Flanked by mountains and crammed with churches and monuments
The booming Bulgarian capital is one of Europe’s very oldest cities, with an incredible 7 millennia of history. As a result, this cradle of civilisation has much to offer, from prehistoric settlements to beautiful royal palaces, including fine examples from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Travel there today and you’ll find a very European city embracing its role as the de facto hub of the south-eastern extension of the EU.
|Time zone:||GMT +2 hours (GMT +3 hours in summer)|
|Flight Time:||3 hours 25|
|Holiday type:||Winter sports, City break|
|Weather:||Average maximum temperature: 9.9°C
Rainfall: 574.9mm a year
The courtyard of the local Sheraton hotel is an unlikely place to see one of this city’s real treasures – a beautifully preserved 4th Century late Roman Rotonda which is now the St George’s church. Go inside for its much-admired frescoes.
Must eat at:
For contemporary dining in a thoroughly modern setting, head to Carerra in Lozenetz, which has a great wine list and attentive service.
Must be there for:
If you’re in town on 3 December, St Barbara’s Day sees the town filled with gorgeous food and delicious foodie events – the saint is said to offer protection against disease. Later, in June, some of the superstar DJs, promoters and producers from the world’s dance music community arrive in town for the annual SeeMe event – three whole days of clubbing, schmoozing and more clubbing.
- The National Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit – just for its building. It’s housed in a fascinating Ottoman mosque dating from 1474.
- There are quite a few decent clubs and bars dotted around town. Try the small, intimate, candle-lit Tri Ushi, which is a breeding ground for new bands.
British citizens do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria.
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