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Sense Hotel 71 rooms from $78Sofia
A fantastic design hotel in the Sofia's historic centre. Contemporary chic and subtle minimalism throughout. Glamorous rooms and suites combine glass, teak, and all the mod cons to luxurious effect. Fabulous fusion Mediterranean restaurant, roof top bar, and spa.Roof terrace - Panormamic views from the roof top bar.LuxuryCity StyleSights nearby - St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, St. Sofia Statue, National Art Gallery, Sofia University.Recommended by - CN Traveller
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Bulgaria is a truly ancient country modernising selectively. One of its many great charms is the way its traditional habits contrast so much with the rest of modern Western Europe, but wonderful compromises are made. People say Bulgaria's countryside is like that of Western Europe a hundred years ago, and the national calendar is filled with colourful local festivals. Despite Sofia's historic monuments, it is a vibrant, forward thinking capital city, full of great museums, galleries, restaurants, shopping opportunities and the potential for a great evening out. Many people just pass through on the way to the ski resorts or the Black Sea coast, but Sofia is still one of the best places to stay in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria's Glittering Coastline
Bulgaria isn't the most obvious choice for a seaside break, but maybe it should be - its Black Sea resorts offer both sedate seaside style and heady fun. The beaches are long, sandy stretches, many of them well maintained, and the resort facilities are equal to many in the Med.. And if you're looking for unique seaside charm you'll find it here too, as well as ancient fishing settlements and two cities: Varna and Burgas.
Sozopol is one of the the best places to stay in Bulgaria if you're here for the beautiful Black Sea beaches. It's charming and chic, and to the south are miles of sandy beach all the way to the Turkish border, and to the north are the 24 hour party beaches and Sunny Beach.
Bansko is the place to be if you're here to ski, with plenty of snow and spectacular views of the Pirin Mountains. As well as the ski resort, Bansko also has a charming golf course.
Bulgaria's Great Outdoors
One of the best places to stay in Bulgaria to enjoy the great outdoors is Pirin.
Bulgaria's rural countryside is green, pleasant, peaceful and crossed by seven different mountain ranges. The landscape of alpine woods, unsullied by much construction, are heaven for walkers and mountaineers. In amongst the dense forests and grand lakes there are plenty of well kept routes and huts.
The country is a little bit smaller than England, but there are only around seven million inhabitants, so there's acres of open, unfenced countryside, and more ancient meadows than fields. Farming traditions here date back to the Bulgars, who arrived from central Asia more than a thousand years ago, and you'll see food and wines on the table which has become unpopular elsewhere but tastes delicious.
Some of the best places to stay in Bulgaria if you're here to uncover the riches of its history are Plovdiv, Kazanlak and Koprivshtitsa.
Plodiv is a lovely city to look at, but it also has a fascinating history, having been occupied by the Thracians, the Romans and the Ottomans. And the legacy of these occupations is responsible for the unique architecture. The Old Town has the typically Bulgarian Renaissance style houses, and the restaurants and cafes, and underneath is a well preserved stadium built about 1,800 years ago.
Kazanlak was one of the centres of the Thracian civilisation and there's a great tomb within the town. This grand monument has impressive frescos on its walls, but the art and statues in the nearby Valley of the Thracian Kings are in even more perfect condition.
Koprivshtitsa has rows of photogenic half-timbered buildings surrounding the meandering River Topolnitsa.
Bulgarians nod their head for 'no' and shake for 'yes', and in a country where this can survive despite globalisation it's easy to see why, when the Communist government persuaded people to move into the new concrete tower block cities, people just returned to their homes in the countryside at the weekends. So Bulgaria has many more homes than families. Life, even in the larger cities, may seem slow, and generally people are really friendly.
Capital Sofia and Burgas, the largest port, are probably the best places to stay in Bulgaria to experience this country's more modern, vibrant side.