- Balkan Mountains
Situated at an altitude of 635 m, Bankya is a well-known health resort only 17 km away from the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The beautiful nature, favourable climate and the excellent resort infrastructure contribute to the development of Bankya as a prestigious health refuge. Archaeological excavations in the region have found remains of churches, ceramics and coins dating from the Roman times.
The town of Apriltsi (200 km north east of Sofia) is situated in a lovely valley with immediate proximity to the mountain recreation facilities that keep visitors coming back. Bordering on the Central Balkan National Park, the area has recently begun to flourish as an attractive mountain resort with renovated recreation facilities, new private hotels and modern nightclubs and cafes. Visitors can enjoy fishing, mountaineering, cycling, numerous hiking trails and a luxurious hunting centre. Apriltsi is 30 km to the south of the Sofia-Varna highway and has direct bus lines to and from the towns of Sofia, Pleven Lovech, Gabrovo, Sevlievo and Plovdiv.
Gabrovo is 220 km north-east of Sofia and is approximately the geographical centre of Bulgaria. Due to its location, Gabrovo has been a historical crossroads and visitors keep coming back for its clean mountain air, flora and fauna. Hunting in the local game reserves is popular for bear, red deer and mouflon. Only eight kilometres from Gabrovo is Etur, an open air museum of architecture and ethnographical complex which brings to life traditional Bulgarian trades and customs complete with master craftsmen fashioning gold and silver trinkets while Turkish coffee is served at a nearby cafe. Enjoy the authentic Bulgarian houses with small shops and wooden shutters and gas lanterns on the street corners.
Situated 240 km northeast of Sofia and 106 km southwest of Ruse, the mountaintop town of Veliko Turnovo has been described as a “museum city". In 1185 it became a center of the Bulgarian Uprising against Byzantine domination and the capital of the restored Bulgarian state. During the 13th and 14th centuries this capital of Bulgaria was a major political, economic, trade and cultural centre in Europe. Though Sofia ultimately became the capital of Bulgaria after the Liberation, Veliko Tarnovo continued to be a focus for the Bulgarian national spirit.
Shoumen sits in the north eastern end of the Stara Planina mountain range and shares itself between the Eastern portion of the Danube plain and the Balkan Mountains. Shoumen hosts a number of significant cultural buildings and monuments from the 13th century when its lands were inhabited by Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians. In this region there are several monuments of international importance to the historic cities of Pliska, Preslav and Madara.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest international airport to this region is near the capital Sofia. In addition to Bulgarian Air, many of the major carriers fly to Sofia including British Airways, Air France, Alitalia, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malev and Olympic Airways.
Flights can be found from over 20 UK airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, City Airport, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast.