Bulgaria/Croatia

I am traveling to Bulgaria in November. I will be there for a gymnastics competition and then would like to travel from there to possibly Croatia for a week or so. I am reading that this is not easy to do by train - Any suggestions for our time in Sophia as well as a place to vacation after Sophia for a week or so before flying home?
thanks!

Posted by James
Frisco
1801 posts

Personally I love Bulgaria and would spend time there and in Romania and then head up to Budapest. Its a little nippy in Central Europe in November but it can still be a lot of fun. I would save Croatia for warm weather when its attributes really shine through. http://budapestflat.shutterfly.com/bulgaria shows some ideas in Bulgaria. Look at the top of the page for BU2 and BU3 for more. You can also find Budapest (Bp) and some other countries in the region. A private guide with a car driving to all the sites in Bulgaria or Romania ran about $350 a day including hotel rooms last time I checked. I know a good guide in Bulgaria and another in Romania. The one in Romania (spectacular country) will pick you up in Bulgaria, show you Romania and deliver you to Budapest to unwind before the trip home. Here are the two guides Daniel Gheorghita in Romania http://covinnus.com/ Pavlina Docheva in Bulgaria http://www.private-guides.com/guide-in-bulgaria/tours-in-city-Sofia-216/index.php

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Several considerations: - Sofia is going to be cold and grim in November. Sofia in the best weather IMO is not a good city to visit ... the beauty of Bulgaria is in the regional cities and the countryside which will be brown by then - November is too early for the ski season, so that is not an option - Sofia to Croatia is not cheaply flown. - Your best bet is via bus but that is a long trip, and IMO Croatia might suffer from the same problem (cold grim)
- Have you considered heading south toward warmer weather? Greece? Even better, Turkey? I say Turkey even better because a lot of people want to see islands in Greece, I don't think Nov is a good time to go but Istanbul / Cappadocia / Ephesus might be excellent - less crowds, a little warmer. Also I have seen very cheap flights Sofia > Istanbul on Turkish Air, especially if you plan ahead, especially off season which you are in.

Posted by James
Frisco
1801 posts

November isn't ideal for much of anything anyplace in the world. I've been to Bulgaria and Romania in early March which is only slightly better than February. I enjoyed two days in Sofia, but you are correct the country and places like Plovdiv. and Varna are great trips. The point is that you are there so enjoy it. Istanbul in February is nearly as nasty and Greece isn't that great in November either. Another option is to come up to Budapest and Vienna. The Christmas markets open in mid November in Budapest and the theater/opera/concert season is in full swing. I actually enjoy Budapest in November and December. This is a region where you either want to fly or be driven if possible. the long haul trains are neither romantic nor very efficient. As always, this is just one guys point of view and everyone is different.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
591 posts

James - thanks for posting your photo links. I was glad to see the monastary. I'm going to Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania at the end of May and will be going to some of these sites. Great photos.
Frances

Posted by Heather
Dallas, TX, USA
41 posts

Do you think it is feasible to rent a car and drive this area. I'm beginning to look at two options. Budapest. Or Turkey.

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Because you are crossing borders that might be difficult with a rental car. Whether you go to Hungary or Turkey that requires entering a non-EU country. If you go to Turkey, you might be better off flying there (cheap) and then renting from there.

Posted by James
Frisco
1801 posts

Heather, for just a few dollars more than renting a car, in this region you can get a guide and a car. In my first post I gave a couple of guide names. Daniel, the one in Romania will cross borders and I believe he does tours in Bulgaria as well as Romania these days. He also will drop you off in Budapest if you should decide to go that way.

Posted by Eric
Arcata, California, USA
1 posts

Right now, I am in Sofia for Easter, volunteering for a charity event. It's a beautiful city with really awesome people, hundreds of whom are volunteering for the same charity, delivering Easter gifts and meals to poor families. It was a really great experience. If you're curious about charity work in Bulagria, please take a look! Holiday Heroes