Why choose Bulgaria? A picturesque small country called Bulgaria has existed for more than 13 centuries in Europe, linking East and West. After four decades of communist rule and going through a decate of transition to democracy, Bulgaria turned into an enigmatic country in the eyes of much of the rest of the world.


Bulgaria Info

The location of Bulgaria

Area –110 910 km².
Capital – Sofia (population – 1 404 929).
Population – 7 606 551 (in 2009).
Official language – Bulgarian.
Form of government - parliamentary democracy.

Currency – The national currency in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN), in plural - leva. One Lev consists of 100 stotinki (st). The banknotes are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. The stotinki coins in use are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

Religion – Eastern Orthodox. Some Bulgarian citizens belong to other religious denominations, most notably Islam, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Climate - Cold, usually snowy winters, long hot summers, mild autumn and spring. Winter temperatures vary between 0° and 7°C below zero. Very rarely temperatures may drop below 20°C below zero. Summer temperatures vary between 28°-30°C.

Neighbors - A natural boundary with Romania is the Danube River, which is navigable all along for cargo and passenger vessels. The Black Sea is the natural eastern border of Bulgaria with 378 km long coastline. There are clearly cut bays, the biggest two being those of Varna and Bourgas. About 25% of the coastline are covered with sand and host Bulgarian seaside resorts. The southern part of Bulgaria is mainly mountainous. The highest mountain is Rila with mount Moussala being the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula (2925 m).

Lifestyle - Curious When Bulgarians nod their heads up and down, they usually mean NO. When they shake their heads from side to side, they mean YES. However there can be exceptions to this “rule”.

Going to the movies - Unlike other countries, going to the movies in Bulgaria is a foreigners-friendly experience. Cinemas show only sub-titled movies with their original soundtracks. The same applies to rented videocassettes. Only Disney features or other films made for children are usually dubbed.

Sofia at night

Nightology – Sofia night life. Sofia has an extensive nightlife scene with many night clubs, live venues, pubs, mehani (Bulgarian traditional taverns), and restaurants. Often world-famous DJs, musicians and artists perform in Sofia. Sofians love to go out and party. Day and night, the countless, trendy bars and cafes throughout the city are heaving - a phenomenon that never fails to amaze foreign visitors. Bars are busy until midnight, after which people move on to nightclubs, which are fairly dispersed throughout town. For good up-to-date events information about Sofia and Bulgaria, check the booklet Programata.

NB: Find out more about Bulgaria in WikiTravel - Bulgaria

Sofia Info

The statue of santa Sofia

Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city by population in the European Union, with 1.4 million people living in the Capital Municipality.
It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha, and is the administrative, cultural, economic, and educational centre of the country.
One of the oldest cities in Europe, the history of Serdica-Sredets-Sofia can be traced back some 7000 years; prehistoric settlements were excavated in the centre of the present city, near the royal palace, as well as in outer districts such as Slatina and Obelia.
The ancient fortress of Serdica The well preserved town walls (especially their substructures) from antiquity date back before the 7th century BC, when Thracians established their city next to the most important and highly respected mineral spring, still functioning today.Sofia has had several names in the different periods of its existence, and remnants of the city's millenary history can still be seen today alongside modern landmarks.

Sofia and Vitosha mountain

Vitosha is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Vitosha is one of the tourists symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism and skiing. Convenient bus lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has the outlines of an enormous dome. The territory of the mountain includes Vitosha national park that encompasses the best known and most frequently visited parts. The foothills of Vitosha shelter resort quarters of Sofia; Knyazhevo quarter has mineral springs. Vitosha is the oldest national park in the Balkans.

Plovdiv Info

The Roman Amphitheatre of Plovdiv

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia, with a population of 380 312. Known in ancient times as Philippoupolis, the city is an important economic, transport, cultural and educational center.

One of Europe's oldest cities, it was originally a Thracian settlement before becoming a major Roman city in Antiquity. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. In 1878, Plovdiv was made the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. In 1885, it became part of Bulgaria with the unification of that region and the Principality of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in the southern part of the Plovdiv Plain on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 m high. Because of these seven hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as "The City of the Seven Hills".

The old town of Plovdiv

Plovdiv is host to economic and cultural events such as the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival "A scene on a crossroad", the TV festival "The golden chest". There are many remains preserved from Antiquity such as the Ancient amphitheatre, Roman odeon, Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene and others.

Koprivshtitsa Info

Todor Kableshkov statue

Koprivshtitsa, from the Bulgarian word kopriva, meaning "nettle", is a historic town in Sofia Province, central Bulgaria, lying on the Topolnitsa River among the Sredna Gora mountains. It was one of the centres of the April Uprising in 1876 and is known for its authentic Bulgarian architecture and for its folk music festivals, making it a very popular tourist destination.

Koprivshtitsa is one of the characteristic Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of the Bulgarian National Revival period of the 19th century. The town is huddled in the mountain folds 111 km east of Sofia. Blue house in Koprivshtitsa Koprivshtitsa boasts a large number of architectural monuments from the period, 383 in all, most of which have been restored to their original appearance. Collections of ethnographical treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household weaves and embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewelry has also been preserved. It was here that the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottoman occupation was fired in 1876.

The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila

Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila

Known as the Rila Monastery (Bulgarian: Rilski manastir) is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It is situated in the northwestern Rila Mountains, 117 km south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at an elevation of 1 147 m above sea level.

It is traditionally thought that the monastery was founded by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila, whose name it bears, during the rule of Tsar Peter I (927-968). The hermit actually lived in a cave without any material possessions not far from the monastery's location, while the complex was built by his students, who came to the mountains to receive their education.

Ever since its creation, the Rila Monastery has been supported and respected by the Bulgarian rulers. Large donations were made by almost every tsar of the Second Bulgarian Empire up until the Ottoman Conquest, making the monastery a cultural and spiritual centre of Bulgarian national consciousness that reached its apogee from the 12th to the 14th century. The Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments.