In this article Brendan says he had a really great experience and in love with Bulgaria. Here are his 11 reasons:
Most importantly, Bulgaria is just a beautiful country. After being part of several empires, there is so much history here and you will notice this instantly in the architecture and layout of the cities. Plovdiv is considered the most ancient city in Europe, and the free walking tours in both Plovdiv and Sofia will open your eyes to how many layers of history are hidden here. There is a calm and laid-back energy in Bulgaria, one that makes it easy to visit and easy to like. The people are humble and polite, the streets are calm and it is easy to simply wander and enjoy the country for what it is. I had only planned on staying a few days before moving on but ended up staying for almost three weeks and still wasn’t quite ready to leave.
It’s one of the cheapest countries I’ve ever been to, and since the country has abandoned its plan to adopt the euro it’s likely things will stay that way. Average salaries range between $300-$600/month and things in the country are priced accordingly. That means $2 for a cab ride, $3 for a restaurant meal and $5 for a movie ticket.
The internet is lightning quick
According to Bloomberg, Bulgaria has the 8th fastest internet in the world – faster than the US, and definitely faster than New Zealand. For someone who works online, this certainly had me smiling every morning. If you’re traveling in Bulgaria and decided to take a lazy day of Youtubing, take comfort in knowing you won’t be punching your phone waiting for videos to load (in HD, too!).
Bulgarians are awesome
On my first night in Plovdiv I met up with a Couchsurfer and we headed out for some traditional Bulgarian food before hitting up Fabric – a grungy little bar in Plovdiv’s center. A few of her friends were there and invited us to sit with them, and we spent the night sipping cheap black Russians and chatting the night away. They all spoke great English, welcomed me enthusiastically to their country and were super laid-back and friendly – exactly my kind of people.
It’s a little off the grid
Other than Sunny Beach and Varna on the east coast, not many people seem to visit Bulgaria. I probably wouldn’t have either, had I not been trying to run away from Turkey just next door. But as I’ve learned, places like this are always the most fun to explore – few hustlers, low prices, and a genuine look into the country without a sparkling tourist façade.
Like all places Bulgaria has its shady areas but I wandered around alone during early mornings and late nights and never felt in danger once. Walking home alone past midnight in Plovdiv and Sofia felt safer than most big cities, especially as the streets were generally calm and well lit.
Everyone speaks English!
Well perhaps not everyone, and perhaps not perfectly, but most will speak enough to understand you and indulge in small conversation. I also met many Bulgarians who spoke near perfect English which was a quite a surprise to me!
While not known for their food, Bulgaria makes some pretty delicious stuff.
It’s not Tokyo, but it’s not Phnom Penh, either. Most of your Western comforts will be available if you want them, from McDonald’s to H&M to a nice steak dinner at a fancy pants restaurant.
Damn, they go hard in Bulgaria. The drinks are cheap, they smoke like chimneys and the bars are widespread. Yet despite all that, the drinking culture doesn’t seem to be a bingey, ‘get f*cked up as fast as possible’ type gig; it’s more of a ‘enjoy your drinks and enjoy the night until the early morning’ type thing. I quite like it.
Brendan Lee, Brenontheroad.com
June 18, 2015