Bulgaria has often been overlooked as a holiday destination by Britons who are keen to journey to better-known European places for a well-earned break.
But all that could be about to change with news that Bulgaria has been named as the cheapest European holiday destination for Britons.
[Nessebar as photographed by Nicolas Nedialko Nojarof]
According to Post Office Travel Money’s latest cost index, ten typical holiday items and costs (including a three-course meal out) will cost a British visitor to Bulgaria just £42.79.
So, what else, apart from great value for money, can Bulgaria offer tourists from British (and other) shores?
Here are five other reasons to visit Bulgaria…
Bulgaria is bordered by five countries – Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. The Black Sea coast is often seen as the country’s sixth border.
And what a border it is; 235 miles of coves, cliffs, resorts and golden sandy beaches. Visit the Bulgarian stretch of the Black Sea coast from May to September and you will be guaranteed sunshine and sunbathing opportunities which should by rights rival anything that the Med has to offer.
Two resorts which merit special investigation are Helena (Bulgaria’s oldest resort) and Nessebar, a spot with winding cobbled lanes and charming traditional-style houses.
Sunny climates mean that Bulgaria is a great place to spend a summer in but winter is the time to head to the mountains and ski resorts where heavy falls of snow and cheap prices are luring skiers away from more expensive European pistes.
Did you know that Bulgaria was the home of Orpheus, the character from Greek mythology who lost his wife to the underworld when he disobeyed the God’s instructions and turned to smile at her?
Orpheus played the lyre and music is clearly important to modern-day Bulgarians. Where else but in a Bulgarian open village could you find the sound of open-throat singing accompanied by droning bagpipes and melodic flute?
The visitors who journey to Bulgaria today do so in peace but this wasn’t always the case. Over the centuries, Greeks, Persians, Romans and Slavs have marauded across Bulgaria, leaving a trail of treasure and artefacts in their wake.
Varna’s Archaelogical Museum is one of the best places to see Bulgaria’s archaeological riches – it might look grey and functional from the outside but inside there is a glittering display of jewellery. Pride of place goes to a pair of gold Nike earrings. I should explain that the earrings weren’t made by the world-famous sports company; they simply and beautifully depict, the winged Greek goddess of victory.
In two minds about visiting Varna? Just do it.
When the Iron Curtain was ripped apart it was expected to open up trade in countries like Bulgaria. However, the end of communist rule didn’t seem to help the country’s wine industry – after 1989 Bulgaria lost its position as the world’s second-biggest exporter of wine! Still, there is always the food and Bulgarian cuisine has a pleasingly Greek and Turkish flavour to it. Don’t forget to try dishes such as yogurt and patatnik – a mouth-watering combination of cheese and potatoes.
Flights are available from London Gatwick to Sofia and Burgas. Travel companies like BookFHR can help you book a hotel near Gatwick to ease you into your Bulgarian break.
Be sure to check out this handy guide to holiday planning.
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