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Why visiting Bulgaria is a perfect choice

14.08.2017

Welcome to Bulgaria. Easily accessible from all corners of the world. Especially from within Europe, Bulgaria is just a few hours away at most! There’s the low-cost airlines now, that connect the capital Sofia with many other West-European cities. WizzAir now even has an inland flight to Varna, on the coast. Then there’s Ryanair connecting Sofia and Plovdiv, the second largest city, to other countries. These flights are affordable, for sure outside the high season. Train connections between the Balkan countries are available, just not between Bulgaria and Macedonia directly. There’s good bus transport between all countries and cities so you shouldn’t experience any trouble getting into Bulgaria.

 

Bulgaria is quite easy to navigate as well. Especially so when you hire a rental car. Even though traffic in the Bulgarian capital might seem daunting at first, once you get behind the wheel you will certainly be fine! Once you’re out of the city, you will find that most roads are quiet and you can drive at a leisurely pace. The roads are pretty much open to go wherever you wish. And, there are endless itineraries! The signs are both in Cyrillic as well as in Latin script. You can easily download an offline area map on your phone. Or take GPS. Still, should you find yourself lost, you can always ask the people! They will go out of their way to help you find your destination. That’s surely a good reason to visit Bulgaria, its people!

 

Asen's Fortress Ovech Fortress Koprivshtitsa

 

They then, after many generations, came to inhabit the Thracian and Slavic areas of what is now Bulgaria. It is surprising to many but the Cyrillic script is actually from Bulgaria. In the First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018), the ancient Bulgarian capital Pliska had the Preslav Literary School. It was founded in 885. There, the script was developed and named after the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius. They created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on, which then formed the basis of the Cyrillic alphabet, together with the Greek Uncial script. Uncial script is written entirely in capital letters and it was used to write in both Greek and Latin. The Cyrillic script spread in the form of literature and became known as Old Church Slavonic, which is now extinct. Regional varieties, especially spoken, resulted in the differences we have in Slavic languages today. Still, many countries in Eastern Europe, as far as into Asia, use the Cyrillic alphabet.
 

The Wonderful Bridges Stara Planina Mountain Zheravna

 

Needless to say, a good reason to visit Bulgaria is the country’s tremendous history. Bulgaria holds an important position in Europe. Bulgaria is truly on the crossroads between West and East, on the border of the European Union. Surrounded by countries with completely different people, cultures and languages. The country was home to so many tribes over the past thousands of years - and was under Ottoman rule for over five hundred years as well. Many left their footsteps on the Bulgarian soil, yet the national identity always remained. It is fascinating to just imagine the fact that Bulgarian culture, folklore and literature survived strong suppression for hundreds of years. The Bulgarian soul has known hardship and yet it still thrives. People realize the historical wealth they have – the golden treasures found in for example Varna and Panagyurishte, as well as many other Thracian remains found all over the country. Most major cities in the country have a historical museum where you can see many findings. In Sofia, the Archaeological Museum in the center as well as on the southern ring road have the most varied displays.
 

Literary geniuses such as Ivan Vazov and national heroes like Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev are still honoured until today, many historical figures even have national holidays devoted to them. Century-old monasteries are dotted all over the country, as well as remains of ancient fortresses that can be visited. For example, the fortress above Lovech city or Ovech fortress in Provadia town. Most importantly, in terms of history, the stories of the people, that tell of battles that have taken place which are largely unheard of in history classes in other countries. Battles that have been responsible for the shaping of Europe as we see today. If you are interested in history, you should not have a dull moment in Bulgaria. And if history is not what you’re exactly interested in, it will still overwhelm you. Bulgaria’s history will drag you along, you feel it in every city and village and in every street.

 

Lovech Karlovo Chavcha Waterfall

 

You see history in the layers of architecture in central Sofia, where ancient churches are facing socialist structures and modern, glass-faced buildings. The Boyana church on the outskirts of Sofia, or the Rila monastery at just 170 kilometres from the capital. The Roman theatre of Plovdiv, which is one of the best preserved theatres worldwide! It’s from the First Century so two thousands years old, and still leaves spectators in awe. If you’re in Bulgaria in summer, you might just be in luck and attend an open-air show, which will make you feel like you’re part of the setting, in this city that had its first inhabitants in the 6th millennium BC! You’ll find a completely different atmosphere wandering through Zheravna, where the streets are lined with over two hundred wooden houses from the Bulgarian National Revival period (18th and 19th century). All just fascinating!

 

Bulgaria boasts several types of landscapes on a small territory. Steep mountains, green hills, deep canyons and endless sunflower fields. The beaches and pine forests, the cliffs and many rock formations. Bulgaria truly has a lot to offer. Nature is safe and yet it is wild – you can truly get lost in the endless forests. If you'd cross Bulgaria, the main thing you notice is how much nature the country has. It's everywhere – almost each town is surrounded by forests that you can just walk into. Also, much of the nature remains freely accessible so you won't come across any fences holding you back. The number of marked trails you can follow is increasing quickly. You can truly feel like a free man in Bulgaria – endless possibilities for exploration such as hiking, riding bikes and for thrill-seekers, how about paragliding?


 

The Roman theatre of Plovdiv Rila Monastery Boyana Church

 

There's large mountain huts, where hikers can spend the night and gaze at the stars. Or, enjoy the hot mineral water sources at for example Banya and Hisarya near Karlovo, in central Bulgaria. Get a luxurious spa treatment – feel completely regenerated after a mud bath or wine-thermal therapy. Or, how does a wellness body therapy with natural rose oil sound? Options are endless and in few places around the world is wellness as accessible as in Bulgaria. Combine your wellness retreat with some nature and history – the Sredna Gora mountains are just southwest of the Karlovo region. Koprivshtitsa town is one of the country’s main sights. It played a major role in the country’s National Uprising against the Ottoman occupation. Still, typical Bulgarian architecture can be admired and some truly good Bulgarian dishes should be tasted! Koprivshtitsa regularly hosts famous folklore festivals, when the town is dressed up in traditional clothing and people dance through the streets.

 

Then there’s Karlovo itself, the birthplace of national hero Vasil Levski as well as an access point to the Stara Planina mountains and the Rose Valley. The area, cultivated fore many centuries, produces world-famous Bulgarian rose oil and perfumes. Did you know 85% from the world’s rose oil production has roses from this valley? Make sure to visit the Suchurum waterfall right next to Karlovo, or how about tasting a good Bulgarian wine in the old town, which managed to keep the spirit of the Bulgarian National Revival? From Karlovo, you could head south to Plovdiv – one of Europe’s oldest cities – or Asenovgrad with Asen’s fortress and the Chudnite Mostove natural bridges a bit farther into the Rhodope mountains. Then, visit towns at the foot of these mountains, such as Krichim. Or, head for the Rila Mountains - Kostenets with its Chavcha waterfall or the ski resort Borovets are on your way back to Sofia – so make sure to do some hiking as well. Borovets, in the middle of green forests, is popular for hiking but you could always come back to ski as well – you will then again get a completely different view of Bulgaria. In short, Bulgaria has it all. We haven’t even discussed the seaside yet! Either way, we will develop an itinerary with you. Go wherever the road and your senses might take you!



Read more fantastic stories about Bulgaria: https://www.leondeleeuw.net/travel-bulgaria

by Leon de Leeuw
Website: https://www.leondeleeuw.net/
Youtube: Visit

 

Car rental in Sofia, Bulgaria

Savoy Rent a Car is one of the leading car rental companies in Bulgaria established in 2003. Our goal is to provide our customers with high quality services at the most competitive rates. Savoy offers a wide range of vehicles. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, we have a vehicle to suit your needs. Our fleet contains economy, compact, mid-size, SUV, minivans and full size cars. We guarantee: - Unlimited mileage - Full insurance coverage - 24/7 customer support - Free delivery - Delivery & transfers to every point in Bulgaria

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Best places to visit near Sofia

Welcome to Bulgaria. Where you have an endless amount of places to see on a small surface. Where the climate is fantastic and allows for year-round tourism. You can make trips through the whole country and be surprised by something unexpected and pretty every moment of your stay. It might seem like you have to make a long round trip to make the best of your visit to Bulgaria. And making such a trip with your rental car is certainly worth it! However, it’s not necessary to go from hotel to hotel. There’s enough to see around Sofia to entertain you. For a trip as long as you wish. There’s so much to see around the capital, that you can stay there and make day trips. It’s just as fulfilling and will leave you with good memories. It is recommended that you use a rental car service, however. Public transport is relatively reliable but with a rental car you are considerably more flexible to do as you please.   We will have your rental car, including insurance, ready in Sofia. You can choose one of the many hotels in our capital. In the wide array of accommodation, there will definitely be something that suits your needs. Most hotels have a place to park your car, so you can make your day trips and return in the evenings. Then, you can enjoy the many good restaurants of Sofia and the nightlife of this cool city! You might feel more comfortable and relaxed if you keep one and the same hotel during your stay and make day trips from where you are. No need to carry around your luggage, you take a daypack knowing you’ll be back at night. So, pick up your rental car from our office, and you’re ready for your first day trip!   Vitosha Mountain   Day 1 As you most likely already saw from the airplane, Sofia has a huge mountain right next to the city. In fact, there’s houses built against the slopes. This mountain is called Vitosha, with 2.290 metres quite a tall mountain to be right next to a metropolis. It’s a popular destination for local people as well as tourists. To get a breath of fresh air, to go hike or to practice winter sports. The mountain offers all kinds of ways to relax or get active during your trip. You could take the cable car up or drive towards the mountain hut ‘Aleko’, from where you can make excellent hikes. On the way, you will pass the Kopitoto tower. This TV tower itself is not accessible for the public but you can stay outside and enjoy the wide view over Sofia. During the day, it’s an excellent place for a picnic. At night, you will surely have the best view over the many lights of the busy Bulgarian capital. It’s a good place to celebrate New Year’s as well, if this is the time you visit. Just imagine looking at the fireworks you get to see! The place is best reached by car. There is a cable car but it’s not working since a long time – hiking there is too far from the city.   If you come during the winter season, we will make sure your car is equipped with winter tyres so you can drive to the resorts safely and enjoy your winter activities! Apart from the slopes on Vitosha mountain, Bulgaria has several more and even better slopes for some action in the snow. Drive to Borovets, just under 70 kilometres from the capital. You could make a day trip – just as many locals do. Alternatively, you could surely spend the night there. Then there’s Bansko, however it might be a bit too far for just a day if you plan to spend many hours outside practicing sports. Visiting Vitosha mountain or Borovets is a wiser decision if you’d just like to spend a day.   Day 2 If you come through any other season than winter, it will be interesting for you to see the Iskar gorge north of Sofia. The river, that was once far wider and mightier than it is now, carved many interesting shapes into the rocks. After many thousands of years of erosion, you can now admire the  rock formations and tall cliffs that reach north of Sofia for over a hundred kilometres. A unique and scenic drive. Each village on the way will have something interesting to offer you, such as the Batulia monastery off the main road in Rebrovo, the little town Svoge with the Soleil restaurant (http://soleilbg.com/) or the wide views from the village Zhelen. Then, there’s two waterfalls in the villages Bov and Gara Bov. The ‘Vazova ekopateka’, in Gara Bov, will surely be a good option if you enjoy a hike uphill. Not too difficult and totally worth the climb. You’ll be rewarded with a wide view on the Skaklya waterfall. Keep in mind that it tends to dry up in high season, best is to come in early spring. Continue to Lakatnik and see the arguably most beautiful cliffs in the country. Visit one of the mountain huts that are up in the hills, to enjoy a strong cup of herbal tea. These mountain huts, called ‘hizha’ or plural ‘hizhi’, are spread all over the country. The ones you can visit on this day trip are Hizha Trestenaya or Hizha Gubislav.   Iskar gorge Vazova Ekopateka Lakatnik   Day 3 Drive northwest towards the small town of Godech, where you can have a coffee and visit the small  river front with the many plants and flowers in springtime. Then, continue towards the waterfall Kotlite, which is at its best in spring. Late in summer, unfortunately, the waterfall is dry. Make sure to stop by at the Bukorovski monastery. You could walk downhill and visit Razboishte monastery, where you find a chapel inside the rocks and an interesting monastery complex of hundreds of years old. It’s situated along the Nishava river. Then, walk on towards Sveta Petka monastery. This place was abandoned but is now inhabited by a couple from Sofia, that is truly happy at this serene place.   Now let’s get back to your rental car. There’s even more to see on the road! Head north towards Berkovitsa. You’ll drive the Petrohan mountain pass, through the dense forests of Western Bulgaria. You’ll approach Berkovitsa and can turn right on the way to Varshets. Then, after just a few kilometres, turn right again towards the Klisurski monastery. At that junction, you find Complex Stalin, where you could have a delicious meal. At the monastery, they sell many products such as homemade wine, honey and jam. Berkovitsa itself is a nice town to visit – with a wide view over the mountains. If you have time left, drive up until Hizha Kom. Have some tea at the mountain hut and enjoy a walk through the beautiful landscape.   Day 4 Time to explore the region east of Sofia. There’s plenty to see! Drive towards Mirkovo, a little, peaceful town at the foot of the Stara Planina mountain range. The town has the second-largest golden dome of Bulgaria on a church, right on the main square. The first-largest dome can be found on the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. You could have a meal or some drinks at the hotel/restaurant complex St. Ivan Rilski and perhaps enjoy a walk around the town. Then get back to your rental car and drive on towards Chavdar. Many say it’s the prettiest village in Bulgaria. This might count for the village square, which is renovated and indeed looks fine with many rose gardens and ponds, including fountains. As you drive east, you’ll come across many more towns and villages that will be interesting for you to see. If you’d like to return to Sofia, it might be nice to take the road south through Smolsko and Baylovo. You’ll most likely have the road to yourself, just be prepared to make sudden stops in case of animals on the road! You’ll end up at Gorna Malina, where, on a hot summer day, you could swim at the complex Vyatarnite Melnitsi. It means ‘Windmills’. Even though the entrance fee is not to be called cheap – the experience is certainly worth it! You could make a day trip out of just visiting the complex and once you had enough, then visit some villages. Design the trip as you want!   Klisurski monastery Kom Monuntain Complex "Windmills"   Day 5 Now let’s go south, the only direction you haven’t gone yet. On the road to Samokov, you’ll pas the Pancharevo lake. Another popular place for city folks to spend their free time. It’s nice to walk around a bit or to enjoy a picnic on the side of the lake. As you continue south, on your left you can’t miss the Iskar reservoir. This is an enormous lake where Sofia gets its tap water from. There’s several small paths leading up to the lakeside, where you can enjoy another stunning scenery. And you’re not even an hour outside of Sofia! Just a bit more south of the Iskar reservoir is the city of Samokov. The city is famous for its delicious potatoes – the best of the country. For that reason, and more, make sure to stop and spend some time in the center. An excellent place to have lunch is the Kokoshkova Kushta (www.clubsamel90.com/index_en.html). They cook wonderfully and have a spacious garden where you can enjoy their specialties. There are plenty of other small restaurants around town, all should serve the local potatoes! As you walk around, you’ll see plenty of architectural treasures in the form of old houses and churches. Many of these were built during the National Revival period in Bulgaria, starting around 1762 up until the liberation from the Ottomans in 1878. Samokov played an important role in the National Revival. The city used to have one of the three woodworking schools in Bulgaria and even nowadays, many examples of fantastic woodwork of masters from Samokov is found all over the Balkan peninsula. Mainly in churches. You’ll notice that there’s some tall mountains close to Samokov, this is the Rila mountain range. There, you’ll find the tallest peak of the Balkans, which is Musala mountain (2.925 metres). You could visit the mountain and ski resort Borovets or opt for a swimming or spa retreat in Separeva Banya.   You will be nothing but impressed by the opportunity to see a lot in just a day – even when spending the night in Sofia! Would you like to get some more information on destinations nearby? Do not hesitate to contact us. We will prepare your rental car so you can enjoy a carefree trip through the surroundings of Sofia. Enjoy!   by Leon de Leeuw Website: https://www.leondeleeuw.net/ Youtube: Visit Read more fantastic stories about Bulgaria: https://www.leondeleeuw.net/travel-bulgaria

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