Holidays in Bulgaria
Bulgaria Holidays at a glance
Bulgaria is located in southeast Europe occupying the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering Romania to the north, Macedonia and Yugoslavia to the west. To the east is the Black Sea, to the south is Greece and to the southeast is the European part of Turkey. Bulgaria is a relatively new addition to UK travel brochures, having always been a bit of an enigma to British holidaymakers, enshrouded in the mystery of the spy stories with which she is associated. But over the last decade and more, she has undergone changes which have opened up her extensive coastline to the invasion of tourism and welcomed in foreigners to sample her undoubted charms.
A big draw is the extensive sweep of the Black Sea coast which provides beach after glorious sandy beach. Away from the main holiday resorts, the countryside remains largely untouched and unspoiled, creating endless opportunities to get close to nature and experience this country in all her natural beauty. Verdant mountains and forests offer networks of trails and bridal paths, where you might catch a glimpse of a lynx or a bear; birds and wildlife which have become rare elsewhere in Europe find a haven here.
Holidays to Bulgaria are growing in popularity because of the great range of hotels and resorts that cater for everyone. So you're sure to find something to suit you, whether you are in search of an all inclusive holiday in Bulgaria, value family holiday or a budget break to enjoy the sandy beaches, mountains and national parks abundant with wildlife.
Bulgaria Holidays - Destination Profile
Each unique resort has something to offer the holidaymaker: Sunny Beach is just as the name suggests; Elenite is ideal for a family holiday in Bulgaria where prices are inexpensive by British standards; Golden Sands is a large and lively resort which has been developed with holidays in mind; as well as beautiful sandy beaches, it has a lively promenade and plenty of good value restaurants.
If spectacular scenery, fascinating culture and breathtaking beaches sound appealing, why not make Bulgaria the choice for your next getaway and discover a true Eastern European gem. From a city break to a beach getaway, Bulgaria won't fail to satisfy with her scenic greenery, unspoilt landscapes, and charming towns and cities.
Seaside resorts along the Black Sea coastline are particularly popular during the summer season, the country always provides fantastic opportunities to visit luxurious spas, trek through breathtaking landscapes and explore historical destinations
Hoping to experience Bulgaria's beautiful cities? Visit Sofia - Bulgaria's current capital - and Veliko Turnovo - its former capital from the Middle Ages. You'll also find a range of charming rural towns around Veliko Tarnovo, offering a peaceful escape during your holiday in Bulgaria.
On more established roads between towns and cities, public transport is inexpensive. Visit some of the more rural villages to experience a way and pace of life unchanged for centuries. Among the scenery hide colourful monasteries, timber-built villages and locals in peasant-style dress. Bulgaria can provide more cosmopolitan scenes too, in cities such as the vibrant capital, Sofia, where parks are plentiful and street cafes and bars abound.
Fantastic holidays in Bulgaria - any time of year!
Bulgaria boasts countless sights and activities for holidaymakers to enjoy - no matter what time of year you visit.
Value Holidays to Bulgaria with Olympic Holidays
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Holidays in Bulgaria - Things to see
For anyone who revels in uncovering unfamiliar history, and observing the past alongside the present, Bulgaria is a mine of opportunity. Below is a small selection of all that a package holiday to Bulgaria can offer.
Capital city, Sofia: Not a particularly beautiful city in itself, Sofia has its fair share of attractions, as befits a nation capital. Try the Royal Palace . Opposite the City Garden this former home to royalty is now the site of the National Art Gallery , housing a large collection of 19th and 20th century Bulgarian art. For more contemporary art works, visit Sofia City Art Gallery . Also in the grounds of the palace is the Ethnographical Museum in which there is a collection of folk art. In a former mosque, the Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit to see an excellent collection of Thracian and Roman artefacts. The Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church was built to commemorate the 200,000 Russian soldiers who perished in the Russo-Turkish War between 1877 and 1878, fighting to protect Bulgaria's independence. There are many murals and a crypt containing ancient icons.
Hisar: The most extensive and impressive Roman ruins in Bulgaria are situated in this lovely, tranquil spa town. They include the original walls, bathhouses and theatres set amidst lovely parkland. This is also the origin of Hisar mineral water, from 22 apparently curative mineral springs, the water of which is bottled and sold throughout Bulgaria.
Nessebar: One of the oldest cities in Europe Nessebar has a unique colour and architecture. Located on a small peninsula in the Black Sea, linked to the land by a long and narrow isthmus,it has been in existence for more than 9,000 years. Starting out as a fortified Thracian settlement, it has been both a Greek Polis and then a Roman colony divided in the old and the new towns.
Plovdiv: This is one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria, with a cultural heritage to match, much of it on display in its ancient churches, art galleries and a Roman theatre still in use today. The old town sits atop a hill, a worthwhile visit for its cobbled streets and restored architecture. Try too, the Ethnograhical Museum for a display of traditional crafts and costume.
Rila Monastery: This Unesco-protected monastery, built in 927 and restored in 1469, is located 120 km south of Sofia in a wooded valley. It's Nativity Church, in which murals fill the walls, dates from 1830s and is well-known throughout Bulgaria. The Monastery helped perpetuate Bulgarian language and culture throughout Ottoman rule. There are camp sites and hotels to stay in nearby, but you can also stay in the monastery's own basic accommodation.
The Valley of the Thracian Kings: Northwest of Kazanlak are 1500 burial mounds along the Shipka Pass. Six tombs are open to the public. Mogila Oshtrusha on the road to Shipka is open from Wednesday to Sunday and Mogila Gulamata Kosmatka, opposite Shipka, is open daily. Visits to the other tombs must be arranged through the Iskra Museum. The cost includes an English-speaking guide, but you'll need to pay extra for a driver if you don't have your own transport.
Varna: This is Bulgaria's largest city and most popular beach resort, a cosmopolitan city with fantastic golden sandy beaches, Roman remains and plenty of watersports, cafes and restaurants. Visit between May and October for the Summer International Festival.
Zlatni National Park: Located next to the resort of Golden Sands, the Zlatni National Park is an area of outstandingly beautiful scenery and home to a variety of wildlife.
Things to do on a Holiday in Bulgaria
Biking: Hire a bike and a guide and set off on one of these popular trips offering an opportunity to experience the lesser known parts of the country in an invigorating way. The biking tours are a great adventure stimulating mind and body.
Caving: Over 2,000 caves in Bulgaria have given rise to a long history of caving dating back to the 19th century. There are now over a 100 caving clubs and plenty of opportunities for enthusiasts to indulge their passion with like-minded people.
Donkey Safari: Enjoy the scenery and tranquility as you travel on a donkey through a quiet village to a place where you can see Rakia, a traditional Bulgarian drink, being produced. After that you will head for a meadow to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Hiking: With over 35,000 kms of hiking trails, walking is a favourite activity among holidaymakers to Bulgaria.
Off Road Adventure: Travel around the resort of Sunny Beach in a jeep before heading up into the mountains passing through the Bunardzik region on the way to Cape Emine, the easternmost point of Bulgaria and the stormiest cape.
Village Hospitality Trip: From Golden Sands this journey will take you through the village of Dolishte and the Botavska Nature Reserve to discover the natural beauty of Bulgaria.
Windsurfing: Almost every major holiday resort along the Black Sea coastline has at least one surfing club, offering equipment and lessons in windsurfing. This is a growing sport; Bulgaria now hosts several windsurfing competitions throughout the year. But, in general, the best time of year for windsurfing runs from from early spring till late autumn. Strong afternoon winds help windsurfing in the hottest summer months, and the stronger winds in September make it a great month for more advanced windsurfers.
Eating/Drinking During Bulgaria Holidays
The cuisine is definitely a big attraction for those considering holidays in Bulgaria. The the food is delicious, rich in flavour, spicy and with sufficient variety to appeal to everyone.
Try Banitsa , a cheese pie served on street corners. The fresh, hot pastry melts in the mouth.
Kebabche is to be found in every tavern in the country, a grilled pork sausage. Another version, the Kyufte is rounder and flatter and sometimes comes stuffed with cheese.
The typically Bulgarian traditional restaurants will tempt you with Shopska salad and chilled grape brandy, stuffed vine leaves or peppers, moussaka and kebabs.
Tarator is a chilled soup of yogurt and cucumber, reminiscent of the Greek Tzadziki. Eat it with served with dill, garlic and walnut.
Cold beer and local wines are freely available.
Sofia is a hive of activity at night with discos, cabaret, live music and multiplex cinemas showing current films. Evening entertainment is equally vibrant in Bulgaria's' purpose built resorts with the nightlife varying from clubs and bars to folk music and dancing and traditional entertainment. The resorts along the Black sea coast provide lively nightlife with a choice of taverns, bars, night clubs and a casino.
Getting Around on Bulgaria Holidays
Buses: There are bus routes connecting all the major towns and cities. The local buses are run by the government and are frequent, inexpensive and a little antiquated. Private bus companies generally run the longer distance routes, and the buses themselves are generally comfortable, modern vehicles.
Cars and Motorbikes: To hire cars or motorbikes in Bulgaria you must be 21 or over and bring your driving licence. To use the roads, you will also need to purchase a 'vignette' to display on the windscreen.
Taxis: Local taxis are very reasonably priced and are a handy way of getting around in the towns and cities, or reaching places that aren't accessible by public transport. All taxi cabs in the country are yellow and each taxi driver should possess a licence and registration number for identification. They operate at daytime and night time rates.
Trains: The train service run by Bulgarian State Railways is, in common with many other eastern european countries, rather slow. There are express trains which are significantly faster. Go for first class on longer journeys, and take some refreshments with you.
Bulgaria Holidays Shopping
Best buys during holidays in Bulgaria include bags, accessories and other handmade goods. Bring home some Terlitsi, traditional Bulgarian slippers made from wool and decorated with silk.
Weather and climate information
Bulgaria's climate is influenced by the Mediterranean and Black Sea with cold wet winters and hot dry summers. Spring (April to mid June) is generally quite mild and summer (mid June to September) is considerably warmer warmer with temperatures reaching the high 20's.
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