening. You may even get the chance to create your own Bulgarian, woven rug in the village of Chiprovtsi. What a great souvenir to take home as well as a lovely tan!