Bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south and the Black Sea to the east, Bulgaria expands across the mountains and plains of the eastern Balkan Peninsula. A land of towering peaks, golden-domed churches and primeval forests, it provides a captivating mix of scenic beauty and cultural diversity that is hard to match.
Its strategic position at the crossroads and meeting points of so many cultures and influences has seen it absorb the histories and habits of everyone from the Thracians and the Romans to the Huns and the Turks. This remarkable melding of cultural customs has left behind an astonishingly rich historical legacy that can be seen in its wealth of ancient remains, Orthodox churches and Ottoman architecture. Wherever you look you can find Neolithic ruins and Thracian tombs, striking monastic retreats and a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The strong Turkish and Greek influences can be found in its cuisine too, with yoghurts and white cheese accompanying an array of soups, delicately packed vine leaves and even whole spit roasted lamb. Bulgaria’s untamed landscapes provide sustenance of another kind, with mist-shrouded plains and snow-covered peaks providing a haven for wildlife and walkers alike. Here, high above the Danubian Plains, wolves and bears occupy lush primeval forests that are home to endangered flora, rare eagles and some of the richest biodiversity anywhere in Europe.
Bulgaria may be just on the doorstep, but it is a world away from the Europe we think we know.