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Plan your journey around PragueWith its trendy cities, medieval mountain monastery and old-world villages, Bulgaria can often surprise first-time visitors. It’s become a trendy travel destination thanks to the variety of things to see and do. Discover this corner of Europe on a road trip.
Bulgaria’s largest city, Sofia, has reinvented itself over the decades. Once a centre of the Soviet Union, the city has transformed into a modern-day European hotspot. Sofia’s unique look is due to influences from the Thracians, Romans, Ottomans and Russians over a two millennia period. As for attractions, Sofia has plenty.
While Stalin-Gothic buildings and block apartments of the Cold War era remain, they’re joined by shopping boulevards, public gardens and pavement cafes. Most of Sofia’s sights are located in the centre, within easy distance of each other.
There are plenty of landmarks in Sofia that symbolise Bulgaria’s prosperous past. Sofia’s centrepiece is the 174ft tall Aleksandâr Nevsky Cathedral. The largest Orthodox church in Europe was built to honour the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died while liberating Bulgaria from the Turks. Equally impressive is the Rotunda of St George, the oldest monument in Sofia dating back from the fourth century.
Museums worth visiting include the Natural History Museum, home to a fascinating collection of taxidermy, including a two-headed tortoise. After all the sightseeing, head to the colourful street markets at the Central Market Hall. Hunt for traditional handcrafted gifts and sample some Bulgarian cured meats and cheeses.
Bulgaria’s second-largest city provides a fascinating insight into the country’s history. This is the best place to sample traditional Bulgarian cuisine, starting with shopska salad and stuffed peppers. Both national dishes are served throughout the country’s many local restaurants.
The capital of the Roman province of Thrace has many highlights worth visiting. Plovdiv's Acropolis started out as a Thracian fortress, 500 years before Christ. The Roman theatre that once seated 5000 spectators at a time has mainly remained intact.
Plovdiv’s main action takes place in the markets that sell fresh fruit, vegetables and lotto tickets. The main boulevard, nicknamed ‘Vanity Street’, is the heart of Plovdiv's social life. The Old Town, perched on top of a hill, was the birthplace of the Bulgarian National Revival in the mid-19th century. When Bulgaria gained independence from the Turks, the country experienced a period of newfound wealth, which can be seen in the decadent homes and lavish furnishings of rich merchants.
Bulgaria is yours to discover. Hire an Avis car to explore it in style and comfort.
Bulgaria driving guides
Want a quick guide to the rules of Bulgaria’s roads? We've unlocked them for you here. And to help you plan your trip, we've created the Great Drive guides to some of the best driving locations in Europe.
Your hire car in Bulgaria awaits and the open road lies ahead. Pick up the keys and start your journey.