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Travel guide
Bulgaria

In south-eastern Europe, bordered to the east by the Black Sea, Bulgaria is appreciated by tourists for its seaside resorts, including the festive Varna, notably in Albena, Slantchev Briag and Les Sables d'Or. It also attracts hiking enthusiasts for its natural environment, lakes, forests and mountains combined. Its capital, Sofia, rich in historical monuments, is home to jewels such as St Alexander's Cathedral and the National History Museum. There are also major remains such as the Roman amphitheatre (2nd century) in Plovdiv. This destination is also characterized by its location between Europe and the Middle East, and its history where communist and capitalist episodes follow one another, all balanced by the ancestral Balkan culture. So to enjoy the magnificent landscapes and search for the Balkan identity, dare to take the unusual paths. Often neglected by travellers for the benefit of its neighbours such as Greece, Turkey and Romania, enjoy travelling in a country that remains affordable while being rich in mountains and beaches, historic cities and natural heritage, while enjoying a Slavic culture tinged with the East. So, to enjoy the best of nature, steep mountains and sunny beaches, not to miss any of the heritage treasures, from Romanesque ruins to Byzantine remains, make the most of your Bulgarian tour guide.

What to see, what to do Bulgaria?

When to go Bulgaria ?

There is a wide disparity between the low tourist season (October-April) and the high season (May-September), especially on the coast, in terms of prices, attendance, the opening of infrastructures, museums, etc. In the mountains, the contrast is less pronounced, as there are ski resorts in winter; the off-season is more in November and March, when the cold is there but not the snow. In the rest of the country, the seasons also play a role, but to a lesser extent. The capital Sofia is the least affected by the seasons. A few cultural or spiritual events can help you choose your dates and itinerary. Koukeri folk carnival in Chiroka Laka, the first weekend of March. Religious festival in Buglari, in May. Folklore festival in Haskovo, end of May. Rose Festival in Kazanlak, the first week of June. Varna summers, classical music and jazz, from June to August. Appollonia Festival in Sozopol at the end of August-beginning of September. But the most spectacular, most typical and popular are the Orthodox festivals in the monasteries (Rila, Batchkovo, Troyan), at Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, and in general all the traditional festivals... Your tourist guide will be useful to you to make your choice of dates and itinerary

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Suggested addresses Bulgaria

Travel Bulgaria

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Covid-19 : current situation Bulgaria

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Bulgaria. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Practical information for travel Bulgaria

How to go Bulgaria

How to go alone

Going alone is a viable option for this safe destination where tourism is now well established. Take a dry flight and you can manage as long as you are a little experienced on the trip. You will easily find your route, accommodation on your route and small restaurants along the way. In town, a stopover at the tourist offices will make it easier for you.

How to go on a tour

Tours of 8, 10 or 15 days, or even three weeks are available to discover Bulgaria. Usually you land in Sofia and go by bus or minibus for a themed trip: heritage, nature, hiking, beaches... Cruises on the Danube are also included in the catalogue. The tour package is well suited for an easy and efficient discovery of this country.

How to get around

The fastest, but most expensive way to reach the Black Sea coast from Sofia is by plane. On the Black Sea coast, the main ports are connected by boat, especially in summer. A boat on the Danube runs between Roussé and Vidin. The Bulgarian bus network is even more important than the train network, which is often more comfortable, but significantly more expensive. The train does not serve the mountain.

Featured articles Bulgaria

Prepare for your trip Bulgaria
Transportation
Car Rental
Taxi
Tailor-made trip
Accommodation & stays
Find a hotel
Holiday rental
Services / On site
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Activities & visits

Discover Bulgaria

What is the climate in Bulgaria? Is it a flat or hilly territory? What animals can you expect to see? Do Bulgarians practice any particular religion? And the population, what is its way of life? This is what we are going to answer in the following files, general files (climate, geography, fauna and flora, music, literature, sports...) but also specific to Bulgaria, as it is the case for the rose which is unique in its kind, as well as the monasteries, antres of an exceptional religious art which is rather unknown to us from our western vision. If you are wondering what to bring back from your trip, the answer is there. And don't forget to consult the Bulgarian events and folklore, whose tradition is constantly being perpetuated. These folders will refer you to places and points of interest related to each of the themes covered.

Pictures and images Bulgaria

Rue Alexandrovska. Author's Image
Monastère de Preobrajenie Gospodne. S.Nicolas - Iconotec
Musée d'Ethnographie (ancienne maison Kouyoumdjioglu). Author's Image
Etara, village-musée ethnographique en plein air. Author's Image

The 12 keywords Bulgaria

1. #Disappeared

In all towns, and most notably in villages, trees, road signs and doors are covered with death notices (NEKROLOZI - НЕКРОЛОЗИ), usually with a photo of the missing person. This is not so much to inform of a recent death, but rather to call for a commemoration on the part of the relatives

2. #Kat

You don't mess with the KAT. With an alcohol limit of 0.5 g/l, frequent speed checks and increased fines, corruption has declined and negotiating the offence as before has become very risky. However, drivers continue to make headlight calls to warn of police presence.

3. #Koukeri

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The koukeri (КУКЕРИ) are carnivalesque figures that must chase away evil spirits at the end of the harsh winter. Dressed in their long furry costumes, their horns and bells, they make a racket. Only sturdy men are initiated into this tradition, which dates back to antiquity and is linked to the festivities of the god Dionysus.

4. #Martenitzi

The martenitza (МАРТЕНИЦА) is an amulet of twisted red and white threads that is worn on the wrist from March1st. It is customary to give oneself martenitzi wishing for good health and to wear them without removing them from the wrist until one sees either a swallow or a stork, tying them to the first flowering tree in front of one's eyes.

5. #Nazdravé!

The word you will hear the most in Bulgaria is "Nazdravé! "(НАЗДРАВЕ!). It is obligatory to say it for the first toast at the table, but also throughout the evening. You will have to do it with each person raising their glass while looking them in the eye. So don't miss the "nazdravé"! "or else you'll become the "party crasher".

6. #Orpheus

Orpheus (ОРФЕЙ) is a character from Greek mythology, son of a Thracian king and the muse Calliope, who is said to have been born in the Rhodopes. According to the legend, this Thracian singer exceeded by his talent the god Apollo himself and could calm with his lyre the most ferocious beasts. A symbolic tomb is still in Tatul in the Rhodopes

7. #Yes and no

Bulgarians make the opposite signs of ours to say yes (DA - ДА) and no (NE - НЕ). In reality, they use at least four head signs: both yes and no like us, but also the YES with the head moving from left to right but its axis is not stable (you follow?), and NO with the head nodding up and down, chin up.

8. #Roses

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Although the Bulgarian rose is the Rosa damascena (the rose of Damascus), it has become one of the symbols of the country. The Valley of the Roses satisfies about 70% of the world's need for rose extract or oil, which puts Bulgaria in first place. The roses are harvested in May, before dawn, mainly by women

9. #Streets (Ulitsa)

Most of the street names had been decided by the communist authorities to pay homage to the heroes of the Resistance or to commemorate certain important dates. Bulgaria has retained these names, although some of them are no longer unanimously accepted. Nevertheless, more and more names are being changed in order to definitively emerge from the post-communist period

10. #Pedestrian streets

Le centre-ville de Plovdiv © MikeDotta - Shutterstock.com.jpg

The city centres of the main Bulgarian agglomerations are reserved for pedestrians. Sofia is an exception to the rule, except for the narrow streets in the centre and the famous Vitosha Boulevard. In the other cities, a central square is usually used as a landmark, and streets closed to motorized vehicles wind around it. This makes the visit more pleasant.

11. #Bulgarian bread

At the table, it is mandatory to put at least two slices of bread (HLYAB - ХЛЯБ) per person at the table! It is so important for Bulgarians that we always say "earn your bread" instead of "earn your living" as elsewhere. It is a symbol and at official welcome ceremonies, visitors are welcomed with bread and salt.

12. #Yaourt

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It is certainly the only food that is immediately identified as Bulgarian. The famous Bacilicus bulgaricus ferment, which only lives in the Balkans, gives these yoghurts a very special taste. There are different kinds of natural yoghurt(kisselo mliako) and it is a real treat to taste the real yoghurt, prepared at home

You are from here, if...

You get your coffee from an automatic coffee machine found on almost every street corner.

You don't hesitate to overtake on mountain roads because you are confident and zigzagging between the crevasses is very easy for you.

When you are invited you don't come empty-handed and offer for example a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers to your host - with an odd number of flowers.

For you, coming across a horse-drawn cart on the road does not surprise you, or you yourself are the driver of this cart and carry your farm equipment most of the time or other members of your family.

Residing in the mountains (most of the time), you will fill your 5-litre canswith water from the village spring.

In the winter period, you are prepared to travel several hundred kilometres to go skiing for a weekend.

Other destinations Bulgaria

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