From colorfully unique summer festivals and outdoor adventures to spa getaways at chic adults-only locales, the options are endless within one of the formerly overlooked gems of southeastern Europe. Here are only a few of the options to consider for anyone targeting Bulgaria as the perfect romantic escape.
A variety of romantically-tinged options along the Black Sea at places like Golden Sands.
The Black Sea coast is where many couples from around the world come to spend nights of romance. In the energetic resort town of Golden Sands, romance-seekers have an assortment of options at their disposal, from secluded getaways lapped in luxury to an exciting nightclub scene that can be a perfect fit for the right couple. There are also miles of beaches featuring locally famous tiki bars, water activities, and world-class restaurants that make Golden Sands one of the most popular destinations in Bulgaria.
The many highly rated hotels and resorts cater to just about any type of couple there is, with the panoramic Black Sea views offering peerless backdrops for romance. Some of the most popular hot spots hold pool parties all summer long, befitting a great place for couples that moonlight as beach partiers. But for those looking for a more subdued experience with a loved one, there are plenty of accommodations that offer a more tranquil and intimate oasis far from the party scene.
With more than 230 miles of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, however, Golden Sands is also far from the only beach town worth considering, as other standouts like Nessebar also have plenty of great opportunities for romance. No matter what a couple considers paradise, the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria is sure to have a place that fits the description.
Go rose-picking in Rose Valley.
One of the classic Bulgarian traditions is on full display each May/June outside the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria. Amid the warming weather of late spring, the famed Rose Valley is flush with festivals and activities as locals and visitors alike hit the countryside looking for the perfect rose. While you can link up with groups for a customary rose-picking ritual that involves traditional Bulgarian dancing and music, many couples prefer to head off on their own to hit one of the countless rose fields that dot the area, spending afternoons getting lost in colorful rows of Bulgaria’s national flower. The enormous Rose Festival Parade is also a sight to see, as locals dress up in vintage Bulgarian garb and take onlookers on a trip into the country’s national pastimes.
While nearby Kazanlak has some character of its own and is a fun place to stay during the festival season, heading a little north will take visitors to hike the Shipka Pass for some exquisite views of the mountainous region. History lovers will enjoy learning about the unique Buzludzha monument (better known as “The Spaceship”) and the battles that took place there between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, but it’s also an ideal place for romantics to escape for afternoons of fresh air and sprawling green countryside. 360-degree panoramic views from the top of Freedom Monument are one of the highlights, and couples can cap off a Shipka Pass hike by heading to a rose brewery to try local brews made from rose water.
The treasures of Bulgarian wine country.
The many vineyards of southwestern Bulgaria are a major draw for couples looking for a tranquil romantic excursion. A flourishing region once again on the rise, Bulgarian wine country has a series of great towns and small cities worth visiting, most notably places like Melnik and Plovdiv. A cozy town nearly hidden by the neighboring Pirin Mountains, Melnik is technically the smallest town in Bulgaria by population but also has a variety of great resorts and independent boutique hotels that act as stepping stones for exploring the regional vineyards.
Offering a slightly different experience, Plovdiv in the Thracian Valley is the perfect starting point for a wine tour whether you rent a car and do it all yourself or join a group heading out to the best vineyards. The second most populous city in the country, Plovdiv has a spread of great wine bars exclusively featuring local nectars, letting you enjoy one of Bulgaria’s cultural hubs in between winery visits. Widely acclaimed restaurants like the jazz-infused Vino Culture offer a world-class wine-tasting experience along with an impressive menu that will make you forget you’re in a wine bar. As a city with a true international feel, Plovdiv offers of other luxury dining experiences featuring cuisine from around eastern Europe and beyond, and it’s known for being a great walking city for visitors who prefer to use two feet whenever possible.
The wine in the area also taps directly into the recent history of Bulgaria, a country that faced a major transition at the end of the Cold War. After becoming the fourth biggest wine-producer in the world by the 1980s, Bulgaria wine had a major decline in the 1990s as vineyard ownership was shuffled, but that gave way to a major resurgence over the last two decades that has brought back the romanticism of the area. These days, travelers from around Bulgaria join plenty of international visitors who come to southwestern Bulgaria to peruse nearly 150,000 of pristine vineyard acres.
Final thoughts before planning a romantic trip to Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is definitely a country where weather can be a significant factor, which is why you will want to do your research about what to expect from the region you’re targeting. Inland at places like Melnik, visitors can expect average highs in the low-to-mid 90s (°F) during the peak of the summer, which means that you’ll want to get up and get moving if you’re planning a trip in July or August. Nearby in Plovdiv, you can expect cooler weather and the same goes for the Black Sea coast, where temperatures rarely rise above 85 (°F) even during the hottest parts of the year.
Bulgaria is also well-known for being one of the most affordable European destinations, which it’s particularly attractive to couples looking to splurge a bit on high-end accommodations without the sticker-shock you would expect elsewhere. With an abundance of natural beauty and romantic possibilities all over the country, exploring Bulgaria is simply a great option for anyone looking for a unique romantic holiday.