If you are into mountains and green open spaces then Bulgaria is a must. The country´s capital of a million inhabitants, Sofia, lies at the foot of Mount Vitosha, located on the outskirts of the city in the Sofia Valley. Approximately 50 km. north of the city is one of western Bulgaria´s most beautiful spots: Golyam Kom (Big Kom). At 2,016 m. above sea level, Golyam Kom, one of the highest peaks in the western Balkans, towers over the surrounding landscape which in summer is carpeted in emerald hues or dazzling white on its alpine slopes during the winter months. Moving further inland towards the east, we come to Plovdiv, the second largest city in the country.”Bulgaria´s eternal city”, as it is known, is estimated to be one of the oldest cities in Europe, a bastion of culture not only for Bulgaria, but also for Europe as a whole. It has been invaded by the Persians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Slavs, Crusaders, Turks and Russians, to name just some of them. So take your pick of the culture that appeals to you most. There are bound to be traces of it somewhere. This year, it has been selected to be “European Capital of Culture 2019”. Here, you can visit Tsar Simeon´s Garden with the Lake of the Singing Fountains, featuring a sound and light show every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 21:30.
Moving on again from Plovdiv, following the Balkan mountain chain eastwards, you reach the Black Sea, and the legendary seaside resort of Sunny Beach, a magnet for the young. Although the town may have relatively few year-long residents, it more than makes up for it in the summer when it comes back to life as thousands of tourists descend on the town to enjoy the warm waters of the Black Sea and the many hotels that line the main seafront along the beach. So no matter whether you start in the east or the west, Bulgaria has something to offer city-lovers, mountain hikers or those who just want to lie on a beach.
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