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Bulgaria is an exotic land surrounded by soul-stirring mountains, sublime beaches, and beautiful churches. Winter sports opportunities and adventurous hiking, one can have exotic and adventurous experiences during the Bulgaria tour. While coming to the cities, they have great nightlife and the artistic approach to the art and culture. The country has a blend of historical places, natural beauty, and waters, which guarantees the unforgettable adventures. All in all, Bulgaria is a nice place with a wide array of adventurous activities for the traveler to do.
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Hiking in Southern Bulgaria
Rolling landscapes mountains and Neolithic caves, crossed by Roman roads and goat-herders. This is Southern Bulgaria and the Rodopi Mountains, where walking paths connect quiet villages and the setting makes for an off the beaten path hiking adventure. This is a soft adventure, with easy walking and immersion in local culture, along with all manner of standout sights including Yagodina Cave, Trigrad Gorge, and Gela village. When following the ridgeline you can mix hiking with transfers to other destinations in Bulgaria’s south.
It is impossible not to be impressed when standing beneath the gold domes of Aleksander Nevski Church or joining the pilgrims at Rila Monastery. Sofia’s Boyana Church is another landmark that quickly takes the breath away. But the religious art is not confined to famous sights. Orthodox churches fill the land, and there is so much to admire even in the simplest wooden offering. Frescos and murals are part of every day here, emotive biblical scenes illuminated by soft burning candles.
Rila Mountains and Monastery
Bulgaria’s most celebrated sight is worth the trip from Sofia. It resembles a fortress from a distance, mighty walls the compass point as you wind into the Rila Mountains. The interior mixes wood with stone, with peculiar check patterns that fail to suggest what is coming next: the ornamental frescoes and carvings that fill the interior, many of them embellished by gold leaf. This hypnotic place highlights the experiential in Bulgaria. With a private tour, it is good to go at an unusual time, either earlier or later than the Sofia group tours.
Every journey through Bulgaria can be a highlight. While highways connect the major cities, you mostly travel through rural mountainous areas, passing through villages that delight in their tradition. Organic food spills from local street stalls, goats cheese just one of the delicacies. Wooden buildings hark back to times of 19th-century glory, especially in Central Northern Bulgaria. The locals wave and say hello, making themselves understood despite the verbal language barrier. With private tours, you sometimes spend more time in the villages than you do at the sights, serendipity playing its role in the experience.
Temperatures change drastically in Bulgaria, hot, dry summers replaced by bitterly cold winters. The mercury peaks in July and August, just as the Black Sea coast resorts get a little swamped with the European school vacation crowd. It swelters in the cities as well as on the beaches at this time of year, with a warm atmosphere added to 19th-century squares and cafe terraces. The temperature is more benign either side of these months, plus the lack of other visitors makes travel more relaxing. You still get the outdoor cafe culture and all the charms of the small towns, just less of the crowds. The sunshine is renowned in Bulgaria, so from May to September, you can almost guarantee good weather, the exception being when you travel high into the mountains. Winter ski season runs from late December until the first week of May, although it is only Bansko that stays open for the full duration. February and March are excellent on the slopes. Like the rest of Eastern Europe, spring bring a flurry of color and an optimistic attitude, while fall can be wet yet beautiful as forests shed their leaves.
Tourism has grown with the improvements to tourist infrastructure, most notably the extended choice of where to stay. Modern luxury hotels can be found across the country now, Sofia and Plovdiv offering a number of iconic options. Most accommodations have spas, something that is common in this country of natural hot springs. The cities have the international hotel chains, although the business districts are not necessary where you like to stay for a tourist visit. Travel all over the country, and there are many boutique hotels. Revitalized mansions in old quarters, like 19th-century buildings that have received a facelift and been converted to four-star properties in pedestrianized areas. In smaller villages, the hotels may be constructed from wood, spacious and charming just without the contemporary features. Like the ornamental churches, you will find boutique guesthouses to have somewhat grand details, which add to the atmosphere. On mountain hikes, you are likely to stay in wooden huts, comfortable accommodation after a day on the trail.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union and is a part of the Schengen Area. U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. For other nationalities, the requirements are consistent with all other Schengen countries. The country continues to use the Bulgarian lev as currency. This is pegged to the euro, and the country is currently in a drawn-out process towards fully adopting the euro. Many tourist establishments now advertise their prices in euros, and most accept euros in payment, although some merely convert the price back to lev and make 2.5% in doing so. Currency exchange offices are on the way out as ATMs become widespread across the country, the vast majority of them accepting Visa and MasterCard. This is usually the safest way to travel as it avoids bringing large quantities of cash. As you would expect in Europe, card payments can be made in hotels and most stores, although you need local currency when traveling to the villages.
Bulgaria is a safe country to visit where violent crime is extremely rare. Visitors are unlikely to run into difficulties, although there has been an increase in pickpockets as tourism has grown. That is mostly confined to large cities like Sofia and Plovdiv and often takes place in the evenings. All visitors should practice standard awareness. However, these precautions are the same as required in most of Europe’s popular tourist cities, like Paris or Barcelona. Medical facilities generally have excellent standards, and the country has become a hotspot for medical tourism, offering complicated treatments for very good prices. If you are in need of medical services, the facilities are good. Always carry a copy of your health and travel insurance policy as this ensures there are no unnecessary delays. Having a guide is also helpful for translation purposes, especially in more rural areas.
Mineral springs and natural spas are another selling point for medical tourism. Therapeutic waters can be found all across the country, and you will learn that Sofia was built upon seven natural springs. While you probably do not need these waters to heal any ailments, they do give Bulgaria a healthy feel. Taking a morning or afternoon in the spa always helps keep you energized for all the culture and history. Debates continue about whether the tap water is safe to drink. It tastes good and does not give the locals a problem, or most seasoned travelers. However, bottled water is the safest option. Your guides can advise as the situation is localized, with some places in the mountains having tap water that is contaminated by animal feces before trickling into the system.
There is a lovely paradox to traveling in Bulgaria. The people will go out of their way to help you and show you around. The language is more of a verbal barrier than most places in Europe. Hand gestures are the way to go, and it is always worth attempting to follow Cyrillic to help decipher restaurant menus. Many Eastern European nations are home to gregarious people, and Bulgaria pretty much tops the scale. You may be able to speak with older villagers in Russian, and the younger generation has picked up English, particularly in the cities. The passion to tell a story is part of the Bulgarian psyche and helps to breed excellent guides. Rather than a drab narration of facts, attractions are enhanced by renditions of heroic tales and past glories, especially when you are in the cradle of the Bulgarian nation; historical towns like Veliko Tarnovo are where you get wonderfully ramshackle tales of identity and culture. The Bulgarians are passionate and you will incur their wrath if committing any cultural faux pas. Most important consideration to remember is to dress modestly when visiting any religious site. Shoulders and knees should be covered, and women should carry a headscarf that can be worn when they enter churches and monasteries. At its heart the culture is conservative, stemming from the Orthodox Church. Be aware of this and it is very unlikely you will upset any of the locals.
Leisure provides a wide array of meticulously planned Bulgaria tours. We make all the plans so that you can completely enjoy your dream vacation! The entire trips can be customized to specific class and requirements or can be completely tailor-made around particular destinations and special interests. To start your amazing journey for Customized Bulgaria tours, let us know your interests by filling out a Trip Request. We would then match your requirements with two or three specialist travel agents who will work with you to provide you the best vacation.
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