Destinations Europe

Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Bulgaria

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Bulgaria is a tourist destination known for its “melting pot” of influences from Greece, the Ottoman Empire, and Persia to name a few. The country sits along the Black Sea which has become a vital land passage between Europe and Asia.

Bulgaria is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and destinations on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List including:

  • Rila Monastery
  • Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
  • Boyana Church
  • Madara Rider
  • Srebarna Nature Reserve
  • Martenitsa

Bulgaria is also home to many historical sites where visitors can learn about Bulgaria’s past such as:

  • Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral
  • Shipka Memorial
  • Perperikon
  • Baba Vida
  • Balchik Palace
  • Belogradchik Fortress
  • Cherven Fortress
  • Vrana Palace

Bulgaria is also full of naturally beautiful landscapes that draw many tourists to the country. It is a destination home to beautiful national parks such as Central Balkan National Park and Rila National Park. Bulgaria is also home to many ancient monasteries such as the Rila Monastery, The Troya Monastery, the Dryanovo Monastery, and the Zemen Monastery to name a few. Moreover, there are also beautiful art galleries and history museums that span from the ancient days through modern-day Bulgarian history.

All of these attractions make Bulgaria a great place to tour, visit, and learn more about European history as well as the history of the Bulgarian people. Tourists can also enjoy many beautiful landmarks and national parks along with wildlife and nature.

Geography

Bulgaria has varied geographic landscapes and that includes lowlands, plains, hills, mountains, valleys, and deep gorges. Most of the country is divided into four different sections including high and low plains and these sections are divided into what are called geomorphological regions that are called: Danubian Plain, the Balkan Mountains, the Transitional regions, and the Rilo-Rhodope areas.

About two-thirds of the land are rolling plains, small hills, and plateaus. All of this land sits under the 600-meter mark.

Climate

Bulgaria’s climate is quite complex for the size of the country. Bulgaria’s southernmost region is part of the continental climate zone and there are small areas that also fall into the Mediterranean climate zone as well. The continental influences are the strongest in the winter producing and the Mediterranean influences on the weather are stronger in the spring and summer seasons. Bulgaria also has a few alpine zones which are in the mountains and are over 1,000 meters in elevation.

The mountains and valleys of Bulgaria break up any massive temperature swaths that would otherwise settle over the land. This makes the temperature and climate varied throughout the entire country, even though it is contained in a relatively small area of space.

Best Time To Visit

Between the summer and winter seasons are the best times to visit Bulgaria. This means that many tourists visit the area during the other times of the year and the “quietest” times to go are between April and May and again in September and October. These are usually great months to visit Bulgaria, even if a lot of people do not do go during this time. Consider that the weather is the most pleasant during these months far as temperature goes and this is when the prices will be lower.

What To Know Before Visiting

Bulgaria is More Than Its Coast

Bulgaria is more than just the coastline. Sadly, many tourists do not get past the coastlines and the beach resorts near the Black Sea to fully experience all Bulgaria has to offer. There are many more remarkable resorts inland that you can enjoy if you get there to see them.

Getting Around Is Not Very Easy

Bulgaria’s train network is not exactly “a well-oiled machine” so to speak. This means that tourists should expect significant delays when they are trying to use public transportation systems throughout Bulgaria. Leave plenty of extra time to get where you are going in case delays to occur. Same goes with the extensive bus network.

When You Want To Say No, You Nod

That sounds weird, but it’s true. In Bulgaria, when you want to say “no,” nodding is the way to go, which is the opposite gesture used in the U.S. In Bulgaria, body language speaks extensively, so be sure to mean “no” but nod as in “yes.” Confusing, but necessary to communicate with the natives.

Enjoy Delectable Cuisines While Enjoying Nature

Bulgaria is the ideal destination because it allows you to enjoy beautiful views while you dine on a variety of native cuisines. Native dishes include fiery flavors of the Balkan spirit coupled with more mild fragrances of the Mediterranean which sprinkled with a variety of flavors from the Middle East. While you are there, be sure to check out some of Bulgaria’s signature dishes such as their meshana skara (mixed grill) which is made of grilled meats on a skewer and consists of both steak and pork. This is a dish traditionally served with french fries and topped with chopped onions and lyutenitsa usually washed down with several beers before being finished off with rakia. Another dish to try is kebapche which is a meatball made out of minced meat and spices and is shaped like a sausage. It is traditionally grilled and served with shopska salad and french fries all topped with Bulgarian cheeses. These unique dishes make dining in style while enjoying the scenery in Bulgaria a pleasure.

Bulgaria’s Mountains are Not to be Missed

The mountains in Bulgaria are a great destination to visit during your trip. They are a sight to behold and offer some of the best tourist attractions in the country. Tourists can enjoy the fantastic folklore of Bansko, the traditional tasty foods that are around Kardjali, and the beautiful views looking down over the Bulgarian cities.

Taste Great Bulgarian Wine

Bulgaria is a famous destination for its incredible selections of wines, both traditional and modern. Some of their best wines include Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. There are also more local types of wines including muscat ottonel, red misket, pamid, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot to name a few that people from outside of Bulgaria may not have heard of or tried very often. Give them all a try, you may find something new you enjoy. Go on a wine tour to taste wines straight from Bulgarian wineries.

Handmade Crafts Are Common in Bulgaria

Leave extra room in your suitcase to take home some handmade goodies. Many locals make and sell handmade goods in the local markets for a living. Some of these handmade goods include handmade pottery, woodcarvings, jewelry, leather items, or even certain oil-based cosmetics. There are even amazing paintings and other creations to bid on if that strikes your interest.

Weather In Bulgaria

Temperatures in Bulgaria generally range from 36 to 78 degrees, which represents a fairly mild, moderate climate. Bulgaria gets most of its precipitation between May and August. Bulgaria is not a high-precipitation area as it only averages about 2 – 3 inches of rainfall per month.

Languages

The main language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian which is related to the Western group of languages including Czech and Slovak. Moreover, Bulgaria is a destination where English is spoken in most of the tourist towns and cities as well.  So getting around far as communication is concerned, should not be too much of a challenge.

Electricity

Tourists planning to charge their electronic devices should bring appropriate adapters that work with the 230 V electricity in Bulgaria.

Currency

Unlike many countries in continental Europe, Bulgaria does not use the Euro. Bulgaria still uses their own currency called the Bulgarian lev, which means you will need to exchange some money to use in Bulgaria during your trip.

When you are visiting Bulgaria, be sure to try some of their delicious, signature dishes and couple it with some of their decadent (mostly red) wines for a dining experience you will not soon forget. After a great meal, take a sightseeing trip to visit any of the UNESCO sites that are historic landmarks throughout the country. Also, visit the local shops to find unique, handmade crafts that you will not be able to find anywhere else.

So, come over to Bulgaria and enjoy learning the history behind the historical sites throughout the country and enjoy some great cuisine mixed with some delectable wines on your next trip abroad.

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