Bulgaria is looking set to be the destination for 2020, with something for everyone from culture vultures to beach bums, history buffs to partygoers, and ski bunnies to nature lovers.
Of course, there are so many fantastic places to go in Bulgaria that it can be hard to choose which one you want to visit first, so we’ve compiled this list to help you decide.
Here lies Bulgaria’s most popular winter sports resort and for good reason. Set amidst the fir forests lie the Chalin Valog and Shiligarnika ski fields, with 70 kilometres of ski slopes on offer and they’ve just done a redevelopment to make the experience better for patrons.
Even non-skiers will enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere, being able to spend a night listening to authentic jazz after a day curled up in front of a fire at a lodge.
This is Bulgaria’s answer to Ibiza, packed with all-night clubs and pubs right on the beachfront, where club reps will offer you buckets of booze at a bargain price. (We’re not exaggerating, we really do mean buckets!) Prepare to dance until you drop at a fraction of the price of other party towns.
The Bulgarian capital is a true mixture of everything, but its true beauty is the cultural centre. Here you can find an eclectic mix of gilded Christian temples, Stalinist municipal buildings, and ancient forts, as well as learn about the impact that those civilisations had on the country and the world.
There’s so much to see and do that you’d probably benefit from the freedom of renting a car in Sofia. You should bear in mind that, although driving is perfectly safe, it might not be a good idea for new or nervous drivers, because the roads are a little more hectic there than you’re probably used to.
In the foothills of Bulgaria’s northern mountains lies the City of the Tsars, which feature the breathtaking natural beauty of the wild coniferous woods surrounding it and the Yantra River which runs through it. Travellers will also enjoy the cobblestone lanes and half-timbered homes of the ‘old town’, which are prime examples of the architectural designs common in the Second Bulgarian Empire.
This is one for the ancient history fans with evidence of human settlement roughly 7000 years ago and a colossal structure on its hilltops that was thought to have been used by Copper Age priests for rituals and foretelling the future before the Thracian tribespeople fortified the building.
Those interested in relics can visit the dig site, where they might see an archaeologist digging up the next historical clue, or the archaeology museum in Kardzhali to see what has already been uncovered.
This resort town on the Black Sea is the perfect spot for those looking to relax on the sand, with enough seafood restaurants and cocktail bars to keep anyone happy. However, it has plenty more to offer than just tasty food, exciting drinks, and sunshine. Here, you can take time out during the hottest part of the day to explore the ancient Roman bathhouses and elaborate Orthodox architecture.
That wraps up our Bulgarian tour, but now we need help deciding which of these six to visit first.