Bulgaria: Plovdiv for our anniversary

To celebrate 25 years of marriage, go to a city with history and beauty – and without crowds and stag parties

Eyebrows were raised when we said we were heading to Plovdiv, rather than Paris or Venice, to celebrate the quarter century. But we wanted somewhere different and felt that Bulgaria’s second city might surprise us.

Plovdiv is proud of its status as the nation’s cultural capital. It is the type of place that, clichéd as it sounds, has to be seen now — within a decade it will be another Cracow or Prague, teeming with tourists and stag weekends.

At the moment it’s free of both, and you will have an experience that is charming and sometimes challenging. Few locals speak English and the infrastructure for tourism barely exists, but you will find history and folklore, and see a side of life that is fast disappearing in Europe.