Destination Idea: Bulgaria

by GO GlobeHopper

Nestled in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria is a captivating destination waiting to be explored. This Eastern European gem offers a rich tapestry of history, stunning landscapes, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality. If you’re in search of an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Bulgaria should be at the top of your travel list. So let’s delve into what makes Bulgaria an exciting destination.

Weather: Bulgaria boasts a diverse climate, making it a year-round destination. Summers (June to August) are warm and sunny, perfect for exploring the picturesque countryside, hiking in the Rila Mountains, or lounging on the Black Sea coast. Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) offer pleasant weather with milder temperatures, ideal for city sightseeing and outdoor activities. Winter (December to February) transforms Bulgaria into a winter wonderland, making it a haven for ski enthusiasts.

Currency: The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN). While credit cards are widely accepted in larger cities and tourist areas, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when venturing into rural regions.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Bulgaria depends on your preferences and activities:

  • Summer: June to August for beach vacations and outdoor adventures.
  • Spring and Autumn: April to May and September to October for comfortable weather and fewer crowds.
  • Winter: December to February for skiing in Bulgaria’s renowned ski resorts.

Must-Visit Places and Attractions:

  1. Sofia: The capital city is home to historical sites like the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Rila Monastery.
  2. Plovdiv: Europe’s oldest inhabited city, featuring a well-preserved Old Town with Roman ruins.
  3. Rila Monastery: A UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its stunning architecture and religious significance.
  4. Bansko: A top ski resort offering excellent winter sports opportunities.
  5. Veliko Tarnovo: Known as the “City of Tsars,” this city boasts a medieval fortress and a charming old town.
  6. The Black Sea Coast: Sunny Beach and Varna offer beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and water sports.
  7. Rila and Pirin Mountains: Ideal for hiking, with the Seven Rila Lakes and the stunning Pirin National Park.
  8. Koprivshtitsa: A picturesque town known for its colorful 19th-century houses and rich history.
  9. Belogradchik Castle: This fortress is renowned for its dramatic setting and historical significance, and was built into the natural rock formations. It dates back to Roman times when it was used for defensive purposes. Over the centuries, it was expanded and modified by various cultures, including the Byzantines and Bulgarians, to defend against invasions.
  10. Bachkovo Monastery: Located in the Rhodope Mountains and established in the 11th century, Bachkovo Monastery is one of Bulgaria’s oldest and largest monasteries. It provided refuge for Bulgarian rebels and preserved Bulgarian culture during Ottoman rule. It is renowned for its impressive architecture, colorful frescoes, and the Holy Virgin Church, which houses valuable icons.

Best Places to Stay: Bulgaria offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Some top options include:

  1. Luxury Hotels: Stay in five-star hotels like the Kempinski Hotel Zografski in Sofia or the Premier Luxury Mountain Resort in Bansko.
  2. Boutique Guesthouses: Experience authentic Bulgarian hospitality in charming guesthouses and family-run inns.
  3. Hostels: Budget travelers can find affordable and sociable hostels in major cities and tourist areas.
  4. Vacation Rentals: Airbnb and other platforms offer cozy apartments and houses for a home-away-from-home experience.

Cuisine: Bulgarian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by Mediterranean, Balkan, and Eastern European traditions. Must-try dishes include:

  1. Banitsa: A savory pastry filled with cheese and eggs, often enjoyed for breakfast.
  2. Kavarma: A rich stew with pork or chicken, peppers, and tomatoes.
  3. Shopska Salad: A refreshing salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and feta cheese.
  4. Kebapche: Grilled minced meat (usually beef or pork) served with spices and flatbread.
  5. Tarator: A cold cucumber yogurt soup, perfect for cooling off in the summer.

Don’t forget to pair your meals with a glass of rakia, Bulgaria’s potent fruit brandy, or a bottle of local wine.


Bulgaria’s allure lies in its authenticity, affordability, and the warm embrace of its people. Whether you seek cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or simply a relaxing getaway, Bulgaria has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and prepare to discover the hidden treasures of this enchanting Eastern European country.

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