Bulgaria is a relative newcomer to the holiday scene, but has plenty of plus points to attract the discerning holidaymaker. In addition to the natural beauty of the 230 mile-long Black Sea Coast, there are also magnificent mountain ranges filled with an abundance of flora and fauna and lots of historical gems (heritage from the fact that it is the oldest state in Europe). Tradition is also strongly-held in Bulgaria, with folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals still important in everyday life for many Bulgarians. Bulgaria is part of the eastern Balkan peninsula and borders five countries – Greece and Turkey to the south, Macedonia and Serbia to the west and Romania to the north. The imposing Balkan mountains run laterally through the centre of the country, which is part of the EU. Bulgaria is also known for value-for money, with eating out and holiday spending being typically cheaper than other European holiday destinations.
Remember to take your EHIC with you to obtain reduced cost or free health care. If you need to see a doctor, be examined or admitted to a hospital, or obtain medication from a pharmacy, then make sure that they are registered with the National Insurance Fund, to ensure that you are exempt from paying any fees. Your hotel or accommodation provider are obliged to advise you of local medical care that is registered with the N.I.F. Tap water is safe to drink in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian cuisine is a collective of traditional Bulgarian meals intertwined with flavours from Slavonic, Greek and Turkish cultures. One of the key factors in its fresh and flavourful taste is that it is typically produced organically. Yogurt is added to many Bulgarian dishes, and seems to taste better here in the country that it originated. Traditional dishes include kavarma (individual casseroles of pork or veal, onions and mushrooms) and shopska salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and parsley topped with grated white cheese). Drink to your holiday health with a cold Bulgarian beer or wine. Vegetarians are not really widely catered for, and may have restricted choices.
Electricity – you will need to take a two-pin electrical adaptor for electrical appliances
Currency – the lev
Driving – on the right
Climate – it is a changeable but generally temperate climate. Northern Bulgaria is cooler than the south and also has more rain than the regions south of the Balkan mountains. There can be significant amounts of snowfall during the winter. The average temperature in Bulgaria is 27 degrees.
Clothing – pack for the changeable climate and the activities you are planning. Clothes to be layered are a good idea, don’t forget to cover up shoulders and bare legs if you visit a religious site.
Where to go?
For history and culture – for archaeology buffs – the Valley of the Thracian Kings is a dream excursion. Extraordinary finds are still being made – tombs decorated with frescoes, golden artefacts and bas-reliefs and some of the tombs are open to the public.
For kids and teens – head to Varna where you can choose from the dolphinarium, the exotic zoo or the aquarium
Relaxation – An unspoilt coastal resort, Obzor has a far-reaching cultural history and an enviable 6km long sandy beach. If you fancy exploring further afield, the quaint village of Emona is nearby and is known for being the birthplace of the Thracian King Rez.
Action – Why not dust off the cobwebs by mountain biking in the National Park of the Rila Mountains - steep trails, off road opportunities and stunning scenery combine to create an exhilarating ride for the experienced rider. Use a tour guide or pick up a route guide and go solo.
Nightlife – the coastal resort of Sunny Beach is on the list of livelier nights out. Choose from karaoke bars, cocktail bars, disco bars or an English pub! There are a variety of nightclubs, many staying open all night in high season.