Romania’s attractions are quite diverse. Stunning wildlife can be found along the Black Sea. Dominating the center of the country are the Carpathians, which are some of the most lush and breathtaking mountains in all of Europe. Attracting religious types are the Orthodox churches and pious lifestyles of Maramures. Not least, there is the Middle Age architecture of Transylvania – home of castles and fortresses – as well as charming Saxon-style towns such as Brasov, Sibiu, and Sighisoara. Ever since Romania joined the European Union (EU), travelers have become more curious than ever to explore the mystique of this Eastern European nation.
First and foremost, Bulgaria seems to attract nature enthusiasts. Home of lengthy, white-sand beaches lining the resort-dotted Black Sea Coast, other natural attractions include an interior of wooded and mountainous landscapes, inhabited by scarce forms of wildlife and otherwise best explored via hiking or often even horseback riding. Other reasons to visit Bulgaria include towns and cities featuring national revival architecture, colorful and countrywide religious attractions, fascinating archeological sites and pastoral villages characterized by centuries-old folklore, as well as elderly women wearing distinct clothing (especially the headscarves) and elderly men riding on donkeys.
Indeed, Bulgaria is a bit more traditional than most other post-communist European states and is integrating with the West at a slower pace. Nevertheless, the country is showing signs of growth and modernization, despite struggles with corruption, with overhauling its weak judiciary system and with land overdevelopment and interrelated environmental damage. In any case, visitors usually do not concern themselves with Bulgaria’s national and European Union-related political affairs. Rather, tourists seem to enjoy the simplicity, hospitality—and, of course, delicious gastronomy—this Southeastern European nation has a great deal to offer. Although known primarily for its beaches, most of Bulgaria remains ‘off the beaten path,’ a path that serves as a showcase of Balkan lifestyle, a path that is waiting for you to explore.
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Thanks to your book, I felt like I was a local and not just some cheesy tourist. You helped me to really dig into the culture. You kept my head on straight while I digested the sights and sounds. You directed me towards the best food and the best destinations. Your timing for each excursion was perfect. You are truly a traveling master, Charlie.
I knew I only had one chance to travel to Romania and Bulgaria, so I wanted to make it an unforgettable trip. My brother told me about your itinerary so I picked it up. I had no idea it was so in-depth and personal. This is by far one of the best books I’ve read about traveling and I plan on buying your other itineraries when I go abroad again.