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

Top holiday deals in Bulgaria

Departing Days Price USD
19 May 2015 Eastern Europe Express 8 $1205
23 Jun 2015 Eastern Europe Express 8 $1195

All our Bulgaria trips

Eastern Europe Express

8 days from
USD $1,205
CAD $1,285
AUD $1,295
EUR €930
GBP £800
NZD $1,580
ZAR R12,150
CHF FR1,145

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 $5,630
CAD $5,815
AUD $5,700
EUR €3,920
GBP £3,305
NZD $6,345
ZAR R57,010
CHF FR4,750

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 $2,755
CAD $2,845
AUD $2,790
EUR €1,920
GBP £1,610
NZD $3,105
ZAR R27,885
CHF FR2,325

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

19 things only travellers in the 90s would understand

Posted on Wed, 25 Feb 2015

Travel in the 90s, for anyone that didn’t live through it, must seem totally bizarre by today’s Wi-Fi, touchscreen and 4G standards.

Read more

Nine reasons Laos should be on your bucket list

Posted on Mon, 23 Feb 2015

Small on fuss, big on awesome. Laos could be your favourite destination in Southeast Asia.

Read more

A homecooked meal in Burma: one of life’s simplest wonders

Posted on Fri, 20 Feb 2015

She has tiny hands. Hands like small birds that flutter around the kitchen, gathering herbs, picking spices, covering her mouth to laugh.

Read more

How to prepare for your trekking holiday: a seven step guide

Posted on Wed, 18 Feb 2015

Sure, you can rock up at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro with nothing but a song in your heart and a pocket full of dreams. But you’re going to be in for a bit of a shock.

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