D espite the construction boom that is transforming the country, Bulgaria continues to remains an enigmatic country and a land of adventure.
The main attractions for many European travelers are the superb beaches along the country’s sunny Black Sea coast and the ski resorts further inland. Both are much more popular than the capital city of Sofia to the west which, although historically significant, still retains much of the drab, Communist-era architecture from years ago.
In between the Black Sea Coast and the capital, however, you’ll encounter many places where you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Mid-country, women still hand-till the fields, their heads crowned with old, patterned headscarves. Men drive horse-drawn carts piled high with hay along the roads and the village blacksmith still plies his trade just as his ancestors did for so many centuries.
Visit Plovdiv, with its well-preserved (and still used) Roman amphitheater and be sure to view the spectacular murals at the monasteries at Rila and Bachkovo. At Koprivshtitsa, one of the country’s most attractive towns, see colorful National Revival houses.
In some off-the-beaten track areas little, if any, English is spoken, but almost everyone will try to help you along your way.
Good to Know
Bulgaria’s Holiest Site
Rila Monastery is one of the most notable examples of National Revival architecture in Bulgaria.