Rising out of a forested valley in the Rila Mountains, Bulgaria’s most famous monastery has been a spiritual centre for 1000 years. Rila Monastery’s fortress-like complex engulfs 8800 sq m, and within its stone walls you’ll find remarkably colourful architecture and religious art.
With an easy grace, Plovdiv mingles invigorating nightlife among millennia-old ruins. Like Rome, Plovdiv straddles seven hills; but as Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city, it’s far more ancient. It is best loved for its romantic old town, packed with colourful and creaky 19th-century mansions that house-museums, galleries and guesthouses.