Bulgaria may not be so off the beaten track these days, but it is still one of the least well known of the EU countries. To not witness the beauty of the country is also to miss out. If you’re lucky enough to travel to Bulgaria on all inclusive holidays, backpacking, a road trip or otherwise, here’s a list of ten things you really need to check out.
1. The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
In a land that predates the Romans it would be easy to fill all ten places with historic sites, but this 4th century BC settlement and burial ground tops the list with its remarkable wall frescoes and murals.
2. The Buzludzha Monument
Okay, it’s another historic monument, but this time from Bulgaria’s more recent past. This large and now largely decaying building is at the peak of Mount Buzludzha in the Central Balkan Mountains. Despite its dilapidated state it’s very impressive.
3. Brown Bear watching
And maybe even wolves too! Not the sort of thing you normally would expect from an all inclusive package holiday, but a specialist tour company will arrange a guided visit to the Western Rhodopes — one of the few places in Europe still home to the brown bear.
4. Bird watching
Again head to the Western Rhodopes, which has one of the richest and most diverse bird species in all of Europe. You can witness golden eagles and sparrowhawks gliding through the sky.
It’s not just about the rural areas -—Bulgarian cities also have a lot to offer. The capital Sofia has two grand churches, Sveta Sofia and Aleksander Nevski, but also great nightlife, intriguing street art and magnificent Mineral Baths.
Located on the southern Black Sea Coast, Bourgas is a distinctive and attractive holiday location surrounded by lakes. Check out its many galleries, museums and its annual international flower competition, The Flora.
Bulgaria’s only cruise port of call and the third largest city, Varna is full of interesting sites such as several Eastern Orthodox Churches and museums such as the Nicolaus Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium. Other essential attractions include the Aquarium, Dolphinarium and the Sea Garden.
8. The Kaleto Fortress
Near Belogradchik, this fortress is a reminder of Bulgaria’s complex past. Originally built by the Romans, it was modified later by the Byzantines, Bulgarians and Turks during the Ottoman Empire period.
9. Mitko Manolev Winery
No guide to Bulgaria should miss out its legacy in wine production and this cellar cut into rock near the Bolyaskata Kâshta ruins is the best location to sample the delicious local red while enjoying spectacular views.
10. And finally… any traditional Bulgarian restaurant! With its unique blend of Slavic, Greek, Middle Eastern and Italian influences Bulgarian cuisine is delicious and a highlight of any visit.
Combine the above with Bulgaria’s reasonable prices and frequent low cost flights. There’s no reason not to visit and get to know Bulgaria a whole lot better.
What part of Bulgaria would you like to see?
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