WHEN you’re planning a vacation, cheap beers and beautiful beaches are often at the top of the list of things to look out for.
And there is a destination in Europe it’s easy to get to, there are stunning stretches of shoreline and two liters of beer costs less than a pound.
Bulgaria It may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a trip, but it is becoming increasingly popular with British and other European tourists.
Tourists from the United Kingdom, Czechia, GermanyPoland and Romania are the most frequent visitors to this Balkan country, which has almost returned its tourism figures to pre-pandemic levels.
It’s not hard to see why, with its beaches among Europe’s most underrated, its cities filled with amazing architecture and its drinks are cheaper than many other places on the continent.
Its residents also play their role, according to Rumen Draganov, director of the Institute for Tourism Analysis and Evaluation.
He said European news that the authentic experience that the Bulgarian people offer to their guests is rare in other countries.
He said: “Visitors are surprised by what they see. Unlike big European cities, where you can meet people of all nationalities, in Sofia the people on the streets are mostly locals, and most are very friendly.
“You can easily find company in a park in Sofia and have a nice evening sitting in front of the National Palace Theater with a two liter bottle of beer which will cost you less than €1 (90p).
“Bulgaria is a country where you can have fun and live a good life. I hope we don’t lose it.”
The capital’s most famous sights include St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Vitosha Boulevard shopping district, and the Ivan Vazov National Theater.
However, there is also Boyana Waterfall and Vitosha Mountain nearby, for those who want to combine their city stay with a little exploration.
However, arguably the best of the country’s nature can be seen towards the coast, with landscapes like Sunny beachAlbena Beach and Silistar Beach, among many places where the Black Sea coast impresses visitors.
The beach city of Sozopol is one of the most popular places among tourists, where the walls of an ancient fortress overlooking the sea are located.
A visitor wrote about the city on TripAdvisor: “The views around the town are stunning, especially of the old fort. Cobblestone streets and wooden houses with museums. Definitely worth the detour.”
Another guest claimed the town’s beach was the “best in Bulgaria”, which is a pretty bold claim considering the other coastal destinations on offer.
Sunny Beach is arguably the best known and is a popular place for bachelor and bachelorette partiesbecause it has a reputation as a party city.
However, much more peaceful seaside breaks are available in places like Albena, described as “unknown” by Mail Online.
World Beach Guide praised its warm, clear waters which helped the beach win awards.
They said: “This beautiful stretch of fine, golden sand stretches for three miles and is largely backed by the forest of the Baltata National Reserve.
“Even though I’m on the Black Sea coast, the water is anything but black here. Perhaps the ‘Crystal-clear Riviera’ would have been a more appropriate name, as this beach is a proud Blue Flag holder.”
One visitor wrote on Holiday Truths: “Albena is a small, quiet resort compared to its big brothers Sunny Beach and Golden Sands.
“Lots of trees, gardens and open spaces.”
Return flights to Bulgaria cost around £25 and take just over three hours.
A hotel for two people in the capital Sofia can be found for around £30 a night, while prices in seaside destinations aren’t much different.
Meanwhile, this European city has been described as “ideal” for a family vacation.
And this city in Bulgaria was nicknamed “little Vienna”.