Bulgaria is in Eastern Europe, it’s bordered by Turkey and Greece to the south, Romania to the north and the Black Sea to the east. For the voyager willing to brave a distinct lack of English-speakers, a still developing free economy and a hit-or-miss tourist infrastructure, Bulgaria offers a treasure of prehistoric and current history and some of the most welcoming inhabitants in the region. Bulgarias varied geography also means the country has some of the best hiking and beach destinations in Europe, and on the inexpensive side to boot.
Sofia is Bulgarias capital and one of Europe’s oldest towns. The church Sv. Petka Samardshijska, that is right in the centre of an underpass, is one of the many traces from its long history that are visible all around the town.
The central market Zhenski Pazar extends to rows upon rows of outdoor souvenir stands where you can buy typical market fare as well as pretty much anything else you may want. Its a great place for grabbing a snack and to do some people watching.
The alluring mountain getaway Mt. Vitosha is literally a few miles from Sofias city center, and is an integral part of the capital for city dwellers. The mountain provides limitless picnic spots, a wooded oasis with amazing views, and winter skiing. The Cherni Vrah peak is an exhausting enough hike to make it a bragging point for metropolitan warriors.
If Sofia is the "big city" of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is the typical tourist city. It has a long history tracing back 8000 years, being built, destroyed & rebuilt by Thracian, Romans, Slavs and Osmans. Locals are quick to put forward the charms of their city over those of Sofia, and its hard to go up against their recommendations.
The city center, almost completely closed to traffic, is packed with restaurants and cafes and bustling crowds, giving Plovdiv the all together laid-back and happening experience of a vacation city.
The Old Quarter is the major tourist draw, with many of the flamboyant National-Revival style houses chosen as walk-through museums, complete with preserved conventional interiors.
Being the capital of the 2nd Bulgarian empire from 1187-1393, Veliko Turnovos setting is spectacular. The town is built on hills along the meandering river Yantra and is an important historical place. The remains of that time are being excavated on Carevec hill, the most significant landmark of the antique capital. The old town is very beautiful as well, with restored houses from the revival period.
Varna is the country’s main seaport and Bulgaria’s 3rd largest city. Its also a major transit point for tourists traveling North to the seaside resorts of Zlatni Pyassaci and Albena.
Varna itself has plenty to offer: a big park (Morska Gradina) with an aquarium, a delphinarium, a zoo and a couple of other attractions, lots of museums & churches as well as the ruins of Roman thermal baths. During summertime, Varna is host to lots of festivals.
Burgas is a getaway for the resorts and other seaside towns in that area and also the biggest town of the Southern part of the Black Sea coast. Theres the striking park close to the shore which is dotted with monuments and childrens playgrounds and a pedestrian mall full of activity. The beach itself isnt grand in Burgas, but its not that far to the more popular Sunny Beach.
It’s not hard to imagine why Nesebars old town is a Unesco World Heritage site. The Revival period houses and Byzantine church ruins are built on a small neck of land which is linked to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.Nesebar as Mesembria was founded by Thracians about 3000 BC, later on settled by Greeks and Romans. It had its glory days after Byzantium took over the supremacy and built new walls, towers and churches. During the middle ages Nesebar belonged to the alternating Byzantium and the 1st Bulgarian Empire. During that time Nesebar had about 80 churches, these days only few linger. During the National Revival Period rich merchants built the beautiful houses which make Nesebar so picturesque.
Pamporovo is one of Bulgarias most popular ski resorts. Its situated at an altitude of 1620m in the Rhodopi mountains. Pamprovo is supposed to be the sunniest of all winter resorts and to have snow from November to April. If youre not into skiing, there are lots of other potential to keep you occupied, like skating or hiking.You can also go up to the café on the tv tower on Snezhanka mountain and enjoy the panorama.