Best of the best
- 1Hotel Grifid Bolero
- 2Hotel Grifid Arabella
- 3Hotel Grifid Vistamar
- 4Majestic Beach Resort
- 5Hotel Miramar
- 6Hotel RIU Helios
- 8Evrika Beach Club Hotel
- 9Hotel Grand Victoria
- 10Hotel Tiara Beach
- 11Iberostar Sunny Beach Resort
- 12Club Hotel Bor
Facts and information about Bulgaria
On 110.994 km² in the Southeast of Europe, the Republic of Bulgaria is home to around 7.6 million people. Especially the West Coast of the country, bordering the Black Sea, attracts millions of visitors each year with its beautiful white beaches. Holidays in Bulgaria are particularly popular among many people because it is easily accessible. Bulgarian is the official language of the country – the people use the Cyrillic alphabet. German and English are spoken in tourist areas and hotels throughout the country, though. International streets and airports do show traffic informationin Latin-script.
As an important transit country between Central Europe and the Near East, Bulgaria offers good transport network. Tourists can reach sights very easily in several ways.
Best travel time
Located in Central Europe, Bulgaria sees hot summers with temperatures 28°C (82°F), whereas the winters are mild at around 3°C(37°F) during the day. Rainfall is especially common in the mountain areas. On average, there are five days of rain per month. Bulgaria is also a popular country for ski holidays as almost all of the country is covered in snow. The most popular time to visit Bulgaria lies in the time from mid-June to early September as the weather is best at the Black SeaCoast in this time. In general, the optimal travel time is from May to October.
As the country is a member of the European Union, entering with an ID from another EU member country is very easy. Children do need their own passports unless they are included with a picture on their parents’ passports. Visitors from outside the Economic European Area need to fill in a registration form and declare the purpose of their stay and the address of their accommodation during their trip. The Bulgarian government provides travelers with a complete list of countries that do and do not need avisa. The Bulgarian LEV consists of 100 stotinki. All payments should be made in the national currency. There are bank notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Lev, and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki. The exchange rate is fixed at 1 Lev = 1.9553 Euro. It is advisable the exchange of foreign currency to be made at change bureaus or at a bank.
The Federal Foreign Office advises travelers to get vaccinated for tetanus, hepatitis A, and diphtheria prior to the holiday.For tourists staying longer than four weeks, vaccinations for rabies and hepatitis B are recommended as well.
Telecommunication is fairly modern in Bulgaria. Its country code is +359. Sockets and power plugs are EU-standardizedwith 220 volts line voltage. The mobile phone network is also easy to access and extensive – you can get reception from almost everywhere.
Good to know
Police: 166, Ambulance: 150, Fire: 160, Automobile club: 146 (in Sofia it is 1286) In Bulgaria, non-verbal communication is a bit upside-down:shaking your head means “yes”, and nodding means “no”. Watch out when you try non-verbal communication! Do not trust the good offers for money exchangefrom people on the street – there are numerous forgers around. Even though they offer better rates, it is safest to go to a bank.
Bulgaria is well known as a low-cost destination. A pint of beer costs €1,20, a dinner for a family with two children about €25,-.
Country and People
Bulgaria has been influenced by various cultures over time, mainly due to its central location between Europe and Asia.The state Bulgaria was founded in 681. The ninth century is also known as the country’s golden century as it had reached its cultural, territorial, andeconomic prime. In the following centuries, the country performed very well and played an important role in Europe. Bulgaria faced some troublesome times of separation and oppression, but eventually was declared an independent kingdom before becoming a republic in 1946. Since 2007, the country is a member of the European Union. Sofia is its capital, but only since 1878. Nowadays, Sofia is the political, economic, and cultural center of the Republic.
Traditions and Culture
Much of the country’s history is found in art in form of earthenware, musical culture. Creativity and artistic diversity is very important to them. Especially folklore and tradition have important roles insociety and have become a major tourist attraction. It is a custom to give away little red and white yarn figure called Martenitsa to welcome the upcoming spring.
The most important public holidays special to Bulgaria are: March 3: Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman Empire – parades, music, and celebration. May 1: Labor day – most shops are closed September 6: Unification Day – Main celebrations are in Plovdiv, shops are open.
The majority of Bulgarians belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and the predominant religion is Christianity. A large proportion of the population are Muslims, many are also Jewish. North (Varna): This region is very popular for the ruins from Roman and Thracian times and especially for its Golden Sands Resorts. It is also a good destination for a golf holiday. South (Burgas): Many people travel to this region for its sunny beaches. You can easily take a trip to Turkey, as it borders the region. Sofia: The capital is a good destination for a city break and to discover more of the Bulgarian culture and heritage. Other Bulgarian Regions: These include the Thracian Valley, which is famous for its excellent wines. Just south of the Balkan Mountains, the Rose Valley is a romantic holiday destination, as many rose-growing businesses are here. Especially in May and June, couples enjoytaking a stroll along the colorful rose fields.
Bulgaria has a very diverse landscape, which makes it an ideal destination for all kinds of holidays: the Rila, Pirin, and Balkan Mountains are excellent for ski holidays in the winter and wandering in the summer, whereas the Black Sea Coast is a favorite because of its beautiful beaches for summer vacations.
From the major ports of Bulgaria, Varna and Burgas, you can enter Romania and Turkey. It is also possible to travel along the Danube river, along the border to Romania. The prices vary per season and ship, and there are also private offers available for travel along the river, like yachts or motorboats.
Express buses are an easy way to reach all major cities of the country. There are many good operators, many of them even offer luxury service with hostesses and TV or video is provided in almost all buses servicing longer routes. A return ticket from the coast to Sofia costs about 30 lev (€15).
Bulgaria has a well-developed road network with which all cities are easily reached. Drivers in Bulgaria must be 18, cars drive on the right side of the road. It is only permitted to use a mobile phone while driving in combination with a ‘handsfree’ system. Road signs indicate when snow chains are necessary (not a legal requirement, though). Third party insurance is compulsory in Bulgaria. Proof of insurance must be displayed with a sticker on the windscreen. You will need a vignette sticker for driving outside of urban areas.
The most frequented airports are in Burgas, Sofia, and Varna. Varna and Burgas airports serve mostly charter flights, and Sofia Airport can be reached easily from both of them. All major European cities have aircraft connections to these Airports.
Travelling by train is comfortable and easily accessible. All major cities are well connected in the railway system. The European Orient Express has a route through Bulgaria, too. One stop is in Varna and connects to Istanbul. You can buy tickets at the railway stations, at tourist offices, and in special offices for transport in the cities.
Discover and Enjoy
Experience and enjoy
Although the gold and sunny beach are fantastic destinations for a summer holiday, Bulgaria has much more to offer. There are numerous mountain regions, famous for their flora and fauna. Various sights attract many visitors every year: there are forts, national parks, and of course the big cities like Sofia, Varna, and Nessebar.
Rila National Park is home to a great variety of animals and plants. The highest mountain in Bulgaria, Musala, with 9.500 feet above sea level can be found here. It is an excellent destination for a climbing holiday. Sofia is a great city for a cultural and historical holiday. Museums, churches, and the general architecture of the city attract many visitors throughout the year. The nightlife in Sofia is also well spoken of and there are popular markets all around the city. Melnik is a small city under the sand dunes just two hours outside of Sofia. If you travel here, you will get to experience the wines of Bulgaria at their source. A popular destination is also Rozhen Monastery for its carvings and stained glass crafts. If you like visiting castles and interesting rock structures, Belogradchik is the town to go to. Near the border to Serbia you can stand at the foot of the Balkan Mountains and watch the sunset from castles, too. In Varna, you will find excellent archaeological museums and the city also has the country’s largest Roman baths. The marine park has a dolphinarium in it and the beautiful beaches of the area are fantastic for relaxation.
One of the most interesting festivals is the Rose festival, dedicated to the Kazanlak rose. Since 1903 the blooming of the Kaznak rose is celebrated during the first week of June when the scent of the roses fills the air and the towns become colorful. As Bulgaria is famous for its folk music, the International Folklore Festival is practically a must. Its purpose is to celebrate the folklore of the country and bring together culture for understanding and friendship. Many different things are offered between the 9th and the 13th of June like concerts, dances, workshops, and performances. A different kind of festival is Pierrot, which is a puppet festival especially for adults taking place between September 24 and 29 every two years. The organizers also look for new professional puppeteers very often!
Bulgaria is very nice for shopping, due to its vast amounts of specialty and department stores. It is absolutely worth it to visit some of the open-air markets in Bulgaria, where a little bit of bargaining is accepted. Big cities have all the major stores and brands, whereas Bulgarian crafts like jewelry, wooden objects, leather and national costumes are everywhere to be found and a nice variety to the usual brands. A nice souvenir from Bulgaria would be one of the national drinks such as fruit brandies or wine from the area. Typically, a nice souvenir is a bottle of rose essence.
A typical Bulgarian meal starts with a salad with bell peppers, feta cheese and tomatoes. On hot summer days, a cold soup is a national favorite. Grilled dishes, especially roasted lamb, are delicatessen for feasts. The typical Bulgarian desert is a puff pastry dish called Beniza.