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

Eastern Europe Express

8 days from
USD $1,295
CAD $1,380
AUD $1,395
EUR €995
GBP £860
NZD $1,695
ZAR R13,060
CHF FR1,230

Enjoy a thrilling tour of Eastern Europe from Romania to Turkey. From Bucharest, head through Bulgaria and finish up...

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St Petersburg to Istanbul

32 days from
USD $5,925
CAD $6,120
AUD $5,995
EUR €4,125
GBP £3,475
NZD $6,675
ZAR R60,010
CHF FR4,995

Travel from enthralling St Petersburg through the best of Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria to the...

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Eastern Europe Explorer

17 days from
USD $2,960
CAD $3,055
AUD $2,995
EUR €2,060
GBP £1,730
NZD $3,335
ZAR R29,980
CHF FR2,495

Travel from beautiful Budapest to iconic Istanbul. Venture through the baroque town of Eger, visit the black church...

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Bulgaria trip reviews

Our Bulgaria trips score an average of 4.64 out of 5 based on 14 reviews in the last year.

Explore Eastern Europe, May 2014

Explore Eastern Europe, May 2014

Articles on Bulgaria

Overcrowded and ugly: how the world’s least attractive sights can teach us more than the highlights

Posted on Wed, 21 Jan 2015

People don’t have a lot of time for 'ugly' travel. But why not? It's time to celebrate the world for what it is, not what it should be.

Read more

The ultimate guide to Australian slang

Posted on Tue, 20 Jan 2015

For those wanting to master this distinctive lingo, Intrepid is here to help with our very own ( and very unofficial) guide to speaking Australian.

Read more

Why more young travellers are heading to Antarctica than ever before (and why you should too)

Posted on Mon, 19 Jan 2015

An entire generation of travellers is exploring more of the world than their parents and grandparents combined. And that generation should visit Antarctica next.

Read more

An earth worth watching: inside our new Earthwatch Rainforest Expedition

Posted on Fri, 16 Jan 2015

It’s got the biggest natural diversity of any place in Australia, and it’s where you can go in 2015 with a team of leading environmental scientists to help study the effects of climate change.

Read more

About Bulgaria

At a glance

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: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
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.

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