At its heart, Bulgaria is a curious mixture of old and new. Ancient fortresses blend with urban cityscapes and age-old mansions have been converted into night clubs, all working to create the exact opposite of a one-size-fits-all holiday deal that Bulgaria’s biggest fans have grown to love.
Bulgaria at a glance
Adding to its blended culture is the fact that Bulgaria has changed ruling hands a number of times since its establishment in 681 CE. Sitting right between Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey down in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria’s culture has also been heavily influenced by its neighbours, especially where cuisine and architecture are concerned. Much of Bulgaria’s towns are renowned as being multi-layered, as their different architecture styles stack up alongside each other.
But with ski resorts and misty mountains, black sand beaches and ancient ruins rising high in the hills, Bulgaria is cut with a landscape that’s undeniably all of its own. Throw party destinations like Sunny Beach or coastal cities of the more stylish variety like St Vlas into the mix and you’ll quickly realise you’ve hit the holiday jackpot.
5 fun facts about Bulgaria
- Bulgaria is one of the few places in the world where nodding your head means no, and shaking it from side to side means yes.
- A recording of the popular Bulgarian folk song Izlel e Delyu Haydutin was sent on a US spacecraft in 1977 as part of messages from earth to potential aliens.
- Around one third of Bulgaria is covered in forests.
- Roses grown in Bulgaria are responsible for producing as much as 85% of the world’s rose oil.
- The ancient Bulgarian calendar is considered by UNESCO as the most accurate to date.
Things to do
Explore Nessebar’s Old Town
Nessebar itself is one giant UNESCO World Heritage Site, packed with layers of history. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Black Sea, Nessebar highlights include a handful of ancient Thracian ruins and a fortress and basilica that date back to the Middle Ages.
Have a night out in Sunny Beach
One of the biggest party destinations in Eastern Europe, Sunny Beach is the spot where the beers are cheap, the clubs are massive and the DJs are world famous.
This Sunny Beach waterpark was the first in Bulgaria, and still has a reputation for being one of the best. It comes complete with sky-high water slides, tube rides and body slides, a wave pool, splash park and even its own little zoo.
Stretch out on the Golden Sands
No, that’s not just a description of this beach. Golden Sands – found in the eponymous resort – is its actual name, and with good reason, too. It’s Blue Flag award-winning and three kilometres long, backed by a promenade and loaded with watersports.
Here are some of our top money-saving deals on holidays to Bulgaria.
ClubHotel Riu Helios Paradise, St Vlas
Swish is this waterfront hotel’s middle name, a fact you’ll soon become familiar with when you set your sights on its curvy pools, sleek interiors and marble columns. It’s got five restaurants to its name, plus a karaoke bar and evening entertainment on the bill.
ClubHotel Riu Helios Paradise
St Vlas, Bourgas Region, Bulgaria
Majestic Hotel and Apartments, Sunny Beach
The Majestic opens up right onto the beach and adds its own vibrant pool scene to the mix. It’s known as one of the top spots to stay in Sunny Beach, complete with a crazy golf course, a spa and sauna with a Turkish bath and daytime activities like football, beach volleyball and tennis.
Majestic Hotel and Apartments
Sunny Beach, Bourgas Region, Bulgaria
Smartline Meridian Hotel, Sunny Beach
This tall hotel comes with the necessary rooftop restaurant you’d expect from a high rise, with views out to sea to match. There’s a nice-sized pool scene on hand here, though the beach is quite literally right on your doorstep, less than a five-minute walk away.
Smartline Meridian Hotel
Sunny Beach, Bourgas Region, Bulgaria
With a landscape as vast and varied as Bulgaria’s, deciding where to start is a task for the ages. How will you choose? Let us know in the comments below.