Bulgaria emerged as a discrete state during the late seventh century when the Bulgar tribe came together with the local Slavics. The history of the country is twitchy with numerous battles and political upheavals.
Run over by the Byzantines, Ottoman Turks and finally, the Soviets, it finally became a democracy in 1990 and is now part of the EU and NATO.
US passport-holders are allowed into the country for up to 90 days without a visa. Everyone else is required to have a stamped visa prior to access. Traveling around and out of the country with a Bulgarian minor is regarded with suspicion. If the minor does not belong to you do ensure a legally certified notarization.
The Bulgarian capital Sofia is an excellent starting point for tourists. Among Europe’s oldest cities, there is a mind-boggling array of things to do and see. For those with a penchant for history there’s National History Museum and the Archaeological Museum. Do not miss out on the churches like the Alexander Nevski Cathedral and the Boyona Church. Be careful about exchanging currency with ‘cons’ clogging the streets, though. Go down to an exchange bureau but count your money quickly to avoid the risk of getting mugged. An ATM is a better bet, any day.
For the title of ‘fashion and art’ center the city of Plovdiv qualifies best. It is a pleasure to behold the well-heeled stepping into free-to-view all-night art museums and galleries. While strolling around the Old Town you’ll come upon the ruins of the Amphitheatre built during the 2nd century. A major tourist attraction, it hosts plays, concerts, and operas.
If your idea of a grand holiday is winding up at the sea beach, we suggest you take the train up to North Bulgaria and get off at Varna, the largest seaside resort town in the country. You could check in at Golden Sands, the beach resort next to the northern Black Sea Coast. Situated in a pictorial setting with wooded terraces, the resort is also the site of various water sports.
And if you are interested in exploring medieval Bulgaria, do go up to Veliko Turnovo with its typical rural setting and surrounded by old churches and monasteries. The Tsarevets Fortress, particularly, is a must-see, especially when there is a light show on. The great murals are something you may not want to miss.
Contiguous to the Black Sea and bordering on Turkey is the country’s fourth-largest city and very important, industry-wise. Not particularly famous as a beach resort it serves as an important link to other seaside resorts and serves as an important starting point. The city also has a famous international airport.
Bulgaria is an interesting country to explore and tourists love it. Do be careful of scamsters, though, as well as drug peddlers and muggers. Also, be careful to avoid walking around at night as the streets are to well-lighted and you might land in an open manhole or worse, get mugged.