Often an overlooked holiday destination, Bulgaria is a surprising mix of old and new with incredible natural beaches, masses of historical landmarks and world-class sporting facilities available all year round.
Surrounded by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, Bulgaria offers you easy access to both the beaches of the Black Sea and also the winter resort villages nestled in the Balkan Mountains. From the big cities of Sofia and Plovdiv and the coastal towns of Sunny Beach and Nessebar, to the ski fields of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, this untouched Eastern European gem is perfect all year round. Sun, snow, rain, hail or shine – there’s definitely something for you!
Bulgaria Holidays Factfile
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Sunseekers should head straight to the east coast to soak up the best of the Black Sea beaches. The aptly named Sunny Beach is Bulgaria’s largest beach resort, with over 800 hotels to suit every budget. A popular seaside destination with the Europeans and British, Sunny Beach’s 6km of soft sand are surprisingly crowd-free, leaving you free to sunbathe and swim or explore some of the many restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs.
If you’re more of a winter wanderer, then it’s time to head inland to the Bulgarian mountain ranges for some of Europe’s best snow. At the foot of the Pirin Mountains lies Bansko, famous for its alpine and biathlon competitions. Another popular resort is Borovets, the oldest winter resort dating back to 1896. Here you’ll find almost 60km of marked pistes and a lengthy 12km run. Families looking for the white stuff should head to Pamporovo – there are over 100 qualified international instructors to help skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Attractions & Things to Do
If you’re heading to Sunny Beach, a visit to the ancient city of Nessebar (in Burgas) in the south of the bay is a must. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nessebar is one of the oldest towns in Europe and boasts the most churches per capita. Take a walk around the Old City to see the Church of St Sophia, dating back from the 5th century, the Church of St Stefan, the unfinished Church of St John Aliturgetus and the Church of Christ Pantocrator.
On the other hand, if you’re in the snow, don’t limit yourself just to the usual downhill runs – Borovets offers a variety of other options including night skiing and ski-doo hire, while Pamporovo is just a short journey away from the coast of Greece and its endless summer-soaked beaches.
Annual Temperature & Rainfall
Bulgaria enjoys very distinct seasons, making holiday planning a lot easier. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures in the south reaching over 40ºC. Winters are long and cold, with snow from December until March, especially in the mountains. The annual average rainfall is 700mm, and showers can be expected all year round, although it is generally drier in winter.