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. Bulgaria offers a treasure of prehistoric and current history and some of the most welcoming inhabitants in the region. Bulgaria’s 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 Bulgaria’s 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 Sofia’s 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.
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 it’s 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.
Many of its ancient public establishments have been discovered and studied: the Ancient Roman Theatre, the Roman stadium with 30 000 seats, the Forum, a couple of basilicas of the early Christian time, the synagogue and public baths.
Ruins of the two fortification walls with their gates are the most numerous and visible among the monuments from Roman times.
The old part of Plovdiv, with its winding, cobble-stone streets, is best explored by roaming around it on foot. Its decorative 18th-19th century buildings bear the stamp of a typically Balkan style of architecture; mostly renovated, some function as museums or galleries.
Plovdiv’s most famous landmark is its 2nd century Roman amphitheatre which is located on the side of the hill in the old part of the city. The “Theatron” (seats for the audience) is arranged in tiers and is divided into two rings of 14 rows each. The stage has two levels.
Most probably the theatre had a capacity of about 7000 spectators. There are numerous Roman mosaics discovered in Plovdiv.
One of (if not) the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo - situated approximately midway between Sofia and Varna - forms a picturesque setting on the hilltops, within a bend of the Jantra River.
At one time the capital of the 2nd Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo can justifiably claim the title of being Bulgaria’s richest city in terms of historic monuments – based on the 12th-14th centuries churches, the typically Balkan style, 18th-19th centuries dwellings, and the medieval fortress (Tsarevets) towering over the city.
The terraced dwellings which overlook the Jantra River, in the historic old part of Veliko Tarnovo, present a distinctive panorama to the sightseer; a significant number of these dwellings now function as hotels, restaurants and cafes.
Stretching along the shores of the Black Sea, along a bay bearing the same name, Varna is Bulgaria’s third largest city. Also known as the “Maritime Capital”, Varna, with its beaches, sights and programmes, is one of the favourite holiday resorts on the Black Sea.
Varna, which the ancient Greeks called Odessos, is a city with an incredible historical heritage. The oldest processed gold in the history of the world is found in the Varna necropolis dating from the 5th century BC.
Its most outstanding monument, the former Roman Baths with its close to 400 metres long system of sewerage drains, has remained almost intact to this day.
Many tourists are attracted by the new resorts established nearby, such as Albena, and the zone of development known as “Golden Sands”.
Stretching between the coast and the harbor is the old part of the town; one of its most characteristic buildings is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin with its many domes.
Situated in the south-eastern part of the present-day city of Varna (Odessos in the past), the Roman spa is the largest antique public building (over 7000 sq. m) ever discovered in Bulgaria.
The architectural style and the coins found in this region suggest that the Roman spa buildings were constructed around the end of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century and functioned till the end of the 3rd century.
Of its museums, the best known is the Archaeological Museum with the unique collection of finds from the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis. Varna’s aquarium, where the typical living creatures inhabiting the Black Sea can be viewed, is also counted among the city’s attractions.
Other remarkable museums in Varna are the Museum of History of Medicine – which is the only one in the Balkans -, the Museum of Maritime Economy, the National Museum of the Navy, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of the National Revival Period, the Museum of the History of Varna, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Tourism.
The city’s peculiar sea charm is sublime and moving with its 12 thermal springs with slight mineralization and high level of temperature difference (28° C - 52° C), high water flow capacity and the abundance of firth mud in the Varna lake. There is a whole variety of facilities like baths, kinesitherapy, mineral pools with healing water resources, electro and light treatment, electrophoresis as well as many others. These services as well as world-class health programs are offered in Grand Hotel Varna.
The mineral waters are extremely good for treatment of cardio vascular diseases, nervous system problems and disorders, upper respiratory tract and lung diseases, fatness; however good for various treatment procedures, rehabilitation, primary and secondary prophylaxis and recreation. Similar health disorders are also influenced by the good chemical composition, the value of hydrogen sulphide and hydro dioxide at the spa balneology centre ”St. Konstantin”. The thermal water in Golden sands and Riviera areas is suitable for systematic treatment of digestive system diseases, urinary and endocrine systems.
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. There’s the striking park close to the shore which is dotted with monuments and children’s playgrounds and a pedestrian mall full of activity. The beach itself isn’t grand in Burgas, but it’s 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 Bulgaria’s most popular ski resorts. It’s 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 you’re 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.