Europes grumpiest country that’s still loved by tourists for beaches
A Balkan state has been named Europe’s “grumpiest country” but that doesn’t seem to have made it any less popular with tourists.
Bulgaria, in southeast Europe, borders countries including Greece and Romania and is to the west of the Black Sea.
It scored among the lowest in Europe for Eurostat’s average rating of overall life satisfaction at 5.6 out of 10.
But this hasn’t stopped the country being much-loved among tourists, with the capital Sofia being a popular city-break spot.
Sofia is a historic city on the Iskar River with ruins dating back to Roman times. There are lots of churches and mosques to explore as well as museums, galleries, museums and cafes.
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The country is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the ancient city of Nessebar, Boyana Church, the Madara Rider and Thracian tombs.
There are lots of timber-framed heritage villages and historic towns to explore, each with a mix of Ottoman mosques, Orthodox Churches and Roman ruins.
Bulgaria is part of the Balkans, a mountain region which stretch across the south border and across the middle of the country.
They are popular among skiers, hikers, climbers, cyclists and horse riders. There is even the chance tro spot bears, wolves and lynx on the trails.
On the coast, there are many beaches to enjoy such as Balchik, Silistar, Kaliakra, Kavatsite, Irakli and Veleka. Many of them are sandy and have rocky headlands.
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Traditional food that visitors must try are shopska salad (tomato, cucumber and feta), kavarma (a spicy, goulash-style pork stew), gyuvech (meat, pepper and aubergine) and banitsa (a circular cheesy pastry).
On average, the country has highs in the summer of 28C and lows of 16C and highs of 3C in the winter and lows of -4C.
There are flights to Bulgaria from Manchester, Birmingham, London and Liverpool. Flights to Sofia, Varna and Bourgas are around three-and-a-half hours.
Among other countries in Europe with low life satisfaction ratings are Montenegro, Germany and Greece.
Those on the other end of the spectrum, with a high life satisfaction rating, include Switzerland, Austria and Finland.
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