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So you want to come to Bulgaria?

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Thinking about visiting Bulgaria? Think no more. Here are some visual reasons to persuade you.

Bulgaria in Europe

Bulgaria is a relatively small country in Southeastern Europe (the Balkans). Its neighbours are Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania and the shining Black Sea.

Bulgaria geography and physical features

Bulgaria features a lot of variety in terrain. The plains of the Danube River are in the north, the southwest is home to the highest mountains in Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea coast in the east is full of sandy beaches.

Northern bulgaria Danube Plains

flickr/trekkingtheplanet CC 2.0

The Danube Plain is a fertile region of rolling hills and verdant meadows.

Kutelo pirin mountain

The southwest is a place of high mountain peaks like Kutelo in Pirin here…

1000 years old rila monastery

… as well as spiritual Orthodox monasteries like the Rila Monastery, a 1000 years old.

Rila_7_lakes_circus_panorama_3

The Rila Mountains, which at 2925 metres are the highest in the country, include the gorgeous Seven Rila Lakes.

Plovdiv thracian lowlands bulgaria

To the east in the Upper Thracian Lowlands you will discover Plovdiv. One of Bulgaria’s largest cities, Plovdiv is famous for its charming Old Town with cobblestone streets and colourful houses.

Roman theatre of plovdiv

At the highest point of the Old Town is the Roman Theatre of Plovdiv. It is still used for music performances and theatre plays today, just like it was during the time of Roman Emperor Trajan.

Rhodope mountains plovdiv

Just south of Plovdiv begin the Rhodope Mountains. The little town of Asenovgrad is nested in their foothills with its medieval castle and scenically-located church from the 12th century.

Nesebar bulgaria bird's eye view

Going further east will finally get you to the seaside. This is the gorgeous town of Nesebar, connected to the mainland via a narrow spit of land. Nesebar features unique churches and picturesque old houses to stroll among.

Varna seaside capital of Bulgaria

Varna, Bulgaria’s Seaside Capital, is the home of the intricate palace Euxinograd, today used as a government residence.

Kaliakra ruined fortress bulgaria

North of Varna is Kaliakra, a scenic cape featuring a ruined fortress and a charming chapel.

Ruse little vienna danube river

Ruse on the Danube River is perhaps the Bulgarian city with the most beautiful urban architecture. Hundreds of houses and public buildings in the Baroque and Neoclassical styles have given Ruse the nickname “Little Vienna”.

Veliko Tarnovo Bulgarian tsars

At the medieval capital Veliko Tarnovo, explore Tsarevets, the huge towering castle of the Bulgarian tsars.

Rayko Praskalo bulgaria

South in the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina), hike to the highest waterfall in Southeastern Europe, Raysko Praskalo.

Belogradchik bulwark bulgaria

Deep in the northwest at Belogradchik, rock formations and human-made defenses unite to create an impenetrable bulwark.

Downtown_Sofia_Boby_Dimitrov_1

The capital Sofia is bustling with life and entertainment. Its nightlife is absolutely astonishing, and there’s a lot to see too…

ancient rotunda bulgaria

… from an ancient rotunda…

Vitosha mountain bulgaria

… to gorgeous mountain vistas just an hour from the city in its very own mountain, Vitosha!

bgkolednatrapeza delicious bulgarian cuisine

Bulgarian cuisine is southern, mildly spicy and absolutely delicious!

raika fruit brandy bulgaria

And the traditional fruit brandy rakia is an experience on its own…

Bulgarian wine

… while Bulgarian wine is already famous the world over!

Bulgaria welcome you with bread and salt

Enjoy your time in beautiful Bulgaria! As traditional, we welcome you with bread and salt!

Here are some mind-blowing facts about Bulgaria that you did not know before, Need more motivation to visit Bulgaria? Simply head over to my website Kashkaval Tourist,  where you will find every reason to love Bulgaria. Add your reactions in the comment section below!

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Guest writer, designer and blogger from Bulgaria. Maintains www.kashkaval-tourist.com

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Top 5 USA cities to enjoy this summer

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The United States is a country full of contrasts, with diverse and interesting cities.

The United States is very coarse. It has a lot of natural wonders, populous cities and interesting corners. There are so many that it is impossible to highlight them all. Although, depending on the time of year, it is preferable to visit some cities than others, depending on your own interests and the experience you want to fulfil.

Together with the eDreams experts (about eDreams), we have prepared a list of the 5 most highly recommended cities if you travel to USA this summer. Would you like to know them all?

  1. New York

We can’t start the ranking any other way, as New York is perfect to enjoy the whole year round. A cosmopolitan city where millions of people coexist, both citizens and tourists. Its exit to the sea and the districts located in the surrounding islands make of it a place full of character. It is perfect to visit skyscrapers, especially if you approach Manhattan, a shopping and business center par excellence. Places like the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State or the space once occupied by the Twin Towers, one of the most traumatic episodes of modern history, where today, you can visit a memorial honouring the attack victims.

Walking through Central Park is one of the most beautiful memories to enjoy there. And if you want to take some time out by the beach, New York has one in every single district. Coney Island in Brooklyn offers a view from the sensational promenade. Although Long Beach is also a good choice, with miles of white sand, you should know that they charge an entry fee.

  1. Miami

Of all the destinations you can visit in the United States, Miami may be the most familiar. Latin culture lives on every corner, offering visitors fascinating beaches, a varied cuisine and all kinds of shows and entertainment. And If you like beach tourism, seafood and fish dishes, water sports and spanish-speaking world areas, don’t forget to visit it.

  1. Las Vegas

Sin City is located in the middle of the desert, like an oasis rising up purely for the purpose of fun. Casinos, amusement parks and entertainment from morning to night is what you can expect in this city. There are also restaurants run by famous chefs, such as the popular TV chef Gordon Ramsay.

Although it is well known for the addictive gaming atmosphere filling the whole city, truth is that in Las Vegas there are spaces for everyone. Do not be afraid to travel with your family, because it has a huge leisure offer for all ages and interests.

  1. Orlando

Talking about family entertainment, Orlando is one of the top cities to travel with children in summertime. Completely understandable If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World, which have turned the area into a pilgrimage center for those wanting to live the magic of fairy tales and get to know their favorite characters. Although Orlando is not just Disney. There, you can also visit the Sea World Aquatic Zoo and the Universal Studios theme park. In less than an hour traveling you can visit Cape Canaveral, a living history of the space race, and the Cocoa Beach coast, which has become to be named the beach of Orlando.

  1. Los Angeles

The second largest city in the USA, only just surpassed by New York, it has everything you need to enjoy yourself. Beach and mountains, skyscrapers and cinema studios. In fact, this is where the vast majority of Hollywood stars reside, and travel guides make sure to remind you in all the recommended tours. Seeing the Hollywood sign crowning the mountain is something you can do from any city corner. Although the ideal plan is to get close to Hollywood Boulevard, where you can find the best viewpoint. You can also enjoy legendary walks, such as walking along Santa Monica Pier or bathing in Malibu beach.

Plenty to discover

These 5 cities are ideal if you want to travel to the United States this summer. Each of them offer a totally different view of the country. Therefore, USA is a territory full of contrasts, so you can travel there again and again without ever repeating the same experience.

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Barcelona, the top-3 ‘MICE’ tourism destination of the world

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Barcelona MICE TOurism

Corporative tourism —also known as ‘MICE’ tourism mobilized around 18,000 million euros in 2016 in Spain. According to the Spanish Convention Bureau, the number of events, conventions and meetings in Spain has increased by 16%, while the MICE sector worldwide will grow by more than 5% in the next years. The country ranks 13th worldwide in a market led by China and the US, but Barcelona and Madrid are in the Top 10 of the favorite European cities to organize congresses and events.

What is MICE tourism?

The acronym MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferencing & exhibitions. It is a niche area of tourism that is focused around the planning and booking of groups for large events, conferences or seminar. A top class MICE event organised to showcase your products, build new client relationships, host a company event or to reward your employees for their hard work is an investment and usually it’s one to remember.

The players in the MICE field include corporate meeting planners, meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centers or cruise ships, food and beverage managers, logistics firms, private tour operators and transfer companies, incentive houses, professional trade organizations, tourism boards, tourism trade associations, and travel-selling professionals. Destinations often market themselves as MICE locations and bid for events through their convention and visitor bureaus. They might be able to offer subsidies to attract large events because of the increased revenue the visitors provide through their economic impact on the host location.

Barcelona, ​​the best city in Spain to celebrate events and conferences

The good position of Barcelona as a destination of congresses and meetings is increasingly more evident and, recently, the Catalan capital has been placed in third position in the prestigious world ranking drawn up by the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) to establish which are the most relevant cities and states in MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), and it is placed ahead of other very important destinations in the sector such as Vienna or London. The Catalan city was hot on the heels of the first two in the ranking —Berlin and Paris — and acts as a pole of attraction to boost the organisation of events all over Catalonia.

The offering to organize events and congresses in the city is wide thanks to the presence of companies such as Eventos Barcelona, an event management agency in Barcelona specializing in artistic and technical production of events for companies, meetings, incentive travels, conventions or gala dinners.

During 2017, Barcelona hosted 2,134 congresses and conventions —10.5% more than in 2016. More than 675,000 delegates participated in these events, and their economic impact in the city is estimated at 1,850€. Throughout 2017, Barcelona obtained the best results since it entered in the MICE tourism industry, increasing its benefits 21% more than the previous year, as reported by the Turisme de Barcelona consortium. The last six months were a little weaker due to the effects of the attack of August 17th and the independence mobilizations of October 1st, but thanks to the entrance of the summer season the city has returned againt to the highest level.

‘Bleisure’and gastronomy, the key to success in MICE tourism

‘Bleisure’ is the buzzword in corporate tourism. Its name mixes the B of business with the word pleasure —that is, combining business trips with pleasure tourism. Therefore, many events are organized in local destinations and non-conventional spaces. The salons and conventional spaces lose importance against of unusual spaces, which are also more profitable because visitors can enjoy a wider leisure offer (such as spas, cursos de coctelería, showcookings) and team building activities, combining both work and fun in an entertaining and relevant way.

Nowadays, congresses and events want to offer a more friendly, funnier face than the pompous and rigid meetings of yesteryear. The idea is to personalize the experience of a congress with the emotional connection of each assistant thanks to the flexible and dynamic spaces. This emotional connection is achieved by taking care of the details, which is valued above all in the younger generations. Interactive and collaborative activities, non-traditional speakers and sessions with a spirit of commitment rather than instructive are the booming formats.

Gastronomy is another distinguishing factor for MICE events’ success. The youngest attendants to these events –mostly workers under 40 appreciate that the culinary proposals of the events include healthy alternatives, fresh food, fruits and foods that provide energy, instead of unnecessary huge meals full of empty calories. Also, mixing the gastronomic experiences and technology is very helpful. Incorporating innovative cuisine techniques and exotic foods with creative, very ‘instagramable’ preparations, are all a synonym of success. Once again, new technologies provide another guideline on how to succeed in these events.

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Discover natural wonders found nowhere else in the world with a Galapagos Island cruise

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Galapagos Island cruise

If the Galapagos Islands are not on your bucket list yet, then they should be. This unique and beautiful place is home to amazing creatures and scenery you will not find anywhere else on the planet.

And there is really only one way to truly experience the wonder of it all – from the sea. Only that way can you discover all there is to fall in love with.

Experience a real island paradise

Situated around 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, this magnificent archipelago of 19 islands, and many more small islets, is also known as the Enchanted Islands. And for good reason.

Each island is unique and beautiful in it’s own way, whether it has stunning white sandy beaches or dark, forbidding and barren volcanic rocks. Add this to the sapphire blue waters surrounding them, and the abundance of wildlife, and this is something that every visitor will remember for the rest of their lives.

There is nothing else like it, and Galapagos island cruises are just the thing to see it all in it’s full glory, where travellers can enjoy the majesty, the sounds of nature and experience the intimacy of such a special location, with a specialist guide and every need catered for.

It is best to travel at night, making the most of the epic night sky as you have never seen it before, and using the day time to explore the different islands and what they have to offer.

Get up close and personal with nature

The Galapagos Islands themselves, and the surrounded marine reserve, are a perfect melting pot of marine species. Ideally located at the confluence of three ocean currents, with islands created through ongoing volcanic activity, it has allowed flora and fauna to develop in such a way that is simply unique to this area.

It has been called a ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’ due to the species thriving there. So much so, that when Charles Darwin arrived on his ship The Beagle, the things he saw later led to his development of the theory of evolution.

Add all of this to the extreme isolation of the islands, and a lack of natural predators, the wildlife has little fear of inquisitive visitors and are just as likely to observe you as you are them.

Playful sea lions and gigantic and majestic sea tortoises allow humans to get up close is a way you will not find anywhere else. If you have not booked your visit yet, what are you waiting for, a Galapagos cruises last minute trip is one you will never regret.

Check out each island and it’s amazing uniqueness

Each island has its own features and persona.  Take for example Santa Cruz island, which hosts the largest city, Ayora. Here you can visit the Darwin centre and see where the turtles and iguanas come to breed.

Then there is Isabela island – the largest in the archipelago. Formed from five volcanoes, and still active, reaching as high as 1,700 feet, this island is a landscape  of petrified lava, and home to flocks of flamingos and giant tortoises.

Fernandina island is also an active volcano, but you are able to set foot on the island at Punta Espinosa to see many thousands of marine black iguanas warming themselves on the rocks in the sunshine, and red crabs moving about the rock.

Then on the islands with beaches, such as Rabida Island, you get the rare chance to see sea lions in their own habitat, playing with their young, and relaxing.

And this is only a tiny fraction of the things you can see in this beautiful place. Description does not do it justice, it has to be seen and felt to truly appreciate this inspirational location.

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