Bulgaria’s pleasingly laid-back capital is often overlooked by visitors heading to the coast or the ski resorts, but they’re missing something special. Sofia is no grand metropolis, but it’s a modern, youthful city with an eclectic, exotic feel. Excavation work carried out during construction of the metro unveiled a treasure trove of Roman ruins from nearly 2000 years ago, when the city was called ‘Serdica’. Away from the buildings and boulevards, vast parks and manicured gardens offer a welcome respite, and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride from the centre. Home to many of Bulgaria’s finest museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs, Sofia is a real gem of the country.
Varna is Bulgaria’s third largest city and maritime capital, it is the most interesting and cosmopolitan town on the Black Sea coast. A combination of port city, naval base and seaside resort, it’s an appealing place to visit, packed with history yet thoroughly modern, with an enormous park to wonder round and a lengthy beach to lounge on. In the city centre you’ll find Bulgaria’s largest Roman baths complex and its finest archaeological museum, as well as a lively cultural and restaurant scene.
Located in the southern part of Bulgaria, Plovdiv has been proclaimed the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe and the 6th oldest in the world. The pearl of the city, The Old Town has preserved historical layers from Prehistorical, Thracian, Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine times. Plovdiv is also a paradise for each and every wine lover and some of the world’s top events in this field are held here. It has also one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, which is a perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy.