Varna

Varna, Bulgaria’s seafaring capital, is a cosmopolitan town located on the Black Sea coast. It is a port city, naval base and seaside resort, which is why it is an appealing place to visit. This city is packed with history but is very modern, with an enormous park and a beautiful beach to lounge on. In the city center you’ll find Bulgaria’s largest Roman baths complex and its archaeological museum, as well as a very vibrant restaurant scene.

Visiting Varna also allows for day trips to nearby beach resorts such as Sveti Konstantin and Golden Sands, and the town of Balchik.


Plodiv

With a lively nightlife and millennia-old ruins, Plovdiv mingles both the new and the old. Like Rome, Plovdiv straddles seven hills; but as it is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city it is far more ancient. The romantic old town is packed with 19th-century mansions that are now house-museums, galleries and guesthouses.

Bulgaria’s second cosmopolitan city hosts many music and art festivals which draw large crowds, while renovations in the Kapana creative quarter and Tsar Simeon Gardens have given the city new spirit. Plodiv sits between Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, and was once a good place to stop for any weary traveler.


Nesebar

The ancient city of Nesebar is one of the major seaside resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Located in Burgas Province, it is often referred to as the "Pearl of the Black Sea.” Nesebar is a rich city-museum with more than three millennia of history. The small city exists in two parts separated by a narrow man-made isthmus. The ancient part of the city sits on the peninsula (previously an island), and the modern city sits on the mainland side. The older parts of the city show evidence of occupation by a several different civilizations over the course of its existence. As one of the most prominent tourist destinations and seaports on the Black Sea it has become a popular area with several large resorts—the largest being Sunny Beach, which is to the north of Nesebar.


Sofia

Bulgaria's capital is often overlooked by visitors heading to the coast or the ski resorts. While Sofia is no grand metropolis, it is a modern city, with onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments. Excavation work carried out during construction of the metro unveiled a treasure trove of Roman ruins from nearly 2000 years ago, when the city was called 'Serdica'. Away from the buildings and boulevards one can find several parks and gardens. The ski slopes and hiking trails of Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride from the center. Sofia is also home to many of Bulgaria's finest museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs.


Thessaloniki

Thessalonika is Greece’s second city, the different neighborhoods are little worlds unto themselves, and when you climb the Byzantine walls and take in the city at sunset, you see what a beautiful city it is.

Old and new cohabitate wonderfully: the Arch of Galerius, a 4th-century monument, overlooks the shopping district of Egnatia. Thessaloniki’s most famous sight, the White Tower, anchors a waterfront packed with restaurants. The waterfront area is great for walking and cycling. By night, the city comes alive with its music and nightlife.


Peloponnese

The Peloponnese is where legends were born. It is here that Hercules fought the Nemean lion and gods walked the earth, meddling in mortal affairs; it's here that Paris of Troy eloped with Helen and the Argonauts set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. Legends aside, this region shows traces of the many civilizations that have called it home. This can be seen in its classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Ottoman, Frankish and Venetian fortresses.

The very terrain that kept away invaders for centuries –snowcapped mountains, vast gorges, sandy beaches and deep blue waters – now draw visitors from all over the world. Filoxenia (hospitality) is strong here; the food is among Greece's best; and the region's vineyards led to Greece's wine renaissance.


Athens

The magnificent Acropolis, visible from almost every part of the city, is the core around which Athens revolves. This temple city, built in the 5th century BC, serves as a daily reminder of Greek heritage and the city's many transformations. Many rooftops and balconies angle toward the landmark.

The life of Athens plays out amid, around and in the century’s old landmarks. The remnants of Ancient Greece get the most attention, as well as the mythology, drama, and philosophy. But don't overlook the thousand-year-old Byzantine churches which sit in the middle of streets and are attached to many hillsides. Ottoman traces can be seen in architecture and in food. The elegance of the city center displays the neoclassical style of the 19th century.