DAY 22: Thracian Lowlands, Bulgaria

The Thracian Lowlands, located in the southern part of Bulgaria, are regarded as one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. This area’s love of and history of wine is of little surprise, given the location just north of today’s Greece border, where ancient Greeks are thought to have discovered wine thousands of years ago. It has remained a cornerstone of this area’s culture and lifestyle ever since. 

As the oldest country in Europe, Bulgaria is known as a cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, providing a rich heritage evidenced in traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts. Visitors will find much to satisfy their interests in history, culture, food, wine, music, dance, architecture and arts. 

Bulgaria’s second largest city, Plovdiv is located in this southern, wine region. Named the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Plovdiv holds many significant “titles” – including the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe, the sixth oldest city in the world, and has been listed among the 10 most beautiful ancient cities of the world». Lonely Planet’s also ranked in as one of their “Тop 10 Must-Visit Destinations” (2015). The city provides intrigue and romance, and hosts many popular festivals throughout the year. 

Photos courtesy of Bulgaria Travel, Villa Melnik Winery and Viator

The Old Town of Plovdiv is perfect for the explorer to uncover its varied historic timeline through well preserved layers from prehistoric time to Thracian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Middle Ages, the Revival and Modern Times. Roman monuments and mosaics, as well as buildings now house museums, boutique hotels and restaurants.

The size of Bulgaria is approximately the same as the US state Virginia and within a two hour drive of Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia. A city as interesting as it is stunning, Sofia is wonderfully off the beaten path for most tourists, making it a remarkably authentic travel experience. It boasts a laid back lifestyle filled with cafes, traditions and art. Drive less than an hour from Sofia, and you can enjoy skiing at a mountain resort in the Balkans – or reach the excellent beaches on the Black Sea in about two hours.

The Bulgarian coast offers all varieties of water sports and fishing, and in recent years has developed some beautiful yacht ports. Another important facet of the country’s natural draw is its abundance and diversity of thermal mineral waters and curative mud deposits. Few countries in Europe can rival Bulgaria’s spa and wellness expertise and resorts found throughout the country. 

The best time to visit Bulgaria largely depends on your reason for going. Any time of the years is good to visit a spa resort. For a beach vacation, June through September are best. And for skiing, December through March are best. The months of May and early June are a great time to visit Sofia, when temperatures are very pleasant and hotel prices are at their lowest.

WHEN TO GO: Varies by activity and area(s) visited, Allow at least 5 to 7 days.  

POPULAR TRAVEL STYLES: Small Private Groups, Independent Travel, Regional Travel, Luxury Travel 

IDEAL FOR: Culinary/Wine, History, Art, Romantic Travel, Wellness Travel

Cabernet Sauvignon, Bulgaria

back to home page

Published by Cheryl Walton

Travel changes your perspective while creating special memories along the way. My goal is to always help create the vacation experience you imagine - whether it's bucket list travel, a celebration or a special interest vacation - history, WWII, heritage, wine, beer, culinary, language, art, and genealogy (just a few of my favorites). My first trip abroad was to southern Belgium as part of a town twinning program to help keep French culture alive in Louisiana. My host family provided an inside view of their country, lifestyle and culture, creating a friendship now 30+ years strong through 4 generations! That trip definitely impacted my style of travel - getting off the beaten path and engaging with locals - as well as a later career change to travel advisor. I strive to provide similar experiences tailored to your interests and comfort level.

%d bloggers like this: