Bulgaria is a beautiful country, with a sprinkling of mountains along with beautiful sandy beaches; it is small in size but rich in ancient culture, amazing scenery, friendly people and old-fashioned warmth and hospitality.
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Situated in the south east of Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria is not as much a tourist destination as it's Greek and Turkish neighbours to the south are. This is despite the popularity of its Black Sea resorts, which are becoming busier due to their fine sandy beaches, sunny climate and safe seas. Bulgaria is also cheaper than its neighbours too!
Although better known for its sea resorts, the essential character of the country is to be found in its spectacular mountainous regions. The six very different ranges vary from high, snow-covered peaks to gentle green slopes and forests, harbouring thermal springs and mineral spas, and valleys where the air bears the fragrance of flowers and herbs. At the foot of the Vitosha Mountains lies the laid back capital city, Sofia, boasting a great number of architectural monuments and museums. The rugged heights of the Rila and Pirin mountains form a spectacular setting for ski resorts, as well as the famous Rila Monastery and the majestic landscape of the Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Crossing the entire country is the Balkan Range, a 329-mile (530km) chain that offers some of the best hiking in Europe.
As varied as the different mountain ranges are the people who dwell in them, with distinctive customs, crafts and colourful festivals, folklore, religious beliefs and speech. Small picturesque villages welcome guests with typical warm-hearted Bulgarian hospitality.
Bulgaria's history is displayed across the country in its old towns, ancient relics and treasures, decorated churches and monasteries, and in the rustic settlements that have preserved the traditional beliefs of its people. One of the country's biggest assets for visitors is its variety, but whatever aspect one chooses to explore, there is always the assurance of a warm welcome.