Complete Travel Guide:
Your Ultimate Guide For Bulgaria

The typical dishes? What to see in Bulgaria? What do you need to know before coming? Prepare for your trip to Bulgaria by following the steps and tips in this travel guide.

Bulgaria is one of those countries that offer a lot to its visitors, but the traveller does not always have the proper access to all the necessary information that can be useful during the trip. The country is much more than the typical and popular places that are often seen in travel guides or the products that many travel agencies offer. We hope you find this information useful for your trip.

This article is sorted into the sections that you can see below

Section 1: Useful information

  1. The national currency is the BGN, also known as the “lev” in Bulgarian. Bulgaria, while being a member of the European Union, does not use the Euro. The national currency, on the other hand, has a fixed exchange rate with the Euro, which is € 1 = 1.95 lev (nearly twice). It is difficult to find the currency outside of its borders, and the exchange rate will be substantially lower than in Bulgaria. As a result, we urge that you change your money in Bulgaria.

  2. Always exchange money at trusted locations. There are various ATMs at Sofia Airport, and if you plan on having some cash, it is best to exchange small amounts at first to avoid expensive commissions. Once in town, banks (which are open even on Saturday and Sunday in the capital’s shopping centres) are the finest venues to exchange money. The city’s exchange houses also have good exchange rates, so you may rely on them as long as they offer you around BGN 1.95 for every Euro. You can check the currency conversion rate at any moment by visiting www.oanda.com or using their app.

  3. Wifi and mobile data function well across the country. However, not all locations provide open Wifi, so if you require it, simply ask for the password and it will be provided to you. Prepaid SIM cards with mobile data are available from the telephone carriers A1, Telenor, and Vivacom. It is recommended that you utilize these if you are staying for more than three days or if you require internet for work purposes. According to the most recent roaming news, if you come from any EU nation, you can also use your mobile data here.

  4. Keep the following in mind:

    The number to dial in an emergency is 112.
    Vaccination is not required for travel to Bulgaria.
    Bulgaria is not a member of the Schengen Zone, hence some nations may require a visa. You can find out more here.
    Carry your ID with you at all times because officials may ask for it.
    Bulgaria’s time zone is UTC +2.
    Bring your European Health Card with you to receive the same medical care as any Bulgarian citizen.
    Electrical plugs are the same as in much of Europe (type C and F).
    Although tap water is safe to drink, bottled water is always a superior option.

  5. Bank holidays and celebration dates in Bulgaria:


    1st of January – New Year
    3rd of March: Liberation Day of Bulgaria – Bulgaria finally declared itself free from the Ottoman occupation. King Alexander Battenberg was elected as the first Bulgarian ruler.
    April 17, 18, 19 and 20: Easter 2020, called “Velikden” in Bulgaria, which means “Glorious Day”. The most emblematic part of this festivity is that Bulgarians paint colourful eggs in order to make “fights” with them a posteriori.
    May 1: Labor Day – As in many countries around the world, Bulgaria is not an exception.
    May 6: Day of the Bulgarian Courage and the Bulgarian Army, it is the day of the patron saint of Bulgaria, Saint George.
    May 24: Day of the Education, Bulgarian culture and Slavic writing – Schools are decorated with flowers and with the photographs of the two brothers Cyril and Methodius, the inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet.
    September 6: Union Day of Bulgaria – On this date in 1855, Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia united their territories in order to establish the Republic of Bulgaria as we know it today.
    September 22: Independence Day of Bulgaria – In 1908 the independence of the Bulgarian nation from the Ottoman government was officially declared.
    November 1: All Saints’ Day – The day of national leaders who have preserved Bulgarian spiritual and cultural values.
    December 24, 25 and 26 – Christmas Eve and Christmas. Bulgarians have the tradition to put on the table on Christmas Eve an impaired number of vegetarian plates such as 7, 9 or 11. On the 25th of December, Bulgarians celebrate Christmas and gifts are given during the day.

  6. We have included some handy mobile applications to download for your vacation to Bulgaria below. They will assist you in a variety of daily scenarios.

    If you wish to take public transportation in Sofia, try Moovit.
    If you want to see the nearby places and lodgings use Bulgarito for Android.
    If you wish to avoid issues with bogus cabs, download Yellow Taxi.
    If you want to visit more of Sofia, you’ll need an electric automobile to rent with Spark.
    If the restaurant’s menu is only in Bulgarian, just use the camera feature on Google Translate.

  7. Security is an important aspect of every vacation. Bulgaria is ranked 28th in terms of security. Do not be concerned if you travel alone; the country is safe enough for you to travel in peace. Nonetheless, always take the appropriate precautions and avoid circumstances that could risk your safety. This link will take you to a lengthy article with tips on travelling overseas.

Section 2: Itineraries and trip suggestions

  1. Depending on how long you wish to stay, we believe that visiting Bulgaria for 5 to 7 days is the ideal way to experience the country in its entirety. In this manner, the traveller can visit the most notable locations and learn about the country’s culture, traditions, and ecology. The Rodope mountain, the seashore, and other locations in the country’s northeast are some of the regions that demand more time yet can be completed in this time frame.

  2. Weekends are also an excellent alternative for seeing much more than the Bulgarian capital. Sofia is a fascinating city to see in a single day, but if you want to see more, you must plan ahead of time. Some intriguing pairings are shown below.

    Sofia – Koprivshtitsa – Plovdiv
    Sofía – The 7 Rila Lakes – Rila Monastery
    Sofia – Rila Monastery – Melnik

  3. And here are some more ideas as a bonus for three to five-day journeys:


    3 days:
    North; Prohodna Cave – Cherepish Monastery – Ritlite – Vratsa – Belogradchik – Sofia
    Center; Koprivshtitsa – Plovdiv – Asenov’s Fortress – Bachkovo Monastery – Sofia
    South; The 7 Rila Lakes / Rila Monastery – Melnik – Stobski Piramides – Rozhen – Sofia

    5 days:
    Sofia – Koprivshtitsa – the city of Plovdiv – Shipka and Buzludzha Monument – Etar Village Museum – Veliko Tarnovo – «Prohodna» and «Devetashka» cave – Sofia

    Sofia – Plovdiv – Asen Fortress and Bachkovo Monastery – “The Wonderful Bridges” – the town of Shiroka Laka – the Dospat reservoir or the Yagodina cave – Rila Monastery – Sofia

Viaje para 5 días en Bulgaria
Viaje por días

Section 3: Accommodation and transport

  1. If you have previously stayed with hosts through sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and Couchsurfing, you should not be afraid to do so again in Bulgaria. This style of lodging adds an unusual twist to your vacation experience. The ideal option would be to find a flat/room with a friendly host who can guide you on various activities and interesting sites around. Examine the host’s traveller evaluations and pay attention to how they treat you before you arrive.

  2. Hostels are a fantastic option for folks on a tight budget who wish to mingle in the locations where they stay. You meet other travellers, and the service is generally always friendly. There is a prominent hostel network called Hostels Mostel that offers lodging in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Veliko Tarnovo. A couple of pointers: remember to store your belongings properly when sharing a room, and respect other people in your space.

  3. Although hotels are not very expensive, you may not always discover what you have booked or what you expected in terms of customer service or product. It is advisable to reserve a hotel with more than three stars, because the rates are not too costly, and anything less than that category can result in a less-than-pleasant experience. Once you leave Sofia, keep in mind that there are certain places with receptions that have a relatively low level of English.

  4. We almost overlooked the guest houses. You will find a service comparable to HomeAway or Airbnb, however, the English spoken by the landlords is quite likely to be poor or non-existent. Of course, if they have something ready to eat at any time of the day, they will invite you to join them. A word of advice: don’t refuse it for two reasons: first, the food will be great, and second, they want their guests to feel at ease in their home. Without a sure, it is the ideal accommodation option for people who want to learn more about Bulgarian culture.

Guest House Leshten
Guest House Leshten
Guest House Leshten
  1. Flying to Bulgaria does not have to be an expensive experience. Tickets are frequently cheaper during the low season and on normal business days, as they are in many other destinations. The low season in Bulgaria (save for snow sports enthusiasts) runs from October to March, depending on the weather. In high season, however, it is not an overly costly location, with round-trip tickets costing less than € 150.

  2. Ryanair, Wizzair, and EasyJet are the three low-cost airlines that fly to Bulgaria. We propose that you read the hand baggage policies of each firm. Using the Skyscanner app, you can find something at a very low price by selecting the cheapest month. By airline, you may sometimes getaway for less than € 60 round trip. Flights from Spain, England, France, or Germany are usually under 3 hours long.

  3. Travelling by automobile is the greatest alternative if you want to experience everything and go wherever and whenever you want. It is critical to pay close attention to each company’s terms and rules. We recommend betting on a reputable company, even if it means paying a bit extra. Renting a car is usually not too expensive, however, keep in mind that Bulgarian drivers are fairly liberal. When driving in Bulgaria, always be cautious. In contrast to the rest of them, the primary road network is in good condition.

  4. Trains in Bulgaria (www.bdz.bg) are fairly ancient, and speed is not their strong suit. They are usually punctual. To give you an idea, a 100km journey could take 1 hour and 45 minutes. Still, if you have the opportunity, try it at least once. The interior is cosy, and the wonderful Bulgarian scenery can be seen via the windows.

    Train prices (based on 2020 rates)

    Sofia to Plovdiv (8 BGN, 3 hours and 20 minutes)

    Veliko Turnovo – Sofia (15 BGN for 4 hours and 30 minutes)

    Sofia – Burgas (20 BGN, 6 hours and 30 minutes)

    One thing to keep in mind: certain trains have fewer stops than others, which affects travel time, so keep this in mind when booking. The trains indicated above have shorter journey times because they make fewer stops.

  5. Buses (avtogari.info) are a speedier mode of transportation than trains, but they are also more expensive. The majority of businesses employ new vehicles, and Union Ivkoni is the most well-known bus operator in the country.

    Bus prices based on 2020 rates:

    Sofia to Plovdiv (10 BGN, 1 hour 30 minutes)

    Sofia to Veliko Turnovo (20 BGN and 3 hours)

    Sofia – Burgas (28 BGN, 4h 30min journey)

  6. There is also the option of doing AUTOSTOP, and the truth is that you can simply find someone to take you around Bulgaria. Please keep in mind that distances in Bulgaria are fairly small. Display a sign with your destination city inscribed on it, and don’t bring too much luggage. It is recommended that you learn certain Bulgarian words at the very least to obtain some confidence from those around you. When hitchhiking in the first place, always consider your safety and hunt for safe spots on the road.

  7. In terms of city transit, except for Sofia, the other cities are quite tiny, thus walking around them would be the best alternative. In the worst-case scenario, taxis are inexpensive enough. When using public transportation, it is not worth the time spent waiting, finding, and figuring out where to stop.

    Many visitors believe that the greatest way to immerse yourself in a location is to become lost, so plan to stroll and explore the cities. If you want to leave the core of Sofia, public transportation is recommended. If you wish to explore sites that are a little further away from the city centre, there is a firm named “Spark” that offers electric car rentals.

    Are you ready for the “adventures” route?

    If you are unable to rent a car or simply do not choose to do so, public transportation is an option. You must keep in mind that the transportation network is not ideal, and you may find yourself in a variety of scenarios, so be patient. These are the websites that you must visit in order to use the various modes of public transportation.

Los trenes en Bulgaria

Section 4: Expenses and currency exchange

The country is not an expensive destination. Compared to other places in Europe, it is relatively cheap to spend a few days. Of course, if you do not really try to save depending on what situation, you can also spend a lot. The capital has its corners and services that are priced high even for people who come from a country with a better quality of life than Bulgaria.

If you want to spend little, follow some of these tips and you will not regret it:

  1. Eat breakfast at local patisseries and for the rest of the meals look for local restaurants in the centre with low prices. In the Jewish quarter of the city, there are several places with good food and very affordable prices.

  2. If you have rented an apartment or are staying in a hostel, use their kitchens and prepare your own food.

  3. Free tickets for museums or combinations of tickets such as the Bulgarian History Museum and Boyana Church.

  4. There is no city in Bulgaria that you cannot do on foot to see the most interesting places. Public transport or taxis are not needed.

  5. With Couchsurfing the accommodation is free. Check if someone wants to stay and do not hesitate to do so.

  6. Go for Free Walking tours instead of paying for a private guide. You have them at your disposal in all the big cities of Bulgaria. Be aware that in winter some of them are not available due to the climatic conditions. Here is the list of all the free tours in Sofia.

    These tips are entirely up to the traveller. Each one has its own tricks.

  7. Tipping is not included in the pricing of many bars and restaurants and is normally 10% of the total cost. Of course, depending on the service you found, you can leave nothing (if you didn’t like it) or more than 10%, as many of these establishments pay roughly € 400-500 per month without tips.

  8. Negotiating is not widely used in Bulgaria, particularly when dealing with modest sums. Nobody stops you from trying it, and sometimes you may get lucky and get away with it, but this does not indicate that it is widely known. If you believe the price of anything you want to buy is more than the price you would pay for it, why not test it?

  9. EXCHANGE MONEY ONLY AT VERIFIED LOCATIONS. There are ATMs at the airport, and if you need cash, it is best to withdraw small amounts at first to avoid exorbitant commissions. Once in town, the best places to exchange money are banks in shopping malls that are open even on Saturday and Sunday. To check the currency exchange rate, go to www.oanda.com or download its app at any time.

  10. Always keep cash on hand. Many places (including restaurants and bars) do not accept credit cards or their payment terminal is inoperable.

Section 5: Language and people

  1. The spelling is one of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive. We utilize the Cyrillic alphabet, which was designed by the brothers Cyril and Methodius of Bulgarian descent. It is distinct, but some letters have the same phonetics. The Bulgarian language is not easy to learn, and pronouncing some of the terms below will be difficult. What you should not doubt is that it will be quite beneficial to you and will assist you in breaking the ice with others. Here are a few simple examples:

    Zdravei – Hello
    Blagodaria – Thanks
    Da/Ne – Yes and No
    Nazdrave – Cheers
    Dovizhdane – Bye

    It’s best to leave it here. For those who want to learn more Bulgarian words, this dictionary offers useful words prepared for your trip to Bulgaria.

  2. To be honest, Bulgarians’ grins are not their strongest suit, but this is irrelevant. It will not be difficult for you to realize that gaining the friendship of a Bulgarian is not tough with a good chat. Allow yourself to be spontaneous, and you may make some very wonderful friends during your journey. Everyone agrees, both Bulgarians and international tourists, that the best place to visit is the Rhodope Mountains. Here are some of the Bulgarians’ distinguishing characteristics:

    They can be rather negative at times, but they should never be described as melancholy.
    Bulgarians are notorious for their tardiness.
    To say NO, they move their heads from top to bottom, and to express YES, they move their heads from right to left.
    They use the word “Opa” to express regret or seek pardon.
    They are extremely proud of their yogurt, roses, and history.
    They are somewhat closed to others who are sexually attracted to the same sex.

  3. Manners

    Bulgarians are excellent hosts who pay attention to even the smallest details. Remember to remove your shoes before entering your host’s home.

    When going out for a drink or meal, attempt to look your best. Bulgarians strive to be as formal and elegant as possible on these occasions. Of course, this is not always the case, and there will be exceptions.

    Bulgarian men are gentlemen who strive to make women feel important and secure. You should also be aware that upon meeting a girl, you must shake hands rather than give her one or two kisses as is customary in other nations.

Section 6: Cuisine and drinks

It is regarded as one of the best in Europe, blending the Ottoman Empire’s rich legacy with a kind of peasant cuisine that makes the most of Bulgaria’s flavour-soaked vegetables and herbs. Anyone who has had the opportunity to sample traditional Bulgarian food will tell you that there is little to compete with a salad of fresh tomatoes and homemade sheep cheese, the subtle flavours of stews cooked over low heat in clay moulds, or the numerous different meat dishes available.

Our food is still quite seasonal, and while you may enjoy most of the meals all year, they are at their finest when the ingredients are fresh and seasonal.

  1. We always begin the dinner with a salad, which is usually followed by a glass of Rakia, the local alcohol made from grapes or plums, or, in the summer, by a Mastika, an anise spirit akin to Greek ouzo.

    We will begin by recommending typical dishes and meals in chronological order.
  2. The first dishes are available in any typical country eatery.
Tarator

Cold soup with yogurt, cucumber, walnut and parsley

"Shkembe" soup

It is made from beef tripe, milk, and red pepper.

"Shopska" salad

It has tomato, cucumber, onion, green pepper and white cheese.

"Panagiurshki" eggs

They are eggs with yogurt, red pepper and spices.

  1. The following are the main meals that we emphasize, although there are many more that you can find in the Gastronomy part or in the PDF paper that you can obtain in the Guides area.
Kavarma

Dish with pork or chicken, onion, cheese and spices.

Red pepper

It has tomato, cucumber, onion, green pepper and white cheese.

Lozovi Sarmi

Rice wrapped in grape leaf.

Grill

Minced beef or pork and different ingredients.

Mekitsa

The Bulgarian “churros” that are combined with almost everything

Banitsa

White cheese cake and very typical puff pastry

Tikvenik

Similar to Banitsa but with pumpkin and walnuts

Yogurt

Cured cow and sheep milk with honey or other jam

  1. Shall we finish with the desserts?
  1. Bulgarian wine is receiving increasing international recognition among specialists. The investment grows, and the development innovates and improves the wine quality. Bulgaria offers the climate and resources to produce extremely high-quality wines. There are nine designated routes that run throughout the country. Wines such as Mavrud, Ruen, Pamid, and Melnik can only be found in these regions. We are confident that you will enjoy them.

  2. Rakia is another alcoholic beverage. It is Bulgarian pomace, and the grape variety is the most popular in the country. It can be purchased from any Bulgarian liquor store. The Plum Rakia, on the other hand, is based on a technology that has been developed for years in central Bulgaria and the country’s hilly regions.

  3. Not to mention the “Boza” and “Airian”. Its origins are in the East, but it is a popular product in Bulgaria. “Airian” is a flavorful blend of yoghurt and water with a pinch of salt. The “Boza” is prepared from wheat or fermented millet, has a solid texture, a low alcohol content (about 1%), and a slightly sweet and sour flavour.

Section 7: Restorants and customer service

  1. It’s possible that they won’t be able to respond to you in English in many places. Consider using Google Translate to assist you with the conversation. You may also use Google Translator to translate menus from Bulgarian to English or Spanish (but the translation is not perfect).

  2. Smoking is permitted in certain restaurants and pubs. There aren’t many restaurants that allow it, so don’t be startled if you come across one. Despite the fact that it is illegal, there are still venues where people smoke while eating or dining.

  3. When it comes to customer service, certain places have more close people who are sometimes hostile, although this is not frequent. Let it go if you come across it. We must also consider the compensation, working conditions, and professional training of those who work for the customer. The best one can do is be prepared for both friendly and hostile circumstances, and not take it personally.

  4. “Kruchma” refers to traditional Bulgarian restaurants, where one may find traditional national cuisine, utensils, and “table” music, as they say here. It is folk music, and occasionally there is live music with a vocalist and an orchestra. It is during these times that you will notice a major portion of the restaurant dancing the traditional national dance known as “Horo.”

  5. If you can’t determine what to get or it’s simply difficult to grasp the menu and the waiter, glance at what the Bulgarians have ordered around you. That always works, and you will be shocked at your random selection.

Section 8: Bulgaria by seasons

According to 2017 data, Bulgaria is most popular during the summer months of June and August (almost 50%). Tourism is roughly 30% during the spring and autumn seasons, and 20% during the winter season, based on total visitor arrivals in 2017.

  1. Bulgaria has distinct seasons: beach and heat in the summer and snow and cold in the winter. The spring months are lush, and fall is vibrant. As a result, there are many various sorts of tourism that you can perform in Bulgaria depending on the season, without delving into too much detail.

  2. In the winter, temperatures can fall below zero degrees. Apart from visiting Sofia and its Vitosha mountain, there is the option of engaging in winter sports tourism at extremely reasonable pricing. Bansko and Borovets are the primary destinations. Visits to villages or attending some of the most interesting customs (Yordanov den, Kukeri, and Trifon Zarezan) are just a few of the various options available in the country.

  3. Except for skiing and sun and beach, spring and autumn are ideal seasons for all forms of tourism. The recreational options in the area include a variety of routes, festivals, rafting and hiking, and intriguing sites.

  4. In the summer, the same rule as described above is applied, with the addition of sun and beach tourism as an option. If you live nearby, there are other beaches worth visiting, but these three appear to be the most interesting: Irakli, Silistar, and Bolota.

Section 9: Roses and Bulgarian yogurt

  1. Bulgarian yoghurt is a source of national pride for us. There are various types of yoghurt depending on the animal, such as cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, or a combination. This product is strongly ingrained in the country’s traditions and customs. Yoghurt not only contains nutritional value, but it also has unquestionable therapeutic capabilities. We must not forget the name of Dr Stamen Grigorov, who discovered the bacteria. Studen Izvor, his hometown, is home to the Yogurt Museum. It is required to try it, and we guarantee that you will not be dissatisfied.
  2. The rose utilized for industrial purposes is called Rosa Damascena, and the area where these lovely blooms grow is known as “The Valley of Roses,” which is roughly 100 kilometres long. 3500 kg of rose petals is required to produce 1 litre of oil. Another interesting statistic is that Bulgaria produces 70% of rose oil on an international scale. Many gift shops will have many rose-related shopping possibilities. If you happen to be in Bulgaria between June 1 and 3, you should definitely check out the rose festival in Kazanlak.

Section 10: Landmarks

  1. These are the places most visited by tourists according to Trip Advisor in 2022:

  • The old town of Nessebar
  • Alexander Nevski
  • Rila Monastery
  • The old town of Plovdiv
  • The 7 lakes of Rila
  • The old town of Sozopol
  • Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo
  • The Vitosha Mountain in Sofia
  • Boyana Church in Sofia
  • Sofia and its historic centre

  1. These are the places most visited by tourists according to Trip Advisor in 2022:

  • Exinograd – is located in the Varna Sea Park
  • Royal Palace in Sofia – today there is the National Gallery
  • Vrana Park – is located on the outskirts of Sofia and also has a Royal palace.
  • Royal Palace in Ruse – today it houses the Ruse History Museum.
  • “Tsarska Bistritsa” royal house.
  • Royal house in Balchik.
  • Krichim royal house
  • Saragiol royal house

This list summarizes some of the most interesting cities and towns to visit. Each of them has something to teach the others. Look at the page and part that most interests you for more information on each of these locations.

  1. The big cities are: Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Burgas, Varna, Ruse and Pleven.

  2. Small towns are: Melnik, Nessebar, Tryavna, Bansko, Lovech and Sozopol.

  3. The picturesque villages are Koprivshtitsa, Kosovo, Shiroka Luka, Kovachevitsa and Bozhentsi.

  4. Cultural heritage: Rila Monastery, Old Town of Nessebar, Thracian Tomb in Kazanlak, Boyana Church, Madara Rider and Churches of Ivanovo
Rila monastery
Thracian tomb in Kazanlak
Old town of Nessebar
Boyana church
Madara rider
Ivanovo churches
  1. Intangible heritage: Bistritsa’s grandmother, “Chiprovski Rugs” and the ancient tradition of the “Nestinari”

Bistritsa grandmothers
"Chiprovski" rugs
Nestinarstvo
  1. Natural heritage: Pirin National Park and Sreburna National Reserve.

National Park Pirin
National reserve "Sreburna"

Bulgaria has a large number of monasteries, 122 to be exact. The vast majority of them are on the fringes of cities and towns, or in the highlands. (Add a short tale about them without delving into details). Many of the monasteries allow you to stay and sleep there. Of course, the conditions will not be like at a hotel, but it will be an exciting experience.

  1. The most visited monasteries in Bulgaria are Rila Monastery, Bachkovo Monastery, and Rozhen Monastery. Keep in mind the apparel you wear in religious locations in Bulgaria. Of course, more beautiful monasteries are sprinkled around the territory, and you can find a list of them here. We urge that you visit these locations in long pants and T-shirts that cover your shoulders.

  2. Bulgaria’s neighbouring countries are likewise lovely. Geographically, the country is located on the Balkan Peninsula and shares borders with the following countries: Romania, Serbia and Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey. When visiting Bulgaria, one might see one of the neighbouring countries that most interest him, as the distances are relatively low. If you have the time, experiencing significant variations in culture (Greece) or religion (Turkey) is strongly advised. If you use your own transportation from Sofia, the distances and times required are shown below. Travelling by bus can add between 1 and 2 hours. If you want to travel by rail, the journey will be considerably longer, as trains are the only way to get to Istanbul.

  1. In 1944, the Soviet troops landed in Bulgaria and began to exert significant influence over the Bulgarian government. Bulgaria formally became a communist state, but distinct from the Soviet Union, in early 1946, and remained thus until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Without going into too much depth about this section of the story, we will show you the most remarkable places associated with this period below.

Socialist Monument Buzludzha
Buzludzha Monument
Museum of Socials Art in Sofia
Museum of Socials Art in Sofia
Monument in Shumen - Ultimate Guide for Bulgaria
1300th Anniversary of the Bulgarian State in Shumen
Monument in Varna - Ultimate Guide for Bulgaria
Park-monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship in Varna

Alternative tourism is another modality that may be practised in Bulgaria, and we have briefly described which ones predominate and may pique your interest. We hope you enjoy them.

  1. Sports tourism will allow you to assess your physical condition and determine your physical limits. The scenery they pass through is breathtaking. Here is a short list of some of the most important in Bulgaria.

  • Dunav Ultra (Cycling) – a bicycle race that follows the Danube River. The whole distance is 732 kilometres, and it concludes in the town of Durankolak on the Black Sea coast.
  • Pirin Ultra (Running) – As the name implies, this competition is held in Pirin Mountain. Routes of 38, 66, and 160 kilometres are available.
  • Persenk Ultra (Running) – It features three routes, each of which is 50, 110, and 160 kilometres long. The excursion takes you through Rhodope Mountain, Bulgaria’s most picturesque mountain.
  • Tryavna Ultra (Running) – It features four routes ranging in length from 23, 42, 76, and 141 kilometers. All of them cross via the Balkan Central mountain range.
  1. Ecological or green tourism allows travellers to experience the diversity and beauty of the Bulgarian environment. Beautiful treks to protected regions can be taken on the more than 60 approved ecological paths, where you can observe birds and animals, conquer peaks and become acquainted with the distinctive flora, and collect herbs and mushrooms. Just to highlight that Bulgaria has over 4500 caves discovered, many of which may be accessible or are open to tourists for a price.

  2. Entertainment tourism – without going into detail about this sort of tourism, suffice it to say that there are casinos on virtually every corner and that booze is free if you play, and you may do it nonstop because they are open 24 hours.

  3. Medicinal tourism – among the most popular are SPA centres, particularly Velingrad, which is regarded as the Balkan peninsula’s SPA capital, with the best conditions for the practice of this tourism. Bulgaria is Europe’s second most geyser-rich country, trailing only Iceland. Aside from these qualities, there are some cost advantages with dental experts and some operations whose costs are far lower than those in other more developed nations, although the quality of these medical treatments remains good.

Section 11: Traditions, festivals and customs

  1. There are several traditions observed throughout the year in different regions of the country, but these are among the most popular. They are listed in chronological order. A more in-depth overview of these traditions can be found on our “Traditions” page.
  • Yordan’s day – Do you know another mammal, apart from the polar bear, that jumps into the water when there is snow outside and the air temperature is -15 Cº? In our country we have a tradition that is celebrated after New Year’s Eve, that day is January 6. The most suitable place to see it is the city of Kalofer, about 150 km from Sofia.
  • The Kukeri – If you want to see whimsical faces and terrible masks, this is the place. No, this is not Halloween, but it is something similar that is celebrated throughout our lands during the month of January and February depending on the region. The most popular festival is held in Pernik, the last weekend of January
  • Tryphon Zarezan or the version of the Bulgarian Valentine’s Day, on the 14th of February. Well, in Bulgaria it is also celebrated, but February 14 is more popular for the love of wine. In the Melnik region very interesting events related to the wine of that area are held annually.
  • Baba Marta (Grandmother Marta) – Have you seen a Bulgarian with a red and white bracelet? Baba Marta is one of the most important Bulgarian traditions and is celebrated from March 1 to the end of the month. It is quite long, true?
  • Easter – Painting eggs, kneading “kozunak” and roasted lamb are only part of the tradition around Easter or said in Bulgarian, Velikden. Each year is celebrated on a different date and this depends on the first full moon in spring.
  • Nestinarstvo – Dancing in fire have ever crossed your mind? Probably not. It is a popular festival that turns into a show with fire and is celebrated on the night of Saint Konstantin and Elena. Where it has been celebrated for many years and the authenticity of the tradition continues to be preserved is the village of Balgari, very close to the border with Turkey and the Black Sea
  1. Festivals are gaining more and more popularity. Some of them are truly natural experiences due to their location. In the following list, we name some of the most popular in Bulgaria:
  • Surva International Festival in Pernik.
  • Chiprovski Carpet Festival.
  • Rose Festival in Kazanlak.
  • Rozhen Festival.
  • Solar Summer Festival.
  • International Bagpipe Contest in Gela.
  • International Jazz Festival in Bansko
  • Bulgarian National Folk Art Festival in Koprivshtitsa.
  • National Folk Costume Festival in Zheravna.
  • Beglika Fest in Rhodope mountains.

Section 12: Do and Don't

  1. DO join a “HORO” if possible.
  2. DO try to hear the Bulgarian bagpipe.
  3. DO taste everything as typical dishes or drinks.
  4. DO check the taxi’s window rate before entering.
  1. DO use daytime automobile lights.
  2. Don’t drink on the street to avoid fines.
  3. Don’t go out without your ID.
  4. Don’t cross zebra crossings if you’re sure the car will stop.

Section 13: Tips for responsable tourism

  1. We will define sustainable tourism and provide tips for doing it in Bulgaria or elsewhere. Here are some tips:
  • Save food. Order or fill your plate with what you can eat.
  • Any noteworthy events? Go without hesitation. Meet the locals. Act like them.
  • Learn local phrases. This can help you bond with the locals.
  • Research online and stay at or buy from places and companies that are environmentally friendly.
  • Instead of printing booking confirmations and boarding cards, have digital copies.
  • It’s hard, but don’t make another tourist brochure. They then gather. Find everything online.

Section 14: Gift list

For gift-givers who desire something else than a magnet, postcard, or keychain, there are some unique possibilities that will surely surprise the recipient. Depending on their qualities, kilim, tarlutsi, toy gaida, Gifted Sofia, and other fantastic gift locations will meet your expectations.

  1. Home made “tarlutsi” by a grannie. 
  2. Cosmetics made by Bulgarian Rose.
  3. Toy Bagpippe.
  4. Socialist poster.

Section 15: Lockers in Sofia

All travelers must leave their bags for a time. Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, etc. is fastest and best. Bus, train, and airport stations can provide this service. There are various downtown Sofia suitcase storage facilities. Gifted Sofia and the central train station.