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Fancy a cheap, sunny student getaway? Catch some culture & rays of sun in Sofia, Bulgaria

Next month most of us will be desperate for some rays of sunlight but the cost can be off-putting. The good news is that Bulgaria can easily provide the pleasure of warm weather without burning a whole in your purse or wallet as Hannah Ahmed found out…

Using a low-cost airline like easyJet or Ryanair, you can book a flight to Bulgaria for as little as £30! (though you’ll obvs need a round trip)
If you’re a culture vulture like me then head to the capital, Sofia. As the largest city in Bulgaria, there is a great variety of things to do. It’s located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain, a popular choice for skiers (more on that later.)

Travelling around is convenient and quick, thanks to the well-connected metro system. A must-see is Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski. For a start the architecture is stunning, the interior is beautifully ornate with meticulously detailed paintings and mosaics and did I mention entry is free?!

Historical and archeological enthusiasts won’t want to miss the National Archaeological Museum. Located in the centre of Sofia, it’s home to numerous collections and exhibitions and covers the culture of tribes who occupied the area right up to the 18th century.

vitosha-mountain

Vitosha Mountain, located right next to the city of Sofia, is a great choice for anyone who enjoys skiing or snowboarding. The snowfall can be pretty variable so visiting in February or March is probably your best bet. There are plenty of ski resorts, of varying prices so skiing holidays needn’t cost a fortune? In fact, Bulgaria’s ski resorts are among the cheapest out there and definitely a snip compared to the French Alps!

sunny beach

Looking for some sun, sand and sea? The Sunny Beach resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast was voted the cheapest beach in Europe.
Known for its beautiful beaches, great nightlife, and low-cost food it competes with resorts such as Magaluf and also offers an array of outdoor entertainment from boat parties and water parks to Jeep safaris so you won’t be bored for one minute.

Highlights include Bulgaria’s first waterpark Action Aqua Park. Entry costs just £13.99 for a whole day spent going on thrilling water slides, and relaxing in the lazy river. Your money will go a long way in Sunny Beach. It costs around a mere 70p for a bottle of beer and a pretty decadent meal will only set you back a few pounds.

WHERE TO STAY

10 coins hostel sofia

If you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay then the 10 Coins Hostel is worth a try.

Price starts from only £13 a night and it’s just a short metro ride away from the city centre. If you want a hostel that is more central, then check out Hostel Mostel. The name rhymes, what more do you want? If a hostel isn’t for you, there are plenty of cheap hotels, many offering discounts if you shop around. A good option is Hotel Light which also offers free breakfast as well as access to a gym and sauna.

WHERE TO EAT

Sofia has plenty of places to eat that are delicious and affordable. For breakfast, you will definitely want to stop by one of Sofia’s many bakeries which serve tasty, fresh pastries and cakes. Try Café Ma Baker which offers fresh juice, coffee, and plenty of sweet treats. If you want a casual but enjoyable lunch check out Supa Star. They offer plenty of scrumptious soups and sandwiches, also catering to vegetarians and vegans.

sputnik-interior2

In the evenings Sputnik Cocktail Bar’s worth a try. The décor is stunning, but most importantly, the cocktails are top quality, as well as being considerably cheaper than you’re used to.

USEFUL INFO
Currency: Lev.
Conversion rate: £1 = 2.19 Lev.
Language: Bulgarian.
Population: 7million
Flight time from Edinburgh: 5 hours
Time zone: BST + 2
Climate: Mostly Continental – temperature ranges from -5 degrees Celsius in January to 26.5 degrees C in July and August

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