With four striking mountain ranges to choose from there is just no end to the variety and beauty:
Pristine mountain lakes…
And exquisite caves…
And when you come down from the mountains there is the stunning Black Sea coast line…
Better yet, the distances are close. Unlike the sprawling grandeur of Canada (where I am from), where you may travel for hours and hours through similar stunning terrain until your mind is numb and your eyes no longer appreciative, Bulgarian distances are short. Don’t fall asleep, you will miss something new and wonderful and altogether different from what you were seeing an hour ago. The terrain is diverse and interesting and ever-changing in Bulgaria, a short drive and you are suddenly in a whole new setting.
Reason Two: Fascinating History
Over the last 1.4 million years civilizations have come and gone leaving their indelible stamp upon the lands now known as Bulgaria.
From prehistoric cave dwellings to ancient ruins and tombs, from the excavated remains of once-thriving Roman cities to crumbling old fortresses, and from remarkable monasteries and cathedrals to the austere architecture of communist times, the richness and depth of Bulgaria’s history is undeniable!
Reason Three: The Food and Drink
There really is no chronological order to this list, but if there were, I think my husband would argue the food and drink should be placed higher than in the top three reasons to come to Bulgaria.
The food is fresh, it is wholesome and tasty and quite simply wonderful! By fresh, I mean villagers tending stands outside their fields selling their goods and popping back over the fence into the field when running low on supplies. Sadly, a tomato will never taste as flavourful again, or a pepper as sweet when you return home. And this fresh produce suffuses their cuisine. It is not uncommon for menus to have at least two pages of only salads.
Then there are the hearty pots of sizzling meats, the cheese and more cheese in every dish—even the French fries–and the fresh baked flat breads. There is something for every kind of foodie. And of course the home-grown wines to accompany the meals and the famous home-brewed Brandy, known as Rakia, to finish everything off. If you aren’t feeling hungry now, it is the fault of my writing and not any lack on the part of Bulgarian cuisine.
Reason Four: It is Affordable
A meal for two including starters and dessert and a few drinks will likely cost you less than 20 dollars American.
And if you are watching your pennies, you should be able to feed two of you in a restaurant for as little as 10 dollars American. A night in a guesthouse is around 20-30 dollars. You can do a hostel for less and a fancy hotel in Sofia for a lot more, but really the prices are exceptionally reasonable.
Reason Five: It is still relatively undiscovered
Maybe not undiscovered, as Bulgaria has a long and exciting history, but she seems to have been forgotten and grown a bit dusty as she waits to be rediscovered.
For the traveller, this means few tourists, yet all the amenities at affordable prices. It also means access into beautiful areas that will likely become closed off once more and more people start to go there.
And then there is the excitement of feeling like you are getting there first, before tourists discover the area, before things are dug up and reconstructed and put on display as tourist attractions. It is a truly authentic and soul-fulfilling experience.
It really is a surprising country and well worth an extended visit. It is easy to get around by rental car, wifi is readily available everywhere, restaurants and charming guesthouses for every budget are plentiful and many people have at least rudimentary English (especially the younger generations).
So you have all the amenities and conveniences you can want and yet can easily immerse yourself in a the quaint village life of horse drawn carts and pack mules. Our Bulgarian friend describes Bulgaria as a country for all the senses and I think that pretty much sums it up!