[wptabtitle] via Varna [/wptabtitle]
Fly Luton-Varna with Wizzair – cheap flights available if you book early or off peak but more expensive in summer
In summer months, Balkan Airlines flies Gatwick or Manchester to Varna.
Stay in Varna for a night, located right on the Black Sea coast. The airport is 8km from the city. Bus 409 takes you into the city centre or get a taxi. Don’t miss the natural spring pool, located beyond the restaurants on the beachfront. You’ll meet some friendly old people from Varna. Also worth seeing are the archaeological ruins which are visible as you walk through the back streets between town and the beach.
Good place to eat: Orient Turkish Restaurant, near the city centre. See Trip Advisor review. For a drink, try the Saloon bar, one of the oldest in town, frequented by locals. It is on Kliment Street, opposite the Armenian hotel. There’s also an excellent kebab shop opposite the fountain beside the Opera House.
Every second year, there is an international Ballet competition in Varna which is worth seeing. During the summer months, there are lots of events at the outdoor theatre in Primorsko Park.
Get the train or bus from Varna to Popovo – wonderful train journey and great way to meet local people. The bus station is a bus journey from the city centre, beside the Varna Shopping Mall.
We will arrange a taxi to pick you up from the bus or train station or just pick one up when you arrive. They are always waiting at the station. Ask for Palamartsa. We are 8km away. The cost of a taxi is generally 13 lev.
[wptabtitle] via Sofia [/wptabtitle]
Easyjet has cheap flights from Gatwick or Manchester to Sofia. They are even cheap in summer if you book early enough.
In Sofia, a low budget fun option is the Art Hostel. It is decorated with funky art and murals and has a bar in the basement where local bands often play. Great place to meet young Bulgarians.
There are lots of other accommodation to suit everyone in Sofia. We like the slightly Bohemian Red Bed & Breakfast, located in an historic house once owned by a famous Bulgarian sculptor.
Fun things to do there – have a cup or many of tea at the very chilled out Veda Tea House; eat at the wonderful vegetarian Sun & Moon cafe; and don’t miss the free city walking tour which is really informative.
Take a train or bus to Popovo. The train is fun and travels through some lovely countryside but it can be hot in summer when the air conditioned bus might be a better option.
[wptabtitle] via Veliko Tarnovo [/wptabtitle]
Consider an afternoon or overnight stay at Veliko Tarnovo. Wonderful old capital of Bulgaria with winding streets, medieval fortress and the amazing communist era Interhotel where you can get a cup of coffee and a view from its large outdoor terrace. There’s also a querky little cafe, Malkiya Inter, beside the Archaeology Museum.
There are also wonderful old churches to visit in the nearby village of Arbanassi.
If you like horse riding, stop off with the lovely Maya at her horse riding school and guesthouse in scenic Elena, about a 40 minute drive from VT.
[wptabtitle] via Bourgas [/wptabtitle]
Balkan Airlines flies direct from Belfast, Scotland and a number of UK airports to Bourgas from June to September. Aer Lingus fly Dublin to Bourgas.
Wizzair flies Luton to Bourgas.
From Bourgas, get bus 15 from the airport to the city centre or a taxi for approx 20 lev. Or rent a car and drive to Kotel, a little village in the mountains about half way between Wild Thyme and Bourgas. It has about 200 gypsy musicians living there and if you are lucky you will catch them playing in the street. We suggest staying at goKotel, a number of beautiful old traditional houses restored by a Dutchman and his Bulgarian opera singing wife. There are some good restaurants nearby for an evening meal. Wake up in the mountains to breakfast served in their lovely garden and drive to Wild Thyme (about 2 hours through lovely mountains).
On your return journey, we suggest a night in Pomorie. It is a lovely little seaside resort frequented by Bulgarians with plenty of restaurants overlooking the Black Sea. Bourgas airport is only a 10 minutes taxi ride away. The St George Hotel and Spa offers lots of treatments, including therapeutic mud baths from the local mud which has been used for its healing properties since Greek times.
[wptabtitle] via Plovdiv [/wptabtitle]
Between March and October, Ryanair run flights from Stanstead to Plovdiv.
We recommend an overnight stay in Plovdiv which is a real treasure. Make straight for the old town with its old cobbled streets and view points over the city. Visit the art gallery and don’t miss the Roman amphitheatre where you can even catch a performance.
[wptabtitle] via Istanbul[/wptabtitle]
There is a direct bus to Istanbul from Popovo.
Istanbul is a gem. Don’t miss mackerel sandwiches on the docks, a stroll through the spice markets and a visit to the Museum of Innocence. A feast for the eyes and stomache with interesting tasty food at every turn. The modern art museum, the Istanbul Modern is worth a visit. Go to Galata Tower at dusk and watch the city lights come on as you listen to the muezzin, the call to prayer. The beautiful Haghia Sophia was built in the 6th century and was the largest church in the world for a long time. You can wile away hours strolling through the alleyways of Beyoglu and the other neighbourhoods surrounding Taksim Square which are full of bars and shops – a whole world of their own.
Then come to Wild Thyme for a chill.
[wptabtitle] via Bucharest [/wptabtitle]
Ryanair now flies Bucharest to Brussels, Berlin, Dublin, Bristol, London, Athens, Madrid and Italy.
Bucharest is a wonderful crazy busy city. The old town in the centre is great to see. There are several historic churches, a comedy theatre, and the Caru Cu Bere beer hall. It is interesting to visit Caucsescu’s neo classical style People’s Palace built in concrete and the surrounding Boulevards including the Arc de Triumph!
Museums include the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) and the Museum of the Romanian Peasant beside which are a good cafe selling Romanian food and a craft and antique market. The famous kitsch but fun and rustic Village Museum featuring reconstructions of houses from different regions of Romania is located in Herastrau Park in the north – a nice place for a stroll. Other parks are Cismigiu Park where you can have a walk round Swan Lake and watch old men playing backgammon or the Communist style Tineretului Park to the south. For a great view of the city, walk up the winding exterior staircase of the funky Pantelmion Art Tower.
For a tasty lunch, try Puzzle which also has events happening or La Muzeu restaurant. For a nice cup of coffee and bite to eat, try Van Gogh Cafe; the Carturesti bookstore which has a buffet on the terrace in Spring and Summer; or Caru’cu bere, the oldest famous brasserie in Bucharest featuring 19th century decor. There is a great French patisserie, Pain Plaisir, and three good French restaurants Ici et La; Voilà and La Cave. For an Indian meal, there is Karishma.
For those who love a good rummage round the markets, there are several daily markets – Amzei market, the popular Obor market (piata Obor) and Mattake market near the North Railway Station.
There is a useful website for public transport.
There are several options for travelling from Bucharest to Wild Thyme. Take a Pegasus bus to Ruse bus station and another from Ruse bus station to Popovo. The last bus to Popovo leaves at 18.30. It is a 3 hour taxi drive and costs approx 80 euro. We can book this for you. Or hire a car from the airport.
You can break up the journey with an overnight stay in Ruse. It’s a city of faded grandeur with wonderful buildings and a pretty walk along the Danube. Don’t miss the Borovo treasure at the museum or the Roman archaeological reserve. There are a number of restaurants along the main pedestrian street but we recommend Buddha House for good food in a peaceful setting.