Travel is an essential part of growth and self-discovery – on that note, here are 12 reasons why you should visit Bulgaria.
1. The food.
Bulgaria’s food cuisine is an eclectic mix of Balkan, Mediterranean and Turkish food. There are hearty doses of starch vegetables, feta cheese, tomato and cucumber salad and a protein. Bulgarians LOVE their cheese and whether it is on bread, fries, salad or fried by itself, Bulgarian cheese is at every meal. The most common breakfast dish is Banitsa. Banitsa is a drool worthy filo dough dish made by layering every sheet of dough with olive oil and Bulgaria feta. After it’s baked, you have one crunchy bite and then soft filo and feta. Lunch and dinner will always consist of a Shopska salad: diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and you guessed it.. Bulgarian feta cheese.
If you are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free you’ll find a lot: potato casseroles, lentils and red pepper chutney, and bean dips. Every meal is washed down with either home made juice from a variety of fruits and flowers, or home made Rakia, known in the US plum brandy.
2. The countryside.
The countryside of Bulgaria is a place everyone should visit. It is full of small towns and villages. The food is better than any five-starred restaurant and the produce is fresh. The countryside is full of history, natural beauty, fresh food and drinks, warm welcomes and should not be missed if you have a chance to explore it.
3. The seaside.
The seaside is one of the many tourist attractions. It’s stunning with clear blue water and picturesque cliffs. The food is to die for! Fresh fish and calamari are served within the hour. Crepe and ice cream vendors line the cobblestone streets and the waves crash up against the walls of houses built on the cliffs. Not only is the seaside generally inexpensive, but the night life rivals Miami during Spring Break.
4. Currency rate and the relatively inexpensive cost of everything
The currency rate between dollars and Bulgarian levs, favors those coming from the states. Every dollar is currently 1.64 levs. For fifteen US dollars you can buy groceries for 3-5 days.
Bulgaria is a very old country and her history spans from 681 AD. There have been many kings, rulers and governments. Bulgaria stands as one of the most historic and treasure filled countries in Eastern Europe. If you are a history buff, a stroll through the country side will have you seeing Roman columns and ruins.
6. The people.
I am a tad bit bias when it comes to #6 but Bulgarians are genuinely one of the warmest and welcoming nationalities in Europe. Tourists have raved for years about the helpful, welcoming, and pleasant nature of the people. You have to experience it yourself. The cities are big and busy but people always stop and help with directions. If you visit the villages, Lesicheri and Troianyou will welcome you with open arms.
7. Nature (Rilski ezera and mount vitosha).
Bulgaria has undeniably one of the most stunning natural landscapes in Europe. There are rivers, forests, mountains, and plains shaping the countryside. If you love hiking or adventuring, Bulgaria has plenty to offer. Hikers need to visit Rilski Lakes on the top of Mount Rila. For less experienced or active hikers, Vitosha Mountain is a perfect 3 to 4 hour hike where you can enjoy views of Sofia.
8. Vitoshka Street.
The street is Bulgaria’s very own Champs Elysses. There are stores, cafes, restaurants, hookah bars, clubs, and boutiques. Vitoshka is a great place to congregate for drinks and food; the best part is you get a free view of the street’s namesake, Mount Vitosha.
9. Clubbing and partying in Studenstki Grad and Sunny Beach.
The party scene rivals Berlin and Prague. Studentski Grad in the capital of Sofia translates to Student Town, and is a neighborhood with mostly young college students and all the “hot” and “trendy” clubs. There are cheap happy hours and live performances from the most popular pop and rap performers. There is no place like Sunny Beach- a resort on the Black Sea notorious for crazy parties and mornings filled with young people waking up on the beach. Sunny Beach hosts the wildest parties for the lowest prices.
10. Proximity to other Balkan Countries.
If Bulgaria is not the only stop you want to make, you’ll be happy to hear Bulgaria is only a few hours by car or plane from Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Romania and Macedonia. The proximity allows for quick day trips to Serbia. The Greek city of Thessaloniki is only 4 hours away. Istanbul is a day car trip or a about an hour plane ride
11. Art and Theatre Scene.
Visual and performing arts are highly respected. Bulgaria not only produces one of a kind art pieces but invests into collecting, preserving, and showcasing many famous pieces: The Thinker and pieces by Monet and Picasso. If art is something you appreciate, stop by the National Gallery in Sofia.
It is the centerpiece of Sofia and the perfect spot to start or end your visit. The National Palace of Culture’s appreviation is NDK. It’s the very heart of the capital. Surrounded by parks, playgrounds, fountains and a rock ‘n roll themed McDonald’s. NDK is the spot to take a walk, hang out with friends or use as a pit stop before exploring Vitoshka Street. In 2018, the palace will be used for the EU conferences.