Stunning landscapes, traditional architecture, strange museums, hidden stories outside Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna
Poet who lost an eye in the Great War, changed Bulgarian literature - and was assassinated for his beliefs
Ruins of Bulgaria's recent past are around every corner, inviting exploration. Contunues from issue 146
Not all ruins are created equal. Regarded as pinnacles of human imagination and dexterity, ancient sites such as the Parthenon, the Great Wall and Stonehenge get scores of tourists and are a source of pride for their home countries. Abandoned modern housing projects, hospitals and factories, however, are perceived as eyesores and as signs of bad planning, bad economic or political luck, a tragedy even. They are not the things a tourist authority includes in its promotional materials.
The heritage of the ancient Thracians, a people that inhabited what is now Bulgaria between the 2nd millennium BC and the 7th century AD, includes lavishly decorated tombs, gold treasures, and mysterious rock shrines.
Anyone who has done any driving on Bulgaria's roads will be familiar with the pitfalls (pun unintended). These include, but are not limited to, bad or non-existent asphalt, unpredictable and uncared-for potholes, confusing signage, maniacal drivers and traffic cops that contribute to the problems rather than try to solve them. Yet anyone who is even remotely interested in looking at the world from the window of a car will instantly know that driving through Bulgaria's lesser and off-the-beaten track roads is absolutely the best way to take in the natural and cultural beauties of this country and to experience a first-hand interaction with its people. We offer you our Best-Of selection of Bulgaria's scenic drives that will keep you, well, driving for weeks if not months. Please note that all of these drives will be on roads (no off-road experiences involved). All of them are easy to moderate, but will obviously require good driving skills and a bit of common sense. Happy exploring!