- Danube Plains
The town of Vidin is often the starting point for many Danube excursions through Bulgaria. Situated in the most North-Western part of Bulgaria and 199 km north west of Sofia, it is linked by ferry with Kalafat town (in Romania). The region has a unique climate for the North of Bulgaria with very hot summers and mild winter. Since the ages of the tradesmen from Venice, this region has been well-known for its strong red wine produced from local variety Gamza, a strong wine usually above 14% alcohol. In recent years many vineyards have sprung up producing their varieties of Cabernet, Merlot and others grapes.
Ruse is the largest Bulgarian city (184,000 residents) toward the eastern end of the Danube. The town became an important fortress and gateway to the north of the Turkish empire. For its economic and cultural prosperity at the turn of the century Ruse became known as "Little Paris". It hosts several annual cultural events including the March Music Days International Festival of symphony, cantata and oratorio music, the International Jazz Festival, the Golden Rebec Folk Festival and the International Theatre Festival. Some 23 km southwest of Ruse there is an unique archeological reserve - the remarkable Ivanovo rock monasteries, a natural museum of mediaeval Bulgarian painting. The Ivanovo churches contain some of the best frescoes of Bulgarian religious art.
East of Ruse is Silstra which curves around the Danube River and borders Romania by water and land. A town of about twenty to thirty thousand people, the avid historian can find Turkish and Roman ruins scattered throughout the city.
There is a border crossing into Romania that is serviced by a ferry and costs about the equivalent of about 50 cents. Nearby the Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake adjacent to the Danube. Extending over 600 hectares, it is the breeding ground of almost 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest international airport to this region is near the capital Sofia. In addition to Bulgarian Air, many of the major carriers fly to Sofia including British Airways, Air France, Alitalia, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malev and Olympic Airways.
Flights can be found from over 20 UK airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, City Airport, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast.