Most tourists think of the Black Sea when they think of a holiday in Bulgaria. The Black Sea is indeed great for a beach holiday, but there is over-development in some parts, and it it almost feels like it is about to become the ‘Benidorm’ of Bulgaria!
I recently spent 2 weeks in Bulgaria, and I’m here today to tell you that there is much more to this beautiful country than just the coast. These are my highlights of Bulgaria.
Sofia – Bulgaria’s Thriving and growing Capital City
Easyjet flights from Manchester to Sofia make Bulgaria’s capital more accessible than ever before. Take the metro from the airport to the city centre, and observe the Roman ruins underground at Serdika metro station. Drink a hot chocolate a La Cattedrale overlooking the amazing Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Eastern Europe.
Then, there’s the amazing nightlife of Sofia. Soak up a few drinks at ‘The Apartment’ or the ‘Art Hostel’ bar before heading to one of the many might clubs on offer.
Sofia is easy to navigate, safe and excellent value for money. It makes a great stop off for travellers or a 6-12 month hub for digital nomads.
Rila Mountains – Monastery and Lakes
From Sofia, it is possible to head into the Rila Mountains to take in the breathtaking views of the 7 Lakes, or to explore the Rila Monastery.
Rila Monastery itself reveals stunning Orthodox Christian architecture against the beautiful mountainous backdrop. Inside the Monastery you will find a stunning place of worship embellished with gold plating.
Plovdiv – Capital of Culture 2019
Take a train ride around 3 hours from Sofia to explore the historical and cultural city of Plovdiv. Plovdiv is a popular place to shop and absorb culture and is set to be the capital of culture 2019. Plovdiv has seamlessly integrated the remains of a Roman Stadium with a state of the art central shopping area. Don’t miss the amazing street art on Ulitsa Knyaz Aleksandar I.
Currently, relatively undiscovered by most British and American tourists, my prediction is that Plovdiv will become as popular as Prague in the near future – get there before the ‘Capital of Culture 2019’ triggers mass tourism in this stunning city.
Koprivshtitsa is Bulgaria’s ‘living village museum’. Historically, Koprivshtitsa was the start of the revolution (The April Uprising of 1876). Set against the backdrop of the stunning Stredna Gora Mountains, you can actually go inside the 19th Century symmetrical houses to explore how people used to live.
Veliko Tarnovo was Bulgaria’s Medieval capital city at the time of the Tsars. The city is set on hills, surrounded by a forest landscape, and the majestic Tsarevets fortress as the most prominent landmark has been well preserved. Stroll around Veliko Tarnovo will allow you to discover quaint Churches and stunning views of the Yantra river. This true Bulgarian experience will keep you enchanted for at least a couple of days.
I highly recommend that you spend at least 10 days in this amazing country, and travel by bus to appreciate the beauty of the scenery in Bulgaria. Have an amazing trip!
About the author
Amy Trumpeter is a a social media marketer, teacher and traveller who writes at Globetrotter Guru.