Bulgaria

Escaping to the Winter Sun

Pamporovo, Bulgaria (Photo: WikimediaCommons)Bulgaria, often a summertime destination or pit stop for those visiting the southern part of Europe, is frequently overlooked as a great continental winter break. This needn’t be the case, however, as this hidden European gem offers both spectacular mountain scenery and winter sports at fabulously low prices, all with the very finest of international standards. Being so far to the south, this small country gets the best of both the Mediterranean sun and the Carpathian snow, which if you’re lucky, come together to make for a charming winter wonderland. There's nothing quite like blissfully lounging near a mountain top café and soaking in the sun before donning your skis or hopping on your snowboard and picking a path through an ancient snow-filled forest to the ski centers below.

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 Full name: Republic of Bulgaria

 Population: 7.04 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Sofia

 Largest city: Sofia

 Area: 110,879 sq.km. (42,810 sq. mi.)

 Major languages: Bulgarian, Turkish, Roma,  Other

 Major religions: Bulgarian Orthodox, Muslim,  Other Christian, Other

 Monetary unit: Leva

 GDP per capita: US $13,500

 Internet domain: .bg

 International dialling code: +359

 Source: CIA World Factbook