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Wanderlust: Ways To Experience Bulgaria
When the urge to travel hits, there’s no escaping it. Whether on or off the beaten track, travelling the world fulfills something deep inside of us, scratching an itch which can’t be appeased in any other way. Bulgaria, with our history stretching back to Neolithic times and continuing on through the millennia, attracts visitors from across the world for a very good reason: no matter why you’re travelling, no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll probably be able to find it here. Blue coastal waters and ice-cracked mountain ranges, nature parks boasting some of the oldest trees in the world, and a fascinating culture are all some of the reasons why the number of visitors has skyrocketed over the past decade. So, when you’re ready to see what Bulgaria is all about (in between kicking back with some of the events here at the hostel), there are plenty of ways to get your fill. Whether by train, by water, or by bus, you’ll find a way to fulfill your wanderlust.
Riding The Rails
Travelling by train is one of the best ways to experience Bulgaria. Not only is it a relatively inexpensive way to travel, it will also give you the chance to see the country from a new perspective. With new rail lines, new equipment, and a network which stretches across the country (and certainly between the major destinations), you’ll rarely be inconvenienced by train schedules or route you need to take - trains even run overnight and by express, although many of these should be booked in advance to ensure you reserve a spot. Group discounts may also be available depending on the size of your group, so don’t be shy about meeting with other travellers and booking together. If you have a Eurail pass, you’re in luck, as a pass which is valid in Bulgaria can be used through the Bulgarian State Railway (BDZ) system. Of course, one of the primary reasons why visitors use the Bulgarian train system is for the experience itself - trains go where other methods of transport can’t, giving you panoramic views of beautiful scenery, watching the landscape and cities go by from the comfort of your seat. As one of the first methods of mass transportation, railways can give you a true sense of a country’s character, and Bulgaria is no different.
Take To The Water
Bordering as it does on the Black Sea, Bulgaria has grown a reputation as having some of the most beautiful coastal areas in Europe. Nicknamed the “Bulgarian Riviera”, the Black Sea coastline is full of resorts, beaches resplendent in white or golden sand, and the chance to swim, dive, or simply soak in the summer sun. There’s a reason why cruises touring along the Bulgarian coast and elsewhere through the Black Sea have become so popular; in this beautiful region, there are few places which aren’t worth visiting. Of course, there’s more than sun and spray here. For scuba-diving enthusiasts, the Bulgarian coastline is a gem, and different groups can take you into offshore World War II wreckage. If you’d rather take in the natural setting, there are reefs just a short distance from the coastline in many places, allowing divers to explore Bulgaria’s gorgeous scenery from another angle entirely.
Travelling By Bus
For most visitors, the easiest - and fastest - way to travel through Bulgaria is by bus. Travelling to and from the country’s major cities can be a breeze, and bus travel here won’t put much strain on your wallet. Timetables and destination signs are posted in Cyrillic, so it’s handy to have translations handy when you go to travel, but information is posted regularly and kept up-to-date, so you won’t have to worry about missing your bus or scrambling for another. Although the public coach system is easy and comfortable, there are also private companies with schedules running throughout the country, the two largest being Etap and the country-wide Biomet. Some travellers might find private bus service more to their liking, and depending on the size of your group and when you travel there can be good deals to be found. Whether public or private, however, there’s no question that bus travel in Bulgaria is the go-to solution for most of our visitors.
contributed by Jenni Towton
Posted on 5 May, 2014
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