Bulgaria’s image has altered dramatically in recent years, thanks largely to the modernization of the country’s tourist infrastructure coupled with soaring foreign interest in inexpensive rural and coastal properties. Independent travel is common: costs are relatively low, and for the committed there is much to take in. Romantic National Revival era architecture is a particular draw, with Koprivshtitsa, Bansko and Plovdiv foremost amongst examples of the genre. The monasteries are stunning too – the finest, Rila, should be on every itinerary, while for city life aim for Sofia, Plovdiv, and the cosmopolitan coastal resorts of Varna and Burgas.

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A first-timer's guide to Central and Eastern Europe: 10 places to visit

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10 reasons to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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