Bulgaria holidays boast a wonderful mix of holiday fun, from beautiful beaches, extensive history and sense of adventure, find a cheap holiday on the shores of the Black Sea this year from Purple Travel. Here’s our top pick of resorts for summer Bulgaria holidays.
Sozopol: With heavy Greek influence and right on the Black Sea, Sozopol is a traditional Bulgaria holiday option. The town is right on a beautiful lagoon and makes an especially great choice for families who want to wander the tiny cobbled streets, take in the unchanged fishing methods and enjoy clean, safe beaches.
Nessebar: Set on a peninsula right out in the Black Sea, Nessebar is a resort of two halves! There is the historic ancient part of town with its picturesque churches and old-world charm, and there is a newer part with beautiful beaches and plenty of hotels offering great value accommodation. There’s plenty on offer for watersports enthusiasts, while swimming, diving or fishing are some of the top day time activities. By night Nessebar comes to life with bars, clubs and pubs where you can party until dawn.
Sunny Beach: If you want a singles holiday, you’re going with a gang of mates or your part of a couple who loves a good laugh, then the cheap resort of Sunny Beach is the best option for a summer getaway. There’s a great value selection of 4 or 5 star hotels, tonnes of decent bars and clubs and lots of other stuff on offer too: from the beach, to the summer festivals and fashion shows.
Golden Sands: One of the biggest and best resorts in Europe, Golden Sands as its name suggests has it all. With plenty of beach space, loads of family activities and great bars, clubs and casinos, families, groups and couples will love it.
Albena: Right on a nature reserve, Albena is a little more luxurious than some of the other resorts in Bulgaria. There’s a beautiful selection of charming seafront hotels, top notch restaurants and plenty for kids who want to splash about in the water. The town itself is made for evening strolls, discovering little narrow streets or the amazing Botanic Gardens in neighbouring Balchik.
Bulgaria’s biggest city, Sofia, is the perfect location for one of these ‘do it in a weekend’ getaways. While many choose Prague, Amsterdam or Warsaw, Sofia is a fairly underestimated city break, despite being one of Europe’s most compact and walkable locations. Those travelling to Bulgaria tend to opt for its many beautiful ski resorts or picturesque coastal towns, unknowingly missing out on the charm and cosmopolitan vibe of this rich and dynamic city.
Holidays Sofia Bulgaria
Situated at the foot of the Vitosha mountain, Sofia is made up of streets lined with domed churches, Ottoman mosques and Red Army monuments. These are married with extravagant shopping malls, luxury hotels and some of Europe’s coolest bars, creating a distinctly east-meets-west vibe throughout the city. Rapid development has led to an increase in trendy international boutiques and an innovative restaurant scene, that rivals some of Europe’s biggest cities. Affluence is apparent on every corner, from the flashy cars whizzing around the city to the well-heeled women carrying Vuitton bags – a far cry from the Bulgaria you may have envisaged. Yet, despite being a modern, urbanized city, Sofia is also surprisingly green, with huge, winding parks holding the buildings in embrace.
Things to do in Sofia
Although no grand metropolis when compared to places such as Rome, Paris or London, Sofia is nevertheless an attractive and cultured city with many museums, art galleries and theatres to keep you entertained…
Take a free walking tour of Sofia: Twice a day, local tourism volunteer NGO sets off from in front of the Palace of Justice to give tourists a free tour of this beautiful city. Welcoming, English-speaking volunteers will lead you on a two-hour walk through the city’s main sites, and fill you in on all the interesting background details. From students to backpackers to businessmen, this tour is an excellent introduction to Sofia and a great way of making friends if travelling alone.
Picnic in a park: Borisova Gradina is Sofia’s finest patch of greenery and home to the Vasil Levski Stadium, CSKA Stadium and Maria Luisa Pool, as well as a gigantic communist monument built in 1956, known as the Mound of Brotherhood. Why not pack up some strawberries and fresh bread and have a unique walk in the park, where you can admire the countless statues and flowerbeds.
Soak up some culture: If you’re looking for some historic insight, the National Museum of National History is the place to go. The musty halls of this old-fashioned museum present a didactic collection of animal, plant and mineral specimens, whilst the ground floor focuses on rocks, crystals and minerals. The stuffed animal collection in the upper floors even includes a brown bear dangling a Nazi hunting medal from its claw. Equally impressive is the Royal Palace museum, which was originally built as the headquarters of the Ottoman police force. The Palace was also the place where Bulgaria’s national hero, Vasil Levski, was tried and tortured before his public execution in 1873. After the Liberation, the building was remodelled in Viennese style and in 1887, it became the official residence of Bulgaria’s royal family until the communist takeover. Today, the Royal Palace houses the National Art Gallery and the Ethnographical Museum, which contains a collection of regional costumes and crafts, as well as varying temporary exhibitions on topics ranging from traditional festivals or carpet-making. Even the rooms of the Museum are a sight in themselves, showcasing marble fireplaces and ornate plasterwork and don’t forget to pause at the old dining room to view a lobster, fish and dead duck on the ceiling.
Get your architectural fix: There’s no better place to do this than at the outstanding domed Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, one of the Sofia’s major landmarks. Built in the mid 1800s (on top of the foundations of several older churches) the cathedral’s interior is is a montage of Byzantine-style murals. A glass case holds the body of Sveti Kral Stefan Milotin, a medieval king of Serbia, wrapped in a velvet robe, whose bones are said to have miraculous healing powers.
Restaurants in Sofia: Dream House: A vegetarian restaurant with a colourful menu, serving up dishes such as grilled tofu, algae soup and vegetable stir-fry. Itsa best to visit on a Sunday, when there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet with beer and wine available.
Egur-Egur: Armenian cuisine, featuring kebabs, steaks, stews and other meaty offerings for a much-needed bit of stodge after a night drinking in the Sofian bars.
BeSo: Here you’ll find an open sushi bar of excellent quality. Pair this with a “see and be seen” atmosphere, netted off VIP booths and an impeccably designed interior and you have more than enough reason to visit.
Holidays. The time that everyone longs for and everyone remembers. Packing your bags, leaving work and manic routine behind and leaving for a sunnier or at least different setting could provide you with experiences and fun that you wouldn’t even come close to otherwise. Anyone would love a holiday escape as much as the next person, however, when thinking of travelling, one of the things that immediately jumps to mind is budget. Budget can make or break a holiday as we all might be aware, however there’s no need to break the bank in order to embark on a new, exciting adventure. Here we have 10 of the best places to go to if you are after leaving the known world behind you and keeping your wallet happy.
It’s almost impossible to choose the best beaches in Europe, so we asked around the office to find out what some of the favourites are. We’d love to hear your opinion of our top 10 best beaches in Europe.
1. Zlatni Rat, in Bol, Croatia. The photographer’s favourite, known as Zlatni Rat or the Golden Cape or Golden Horn is a white pebble beach that creates an incredible seaside experience stretching in an almost vertical line into the sea Changing with the tide, the clothing-optional beach is one of the country’s most famous.
Plan an incredible summer holiday around a festival and get more bang for your buck. Read our Purple tips about the best music festivals 2014 and don’t miss out. If you’ve got any more suggestions for the best music festivals 2014, hit us up in the comments below.
Altitude Comedy Festival – Austria When: 31 Marcy – 4 April 2014 Where: Mayrhofen, Austria What is it: In the same awesome venue as the Snowbombing festival, this is all about comedy. Lots of beginner slopes as well as black runs and great apres-ski, this is two holidays in one! Who: Pub Landlord Al Murray, John Murray, Tommy Tiernan, Andrew Maxwell and Craig Campbell. Price: Depending on your arrival date from £188.
Snowbombing – Austria When: 7-12 April 2014 Where: Up in the snowy mountains of Mayrhofen, Austria What is it: A mix of partying and piste, where winter sports meets hedonistic highs. Who: The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers DJ set, Four Tet, Tom Odell, Foxes. Price: From £219 including accommodation.
Best Music Festivals 2014 – May
Primavera Sound – Barcelona When: 29-31 May 2014 Where: Parc Del Forum, Barcelona, Spain. What is it: A huge lineup of some of the best acts in the world today will play in the sunshine at Primavera’s outdoor stages showcasing Barcelona as a great music-lead city. Who: The National, Arcade Fire, Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, QOTSA, Haim, Metronomy, Foals and Chrvches. Price: €175
Ibiza Rocks and Mallorca Rocks – Balearic Islands When: All summer long! Starting on June 4 2014. Where: Ibiza/Majorca What is it: A full on summer festival experience without the mud. Who: Haim, The 1975, John Newman, Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran and Tinie Tampah. Price: From £75
Pinkpop – Netherlands When: 7 – 9 June 2014 Where: Landgraaf, Netherlands What is it: The 45th year of Pinkpop, this is one of the oldest in the world and draws huge names from all over the world. Who: Arcade Fire, Metallica, Editors, Mastodon and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. Price: Tickets for Pinkpop will be released on 15th March 2014
Want to know a little more about the weirdest tours ever? Every week, we take to twitter to get some cool info about cheap holidays, travel, things to do and gadgets as part of #TTOT. We submitted a question this week and couldn’t believe some of the replies! Burlesque shows, toilet tours and leaf peeping… Find out more in our Travel Talk on Tuesday Storify of weird tours and activities and add your own in comments below! In the meantime you can learn all about the Travel Talk on Twitter community here.
Feeling a little inspired by all the action at the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 and want to give snowboarding or skiing a go? How about simply settling in for an evening of apres-ski? What do you mean you’re not really bothered with skiing? Filled with warming gluhwein and cosy sweaters, or maybe it’s an alternative music festival you’re after? We’ve got the best late deals for 2014 ski holidays right now for whatever type of ski break you’re looking for.
Purple 10: Europe’s cheapest cities… as tracked by the European Backpacker Index
It’s official, the list of Europes cheapest cities has just been announced. These 10 cities definitely won’t break the bank, and a combo of cheap flights, transport, hotels and things to see and do, mean the likes of Bucharest, Krakow and Zagreb should feature for your next city break.
Get a gang together whether it is your mates, extended family or a work thing, PurpleTravel.co.uk has the rundown of the best places to holiday as a group.
Cheap clubbing breaks We’ve covered party cities fairly extensively here at PurpleTravel.co.uk so you can be sure we’re into clubbing all night long (and a bit of the next day!) We reckon hitting up clubber’s paradise Ayia Napa, with brilliant hotels and buckets of sunshine is a good choice. The Greek favourite Faliraki is a good one, it’s got the hottest beach clubs and practically no closing time. For a bit of a change, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, has cheap flights, awesome bars and great choice of hotels.
You or a friend has announced their leaving singledom behind forever. What’s the next step? A whopper party somewhere great with a gang of your mates, that’s what! Stag and Hen parties are becoming more than just shagaluf Magaluf, with spa packages, limo hire and VIP nightclubbing, along with the staples of strippers and red light tours. So head for an all nighter Hen in Benidorm or a red light adventure stag in Amsterdam.
Golfing holidays Whether you’ve got a handicap of 55 or you’re a total pro, a golf holiday is the perfect way to soak up the sunshine and practice your swing. It doesn’t matter what level you play at, there are resorts all over the world where you can head for the greens. Portugal’s Algarve is practically made for golf. Fly to Faro and within a few minutes you could be out on the course. We like the Balaia Golf Village in Albufeira, or Quinta do Vale Resort, designed by golf legend Seve Ballesteros.
Festivals are better enjoyed with friends, so why not head for the sunshine and rock out in style. Mallorca and Ibiza Rocks have already announced headliner Jake Bugg and we’re practically drooling at the thought of who else will be announced over the next few weeks. Last year Kasabian, Bloc Party New Order and Tinie Tempah rocked the stage. A bit closer to home, Barcelona’s premier festival Primavera has just announced its lineup; Hot Chip, Kurt Vile & the Violators, My Bloody Valentine and loads more are heading for Catalonia 22-26 May.
Whether you’re a beginner, or more experienced diver, there’s always lots to learn. Try a hotel that includes introductory lessons in the pool, and bring some friends so you can look silly all together. Some of the best diving holidays are found in the famous Red Sea Resorts in Egypt. Sharm el Sheikh is a no brainer here, with PADI approved instructors and schools, and famous diving sites like Ras Mohammed, Straits of Tiran, Thistlegorm or Dahab.
Really, there’s only one place to splash the cash with your girls and that’s NYC. The Big Apple around November (Thanksgiving weekend) has the best deals you’ll find anywhere. Black Friday is not for the meek though. Get your shopping clobber on and stock up in Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s 5th Avenue or Macy’s or head for the huge Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 stores.
A classic choice for the whole family is Disney World. Visit the Magic Kingdom Park in the heart of Florida and fulfill childhood dreams of hanging out with Mickey and Minnie. Any little princesses in the family will love meeting Cinderella, while future movie directors can yell ‘lights, camera, action!’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Champions World in Kissimmee or Hampton Inn Pointe on International Drive are ideal choices to stay close to the action. Discover great group rates for hotels in Florida from PurpleTravel.co.uk.
Fun, fun, fun at Disneyland USA Surely a no brainer, Disneyland is the chance to treat your kids (and yourself) to an unforgettable adventure. The Radisson WorldGate Hotel in Kissimmee is just a mile from Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios. You can even watch the theme park’s fireworks show from your room and hit the shops for some much needed retail therapy. It’s really the cherry on top of any family holidays you might be after.
Hit the beach in the BalearicsMajorca, Menorca and Ibiza, take your pick: The handy family run Hotel Almudaini in Palma de Mallorca, is just a few minutes’ walk from Passeig Maritimo and almost every amenity in town – the port, palace and market. For Menorca head for the family friendly resort of Cala’n Forcat, with its beaches, bouncy castles and aqua parks. Remember, Ibiza is not just for serious partying, there’s a softer, gentler side, with cosy villas away from the clubbing centres, but lively enough for mum and dad to enjoy too. Try Santa Eulalia, or Es Cana for great family holidays in the sunshine.
Ski adventure in Borovets Bulgaria is a fab choice for families with children, with a snow park especially for youngsters and wide runs in amongst green pine forests. There is a high standard of English speaking schools, and it’s a good choice for beginners, improvers or advanced skiers. Depending on where you stay there is free nursery or ski school as well as a great selection of cosy restaurants or day trips to the capital Sofia. The Hotel Rila has gorgeous views, mountain biking and hiking trips organised by qualified guides along with a great location right at the bottom of the ski runs.
Tropical getaway Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico the ideal in all inclusive, the Dreams in Tulum has excellent rooms, some with ocean or garden views and a private terrace. The onsite Explorer’s Club offers a Mayan themed world of fun for children aged between three and 12. Daily activities include climbing walls, splash fountains and outdoor movie screenings. For more adventurous kids, there’s a camping adventure every week.
Cruise in Turkey A great choice for one parent families, you join a party atmosphere on a cruise past tiny fishing villages, practically deserted beaches and tonnes of kayaking, swimming or diving. In the evenings, parents can gather on deck and relax over a glass of local brew, while the kids are entertained with movies.
Family luxury Cyprus The Almyra Hotel in Paphos is the perfect laidback getaway that’s is both stylish and child friendly. Children of all ages are at the heart of this hotel, with excellent childcare available. This includes supervised clubs, indoor and outdoor play areas, interconnecting rooms and children’s menus and a Baby Go Lightly service, so you can order all sorts of baby necessities before you arrive, e.g. nappies, car seats etc. For older children and teenagers, there is a dedicated ‘urban graffiti’ designed area with video games and big screens.
Dude Ranch, in the USA A holiday with a difference, this is the chance to test your cowboy skills. Set on a huge ranch, you and your family will be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and glorious sunsets. The Elk Mountain Ranch is known as the “White Water Capital of Colorado” and there is plenty of opportunity to go rafting along with hayrides, biking and erm, square dancing. A great choice for children, each day has a theme such as cowboy or Indian, there are dedicated camp counsellors and even a water slide park nearby, meaning every base is covered.
Classic sunshine Depending on who you talk to, there are a couple of thousand islands in Greece, so there is plenty to choose from. To top it off, it’s one of the best places for a bargain break; there is a big push to get visitors in this year, so prices have dropped and there is room for haggling. Try the resort of Amoudara in Crete, with a three mile long stretch of sand and tonnes of tavernas to lunch in. For days out try the Labyrinth of Knossos or the AquaWorld Aquarium and stay at the Castro Hotel, just a couple of minutes from a private beach, with its own pool and plenty of restaurants nearby.