We went on a roadtrip through Bulgaria. On the 5th of September we arrived at Sofia Airport. On the 6th we rented a car and started our trip. We had a meet and greet at the airport with the car rental company and received our beautiful and sexy Dacia Sandero:) In the beginning the mileage was 60032 km.
After receiving our Dacia with GPS we started driving to Koprivshtitsa. And immediately we found out that Bulgaria is very mountainous. With lots of small and scary mountain roads, suicidal turns and hairpins:) After approximately 2 hours we arrived in Koprivshtitsa. I could explain what it looks like, but as they say, photos say more than a thousand words. The first couple of photos show the way to Koprivshtitsa.
To be honest, Koprivshtitsa was okay but we were also a little bit disappointed. Its description as a tourist attraction online is a bit overrated we think. It’s really small. We expected to spend half a day in Koprivshtitsa, but we’d seen it all in 1,5 hours.
So.. on to our next destination: Plovdiv. The road to Plovdiv was a lot easier. Somewhere around 17:00 we arrived in Plovdiv. The first thing we did was finding a hotel for the night. We wanted to stay in Plovdiv for two night, but the hotel we found only had a room for one night. We were pretty tired and had no energy left to look for other hotels. The next morning we searched online for another hotel for the second night and found an art-hotel which we booked. After checking out of our first hotel we went to visit Plovdiv Old Town, which was really beautiful with a lot of Ancient Roman influences like a the Roman Theatre, build by the Roman Emperor “Marcus Ulpius Traianus” in the beginning of the second century A.D. See the photos of Plovdiv Old Town below:)
After visiting Old Town we checked in to our second hotel in Plovdiv, The Dali Art-Hotel. We booked the Executive Suite because the difference with a Standard Room was only 5 euros. We didn’t know what to expect but we were positively suprised:) It was really luxurious and big with a huge roof-terrace. For only 40 euros per night:) In the evening we had dinner at Happy. For those of you who do not know Happy… it’s heaven. They have everything, sushi, pizza, pasta, meat, fish, cocktails, tapas and much more. You name it, they’ve got it.
DYAVOLSKI MOST (THE DEVIL’S BRIDGE)
After a good night of sleep we started our journey to The Devil’s Bridge near Kardzhali. Again we encountered lots of mountain roads with very dangerous turns. When we were close to The Devil’s Bridge, the road became even worse than it already was. Especially for someone who is afraid of hights;) The last part of the road we had to walk because it would have been too much for our little Dacia. We thaught we were almost at the bridge, but we still had to walk down the mountain to the river for like 30 minutes. But it was worth it.
After spending some time at/on the bridge we went back. Again we had to walk for 30 minutes, but this time we had to walk up the mountain while it was 30 degrees celsius. After we found our car we started driving to Sozopol at the Black Sea coast which was a 5 hour drive.
We arrived in Sozopol at 20:30 and went straight to the hotel (Hotel Radik) we had already booked in Plovdiv. The location of the hotel was perfect. Inbetween Old Town and New Town and 100 meters from the beach/sea. We booked the hotel for 3 nights because we had already found out that Sozopol was beautiful and wanted some relaxing beach/swimming days. Looking back at our roadtrip Sozopol is still the city we love the most. We spend our days in Sozopol mostly on the beach and in the water. In the afternoon we went to Old Town, which was very nice.
After three days of relaxing in Sozopol we went to Bourgas, which was only a half an hour drive:) In Bourgas we also had a very nice hotel close to the beach. Between the city and the sea was a big park. After arriving we went to explore the park. And after that we went to the beach. We actually have not been to Bourgas city center at all because we only stayed for 1 night. To be honest Bourgas was okay, but a little less interesting than Sozopol. Mainly because of the size of the city. Sozopol was smaller and felt cozier. In Sozopol we felt like we were on an island and in Bourgas we felt like we were just in a big city. The right word for Sozopol is “picturesque”.
But still Bourgas was very nice. I think if we had stayed there a bit longer we would have had a different opinion. Below you will find photos of Bourgas.
After one night in Bourgas we drove to Nessebar. Again this was only a short drive of 45 minutes. We expected Nessebar to be more like Sozopol, because it also had an Old Town. We booked a hotel in Nessebar for 2 nights. The hotel was really different to the ones we’d been already. This was more of an all-inclusive/mass tourism hotel. The view from our room on the 6th floor was amazing, as seen in the pictures. Our strategy was the same as it was in Sozopol: Wake up around 11:00, breakfast, go to the beach till 17:00, go to Old Town and explore it, have dinner in Old Town around 20:00. So this is was we did.
Nessebar Old Town was really pretty. Maybe even more amazing than Sozopol Old Town. Both times we had dinner there we were at a restaurant with a sea view. The town itself was very old and had lots of beautiful buildings, churches and statues. Below you will find the photos of our stay in Nessebar.
After 2 nights in Nessebar we continued our journey to Varna, which was a 2,5 hour drive. Varna is the third biggest city of Bulgaria and also known as “The Summer Capital Of Bulgaria”. We had booked a hotel for 1 night, located inbetween the city center and the beach. This time actually we did not even go to the beach, because we were kind of tired of sunbathing and swimming all day long. So in Varna we chose to go to the city center and visit some tourist hotspots. The first thing we did was going to the Roman Baths. And after that we visited the Greek Neighborhood and had lunch there. After lunch we went to the center of Varna where the big cathedral and the shopping street is. We had a late dinner in the center and after that we were too tired to do anything else and went straight to our beds. The city of Varna was surprisingly beautiful. The photos of Varna are below.
THE STONE FOREST
After waking up and having breakfast we started our journey to Veliko Tarnovo via The Stone Forest. We found The Stone Forest in the middle of nowhere after a 30 minute drive and a lot of prostitutes at the sides of the roads.
What is The Stone Forest?
The Stone Forest, also known as The Stone Desert is considered the only desert in Bulgaria and one of few found in Europe. The desert consists of sand dunes and several groups of natural rock formations on a total area of 13 km². The formations are mainly stone columns between 5 and 7 meters high and from 0.3 to 3 meters thick. The columns do not have solid foundations, but are instead hollow and filled with sand, and look as if they were stuck into the surrounding sand, which gives the phenomenon its name. Sandstorms and sand twisters have also been known to commonly occur in this desert region of Bulgaria. The Stone Desert is not only a well known European tourist attraction due to its desert like habitat, but it is one of few places where desert type vegetation such as cactus are known to grow. It is also the only desert in Europe in which desert reptilians and other desert type animalia are found to thrive. The Stone Desert along with the Tabernas Desert of Spain is one of two naturally formed deserts in all of Europe and the only known naturally formed desert in Eastern Europe. Below you will find photos of our visit to The Stone Forest. (Click the pictures to enlarge them)
After spending some time in The Stone Forest we continued our journey to Veliko Tarnovo. So we left the Eastern side of Bulgaria and drove into the mountains again. After three hours of steering through the mountains we arrived at our hotel. The parking facility of the hotel was alongside a very steep road, so we had to torture our Dacia to get into the parking area. The hotel was very cozy and small and perfect for us. In the middle of the historical center of the city. After arriving we explored the city and in the evening we did not even have dinner, because we lunched at 17:00. Veliko Tarnovo is a really beautiful city because it is built entirely on a mountain.
The next day we planned to go back to Sofia to hand in our rental car. We had to be at Sofia Airport at 17:30 so we still had some time to kill. So we went to one of the main hotspots of Veliko Tarnovo: The Tsarevets Fortress. Spending 1,5 hours there was enough, because it was around 30 degrees celsius and there was no wind at all. After visiting the fortress we went back to Sofia.
OUR OPINION OF BULGARIA
Well… this is going to be really short. Our Dacia’s mileage in the end was 61436, which means we drove 1400 km. The conclusion is: We fell in love with Bulgaria. The country is so diverse. The mountains, the black sea coast, the small villages, the cities… simply everything is beautiful and interesting. Also money-wise it is a good idea to visit Bulgaria. Most things are two/three times cheaper than in The Netherlands. Our most expensive dinner was €50 (three dishes and an expensive bottle of Rosé), but most of the time we ate for around 50 leva in total, which is 25 euros.
Thank you for being interested in our story:) The next blog will be about “Life in Sofia”.