Introducing holidays to Bulgaria
Boasting stunning beaches, magnificent mountainscapes and quaint little towns with warm friendly locals, a holiday to Bulgaria for 2019 / 2020 or 2019 / 2020 will have something to suit all needs. Somewhat underrated as a holiday hotspot, Bulgaria has grown in stature and popularity with visitors each year and is not considered a must-visit in Europe. Despite its newfound reputation, it’s lost none of its old-world charm of its traditional towns and villages along with its bustling cities. But far and away the best part about a holiday to Bulgaria is that it’s incredibly affordable; so much so that many Europeans now own holiday homes in this beautiful part of the world. Whether you had an expensive year but feel you still deserve a break, or just trying to fit in a last minute trip before the summer is out, a Bulgarian holiday means you won’t have to break the bank or dig into your savings. Only 3 hours away from the UK by plane, and with a vast selection of beaches to rival anything you’d find in the Mediterranean, what are you waiting for?
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 50m
When to go
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While many visitors to the shores of beautiful Bulgaria resign themselves to a week or so of kicking back along the Black Sea Coast or hurtling down the slopes of one of the country’s ski resorts; if you scratch beyond the surface this wonderful country has so much more to offer beyond sand and skiing. Centuries of tradition in the production of religious art in Bulgaria has gifted thousands of religious buildings with some of the most magnificent paintings and sculptures in all of Europe.
High up in the cloud kissed mountains of south west Bulgaria you’ll find Rila Monastery, which is an absolute must see for culture vultures or fans or religious art. Less far afield, a plethora of artistic wonders can also be found in Bulgaria’s vibrant cities; particularly in the impressive galleries of Sofia and Plovdiv. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the country’s striking old world architecture; highlights including the pristine Aleksander Nevski Church and the impressive medieval stronghold Tsarevets Fortress in Velika Tarnovo.
The proud country of Bulgaria is world renowned for its delicious cuisine; tasty, spicy and diverse, the gastronomic delights to be found here will appeal to even the pickiest eaters. A culinary relationship with lots of other cultures and cuisines results in delicious specialties and exotic dishes. Some of our favourites include Bansko Kapama style Rhodopi cheverme, Thracian katmi and Dobrudzha banitsa, Bulgarian yogurt... We could go on and on, but just be sure you sample the world famous Bulgarian shopska salad!
The vine and wine have long been symbols of Bulgaria since ancient times; the Thracians, the first known settlers of the Balkan Peninsula were experienced vine growers and cultivators of fine wines, so you might say wine making is in Bulgarian DNA! These days wine production is a crucial part of everyday life here and not a single major event or milestone passes by without a few bottles of flavoursome wine or a drop of fruity Bulgarian brandy being brought out for the celebrations.
Purpose-built when Bulgaria began to adapt to its new found reputation as a haven for holidaymakers, the Sunny Beach resort on the Black Coast of Bulgaria is famed for its nightlife, trendy local restaurants and a laid back, relaxed atmosphere. Kids of all ages will undoubtedly enjoy exploring the impressive eight kilometres of high-standard Blue Flag certified beaches.
Definitely the most popular activity on Sunny Beach is to simply head to the golden stretch of sand, stretch out and sizzle in the sun; amenities are also available to keep your family happy like sun loungers and parasols, or you could always simply lay your towel out and work on topping up that tan and replenishing your vitamin D levels... As soon as you’ve got a nice base tan going, take a dip in the serene waters, which are perfect for swimming and splashing around with little ones. You’ll also discover pedalos, banana boats, jet skis and water skis to hire out, and you can even have a go at scuba diving, for the more thrill-seeking members of your clan.
Action & Adventure
Those who like to get their pulse racing a bit while enjoying their holiday, as well as those who like to spend quality time in the great outdoors will be pleasantly surprised by the huge amount of outdoor activities they can dabble in when visiting Bulgaria. The country's beautifully rigged mountain terrains are perfect for skiing and snowboarding in the snowy season and also for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and paragliding, in the warmer months whenever the weather permits. Also the fast-flowing river rapids are ideal for rafting and kayaking, while the tall bridges around the country are known as the best spots for bungee jumps; for those who like to take things to extremes! Let’s not forget Bulgaria’s gorgeous stretch of coast: which plays host to unbeatable opportunities for wind- and kitesurfing, snorkelling and diving. Sunny Beach is a popular hotspot for those looking to indulge in some water sports.
For an unbeatable holiday destination this summer that won’t break the bank, the cost of a trip to Bulgaria is incredibly reasonable; and there’s plenty more on display here than just the beaches. With a Black Sea Coastline that stretches the entire width of the country from north to south, and a choice of beaches to rival any Mediterranean destination; from the family friendly resort choices to party hotspots along the coast popular with holiday home owners, to peaceful sandy coves off the beaten track. Within the St Vlas village you’ll find Marina Dinevi, a beautiful luxury yacht harbour and resort complex.
The rich and famous flock here each year, so luxury hotels, all encompassing spas and five-star restaurants are all in abundance here; this high standard is also maintained with its gorgeous Blue Flag sandy beach, replete with crystal clean waters. Sunny Beach is popular with the party crowd who migrate to this lively area along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast; with all kinds of water activities, beach bars and night clubs on offer. Be wary though, Sunny Beach was a serious party reputation, so may not be suitable for couples or older travellers!
Being the capital of beautiful Bulgaria, its little wonder that Sofia offers a nightlife that can be easily suited to every taste. Why not spend a memorable evening on Vitosha Boulevard in a plethora of upmarket bars and restaurants; this street and surrounding area always has an incredible atmosphere, especially in the summer when everyone soaks up the vibes while sitting outside. The street is completely pedestrianized so you’ll see many people strolling along and bar hopping all night. Many of the establishments on the main street close around midnight but you can simply head off to a choice of clubs after that.
Everything is easy to reach and taxis are cheap if you don’t feel like walking in your heels on the cobbled streets, or your poor feet are just exhausted from sightseeing. When it comes to nightclubs the choices are limitless in Sofia, and most visitors are pleasantly surprised by what they perceive as an underrated spot. Heavily featured are clubs with DJs spinning all your favourite chart hits, R&B clubs, Karaoke bars, Strip clubs and even Retro clubs playing hits from the 80’s and 90’s; for all your golden oldie needs.
The Eastern Balkan beauty of Bulgaria is incredibly unique and possessing an old world charm, offers a huge range of incredible romantic hotspots and beautiful backdrops for newlyweds or couples looking to reconnect. If you do plan to honeymoon here as part of a wider trip to Europe, definitely allocate at least five days to Bulgaria; there’s just so much to see and do!
Plovdiv Old Town is the second largest city in Bulgaria and also the oldest; replete with rolling green hills, it’s a quirky place with an air of romance and definitely full of plenty of secluded spots perfect for photo opportunities for your wedding album. In Plovdiv’s city centre you’ll find lots of vibrant architecture from the Renaissance period; still pulsating with Old World Bulgarian culture and folk tales. In the north, Lovech Province houses a number of natural wonders like the magnificent Devatashka Cave, Botey Peak and Krushuna Falls; definitely all scenic wonders to be ticked off that will take you and your partners breath away.
Bulgaria is extremely proud of its heritage and museums are well regarded by Bulgarians as the keepers of the country's great history and culture. Among our favourites, the museums of history and archaeology are veritable treasure troves for visitors seeking interesting facts and exhibitions showcasing marvellous artifacts related to the glorious past of the Bulgarian lands. Elsewhere, the ethnographic museums reveal everything about the nation's curious traditions and habits.
Additonally, there are also many other places of note such as all the Natural History Museum and the Museums of Science you can discover, as well as a a number of spots that are a little more obscure but no less intriguing, such as the Museum of Humour, the Museum of Mosaics, and the Museum of Salt. House-museums are also extremely popular in Bulgaria and definitely something they do well, so be sure to check out any you come across. In many cases they are dedicated to famous people who once lived or were born there and typically show personal belongings, clothes, photographs or other valuable exhibits; good way to get your dose of celebrity gossip while on holiday!