And the people are just as diverse. Visit a rural farming community and you'll see old men herding the goats along the streets, in no rush to go anywhere while old women sit in the shade on benches peeling vegetables or watching the world go by. Cows and sheep roam freely along the sides of the road, watched over by a single shepherd and his dog. These places seem untouched by change and seem not to have moved with the times in stark contrast to the busy, noisy streets of cities such as Sofia or Varna, where young girls parade around in the latest fashions and store windows boast the latest technology.
But that is what makes Bulgaria such an appealing country. You can immerse yourself in the street cafe culture of the cities, sipping coffee all day long or drive just 20 minutes out of the city and be in a place that time forgot, where the fields are still ploughed by horses and vegetables picked by hand.
Of course change will come and slowly these old ways of life will disappear. Many old villages and farming communities are left desolated as the young move to the cities or abroad in search of jobs. But with the recent influx of foreign property investors, some of these villages are going through a revival, houses are being bought for renovation, plots bought to build on. And this has a knock on effect for the village, it can create employment for local builders and tradesmen, mean more custom for the local shop and cafe and so on.
So if you are planning a visit to Bulgaria do not restrict yourself to spending a week in an apartment in Sunny Beach, hire a car and go and explore the diverse landscape. You will not have to travel far. Only 15 minutes inland from the over development and concrete jungle of Sunny Beach, you will find sleepy traditional villages in the foot hills of the Balkans surrounded by vine yards. Or head south and visit the gentle rolling plains and wooded areas leading to the Strandza mountains.
Then you'll get to see the real Bulgaria, the diverse landscapes, the local wildlife, the different ways of life, the different cultures and the fantastic friendly people that will be more than happy to welcome you to their village.