Tag Archives: Travel

VIDEO: Bulgaria invites you to Junior Eurovision 2015

The prestigious Junior Eurovision singing contest will find its home in Bulgaria this fall, after the absolutely stunning performance that Krisia, Hasan & Ibrahim gave in Malta last year. Despite the fact that Krisia was one of the youngest participants and also terribly sick at the time, the trio took the stage by a storm and secured Bulgaria the 2nd place. This brought the country much needed unity and pride, and reminded everyone that dreams do come true when we all work together and towards a common goal. Lesson re-learned! 🙂

When the winner, Italy, passed on the right to organize the 2015 Junior Eurovision contest, Bulgaria gladly accepted the invitation and is wonderfully excited to give you a tiny, little preview of what you can expect to discover when you come in November. We know that you will like it, so please enjoy!!!

~WithLoveFromBG~

P.S. Crave more? Our Resources on Bulgaria page and “treasure chest” are updated regularly with lots of interesting & useful, info  & gift ideas. Check them out! ;)

Bulgaria and Its Neighbors: Turkey in the Spotlight

As part of a new series called Bulgaria and Its Neighbors, ~WithLoveFromBG~ will feature each one of Bulgaria’s neighboring countries in an effort to showcase the cultural, historical, and gastronomical wealth of the region and help you maximize your time there. We will offer advice and ideas that will spark your imagination and have you crafting your next adventure in no time. Without further ado, let’s travel to the Balkans!

First up is Turkey! This South-Eastern neighbor of Bulgaria has always had a healthy dose of charm, but lately it has become a total hotspot with its colorful mix of culture and sites, beaches and bazaars. It is no wonder that returning travelers are raving about their experiences from hot air ballooning in Cappadocia to sailing past Istanbul on the Bosphorus, to completely disconnecting from the world beyond the sunny beaches of Antalya. Turkey offers value and First Choice can fly you out to this enticing land any day of the year, so here are just a few reasons why you should get yourself booked on a plane pronto.

The history

For the history buffs out there, Turkey with its rich and diverse history is a total wonderland. For the rest of us, it is an awesomely cool place to explore and learn! From the Romans, to the Greeks, Ottomans and Mongols, so many major empires have risen and fallen in this country, all of which led to the culturally rich landscape that the country enjoys. The Ruins of Ephesus are a great example of richness of the historical heritage that Turkey enjoys. When the Romans settled there, it was one of the largest cities in their empire, with a population of over 250,000 people. Today the ruins of theatres to bathhouses still stand, all impeccably preserved. Ephesus is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis! Still, the biggest draw for visitors today is the Library of Celsus, a magnificent edifice built in honor of the Roman senator that shares its name. It truly is a spectacle to behold.

The culture

As a result of its rich history and unique location (on the corner connecting Europe and Asia), Turkey is a wonderfully strange stew of different cultures. Take a walk through Istanbul and experience for yourself the gentle meeting of the eastern and western influences that have shaped the character of the city. Wander around and you will find an ancient mosque standing next to a Greek Orthodox Church that sits next to a modern bazaar. Follow your nose through the windy, narrow streets and discover the more personal and delicious side of the Turkish culture.

The people

Whether it is because of the influx of different cultures, or just something in the air, the people of Turkey are warm and generous. Unlike other places, that may be less than thrilled to have a constant stream of visitors, Turkish people welcome tourists with open arms and treat them like family. The pride that they have for their culture and heritage is quite visible and they make it a point to introduce you to their culture and sights.

The food

With such a diverse population, it’s no surprise that the food in Turkey is delicious and eclectic. The most famous of foods are kebabs and gyros, but the offerings do not end there. Tastes from Asia, Greece, the Mediterranean, and the rest of the Balkans are all fused together in unique and delicious dishes that taste like something both familiar, and completely different, all at the same time. The criminally inexpensive prices, are even more of an incentive to dig in and explore as much of Turkey’s cuisine as possible.

Whether you’re a foodie, a collector of cultures, or just want to see some awesome sites, Turkey has something for everyone. It’s a place meant to be experienced, so don’t wait! Go explore!

~WithLoveFromBG~

P.S. Crave more? Our Resources on Bulgaria page is updated regularly & features lots of interesting & useful reads. Check it out! ;)

Contributed by: First Choice

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Gift Corner – FOR ALL

THIS IS BULGARIA– National Video Catalog (2013) from Globus Media Group Inc

$168.00

This is Bulgaria Click on the picture in this post to see a sample video

 

Spotted!-All About Bulgaria: Ancient Treasures Edition

Calling all explorers!!!

After a brief break, the Spotted!-All About Bulgaria series is back with a special treat for all of the explorers out there, who are itching to discover new and exciting places in Bulgaria.

Thracian Temple at Starosel
Thracian Temple at Starosel, Bulgaria
Photo credit: Andrey Andreev & Gerry Botchoukova-Farkova

This week we are highlighting just a handful of ancient cultural sights and treasures scattered throughout the country and most certainly worth a visit. Bulgaria is a 1,300 plus years old country and with that kind of longevity, it is no wonder that hidden beneath its fruitful fields and deep inside its thick green forests, there are layers up on layers of still to be discovered ancient history. From the Thracians to the Romans, to thousands of years before them both, Bulgaria’s rich and lengthy history is quickly catapulting the country to the top of the cultural and in particular the archeological niche of tourism. If we have awaken the “explorer”, “thrill-seeker” or “history-lover” in you, then don’t delay and check out the 3 articles we have selected for you this week. 🙂

As always, if you would like us to include a great find of yours in our weekly roundups, please contact us via the Contact Me page. We will be more than happy to add it to our weekly lists. 🙂

Weekly Picks:

1) Starosel: For Explorers and Wine Lovers on My Destination Bulgaria – The February feature travel article of My Destination Bulgaria is a guest post from our editor and features the Thracian Cult Complex near Starosel in South-central Bulgaria. It is an excellent starting point or you to learn more about the region, its archeological and natural endowments, and perhaps even lay the ground work for a day or weekend get away trip to the Bulgarian countryside.

2) Fourth-century CE magistrate statue uncovered in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv on The Sofia Globe – Another great artifact makes its way to the surface, when archeologists working at the Roman-era forum site in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, had the pleasure of discovering it. Guests of Plovdiv have the opportunity to visit a number of Roman sites, among which are the Roman Theater (the Amphitheater), the Roman Stadium, and the Ancient Forum.

3) Europe’s Oldest Town Found in Bulgaria on CNN.com (reporter: Ralitsa Vassileva)- A CNN video report on an excavation site near the town of Provadia in Bulgaria, that tells bits and pieces of the story of the oldest European town discovered to date.

~WithLoveFromBG~

P.S. Crave more? Our Resources on Bulgaria page is updated regularly & features lots of interesting & useful reads. Check it out! ;)

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Gift Corner – FOR ALL

Valley of Thracians: A Novel of Bulgaria by Ellis Shuman

$13.46

Valley of Thracians book cover

WOW! Great Start to a New Year: Bulgaria Ranks Among the Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2014

…And we are back with the first edition of “Spotted!- All About Bulgaria” for 2014. We hope you had a relaxing and refreshing holiday season. (OK maybe NOT!!! Who are we kidding? – holidays are rarely quiet and relaxing with all of the commotion that out-of-town family members can bring, but after all that is what makes this season oh so special, isn’t it? 🙂) Either way, we are happy to have you back and are fired up and ready to start the year with a BANG! And here is a “clue” on how we plan to do that:

  • Inspire Travel! Inspire Travel! Inspire Travel! (Are you inspired yet? 😉 )

As you might already be able to tell, the items that we have recently spotted and picked to feature this week,  do just that “they inspire travel”. So let’s go and see what we have in store for you! 🙂

Sofia After the Storm
Sofia After the Storm by Alexander Sandev
https://www.facebook.com/alexander.sandev.photography

*Click on the image for a breathtaking experience.*

The Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2014 on Rough Guides – If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, then do yourself a favor and check this list out. Guess who secured the #8 stop on it? 🙂 That’s right! Yours truly- Bulgaria!!! 🙂 Now that is what we call a great start to the new year! 🙂

If until today you have been hesitant to give Bulgaria or the Balkan region their fair chance to sweep you off your feet, then this is the year to do it. Over the past few months, Bulgaria has continued to steadily climb the charts of all sorts of “Top-something” lists among which were:

These are the ones that come to mind at the moment, but there are certainly at least a few more, like National Geographic’s Best Winter Trips 2014, which named Pernik along side Paris, the Nosara Beaches of Costa Rica and 12 more worldwide destinations as the best winter trips to take this year. (p.s. for those of you familiar with Pernik inspired jokes, this is NOT one of them! 🙂 )

This trend is posed to continue. No doubt that we will see much more of Bulgaria and its amazing cities in various top- travel charts throughout 2014. How can we be so sure of that?! Well, it is really very simple: when you offer good value you are bound to get good recognition. 🙂

Don’t miss out on experiencing the oldest established state in Europe, (681 A.D.) before it gets discovered by the rest of the world and don’t forget to let us know how we can assist you with your travel plans there.

Until then: Dream.Plan.GO! 🙂

~WithLoveFromBG~

P.S. Crave more? Our Resources on Bulgaria page is updated regularly & features lots of interesting & useful reads. Check it out! ;)

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Gift Corner – FOR ALL

THIS IS BULGARIA– National Video Catalog (2013) from Globus Media Group Inc

$168.00

This is Bulgaria

 Click on the picture in this post to see a sample video

Bulgaria in Every Season: Through the Lens of Alexander Sandev

Bulgaria is most often recognized as a summer or winter travel destination. However, that is far from everything that this beautiful land, neatly nestled on the Balkan Peninsula has to offer. For the more creative and inspiration-seeking travelers, the ones who are not afraid to step off the beaten path of mass tourism, Bulgaria can be a total wonderland in every season. And because we don’t expect you to simply take my word for it, we are ready and more than happy to prove it.

Before we started writing this post, we knew that to successfully convince you in our words, we would need extra help from someone who sees and captures Bulgaria in a unique and powerful way. Luckily, we didn’t have to search long, as we knew the perfect guy for the job. Meet, Alexander Sandev from Alexander Sandev Photography.

Alexander Sandev Born into a family of artists in 1974 in Sofia, Alexander’s childhood passed in between multitudes of albums with reproductions of classic masterpieces and endless conversations about art. His first passion was drawing, but in a moment’s notice photography took over and has had him in her grip ever since. As the years passed, he graduated the University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski” and continued to follow his passion wherever it took him. “Often, the photography aspect of my life, takes priority over my work and that really makes me feel alive and genuinely happy with what I do…and with the opportunity to share with everyone, all that I see.” As per his friends’ suggestion, this past summer, Alexander led his very first Photography course for beginners in Sofia. “It turned out to be a very exciting and fulfilling experience, especially when one gets to see the daily progress of his own students.”

A picture speaks a 1,000 words. In that spirit, today we are letting a small collection of Alexander’s truly breathtaking photographs of Bulgaria do all of the talking. Who knows, they might even inspire you enough to book a ticket, pack a bag and head over to some of these places and see them for yourself?! If that happens, make sure you don’t forget to come back and tell us all about your journeys. We’ll be waiting. 😉

Now, go on, scroll down and discover “Bulgaria in Every Season” as it was seen through the lens of our friend and very talented photographer, Alexander Sandev!

(note: click on any one of the images for a stunning resolution)

WINTER

Winter morning in SofiaA sunny and fresh winter morning in Sofia with majestic views of the Vitosha Mountain in the background. “As strange as it might sound to some, it is this exact view that keeps me coming back to Bulgaria after every trip abroad”. -Sandev

January in South Park SofiaJanuary walk through Sofia’s “South Park”. It’s a frosted, winter wonderland!

Vitosha The highest point in Vitosha Mountain, Cherni Vruh (translation: Black Peak) ironically in the winter turns into a fluffy, soft whiteness. The skiing conditions here are exceptional.

SPRING

Spring near TranSpring in the gorge of the rivers Erma and Iablanishka, near the town of Tran in Western Bulgaria. “Every year,  if not even twice per year, I make it a point to stop by this region. In the Spring, the two rivers are the fullest and most beautiful.” -Sandev

Belogradchik's rocksEarly morning, the April sun gently stroking Belogradchik’s reddish rock formations, while in the background, the Balkan range, also known as Stara Planina (translation: Old Mountain) is proudly showing its snow-capped peaks.

Iablanishka River GorgeTake an April walk in the Iablanishka river gorge near the town of Tran. Your next adventure surely awaits you just around the corner.

WaterfallsAn enchanting waterfall, located a few feet behind the Etropolski Monastery also known as Holly Trinity and one of the most beautiful ones in Bulgaria. It is situated in the Balkan Mountains, 5 km from the town of Etropole and 81 km NE from Sofia.

SUMMER

Spring in the mountianSummer outing though the Balkan range and especially in the foot of the Raiskoto Praskalo (translation: Heavenly Waterfall) is always an excellent idea and a total treat.

Koncheto“The Pony” in July. A mystical and magical peak in the Pirin Mountains. If you are feeling adventurous, this is an excellent place to “take a walk on the ledge of the world” and cross it off your bucket list.

SinemoretsA two in one virgin beach in Sinemorets presents you with a choice of two waterfronts: the Veleka river or the Black Sea.

Peak VihrenIn August, the majestic peak Vihren and highest point in the Pirin Mountains is a refreshing refuge from the heat below. Head out for a great day of hiking, breathtaking scenery and fresh mountain air.

Grazing horseSummer evening near Belogradchik.

Sinemorets beachThe last warm, summer waves roll from the Black Sea onto a beach near the village of Sinemorets, as another September day quietly winds down. Great opportunity for a romantic walk on the beach.

FALL

Fall in VitoshaThis serene and golden October oasis in Vitosha Mountain National Park, can be found just 20 minutes outside of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and largest city.

Fall in the Rhodope MountainWarm Fall afternoon on the rolling hills of the Rhodope Mountains. This is one of the most picturesque regions of Bulgaria.

Na ZavoqThe Turn– the most photographed place on the banks of the Arda river and dam Kurdjalii.

To see more of Alexander’s work visit Alexander Sandev Photography and/or  Alsand Photography .

~WithLoveFromBG~

P.S. Crave more? Our Resources on Bulgaria page is updated regularly & features lots of interesting & useful reads. Check it out! ;)

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Gift Corner – FOR HER

Beads “I Love You” Bulgarian Love Letter from Bulgaria – Pandora Charm & Bracelet Compatible

$18.99