The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Bulgaria borders five other countries: Romania to the north, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country to the east. The country consists of twenty-eight provinces, all of which take their names from their respective capital cities:
Bulgaria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Madara Rider, the Thracian tombs in Sveshtari and Kazanlak, the Boyana Church, the Rila Monastery, the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Pirin National Park, Sreburna Nature Reserve and the ancient city of Nesebar. Also worth visiting are sites like the Batchkovo Monastery, located about five miles from Plovdiv and home to rare frescoes, icons, manuscripts and coins. The town of Belogradchik, nestled in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains in northwest Bulgaria, showcases attractions like the Belogradchik fortress, the ancient Magura Cave on Rabisha Lake, and the Belogradchik Rocks, an expanse of bizarrely shaped, colorful rock formations, named a Natural Landmark by the Bulgarian government. The tiny town of Melnik, with 18th- and 19th-century houses perched on strangely-shaped limestone and sand pyramids, is famous for its wine cellars. Bulgaria's second-largest city, Plovdiv, is divided by the Maritsa River. It’s the site of narrow cobbled streets and quaint houses, as well as a Roman Amphitheatre. The hub of the new city is the lively pedestrianized ulitsa Alexander Batemberg, with shops, cafés and galleries. Located in the territory of the ancient city Odessos are the Roman baths in Varna.
When dining in Bulgaria, be sure to sample some of the country’s such as Tarator, a cold cucumber soup; shopska salata, a Greek salad-like appetizer; kavarma, casseroles of pork or veal, onions and mushrooms; surmi, stuffed vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with meat; and kebapche, small, strongly spiced, minced meat rolls.
The Sofia Airport is located six miles east of Sofia and is serviced by international airlines. A free shuttle takes travelers between the two passenger terminals. Sofia Public Transport Company operates two buses serving the airport. Both run between the airport and the university in the city centre. Taxis are also available to and from the airport. Varna International Airport also has shuttle buses between its five terminals. To get to and from the airport, there’s a bus stop in front of the VIP hall for buses going to the city or sea resorts. Various international rental car companies also service the Varna International Airport.
Bulgaria overall has a temperate climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The barrier effect of the Balkan Mountains has some influence on climate throughout the country: northern Bulgaria experiences lower temperatures and receives more rain than the southern lowlands.