Big Up Bulgaria
Bulgaria has long been underestimated as a travel destination. Seriously, hear us out – this mostly unknown corner of the Balkans boasts soul-stirring mountains, sparkling seas and buttery banitsas aka the pastry of dreams. Need more convincing? Here are our top 10 reasons why you should make Bulgaria your next holiday.
1. It's hard to beat Bulgaria for natural beauty
Bulgaria's gift to you is its abundance of nature and truly breathtaking scenery. Whether you're after snow-topped mountains or wonderful waterfalls, the lengths and breadths of Bulgaria boast some real natural wonders. Raysko Praskalo above, for instance, translates into English as “a heavenly spray”, and we'd have to agree that this waterfall does indeed look rather heavenly.
2. Monasteries EVERYWHERE
Welcome to the secret world of Bulgarian monasteries. Over 120 are scattered around the country, each one unique and rich in history, design and architecture. Enough to make any architecture geek weak at the knees...
3. One of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe
This vibrant resort deserves its own number! The 18-kilometre stretch of sand along the Black Sea boasts sensational seas, fairgrounds and lively market stalls. It can get a little busy in the summertime, but not without good reason, as the bustling nightlife is certainly worth the hype.
Crowned the pearl of the Black Sea, Nessebar is definitely worth the day trip. Mooch your way around the UNESCO-protected old town, and then when you're all cultured out, head to the harbour and grab a bite to eat at one the many seafood restaurants.
6. Hearty Bulgarian food
Bulgarian food is hearty, stodgy and utterly mouthwatering. While much of Bulgaria's cuisine shares similarities with its Balkan neighbours, we felt that the humble banitsa is worthy of a special shout-out. Cheesy, flaky and delicious, this traditional Bulgarian pastry can be purchased in bakeries all over the country, but if you can get your hands on a homemade one then all the better for it.
7. Extra bank holidays, yes really!
Bulgarians take their bank holidays very seriously and we can't help but admire them for that. This year, they'll have 16 and we're seriously jealous. Forget visiting, we'd consider moving over there with that as an incentive...
Breeze to the slopes, and relish in the most magical mountain settings. Not only that, but Bulgaria's ski resorts are relatively undiscovered in the skiing world. Bansko stands among the country's best, boasting Bulgaria's longest ski runs against the background of the scenic Pirin National Park. So beautiful it hurts!
9. Excellent 4G
Swap frozen fingers, for super-fast 4G coverage; you may be surprised to learn that Bulgaria's 4G speed ranks highly worldwide. Thank goodness, your jaw-to-the-floor worthy Instagram snaps won't have to wait until you get home.
10. "You went where?"
Ask rookie travellers to pinpoint Bulgaria on a map, and you'll most likely be met with blank faces and a synchronous chorus of "where's that?" questions from the floor. But we reckon there's something pretty great about keeping the hidden gems to yourself, don't you think?