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Σάββατο, 24 Φεβρουαρίου, 2024
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionBulgaria: A hidden gem for winter vacation

Bulgaria: A hidden gem for winter vacation

By Amalia Theocharidou,

As winter provides us with an acceptable break from our everyday routine, vacations are only a matter of organization. As most winter resort countries were fully booked, I decided this year to do something out of the box and follow a path to a destination I personally would never follow. Bulgaria. Being urged by my family, I decided to leave back all the negative thoughts I had and give it a chance, because as the psychology of the mass implies, there has to be something good for it to attract so many young tourists in the last years.

Reaching to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, my perception for the country has changed in the first half an hour, to say the least. The rural suburbs of the city don’t give out its architectural greatness one can observe in the city center. Staying in that area allowed me to be able to walk it fully almost and have a wholly approach to the matter. With an architecture that gives out the feeling that you’re in Paris and great Byzantine monuments, the city invites us all to take a stroll around the traditional alleys or stop and admire extraordinary buildings such as the theater of Ivan Vazov, which lacks of nothing if one compares it with an Italian infrastructure. If one now is either religious or a lover of Byzantine history, they can’t miss out on the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a magnificent church constructed to honor the Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Bulgarian soldiers who died on the Bulgarian grounds on the Russian – Turkish war (Sofia Guide, 2012). Or the temple of Saint Nicolas the Miracle-Maker, a church built by the Russians in a unique architectural way.

Image of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Image Rights: Nico Trinkhaus

The city’s heart beats at its main street, Vitosha Street, one of the most commercial and lively routes that expands for many meters, allowing the visitors to take a look around the stores, including the brand of “The Rose of Bulgaria” which is a series of skin care and make-up products based on a variety of roses grown only in Bulgaria. Besides that, there are numerous cafes and restaurants. There, a customer can spot everything from the cheapest hotdog to high fusion cuisine, which will make them highly satisfied, especially if they’re a meat lover. As Sofia has been a rising city, it has attracted many talented chefs who not only promote their traditional recipes but alter them into a more modern version.

What really made me reconsider though, is the beautiful city of Plovdiv. Situated 132 km away from Sofia, Plovdiv provides a fairytale-like experience combined with an artsy vibe that takes over the city. As the title of European Capital of Culture (European Commission, 2019) may predispose us, the town center, Kapana, consists of beautiful alleys with cafes and restaurants taking over most of the place there. Most of the small at-first-notice eateries are actually gastronomical gems that one might stumble upon by accident. In the most central spot of the city, a part of an ancient Roman stadium can be seen from above but also visited. Besides the beautiful graffitis that makes the city look like an artist’s sketchbook, the unique décor is supported by colorful crochet decorations that make a beautiful photographic attraction. A fact that was one of the most memorable for me, was that the beautiful city lights of Kapana are connected to the gynecological wing of Plovdiv’s hospital and each time a baby is born, they palpitate.

Image of Plovdiv’s palpitating lights at Kapana. Image Rights: Andrey Andreev

Bulgaria has definitely become one treasured experience that I would suggest to everyone. The currency not only makes it affordable, but also the cities have little to be jealous of from the known European capitals. As the Bulgarian touristic campaigns continue, it’s only a matter of time that the country establishes a standard winter tourism.

  •  Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Sofia Guide. Available here
  • 2019 European Capitals of Culture: Plovdiv and Matera. European Commission. Available here



Amalia Theocharidou, Editor-in-Chief
Amalia Theocharidou, Editor-in-Chief
Born in 2003, she is an undergraduate student in the department of International and European relations in the university of Piraeus. She likes to travel and get to know new cultures and environments. She loved writing since she was young which is what inspired her to start publishing articles.