I’m laden with juicy fat cherries, freshly plucked from the tree. The sun shines and we’re picnicking among spangles of wild flowers and long grasses. A track steers back to the wood-beamed house where we are staying, past mud-and-timber houses tilting back into the earth. It’s peaceful and bucolic, and far from the cheap-and-cheerful skiing or beach packages Bulgaria is most known for.

Yet people don’t think to come for the mountain scenery with its world-class frescoes and monasteries, even though many are Unesco world heritage sites. Somehow rural Bulgaria doesn’t sound that appealing.

Having flown into the capital, Sofia, with its gold-domed Eastern Orthodox churches, we’d stayed in Casa Ferrari, a small friendly guesthouse. The city brims with layers of history all mixing together into everyday life – Bulgaria had to grapple its independence from the Ottoman Empire after the Turks ruled for half a millennium.

Read the whole article here: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/may/08/bulgaria-mountains-and-monasteries-rural-holidays?CMP=twt_gu