Bulgaria attracts visitors with its unique location, which makes it the bridge between the East and the West, with a rich culture and special atmosphere. The varied landscape and diverse natural treasures make Bulgaria an exciting destination. The abundance of mineral springs with healing properties already known to the Thracians ensures an unforgettable experience of relaxation.
Facts & Figures
Official name: Republika Bulgaria (The Republic of Bulgaria) Location: between Romania and Turkey, by the Black Sea Area: 111,002 km² Capital: Sofia Population: 7.36 million (2013) Religious and ethnic groups: 60% Eastern Orthodox, 8% Muslims / 76% Bulgarians, 8% Turks, 4% Roma Language: Bulgarian (official language), Russian, Roma Geography: Thracian and Balkan Mountains, in between mainly flat. Highest point: Musala (2925 m) Time zone: Eastern European Time (UTC + 02:00) Politics and economy: Parliamentary Republic, GDP: EUR 41.3 billion (2013) Currency: Bulgarian Lev (1 Euro = 1.96 Lev)
Arrival and departure
Bulgaria can be accessed by many routes by land, sea and air. As Bulgaria is a transit country between Turkey and Western Europe, travelling by car may be time consuming due to traffic. The country's main airport is near Sofia.
Visa: Vaccinations: In general, vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A is recommended, and for longer stays vaccination against hepatitis B and rabies. Transport: The condition of the roads is sometimes bad, however, the rail network is extensive enough to reach even smaller towns easily by train.
Climate and best time to travel
The climate of Bulgaria is humid continental with cold, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Winter average temperature: 0 ° C (min. approx. -4 ° C in January) Summer average temperature: 22 ° C (max. approx. 30 ° C in July and August) Water temperature: (Black Sea) max. 23 ° C in August
For skiing holidays, the best time is between December and March, for holidays by the sea - from June to September. Wellness holidays are pleasant throughout the year.
The most beautiful holiday regions
West Rhodopes/mountain ranges - countless opportunities for winter sports and summer hikes. The Black Sea Coast - 378 km of historic coastal towns and beaches with eco labels.
Public holidays and celebrations
New Year (1. January), National Day (3. March), Easter Sunday (8. April), Easter Monday (9. April), Labour Day (1. May), St. George's Day (6. May), Reunification Day (6. September), Independence Day (22. September), Christmas (24.-26. December)
DOs and DON'Ts
DOs • Do take a passport. Especially near the borders to Turkey and Serbia there are more passport controls. Traffic controls are common throughout Bulgaria. • Do double check taxi prices. In Bulgaria all taxis have stickers with price lists. This way tourist traps can be avoided straight away. DON‘Ts • Don't ignore traffic rules. This can be expensive. In Bulgaria, in addition to strict speed limits, there is an alcohol limit of 0.5 ‰. In addition, it is required to have the low beam headlights on while driving during the day. • Don't communicate with gestures. In Bulgaria, nodding means no and shaking your head means yes. This is usually confusing for visitors and can lead to unwanted misunderstandings.
Is the tap water drinkable? The quality of the tap water in Bulgaria has seen a considerable improvement in the recent years, however, to make sure it is safe, you can boil it. Do I need an adapter? Yes, if you are coming from outside of continental europe. In Bulgaria the sockets are the same as in the rest of continental Europe. What about medical care? The medical system in Bulgaria is generally considered satisfactory, however, it should be taken into consideration that some of the specific medicines are not available in the country.
Top tips and discoveries
Sofia Vibrant but not hectic, affordable and cosy – this is Sofia, which enchants with its cultural monuments and other signs of bygone times. Traces of different cultures have made a mark on the cityscape – an impressive blend of old and new makes a visit to Sofia a one-of-a-kind experience.
UNESCO-Tour UNESCO has recognised the uniqueness of Bulgarian culture and nature and added 9 sites to the World Heritage List. Alongside two tombs and three churches and monasteries (including the Rila Monastery, one of the symbols of Bulgaria), the old town of Nesebar also belongs to the heritage. Nesebar is considered one of Europe's oldest cities and boasts an impressive abundance of restored historic monuments. The remaining world heritage sites include a 23-meter-high rock sculpture of the Madara Rider and the natural parks of Pirin and Srebarna, which are protected to preserve valuable, rare plant and animal species.
Insider tip Hardly any other country in Europe offers as many great natural spa and wellness settings as Bulgaria. Health and relaxation holidays are available in a variety of landscapes and destinations. Mineral water springs are scattered in the mountain ranges as well as in the plains and on the coast. In total, Bulgaria has more than 100 spa resorts and is home to the only geyser in the Continental Europe, which bursts out from the ground with thermal water reaching over 100 ° C.