Bulgaria, a diverse and cultured country
With the Black Sea to the east, Romania to the north and Serbia to the west, Bulgaria is a varied and multicultural country. It's nicknamed 'the oldest country in Europe', with an impressive number of ancient monuments and ruins to explore. Choose whether you'd prefer to experience Bulgaria's exciting, forward-thinking cities and nightlife, its mountain ranges and unspoilt countryside scenery, or its historical old towns and buildings.
Things to do in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a country that really does have something for everyone. Families and watersports fans head to Sunny Beach on the east coast, a six-mile stretch of sand that holds Blue Flag status. There are hundreds of bars, shops and restaurants lining the promenade. In complete contrast, Pamporovo is a popular ski and snowboarding resort in southern Bulgaria. The family-friendly resort sits tucked away in the Rodope mountains, 1,620 metres above sea level.
Flights to Bulgaria come into several airports, including Sofia Airport near to the capital city. There are also airports in Varna, Plovdiv, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Burgas. Bulgaria's public transport system is reassuringly extensive, with a comprehensive national railway network and the Sofia Metro underground to get you around.
The country has strong historic links to religion, with the 19th-century Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia as one of its most stunning examples of architecture. There's also a Russian church in the city, dating back to the same period, and the Riva Monastery - a famous attraction that appears on the back of some Bulgarian banknotes.
The rapid modernisation of several areas of Bulgaria has seen vast shopping malls spring up around the country. The Mall of Sofia includes a 12-screen cinema and a supermarket, and the Sky City Mall includes a 16-lane bowling alley, a hypermarket and an entertainment centre. Outside of Sofia, many of the larger shopping complexes are in the seaside city of Varna.
Some of the best souvenirs of Bulgaria to pick up are religious icons, bottles of rose oil, tablecloths, copper and ceramics, and items made from wool. Kilims, traditional and colourful double-sided wool rugs, can be expensive to buy but are renowned for lasting several generations.