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Bulgaria

river-cruises
The language is Slavic, the alphabet Cyrillic, Bulgaria, in the heart of Eastern Europe, is a country that’s stayed true to its roots. That said, the Greeks, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines and Turks, who, throughout the country’s long history, invaded, conquered and settled, have all left their mark. Having emerged from four decades behind the iron curtain, Bulgaria with its golden sand beaches and mountain resorts has become a holiday hotspot. 
 
Delve deeper and you’ll discover historic towns and picturesque, timber-framed villages where locals still practice traditional trades. Roman ruins, Ottoman mosques, Eastern Orthodox monasteries and churches pepper the landscape of the country that is also home to one of Europe’s oldest wine industries.
 
In the north of Bulgaria, the Danube River forms a large part of the border with Romania. Known as the Danube region it is very much off-Bulgaria’s-beaten-track and a river cruise brings a few surprises. Vidin is home to the majestic Baba Vida Fortress, the best-preserved medieval castle in the country, whilst Svishtov reveals traces of the Roman Empire. The river is dotted with uninhabited islands with pristine forest and beautiful yet wild beaches. Belene - or Persina, Island is home to a diverse bird life and wild animals, though from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, the island was a concentration camp notorious to political prisoners.

Things to know

  • Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established in 681AD
  • Its capital Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe
  • Bulgarians shake their heads to say yes, and nod their heads to say no
  • Roses grown in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley produce 70 – 85% of the world’s rose oil, which is used in some of the world’s most expensive perfumes
  • The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by two Bulgarian monks - ‘Cyril and Methodius, in the 9th century AD
  • When Bulgaria entered the EU on January 1st, 2007, Cyrillic became the EU’s third official alphabet
  • The proto-Bulgarian calendar is recognised as one of the oldest in the world

Key Destinations

Ruse
Ruse

Italian, Austrian, German and Bulgarian architects all played their part in creating what is considered one of the most elegant cities in Bulgaria. Ruse, or Rousse as its often called, is famous for its unique 19th and 20th century neo-rococo and neo-baroque architectural styles and a stroll down Alexandrovska reveals a charming ensemble of notable buildings. In the old city centre, the library, ‘Lyuben Karavelov’, is decorated with beautiful baroque ornaments. One of the city’s most beautiful areas is Freedom Square with its Monument of Liberty, parks and fountains.