Please sign in to post.

Pre or Post Trip Destinations

Looking for the best destinations near Sophia to visit for a few nights either before or after the 12 day Bulgarian tour. Any suggestions?

Posted by
6745 posts

If you are flying Turkish Air and have a long layover (as is often the case), perhaps Istanbul would be a good choice. There's a lot to see there.

Posted by
16866 posts

If you can wait until you get there, your guide will be bursting with suggestions. Bulgaria's trains have a reputation for limited usefulness, but the good news is that trains cancelled in January have been reinstated. The Lonely Planet book is probably your best resource to see which towns are both of interest and accessible by bus or train. I would also be willing to rent a car, but did not do it there, since I couldn't find a rental that allowed me to cross into any neighboring countries.

Posted by
6745 posts

Bulgaria's trains have a reputation for limited usefulness

I think statements like these needlessly scare people off and should come with some qualification - it feeds into the "Eastern Europe is foreign and unapproachable" idea. I have the Lonely Planet book and it seems like most (if not all) major cities within Bulgaria are served by regular train schedules (including the sites where the tour goes). While the trains won't be of the Deutsche Bahn speed and condition, it doesn't seem too difficult to get from point to point within the country (the cyrillic alphabet is the only obstacle I can think of).

Posted by
2788 posts

I have never been scared off by any advice from the RS folks but, in 12 years of touring Europe, have always found it accurate and helpful. I am looking forward to taking RS Bulgarian Tour this coming June. I have made it a practice to arrive at the city where the tour begins a couple of days before its start to see anything that interests me that is not covered by the tour. Such information is provided by the RS folks in one of the later mailings of tour information. I spend time in Europe either before the tour, after the tour, or both, to see other places that I may or may not have visited previously. Happy travels.

Posted by
1829 posts

When we traveled in eastern Bulgaria we did not find the trains had limited usefulness. Such information may be anecdotal.

Posted by
1548 posts

Koprivhstitsa, a lovely little village 100km east of Sophia, don´t expect luxury hotels but there are cheap places (formost B&B´s) with character to stay. Worth spending a night. Train is slow so it need a few hours to get there from Sophia. Have a look in a Lonely Planet guide for more info.

Sozopol on the Black Sea coast is a bit like Nessebar, but way less touristy (more local tourists) and liked it actually more as Nessebar is despite being a UNESCO site, turned unfortunitly into a playground for those staying at Sunny Beach. I liked north of Sozopol nearby Burgas too.

The Bulgarian National Historical Museum (if I remember well better known as “Rezidentsia Boyana”) 10km south-west of Sophia is certainly worth a visit. I used a taxi to get there.

If I remember well (visit 2007) a good place in Sophia for a typical Bulgarian dinner and life music is “Pri Yafata” next to the Thracia Hotel.

Posted by
2788 posts

Before we departed for our recent RS Bulgaria tour, we received a packet of information for the RS folks as we always do. Included in that package was a description of places that the tour would not be visiting. We arrived in Sofia before the tour and stayed after the tour was over and visited many of those places. None of the places that we visited on our own required advanced reservations so that we made plans there as we went. Good tour - Great guide

Posted by
4 posts

When I had a 10-day tour to Bulgariya, for 1 day I went to Turkey. It is quite near and you will see the difference of Europe and Asia. I specially was in Stambul! Liked it very much! Specially the churches, the architecture is really great! I visited Bosfor and an Egypt market - where you have to say your own prices for goods! Go to Turkey, it is a cool expirience, believe me!