• Plovdiv

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a fascinating, rapidly changing corner of Europe, where shiny BMWs compete for lane space with horse-drawn carts. This nation's European dream is still taking shape from its roots in a custom-blend of Ottoman, Orthodox, and Soviet soil. Explore Bulgaria's modern capital of Sofia, and its trendy second city of Plovdiv, then stroll through rustic mountain villages with the tang of wood smoke in the air. Relax in valleys of vineyards and sleek seaside resorts. Be pleasantly surprised by the rich local cuisine — an offbeat blend of Slavic and Mediterranean — and taste wines that are the toast of the Balkans. Throughout, marvel at Bulgaria's ancient Tracian tombs, impressive Roman ruins, mystical medieval monasteries, and traditional mosques — nowhere in Europe will you see such colorful, perfectly preserved treasures of iconic religious art.