Bulgaria

Bulgaria is one of the Balkans' most exuberant nations in virtually every possible way. From its mist-shrouded mountains and shimmering coastline, to its lively folk soundtrack and intriguing ancient mythology - there's an unexpected surprise at almost every turn. And, while it has experienced an at-times-too-quick growth spurt in the last decade, visitors will find Bulgaria to be a country of fascinating culture, impressive sights and extremely gracious hospitality.

Bulgaria Tours & Travel

All our Bulgaria trips

Colourful house with flowers, Sighisoara

Explore Eastern Europe

18 days from
USD $2,760.00
CAD $2,795.00
AUD $2,730.00
EUR €2,020.00
GBP £1,740.00
NZD $3,235.00
ZAR R26,445.00
CHF FR2,490.00

Enjoy a fascinating tour of Eastern Europe from Hungary to Turkey. From Budapest head to Romania, Bulgaria and end up...

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St Basils cathedral, Moscow

St Petersburg to Istanbul

33 days from
USD $5,340.00
CAD $5,395.00
AUD $5,620.00
EUR €3,895.00
GBP £3,365.00
NZD $6,665.00
ZAR R51,165.00
CHF FR4,820.00

Jump aboard this amazing tour of Eastern Europe. Travel from St Petersburg to Istanbul via Moscow, Budapest, Kyiv,...

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Bulgaria Highlights

About Bulgaria

At a glance

Trips Available:
2
Capital city:
Sofia (population 1.2 million)
Population:
7.3 million
Language:
Bulgarian
Currency:
BGN
Time zone:
(GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius
Electricity:
Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code:
+359

Best time to visit Bulgaria

Bulgaria follows the classic seasonal pattern that belongs to this corner of Europe. Expect chilly conditions in winter and a delightfully warm (and very busy) summer. As with many of its neighbours, spring is a fantastic time to really explore Bulgaria, as the going is relatively easy throughout the whole country.

Sofia weather chart

Geography and environment

Balkan Mountains
Sitting almost at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria entertains visitors with a little bit of everything when it comes to landscape. Dramatic rivers and gorges, dense wooded areas, the lofty peaks of the Balkan Mountains and some of the most beautiful Black Sea coastline the region has to offer.

Top Picks

Top 5 Famous Bulgarians

1. Vasil Levski

A revolutionary who would be remembered as the Apostle of Liberty, Levski became a national hero after leading the battle for liberation from Ottoman rule in the early 1870s.

2. Georgi Ivanov

The first Bulgarian cosmonaut in 1979, Ivanov was awarded the title 'Hero of the Soviet Union'. However, he had to change his original surname, Kakalov, because it occasionally had negative connotations in Russian.

3. FSB

A famous Bulgarian pop/funk band from the late 70s and early 80s. As with most acts who were prominent during this era, FSB appear to have always worn their pants far too tight, but their songs did become the iconic sounds of a generation.

4. Peyo Yavorov

This romantic poet and revolutionary was viewed by many as the finest poet in Bulgarian history. The majority of his works were about his two great loves: the first of whom died from tuberculosis, the second, took her own life, which ultimately drove Yavorov to do the same.

5. Stanislav Ianevski

Ianevski was catapulted into the international spotlight after playing Viktor Krum in the 2005 instalment of the Harry Potter series,The Goblet of Fire. While he does little talking in the film, Ianevski does some impressive broom-flying and walking around looking gruff.

FAQs on Bulgaria

While most larger hotels will include a gratuity, restaurants rarely add a service charge and a 10% tip is the custom.
Travellers should be able to access the internet at cyber cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots in Bulgaria's major cities and towns. Remote and rural areas will have less internet availability, so be prepared for this when travelling out of the city.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Bulgaria, but patchy in some remote places. Travellers should activate global roaming before leaving home.
Western-style, flushable toilets are mostly the standard in Bulgaria, however squat toilets can be found in some public restrooms.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 1-2 BGN
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 2-3 BGN
Basic, takeaway lunch = 6-8 BGN
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 10-15 BGN
Tap water is chlorinated but generally considered safe to drink (unless otherwise marked), however some travellers may not enjoy the taste and should stick to using a water bottle.
Major credit cards are accepted in large cities, mostly in shops and hotels. Smaller vendors may not accept credit cards, so carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in Bulgaria's cities and urban areas, however not all bank machines accept overseas cards. Access may be difficult in some remote areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 3 National Day (Day of Liberation)
May 1 Labour Day
May 3 Orthodox Easter
May 6 St George's Day (Day of Bulgarian Army)
May 24 St Cyril and Methodius Day (Day of Culture and Literacy)
Sep 6 The Unification of Bulgaria
Sep 22 Independence Day
Nov 1 Day of the Bulgarian Revival Leaders
Dec 24-25 Christmas
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/bulgaria/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Bulgaria Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Market vendor in Sofia

Top responsible travel tips for Bulgaria

1. Be considerate of Bulgaria’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with tap or filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Street without a name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in BulgariaKapka Kassabova
Balkan GhostsRobert Kaplan
And Other StoriesGeorgi Gospodinov