Your trip starts in the capital Sofia, which has developed into a unique and amazing city, especially in the last few years; it combines Eastern European charm with modern street art and innovative shops as you know them from the capitals of Western Europe.
The construction of the important buildings is very elegant so you cannot miss the Parliament, the National Palace of Culture, and the National Theatre Ivan Vasov while strolling through the city.
The city itself is very green and there are countless parks where you can mingle with local students on warm spring and summer days. Reading a book or listening to a podcast in the shade of the trees, even in a big city, immediately gets you into the holiday mood. In order to get yourself a coffee and some sweets (for example Garash, a layer cake made of chocolate and walnuts) in the afternoon, you should walk to the pedestrian zone, the Witschwa Boulevard, named after the mountain range that you look down on from there.
In the evening, the city center really comes to life, because the young people of Sofia also like to party. The mixture of relaxed bars, pubs and clubs ensures that everyone gets their money's worth.
At Hostel Mostel Hub you will be right in the middle of the action but still be able to sleep without being disturbed. A bed in the six bed dorm costs 10 euros.
After Sofia, you will be continuing towards the south. The destination is the city of Bansko, which lies between the Pirin National Park and the Rila National Park. With the public bus, the journey takes about 2 hours and costs €5.
Bansko is a dream for everyone who loves outdoor activities and likes to spend time in nature. In winter, the mountain Todoprka above Bansko turns into a popular skiing area for winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Compared to winter sports resorts in Switzerland or France, a skiing holiday in Bulgaria is very affordable. Therefore, the number of winter tourists has increased steadily in recent years.
Bansko is definitely worth a visit in summer, too, even if it is a much quieter in the town with only 10,000 inhabitants. Due to its unique location in the middle of several mountains and national parks, it is the ideal starting point for shorter or even longer hikes. In summer, the old town of Bansko even hosts an open-air jazz festival. There are also events focusing on culinary delights, such as the local wine festival. So, there is something for everyone here.
You can get cheap accommodation at the Elida Family Hotel. A double room is available for €20.
Your trip continues to the city with the unpronounceable name, Plovdiv. Despite the difficult name, the city is very popular, as many locals say that if you haven't seen Plovdiv, you haven't seen Bulgaria. So let's get going!
The city is built on six hills and the streets are cobbled throughout. In the old town, the charming colorful little houses in typical Bulgarian style are lined up close together. The new part of the city has been made much more modern, there are many green areas, parks, and water installations. At the Stefan Stambolov Square you should definitely make a stop in one of the small cafes. It is the perfect place to people-watch and write down your travel memories.
While you spend a few days in the city, you will definitely see the beautiful handmade pottery. This is what the region is known for, and they are ideal souvenirs for friends and family.
You can get a good night's sleep in the dorm of the Pijama Hostel for €11 a night.
After Plovdiv, keep traveling east until you reach the end of the land. The next destination is Burgas, the city on the Black Sea. By train, it takes only 4 hours (without changes) and you can enjoy the landscape to the fullest.
There has always been a discussion about which is the most beautiful city on the Black Sea in Bulgaria: Burgas or Varna. Our choice is clearly Burgas, due to its beautiful location on the coast of the Black Sea. The city has developed into a resort and can score with a beautiful and lively old town and a clean, well-kept beach. An absolute must for everyone who bathes at the Black Sea for the first time is of course to test if you really do not sink. P.S. Yes, it really works.
The A16 Hostel offers Dorms with ten beds and all necessities for the ridiculous price of only €9 per night.
As your journey progresses, you will pass the rival city of Varna and settle north of it in Goldstrand. The bus costs about 8€.
The name suggests a seaside resort with a beautiful sandy beach, and you will not be disappointed. As soon as you see the beach for the first time, you will forget that you are at the very edge of Europe and you will feel like you’re suddenly in the Caribbean.
If you are looking for an empty beach for peace and quiet, avoid the summer months at all costs, as the golden beach (and generally the coast around Varna) is a popular holiday destination for Bulgarians. They are also known to be very hard drinkers and can get a little rowdy.
Apart from that, there are a lot of restaurants and beach bars in the village, and you can safely melt into your deck chair for a while. With outside temperatures of up to 30 degrees and a water temperature of 25 degrees in summer, this is also the only way to do it.
There is plenty of cheap accommodation in Goldstrand. In the Yo Ho Hostel, you will be in good hands and you are not directly on the party strip. For €9 there is a bed in a four person dorm.
Now you can wind down from the beach party with a last taste culture. The city of Tarnowo is about 5 hours’ drive by bus into the interior of the country. This costs around 10€.
The city is particularly famous for its medieval city wall, the fortress Tsarevets, and the cobbled streets. Like many medieval towns, it is built on a hill and once looked down threateningly on its enemies. Nowadays, the city exudes a romantic charm rather than a threatening one. Thus, when exploring the narrow alleys, you’ll get a nice warm and cosy feeling. Here you can relax once more before you reach the end of your journey.
You will find a pleasant place to sleep in the Rooster Hostel. A bed in a four-bed dorm costs €12.
From Tarnowo you will then drive back to the capital to catch your flight back home.