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Sofia and then where in Bulgaria and how?

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We're frequent travelers to Europe and typically drive for a good portion of the trip.

We land in Sofia and plan to spend a few days there and get a car for the remaining 5 days to enjoy the other cities and small villages.

I am an artist seeking picturesque areas to paint in a peaceful setting as well art museums.

Any recommendations on hotels in Sofia would be appreciated. Advice on smaller villages would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!
I'll post my trip report onto my blog in April for your information:

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    Hi Gigi:

    Mighty cold up there in SD?

    I'm an old time Eastern and Central Europe traveler (from the 1970's)...I have driven a major chunk of Bulgaria three times and have spent a good deal of time in Romania.

    Your photos are better than'll want to visit the colorful, lovely village of Koprivshtitsa (Kop-riv-shteetsa), about 60 mies east of Sofia...many old buildings, 17-19th century architecture, etc. The town was designed especially to show off Ottoman architecture...Its located just off the Sofia-Varna Highway.

    Followng this, please head for Veliko Turnovo and it's nearby village of Arbanasi...both worth some of your time....VT was once capital of Bulgaria ...and has quite an interesting history...stay at The Alegro boutique hotel..delightful (giant rooms and bathrooms).

    You will enjoy painting this town..high on the cliffsides, with rushing river below, and an ancient crusader's castle...Baldwin the Crusader..overlooks the entire town.. Arbanasi is 16-19th century, and is also surrounded with similar villages.

    The Bulgarians are fun loving, very warm and welcoming...enjoy! (Oh, yes, Varna, too, is quite a beautiful city with a gorgeous seaside park.)

    ....what SD town do you live in? Your house looks magnificent.
    When are you leaving for Bulgaria? Sofia is quite a fascinating capital...the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a sight to see...and the ultra colorful changing of the guard at the Mausoleum is a must. Bright red uniforms, etc.

    Stuart Tower

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