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Top Five Places to Visit on a Trip to Bulgaria

Sophia, BulgariaNestled in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria offers a breath-taking country that has been inhabited by some of the world’s greatest cultures. The birthplace of Spartacus and Orpheus and home to the ferocious ancient Thracians, Bulgaria offers a wonderful history in a beautiful setting that is just waiting to be explored.

Sophia

Sprawling, dynamic and unique, Bulgaria’s capital city features a unique blend of stark Communist-style architecture and traditional European designs. With a thriving modern culture that celebrates both the past and the future, Sophia is one of the most exciting urban environments in the country. Established over 2,500 years ago, Sophia is home to several museums, over 250 historical points of interest and some of the Bulgaria’s oldest orthodox churches and cathedrals.

Bulgarka Nature Park

Beautifully diverse Bulgarka Nature Park offers some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Located in the center of Bulgaria and easily accessible from any of the major cities, the Nature Park offers lovely views, interesting cultural sites and plenty of open space to explore and enjoy. The Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex, Sokolski Monastary, and Shipka Memorial are located within park limits and offer insight into the fascinating history of Bulgaria. Home to a vast assortment of wild animals and with more than 30 maintained trails sprawling across varied terrain, the park is an ideal place for hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, bird watching and other outdoor activities.

Belogradchik Fortress

One of the most well-preserved structures in Bulgaria, the Belogradchik Fortress dates back to Roman occupation. Positioned for surveillance instead of defence, this fortress served as one of the most important structures in the country after its expansion in the 14th century. The fortress played a significant role in the country’s development and offers striking views of the Bulgarian countryside.

Kazanlak

Nicknamed “The Town of the Roses and the Thracian Kings”, Kazanlak is an inviting city that is as fascinating as it is beautiful. With a history of settlements dating back to the Neolithic era, Kazanlak is home to the ancient Threcian Kosmatka Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city itself was established in the early 1400s and has become one of the world’s largest producers of rose oil; the vibrant colours and lovely fragrance of roses makes Kazanlak the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, and the Museum of Roses offers guests a fresh perspective on these attractive plants. Travellers can also visit cultural treasures such as the Koulata Ethnographic Complex, the Buzovgrad megalith, Buzludsha National Park and the Iskra Town History Museum.

Plovdiv

As the second largest city in the country and one of the oldest cities in Europe, Plovdiv is a thriving modern environment that proudly embraces its roots. The heart of the city is full of preserved architecture from the 19th century, complete with descriptive signs that resemble the heritage plaques of the UK. Plovdiv’s Central Garden features meticulously kept grounds, lovely trees and the Simfonia show of synchronized fountains and lights, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the city. Plovdiv is also the site of the Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre, Bulgaria’s largest building from the Roman Era. Now fully restored and capable of seating 7,000, this glorious amphitheatre spent centuries hidden under 15 metres of mud!

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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