Exploring some of Bulgaria's beauties and hidden gems for a week
- + 9
Bulgaria6 days / August 2019
Highs & Lows
Bungee jump from a cave called Eyes of God
Taxi drivers at Sofia airport may try to charge much more than what it would cost normally.
The trip started when I picked my Mauritian friend at Sofia airport coming for a short vacation in my homeland. To be more efficient I would suggest that the best way to travel is by renting a car. It is affordable and would allow you to be more flexible than using public transport. That*s what we did. During the first two days we explored the capital Sofia. As soon as I picked my friend from the airport I took him to a restaurant called Happy which has a great variety of food going from traditional Bulgarian to Italian as well as Sushi. My friend highly enjoyed it. Afterwards, I took him to the city center where he could see the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Boyana Church, Sofia university, the parliament and the Vitosha Boulevard with a mesmerizing view towards the Vitosha Mountain . As a matter of fact, Sofia, known as Serdica in the Antiquity and Sredets in the Middle ages, has been existing ever since at least 7000 BC. Respectively, one could find trails from Ancient Trakian, Roman, Slavic, Bulgarian and Socialist times. The city is quite diverse and the visitor can enjoy the contrast of modern European Buildings and districts and some striking communist architecture in some neighborhoods. Next, we visited the Vitosha Mountain which is in a close proximity to the city. We drove up until we found a place with a magnificent view of the city. I highly recommend checking that and waiting until it is dark to witness the lights of the city. We closed the day by visiting Bedroom club so that my guest could also get a feeling of the Sofia nightlife.
The second stop in the trip was the Belogradchik fortress. It is an ancient fortress located in the northwest of Bulgaria, two hours and half away from Sofia. The road there passes through a picturesque mountain worthwhile checking even on its own. The fortress was constructed during Roman Times. The high rock formations were used as a protection against intruders. The view from the top overlooks the small town of Belogradchik, which the fortress is named after, and the magnificent hills of the Stara Planina mountain. To quickly recharge the batteries and try traditional Bulgarian cuisine one can stop at the Belogradchik. Bulgarian restaurants have a variety of choice in their menus. My friend and I tried Shopska salad and a pastry dish called Banitsa. Next stop for the day was a cave called the Eyes of God which is on the way to the seaside. The pictures below can prove that indeed the cave resembles eyes. We've been also told that at night the moon passes through one of the holes as if this is the pupil of the eye. Another reason for visiting this cave was to do a bungee jump. Both of us experienced this for the first time. Although it was challenging to jump voluntarily at first, at the end we were happy that we faced our fear. Lastly, we spent the night at a hotel Yantra in Veliko Tarnovo which is the third Bulgarian Capital and is worth spending a day at as well.
The last stop of the trip was at the seaside. A personal favorite for me there is Sozopol, therefore I brought my friend there. Although the town in itself is not big, one could enjoy diverse scenery in the area and be busy with a number of activities. In the summer months, thousands of tourists from around the world arrive to enjoy the good weather, sandy beaches, the old town dating back from Roman times and the neighboring camping sites. My friend and I spent the first evening in the old town of Sozopol. There were a number of small artisan shops selling homemade jam, honey and souvenirs. My friend bought cosmetics made of rose which is the national symbol of the country. On the next day we visited the wonderful beach of Gradina . Gradina is one of the most famous campsites in Bulgaria. Located a few kilometers away from the ancient Sozopol, Gradina is home to thousands of caravans (towed trailers) and campers and is perfect for the windsurfing enthusiast. In addition, it has several beach bars which are nationally renown. At night they turn into discos with affordable pricing. My friend and I visited beach bar Dirty Gradina, in particular, which offered a great house party during the day.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have rented a caravan or camper in Gradina near Sozopol. Great place to do that!
How was the food?
restaurant Happy - very delicious and affordable. They have restaurants all over the country.
What tips would you give a friend?
Strangely, in Bulgaria nodding with your head means "no" and shaking from side-to-side means "yes". So be careful you are not misunderstood by the waiter at the restaurant.
Bulgaria is quite warm in the summer so bring your Hawaiian shirts and short pants.
I would suggest renting a car. It is very cheap and allows you to be very flexible.