In the height of summer, tourists flock to the historic architecture and red tile roofs of Dubrovnik. But within a short drive or boat ride, one can leave the tourists and find fijaka – a Croatian state of mind that combines the Italians’ sense of La dolce vita with the Balkan relaxed attitude of Nema problema. The stillness of fijaka can be found on a beautiful deserted beach, among the vineyards of a local winery or dining at a beachside café. The cultural life of Croatian cities and the natural beauty of its wilderness areas are worth a visit, but to find the Croatian soul, one must go to the Dalmatian Coast. For many Americans, the word Bulgaria brings up images of stereotypical Communist society: drab cement apartment blocks, never ending Communist monuments, constant surveillance and a failing infrastructure. Why do Americans always equate communist Europe with the color grey? I can tell you from personal travels that Bulgaria is far from grey. Black Sea beaches, mountain resorts, generous hospitality, fascinating culture and ancient history make Bulgaria the next up and coming destination for the traveler who has been to western Europe. From the scenic (and fragrant) Valley of the Roses to the colorful folklore festivals, Bulgaria is awash in color. Bulgarians definitely now how to party and you can find those parties at dozens of cultural festivals around the country (especially the masquerade festivals associated with the New Year).

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Agents who have been to Croatia...