Bulgaria & Sofia
Bulgaria is a country in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea. It is surrounded by Romania to the north, Serbia to the northwest, North Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, and Turkey to the southeast. Being located so close to the Turkish Straits, the key land routes from Europe to the Middle East and Asia pass through Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is one of the few exotic nations of Europe: it boasts sublime beaches, stunning churches, winter sport opportunities and great hiking, to name but a few. Although it has traditionally not been regularly visited by Westerners compared to other European nations, this is beginning to change. It is a beautiful place, with a wide range of activities for all sorts of travellers.
The country is remarkable for its varied scenery; its rugged mountains and relaxing Black Sea resorts attract many visitors. The country has a long summer season with lovely seaside resorts, where holiday makers can enjoy fine golden sand and crystal blue sea water.
Like other nations of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria claims a mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and the mingling is evident in its cuisine, its architecture, and its religious heritage. Bulgaria is a wonderful country with rich historical and cultural heritage
Did you know?
Bulgarians nod their heads in a different way to the rest of the world. The locals nod their heads up and down to say ‘no’ and shake their heads left to right to say ‘yes’. This tradition in nodding goes back to the days when the country was under Ottoman rule. Thus, when in doubt, travellers should better ask to avoid confusion.
Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and its largest city. Founded thousands of years ago, today the city continues to evolve as the country’s cultural and economic centre. At present, the city has a population of 1,250,000.
The 20th century was not kind to Sofia, or Bulgaria. The Balkan Wars, World War I, a devastating terrorist attack by the Bulgarian Communist Party, World War II (in which the city of Sofia was heavily bombed), and a prolonged period of Communism challenged the growth of the newly independent nation of Bulgaria and its capital city. But despite dark spots in Bulgaria’s past, Sofia has a bright outlook. Public transportation is extensive and efficient. Efforts are being made to preserve important markers of the city’s history and architecture. Countless new restaurants, bars, and cafés are opening, breathing new life into an already dynamic city.
Sofia preserves many valuable monuments to its long and storied past. One of the first things you will notice about Sofia is the fact that it is chockfull of massive, ancient, and stunning architectural buildings throughout its many city streets. Some important ones you won’t want to miss include Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski, Saint Nikolas Russian Church, and Boyana Church.
Sofia is full of gardens and green spaces which are host to picnics and late-night beers in summer and blanketed with snow in the winter. The city is nestled at the foot of the massive Vitosha Mountain, which at 2,290 metres is one of the largest mountains in close proximity to a European capital city.
One of Sofia’s favourite spots for both visitors and residents is Vitosha Boulevard. Here there are shops carrying world-famous brands, and since it is a pedestrian zone, it is a very pleasant place for strolling and relaxation. In general, the capital is a shopper’s delight, since Sofia is still one of the major crossroads on the Balkan Peninsula for a trade of all kinds.Like every big city, Sofia has something for every taste.
Six places not to miss in Sofia