There is something intensely satisfying about picking the next flight to Bulgaria from Ireland and travelling around the country. Bulgaria is a delightful place to visit for many reasons.
For one, not many people know about Bulgaria, so it is not as crowded as Costa del Sol or Murcia in Spain, or the Algarve in Portugal. It is also a lot cheaper as a holiday destination than most of the other places in Europe.
The first thing that greets you in Bulgaria is something of incomparable value – silence. Bulgaria is a peaceful place, smaller than England, but sparsely populated, with just seven million people. It has a largely deserted landscape, unfenced and uninhabited.
There are a plenty of scenic picnic spots to be found here, especially along the Black Sea Coast. The countryside is exquisite, with farms stretching for miles and miles. Bulgaria is the biggest producer of rose oil in the world, so you can see miles and miles of roses everywhere in the countryside.
In many ways, Bulgaria is reminiscent of how England used to be a hundred years ago. Of course, Bulgaria is a modern country, with decent infrastructure, modern amenities, fast internet and widespread mobility, but there is something about the country and its people that is very traditional – in a good way.
Instead of having MacDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza on every street in cities like Sofia or Burgas, you have family-owned restaurants and cosy bars. There are a number of small, cute looking coffee shops here, which are nothing like Starbucks in appearance but provide great coffee. And yes, they provide free Wi-Fi too!
Sure, you will find lots of concrete tower blocks in Sofia, a legacy of the 50-year old communist era. But beyond that the rest of the country is very beautiful. In fact, there are believed to be twice as many houses in Bulgaria as the number of people!
Bulgaria has had to work hard to make the transition to a free market economy after five decades of communist rule. But the country is a lot better for it. Today, Bulgaria is a middle-income country and a fast growing economy.
It has also emerged quite recently as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Last year, 8 million foreign tourists visited Bulgaria, which is quite a record. 2017 has been a great year for the country as far as tourism is concerned as well.
Bulgaria has three major international airports – Sofia, Burgas and Plovdiv. You could catch a flight to any of these cities, and make them your base for exploring the rest of the country.
Public transport is quite cheap here and reasonably efficient. You could always travel by train, which is a favoured means of transport for most people. Explore this beautiful and still mysterious country to your heart’s content!