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Bulgaria Driving Ideas Guide

Bulgaria is a large country with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, numerous rivers such as the Danube, and a mountainous interior.

As a traditional trade route, Bulgaria is a cultural melting pot with a rich heritage.  Village tourism is successfully being developed, inviting you to experience the lifestyles and culture, and taste the traditional cuisine.

Being one of the Balkans' larger countries, Bulgaria makes an excellent place for road tripping. It is a strikingly beautiful country and is best discovered by road, guaranteeing a unique experience while exploring.

Discover Sofia to Plovdiv via Pazardzhik

At the foot of Vitosha Mountain is the capital, Sofia, dating back to the 5th century BCE. Sofia’s many valuable monuments, such as the remnants of The Eastern Gate dating from the 2nd-4th centuries CE, are testimony to its storied past.  As a traditional trading hub, Sofia remains a shopper’s delight.

Once past the city traffic, roads everywhere in the country are more or less open. The drive from Sofia to Plovdiv takes about 3 hours, but to visit some of Bulgaria’s loveliest woodland stretches, veer south from the A1 motorway at Pazardzhik. Follow the road passing historical Batak, and continue deeper into the Rhodope Mountains. The forested road from Batak leads to Devin, a small town famous for its mineral water and therapeutic hot springs. Here you can relax, enjoy a therapeutic massage or two and hike on blissfully empty woodland paths.

From Devin continue past Smolyan, a town with exciting caving opportunities, and the laid-back ski resort of Chepelare. From there you will reach Asenovgrad, noted for its wineries, before arriving in Plovdiv.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, takes special pride in its Old Town. Along winding stone streets, the Old Town retains a bohemian air with numerous museums and galleries and has many ancient remains. The nightlife is fuelled by an irrepressible student population.

‘Smell the Roses’ on the road from Plovdiv to Veliko Tarnovo

From Plovdiv, take the E85 back road north to Kazanlak, an eccentric, agricultural destination. Kazanlak, and its surrounding plain, is the centre of a major industry in rose oil extract. A good time to visit is the first week of June each year, when the annual rose festival takes place.

Continue north, across the Valley of Roses, to the base of the Stara Planina (Balkan) Mountain and cross the 1,300km high Shipka Pass. Stop at the lookout point on top of the pass for an amazing view to share.

Over the pass lies another famous historic settlement and the medieval seat of Bulgarian power — Veliko Tarnovo, city of the tsars. Tarnovo is one of Bulgaria’s most visited destinations, with classic architecture, churches and castles. Also a student city, Tarnovo has excellent inexpensive restaurants and lively bars.

Drive Varna to Burgas via ancient Nessebar

Varna, often referred to as the Summer Capital, is a major tourist destination. Just outside the city is the rock-built Aladzha Monastery, the Catacombs caves, remains of a basilica and an ancient fortress.

Driving the 115km south along the coast, you will pass ancient Nessebar dating back more than 3200 years ago. The town is situated on a small peninsula, steeped in history, with charming old cobbled streets and plenty of amazing shops, restaurants and bars.  Sunny Beach is a seaside resort nearby and great for a quick swim before moving on.

Last stop is delightful Burgas.  The town is host to one of the biggest musical festivals in Bulgaria — Spirit of Burgas, which takes place in August.  The unique combination of beautiful nature, urban amenities, many cultural places and big resorts, makes this drive worth your while.

Bulgaria has a lot to offer and we believe you should spend time doing more, without spending more.  To find the best deals and widest choices for rental cars and accommodation in Bulgaria you need not look any further than Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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