By Rositsa Dorovska
Are you planning a European escape from the upcoming heat, this summer? Sandy beaches, green mountains, hot springs, spa and wellness services, urban vibes, cosy atmosphere…If your vacation dreams are made of these, but you are bored of the cliched destinations, then you have to visit Bulgaria. The eastern European country has even much more to offer for every taste and budget.
Speaking about taste, I mean that literally… You’ll leave forever obsessed, with the local cuisine. The mouth melting rose tomatoes (way better than the Italian ones), the plethora of fresh fruits, the world-renowned Bulgarian yoghurt. Ask the Japanese, who are crazy about that centuries old, home recipe for eternal youth and health. Thick and creamy, containing the unique flavour of the country – Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the homemade yoghurt goes best with another secret for long life – the Bulgarian honey and its subproduct. These are just a few of the national superfoods, worth mentioning. You can indulge in a variety of Bulgarian dishes whether somewhere in the countryside, surrounded by breathtaking views in an authentic, village atmosphere, or in the city. The gastronomy scene is booming throughout the big cities, with a modern twist on the traditional culinary, so be ready to eat yourself out.
If you feel like craving more soul food than Bulgaria is the right choice again. Check your history knowledge about the oldest country in Europe. Artefacts, Roman ruins, Thracian traces, archaeological sites are basically everywhere. You’ll stumble upon them, while simply crossing the busy streets of Sofia, the vibrant capital city. Right at the downtown is the biggest open-air museum of the country – the ancient Roman city of Serdica. Above the site are located the main government institutions. Nearby is the Sofia History Museum. You can pay a visit with free Sofia tours groups. Well informed, English speaking and friendly young guides are volunteering to maintain these tours, which cost nothing. Don‘t hesitate to explore the city with them. You’ll be fascinated by the charming streets, the mixture of Austrian style architecture, new office buildings, old fashioned neighbourhoods. Art season is permanent within the numerous galleries, theatres, contemporary spaces.
Apart from the art season, the moderate climate makes Bulgaria a great destination all through the year. Sofia is the only city in Europe with an adjacent mountain – Vitosha. Skiing during the winter, hiking, paragliding, during the spring and summer..you name the activity. Many more mountains and picturesque nature are waiting for you to discover them..
If you are longing for the sea, instead, you can even combine it with the mountain at the south, while the north-most part features rocky headlands, where the sea meets grandiose cliffs, some of them 70meters high. In between the north and the southern coastline, there are major cities like Burgas and Varna (the maritime capital of Bulgaria), numerous resorts – some of them, offering party nightlife, others – calm, quality unwinds for the whole family. And of course, historical sites, ancient routes and villages. The gold treasure, discovered in Varna Necropolis is one of the oldest in the world, dates back, estimated around 5000 BC. Just saying…
Even older is the city of Plovdiv. The second largest town in Bulgaria. This year, the city is the European capital of culture, along with Matera, Italy. The Roman theatre is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Plovdiv and it’s among the best preserved Roman theatres in the world.. For contemporary art lovers, the Kapana creative district is a must see. For the ethnology enthusiasts, highly recommended are the architectural ethnographic cities, like Koprivshtica and Etara (Gabrovo).
Arts and crafts connoisseurs will be delighted by the craftsmanship, well preserved and traditional for the city of Troyan. Named after the Roman emperor Trajan, the town is snuggled in the Balkan mountain and it’s famous not only with the pottery and ceramics but with an excellent spa, village tourism and extreme sports conditions…
Whatever vacation plans you may have, Bulgaria can deliver more than expected. Just don’t forget that compared to the rest of the world, Bulgarians are shaking their heads for approval and are using nodding for “no“.
For visa and travel information about Bulgaria, you can contact the Bulgarian Embassy in KSA. Bulgarian embassy in KSA