Go East! The 10 most beautiful places in green-listed Croatia and Bulgaria

·4 min read

Watch: Balearics to go amber and Croatia green in changes to coronavirus travel lists

Croatia and Bulgaria have both been added to the UK's Green travel list, meaning that holidaymakers returning from these Eastern European countries will no longer have to quarantine. 

It's a wonderful opportunity to visit these two gorgeous countries, so here are the spots you won't want to miss...

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Old Fortress in Dubrovnik Harbor.
Old Fortress in Dubrovnik Harbor.

Perched above the turquoise waters of the Dalmation Coast, this beautifully preserved walled fortress city is almost ridiculously picturesque. 

Have fun getting lost in the maze-like alleyways of the Old Town, and don't miss the Old Fortress standing high on the rocks - but good luck trying to avoid the hordes of tourists who have descended since Dubrovnik served as the filming location for King's Landing in Game of Thrones.

The Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

The Rila Monestary, Bulgaria is a Unesco World Heritage Site (Getty Images)
The Rila Monestary, Bulgaria is a Unesco World Heritage Site (Getty Images)

This huge Eastern Orthodox Monastery, nestled into the misty Rila mountains, is a Unesco World Heritage Site - and it's gorgeous both inside and out. The outside features elegant domes, bold archways and bright stripes, while the inside is covered in amazing frescoes by national artist Zahari Zograf. 

Roski Slap, Croatia

Croatia's epic Roski Slap waterfall (Getty Images)
Croatia's epic Roski Slap waterfall (Getty Images)

If there's one thing Croatia isn't short on, it's amazing waterfalls - but Roski Slap, set inside the Krka National Park, is perhaps the most impressive. 

Beginning with shallow steps, the emerald-coloured waterfall flows through a series of branches and islets before it roars down 23m-high cascades. 

Atanasovsko Lake, Bulgaria

Sunset over salt lake near Burgas
Sunset over salt lake near Burgas

Head to the naturally rosy waters of this salt lagoon, on the outskirts of the seaside city of Burgas, for a spot of free spa-style pampering with a very Instagram-friendly pink filter. 

Read more: Croatia and Hong Kong added to Green travel list

Slather yourself in the black mud, said to have healing properties, and float back in the salty water - bonus points if you get there for a similarly pink sunset. It's also a bird-spotters paradise, where you can spot species such as the Dalmation Pelican. 

Zlatni Rat, Croatia

Zlatni Rat's golden slip of sand juts out from Brac island (Getty Images)
Zlatni Rat's golden slip of sand juts out from Brac island (Getty Images)

Often called 'the golden horn', this dreamy point of white wand juts out into the bright blue sea on the island of Brac on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. 

Always popular with sunbathers, the tip of the strip of beach stretches out for two kilometres from the centre of the town of Bol. It's constantly moving and shifting as a result of the wind, waves and currents, and is said to be getting longer every year. 

Belogradchik Fortress, Bulgaria

The Belogradchick Rocks are an unbeatable sight (Getty Images)
The Belogradchick Rocks are an unbeatable sight (Getty Images)

This ancient fortress, also known as the Kaleto fortress, is found on the northern slopes of the Balkan mountains. 

Dating back to Roman times and with walls over two metres thick, the huge fortress is built within the spectacular surrounding rock formations and the two appear to almost blend together. 

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

The view from Vidikovac viewpoint in the Plitvice Lakes National Park (Getty Images)
The view from Vidikovac viewpoint in the Plitvice Lakes National Park (Getty Images)

With lush forest, azure lakes and tumbling falls, the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia really does feel like something out of a fairy tale. Make your way around an 8km trail, taking in sixteen lakes, on a series of boarded walkways. 

If you're lucky you might spot herons, watersnakes or deer - but be aware that the park gets extremely busy, and you're perhaps more likely to spot an eager vlogger. 

Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, Bulgaria

The beautiful Alexander Nevski cathedral in the setting sun (Getty Images)
The beautiful Alexander Nevski cathedral in the setting sun (Getty Images)

This awe-inspiring cathedral, located in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, was built between 1882 and 1912 in a neo-Byzantine style featuring lots of intricate mosaics and glinting gold domes.

Inside, the huge interior is filled with equally incredible murals, carvings, chandeliers - and stand-out onyx and alabaster thrones.

Diocletian's Palace, Croatia

The ancient Roman Diocletian's Palace at night (Getty Images)
The ancient Roman Diocletian's Palace at night (Getty Images)

The massive, sprawling ruins of this Roman fortress make up most of the Old Town in the Croatian coastal city of Split. 

It's a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the most complete remains of a Roman palace to exist in the world. Stroll around and feel the history under your feet. 

Koncheto Ridge, Bulgaria

Dedicated hikers will be in heaven in Bulgaria's Pirin National Park, a rocky and dramatic UNESCO biosphere reserve. 

For the most beautiful views in the park head to the Koncheto (little horse), a steep rocky ridge - there's a steel cable stretched along the top to help hikers across.

Watch this: You can visit the real life King's Landing in Croatia

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