In a continent teeming with iconic destinations like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, it’s easy for a country like Bulgaria to slip under most traveler’s radar. Yet, for those who enjoy venturing off the beaten path, Bulgaria is enticing. This Eastern European country remains relatively untouched by mass tourism, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience. Here’s why this overlooked destination should be on your travel bucket list.

Timeless Traditions

One of Bulgaria’s most endearing qualities is its preservation of age-old traditions and customs. Folk festivals and colorful handicrafts are only two examples of how the country’s cultural heritage permeates every aspect of daily life. One activity every visitor must do in Bulgaria is wander through the cobbled streets of Plovdiv. As one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Plovdiv boasts an intriguing mix of Renaissance and ancient ruins. 

As you venture further into rural Bulgaria, you’ll discover time-defying quaint villages. In these hamlets, locals still practice age-old rituals. You will also be captivated by artisans who craft intricate pottery and textiles with remarkable skill. In these communities, among the locals, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the beauty of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage.

Untampered Natural Wonders

Belogradchik, Bulgaria
Photo credit: Katarina Stankovic

While Bulgaria’s culture is undoubtedly captivating, its natural landscapes are equally breathtaking. From the peaks of the Rila Mountains to the beaches along the Black Sea coast, the country offers diverse outdoor adventures. Hike through the rugged terrain of the Pirin National Park, home to rare flora and fauna, or unwind amid the tranquil beauty of the Rhodope Mountains. Here, quaint villages dot the landscape, and folklore tales come to life. 

Affordable Luxury

Travel expenses often soar to astronomical heights. However, Bulgaria stands out with its affordability without compromising on quality. Eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Sofia or relax in a boutique hotel in the countryside; either way, you’ll discover that Bulgaria’s luxury is surprisingly affordable compared to Western Europe. You can also pamper yourself with a spa retreat in one of the country’s renowned thermal springs. In Bulgaria, luxury is not a privilege reserved for the elite but an indulgence accessible to most who venture here.