Bulgaria is a Balkan nation located on the Black Sea. It’s capital Sofia is the largest city and the cultural center of the country. Bulgaria takes influences from the surrounding countries and past rulers, including the Greek, Ottoman, Persian, and Slavic. Because of this, Bulgaria delivers a wide range of cultural and gastronomical choices, making it a great vacation spot for the masses.
What To Do
In the center of the Sofia stands St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the Balkan peninsula which can seat 10,000 people. This cathedral was built in the 1880s after the Bulgarian state was reestablished post-Ottoman rule.
Also in the center is the Serdica Amphitheatre, a Roman amphitheater that was only discovered in 2004. This amphitheater once held gladiator battles, as well as a fight against man and beasts.
There is a bounty of museums worthy of a visit in Sofia. The National History Museum has nearly 700,000 exhibits, making it the biggest museum in the country as well as one of the biggest within the Balkan countries.
MSA, or the Museum of Socialist Art is another museum you must visit. This museum is an offset of the National Museum of Bulgarian Art, showcasing art from the Socialist period of the country’s history, which gives great insight into the history of the country through their art. The most enticing part of the museum is the sculpture garden, which features 80 pieces that span almost 2 acres of land.
Central Mineral Baths
These baths were constructed with the idea of the Turkish baths in mind. The building is built in classical neo-Byzantine style, making it the most photographed building in the city. These baths were used for most of the 21st century, but are still running by hot spring water are technically still usable, although most would not encourage it.
Where To Go
There is some amazing nature that surrounds Sofia, and since Bulgaria is a relatively small country, take advantage of that fact! There are many places you can get to via public transport in just 1-2 hours, even less time with a car.
The Seven Rila Lakes are sounded by the Rila Mountains, which are the highest in all of Eastern Europe and the Balkan Penninsula. These are the most visited lakes in Bulgaria, and once you see the electric blue waters, you’ll understand why.
Once you’ve gone to the lakes, consider visiting the Rila Monastery as well. It is a bit further past the lakes, but well worth it. This monastery is one of the 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria and was constructed in the 10th century. This colorful monastery is in the heart of the Rila Mountains, and have truly beautiful views of the land.
Where To Eat
Vitosha Boulevard is a busy pedestrian street in the city center, boasting loads of bars and restaurants. Walking down this street you will find many options of traditional Bulgarian food, as well as international options.
Before & After is located right off this busy boulevard in a historic home. The atmosphere and cuisine of this restaurant are classical Bulgarian.