Bulgaria is not on the bucket list of most travellers and many would find it difficult to place the country on a map. This is a shame because Bulgaria is an amazing, underrated travel destination, one that is blessed with stunning natural beauty and an abundance of fascinating places to visit. Listed below are ten of the most compelling reasons to travel to Bulgaria this year.
Sofia. Many visitors start their exploration of Bulgaria in the country’s capital. Sofia has a very Eastern European ambience but everywhere there are signs of that it is quickly adapting to the modern era. Most of the main attractions are in the centre, where the Roman ruins of Serdika can be seen in the metro stations. It is hard to miss the gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built to honour Russia’s assistance to Bulgaria in its war of independence from the Ottomans in the 1870s.
Rila Monastery. The most popular tourist site in the entire country is located about an hour and half’s drive south from Sofia. In a serene mountain setting, the monastery is named for Ivan Rilski, Bulgaria’s patron saint who lived in a cave at the site. The main church is framed by black and white-striped pillars and its external walls are covered with Biblical-themed frescoes. The church’s interior is dark but welcoming for the many pilgrims who flock there to light candles.