A travel and lifestyle blog

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Bulgarian Break

If you follow me on Instagram....I asked what trip people wanted to hear about most and the thing that came up was Bulgaria.

I spent a long weekend here last year and it was so beautiful.

We stayed in Sofia. There's so much to see because it's full of soviet buildings built on Bulgarian ruins, on top of ruins from the Ottoman Empire on top of Roman ruins... it's definitely a place to add to your list if you love history. I especially like Roman history and this used to be a town called Serdica so in the main centre you'll just be walking down a street and bam- there's loads of excavated Roman ruins in the middle. It's amazing really. It's a great place to sort of aimlessly wander about because down the little alleys we found old churches, ruins, museums...there was just stuff everywhere! 

Pottering about and not really trying to get to anywhere in particular is one of the best things about being on holiday and Sofia is so good for that. There's also a lot of museums so if you like more of a historical break then absolutely add Bulgaria to your list.

One of the best things we did is go on a night walking tour. I would massively recommend it because we ended up seeing so so much more than we would have done otherwise. No surprises here...we saw more ruins haha.

We stayed opposite Parliament Square in the Radisson with amazing views of the parliament, the top of the Alexander Nevsky building and Russian monument. It was really cheap and very nice - our room was massive and the front was a massive glass panel we could look out of. Most importantly, there's a cocktail place next door that serves everything in a really OTT way - glasses that look like pineapples, chinese take away boxes etc. and like everything else in Bulgaria, it's cheap and I love a gimmick so it was fun.

Also can we just take a moment to appreciate this neon sign in the hotel. I've given neon sign making a go before and you would not believe how hard it is to even make a squiggle on purpose - I thought it was so incredible to make so many small letters like this. I tried to get a photo with it but I was having one of those days where in every photo you take you look like a potato with legs so it was just upsetting haha.

One day we headed to the mountains to go visit a monastery. It doesn't look that freezing in the photo but believe me, it was! It was actually freezing bitter winds outside of the main centre and they were so strong that we had planned to go skiing on Vitoshi mountain but never made it because the cable cars were continually shut. Instead we took a taxi to the Dragalevtsi Monastery - we really enjoyed it because we also went for a long snowy walk and played in the snow for ages but if it's not snowy I'd say go to another monastery instead because there are bigger ones to visit. 

In the centre we had a great time looking around all the historical buildings. We went to the National Institute of Archaeology, the amphitheatre of Serdica and the Rotunda of St, George Our favourite was the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; Ridiculously good looking isn't it?! It's named after a Russian prince and built for the soldiers who died liberating Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

There's an amazing crypt underneath filled with art, it was cheap and worth a visit. I think it was about 10 Leve or something (Leve is the currency and it means Lion in Bulgarian). Some places will take euros as well as Leve but they charge the same amount and Leve is cheaper so you may as well get a little bit out.

We had such a great time wandering around the city and it made us book out tickets to Russia in the end because the Orthodox churches were so beautiful like this one, the Saint Nikolas Russian Church.

Sofia is just a wonderful place to see so much history, but if it's really not your thing then I suppose you could always do this instead haha.

If you see any cheap flights I would definitely encourage you to go! Also - eat at The Happy Pig, which was so delicious that we kept going back. The cocktails are great there, the food is amazing and it's just beautiful. Just make sure to book in advance because it is so popular with the locals that you might not get a table if you just turn up.

Another things to be aware of is that the taxi's are not safe. Everyone told us about them before we went and even when we landed. The hotel was great and would call specific taxis for us before going out and speaking with them. We also organised a direct transfer from and to the airport which I would definitely recommend. We had a great time and thought Bulgaria was really safe but please just be aware the taxis are a different story!

For ideas of things to take back - Sofia is famous for rose oil so if you like skincare products stock up for next to nothing, or you can take rosehip tea or turkish delight flavoured with rose. Just make sure to load up to keep you going until you come back!


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