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Language: Bulgarian | Currency: Lev (лв) | Local time: EEST | Avg. Flight time: 3.5 hrs
One of the coolest neighbourhoods is Sredets, a central suburb of the capital with no shortage of attractions. Staying in this district means the National Art Gallery, National Theatre, Ivan Vazov National Theatre and City Garden are all on your doorstep.
Sofia’s most famous street, Vitosha Avenue, runs south from the Cathedral Church Sveta Nedelya to the epic Yuzhen Park (South Park). Shops, restaurants and bars stay open late along the avenue, and there’s an abundance of hotel options - from budget to luxury - providing unrivalled access to many of the city’s most popular attractions.
Smaller in scale than many other European capitals, Sofia is easy to see on foot or by metro, which means you’re never far from the action.
Bulgaria’s glorious Black Sea coastline stretches more than 200 miles from its northern to southern border.
Popular summer resorts on the coastline include Sunny Beach near Burgas and Golden Sands near Varna. Accommodation at Sunny Beach ranges from cheap self-catering apartment to upmarket spa hotels, and the vast majority of hotels are family friendly, with private pools and the option of half or full-board stays.
Recently ranked the most affordable resort in Europe by the Post Office, Sunny Beach offers up a number of day trip options, including the neighbouring UNESCO-protected ancient village of Nessebar and Aqua Paradise in Ravda, the largest water park in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is one of Europe’s fastest-growing ski destinations, with snow-sure winter resorts such as Bansko and Borovets delivering on affordability and the skiing essentials.
Bansko is the liveliest ski resort in Bulgaria, catering to both students and young families, with an aprés-ski for party-lovers that’s popular from December until early April. The cheapest deals can be found by booking your stay well in advance and either before or after the Christmas and New Year period.
Borovets is a more upmarket alternative, with a quirky, ski village feel and some slopes that are accessible directly from your hotel.
The tourism boom in Bulgaria has given rise to a number of stylish boutique hotels. Many of them have spa facilities, swanky rooftop bars and fine-dining restaurants serving local and international cuisine. They are generally well below £100 per night, and much cheaper in spring and autumn, outside of peak season.
With affordable accommodation in generous supply throughout the country, Bulgaria is a great place to visit for frugal travellers. Self-catering apartments are commonplace throughout the country, though the widest choice can be found in the major cities and coastal resorts.
For a taste of the hospitality that Bulgarians are famed for, visit the country’s rural towns and villages and opt to stay at a traditional guesthouse.