Are there beautiful countryside places to see in Bulgaria? I would love to see, green hills, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and maybe some greek ruins and hope to see the rila montasarey. Can someone reccommend some cites and town that have these things I have mentioned? Thanks!
Bulgaria has lots to offer: 2 mountain ranges, the Rhodope and Balkan mountains; riversthe Struma in Sofia, the Maritsa in historic and picturesque Plovdiv, and the Yantra in mountainous Veliko Tornovo. There's a Black Sea coast, with an airport at Varna. You'll find hot mineral baths in the area. The Rila monastary is south of Plovdiv. Plovdiv, formerly Phillipopolis (under the Greeks) and Trimontium (under the Romans)has a marvelous old town and a great ancient Greek amphitheater. The food is quite good, including the ubiquitous chopska salad. Bulgaria has a moderate climate, so fruits and vegetables are plentiful. There's even a humor capitalin Gabrovo (south of Valiko Tornovo). Unless things have changed, Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet (which was created by monks Cyril and Methodius for the Slavic people, based on the Greek alphabet).
I'm basing this post of experiences from 2001-2, so perhaps things have changed since then... Bulgaria does have some very impressive mountain ranges, particularly on the border with Macedonia. My opinion of the countryside is limited to what I saw between the Macedonian border and the Sofia, but it was pretty forgettable. A lot of agriculture, rotting factories, concrete housing blocks, etc. Not too much that you would go out of your way to visit. I enjoyed Sofia very much, however, and really developed a hankering for shopska salata, especially when they use roasted red peppers.
We've been getting a lot of RS reruns on the cable lately. you might check your listings for the Bulgaria show. Probably a few years old but still relevant and interesting. You can buy it at the RS store as well.
We spent four days in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria last year and enjoyed it very much. There is a nice hotel there with good food. It would help if you are adept at using foreign languages as almost no English is spoken there.
Matthew, your trip is very close to what we did a couple of years ago. We love Bulgaria and might pass on Croatia next year to return to Bulgaria. Too many great places and too little time!