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    Good to know

    Sofia – a brief overview

    Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has a population of around 1.2 million, making it the country’s largest city and also its political, economic and cultural center. The history of Sofia, one of the oldest settlements in Europe, goes back 7000 years, and the city is crammed with traces of Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times.
    Present-day Sofia is a city of contrasts, where bleak housing blocks and brutalist edifices built under communist rule rub shoulders with historic cultural landmarks, such as Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Rotunda of St. George, and Boyana Church which is one of Bulgaria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has frescoes dating back to the 13th century.

    Sofia is a lively city of great charm. It also has an outstanding skill for improvisation and adaptation, as can be seen in the many street stalls and mini kiosks that operate out of basements. These “knee shops” emerged after the fall of communism and they serve customers at knee-level, hence the name. People here know how to help themselves – and how to have fun: The city’s cultural program and nightlife are incredibly varied, leisure time is spent in one of the many parks or on an excursion to the nearby Vitosha Mountain from which on a clear day you can see all the way to the Rila and Balkan Mountains. In winter, it is one of Bulgaria’s most popular ski areas.

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    Top 10 sights in Sofia

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    Sofia, Bulgaria, Europe, ,Lufthansa, Travel Guide
    The monumental Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is richly decorated with frescoes and icons

    Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

    Ploštad Alexander Nevski
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359-2/98 81 704
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0700-1800

    The Bulgarian-Orthodox cathedral dominates Sofia’s skyline and is its main landmark. It was built to honor the Russian tsar Alexander II, whose army liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878.

    Ivan Vazov National Theatre

    Deacon Ignatius' 5
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Various

    This neoclassical theatre is one of the finest buildings in the city, and enjoys an impressive setting opposite the City Gardens. It opened in 1907 and was designed by the Viennese architects Hellmer and Fellner.

    Mount Vitosha

    Mount Vitosha
    Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Mount Vitosha rises to 2,300m, yet is only six km from the city center and is visible from most parts of the city. It is popular with hikers in summer, and transforms into a ski resort in winter.

    Boyana Church

    ul. Boyansko Ezero 1-3
    1616 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: (02) 959 0939
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0930-1730 (Apr-Oct)
    0930-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    This Orthodox church is situated in Boyana, a southern suburb on the slopes of Mount Vitosha. Its origins go back to the 10th century and it is decorated with 13th-century frescoes.

    National Museum of History

    ul. Vitoshko Lale 16
    1618 Sofia
    Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0930-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    0900-1730 (Nov-Mar)

    This monolithic concrete building, located south of the city center, was formerly a palace for party cadres. Now, it tells the nation’s history from the early beginnings to the present day.

    National Museum of Military History

    ul. Cherkovna 92
    1505 Sofia
    Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Sun 1000-1800

    In three permanent exhibitions, this museum displays more than a million exhibits from Bulgarian and European military history, including artillery weapons, aviation and marine technology, uniforms and medals.

    St George Rotunda

    5 Sveta Nedelya Square
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Various

    This fourth century round church is the oldest building in Sofia. It is located in the courtyard of the Presidency and is still used as an Orthodox church.

    National Institute of Archaeology & Museum

    2 Saborna Str.
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    1000-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    This museum covers the history of all the tribes and peoples who have occupied what is now Bulgaria. The oldest exhibits are believed to be around 1.4 million years old. The highlights of the collection include a copy of the Madara Horseman, a medieval stone frieze, a golden mask and parts of a Thracian statue.

    .

    St Sofia Church

    Ulitsa Paris 2
    Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0700-1900 (Apr-Oct)
    0700-1800 (Nov-Mar)

    The Church of Saint Sofia was built in the sixth century in what was then the highest spot in the settlement. The classic Byzantine place of worship was turned into a mosque under Ottoman rule, but no structural modifications were made to the original building.

    Ethnographic Institute with Museum

    1, Prince Alexander I Sqr
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1000-1730

    Located in a former royal palace, this museum celebrates Bulgaria’s cultural heritage. It explains Bulgarian customs and festivals, and displays embroideries and woodcarvings from several centuries, including folk woodwork and ecclesiastical carvings.

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    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    For many years, holidaymakers flocked to the Black Sea coastal resorts of Bulgaria, like Varna, mainly on account of the cheap prices. In recent years, though, there has been a change, and increasing numbers of visitors are discovering the country’s attractive mountains and countryside.

    Up and coming regions include Mount Vitosha, just outside Sofia, the Rila Mountains and the Balkan Mountains. A special highlight is a visit to the Valley of the Roses between Kàrlovo and Kazanlak, where from mid-May to the beginning of July millions of roses bloom and are used to produce Bulgaria’s famous rose oil.

    Geography

    Bulgaria is situated in Eastern Europe and bordered to the north by the River Danube and Romania, to the east by the Black Sea, to the south by Turkey and Greece, and to the west by Serbia and North Macedonia.

    The Balkan Mountains cross the country all the way to the golden beaches of the Black Sea. Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 7.1 million (2016)
    Capital: Sofia

    Language

    Bulgarian is the official language.

    Currency

    Lev (BGN; symbol лв) = 100 stotinki. Notes are in denominations of лв100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of лв1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 stotinki.

    Electricity

    220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin.

     

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2019 – December 2020 period.

    2019

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2019
    National Day (Day of Liberation): 3 March 2019
    Orthodox Good Friday: 26 April 2019
    Orthodox Easter Sunday: 28 April 2019
    Orthodox Easter Monday: 29 April 2019
    Labour Day: 1 May 2019
    St George’s Day (Day of Bulgarian Army): 6 May 2019
    St Cyril and Methodius Day (Day of Culture and Literacy): 24 May 2019
    Unification Day: 6 September 2019
    Independence Day: 22 September 2019
    Christmas Eve: 24 December 2019
    Christmas: 25 and 26 December 2019

    2020

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2020
    National Day (Day of Liberation): 3 March 2020
    Orthodox Good Friday: 17 April 2020
    Orthodox Easter Sunday: 19 April 2020
    Orthodox Easter Monday: 20 April 2020
    Labour Day: 1 May 2020
    St George’s Day (Day of Bulgarian Army): 6 May 2020
    St Cyril and Methodius Day (Day of Culture and Literacy): 24 May 2020
    Unification Day: 6 September 2020
    Independence Day: 22 September 2020
    Christmas Eve: 24 December 2020
    Christmas: 25 and 26 December 2020

    All information subject to change.

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    24 hours in Sofia

    ListMap

    Before the country joined the EU in 2007, Bulgaria’s capital Sofia was a bit off the beaten tourist track. Now, though, the city at the foot of the majestic Vitosha Mountain has become a top tip – but without being overrun. With a history going back 7000 years, the city is full of remains of Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman

    times in the form of buildings, monuments and artworks that fascinate culture enthusiasts from all around the world. The charming central parts of the city, built around a century ago, are packed with attractive restaurants and bars.

    The following tips and addresses can be downloaded as an iCalendar file (.ics) and imported into any of the usual calendar programs – experience Sofia for yourself!

    9:00 a.m.: Sense Hotel

    Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard 16
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359-2/44 62 500
    Show on map

    The design hotel is situated on the splendid Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard and is instantly recognizable thanks to its glass facade in which the surrounding historic buildings are reflected. From the rooftop bar on the ninth floor there’s a fabulous view of the golden domes of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The hotel’s interior design is all about clear line and contrasts; the rooms are inviting and comfortable.

    10:00 a.m.: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

    Ploštad Alexander Nevski
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359-2/98 81 704
    Show on map

    In Sofia (nearly) all roads lead to the Bulgarian-Orthodox cathedral, the symbol of Sofia and its main landmark. It was built to honor the Russian tsar Alexander II, whose army liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878. The cathedral’s gigantic domes soar above an elegant interior that is illuminated by gigantic candelabras and features walls covered with frescoes. There’s always something happening on the square in front of the cathedral: farmers’ markets, stalls selling antiques or entertainment courtesy of buskers.

    11:00 a.m.: Soho

    Iskar 4
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel.: +359-877/18 86 88
    Show on map

    If you require a space to work then Soho, the Sofia Holistic Coworking Company, has everything you need. The stylish co-working spaces are equipped with all the latest technology. And that’s only part of what Soho has to offer: you can also catch a concert, a film or an art exhibition here. The cozy garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee and chat. Dogs are welcome.

    01:00 p.m.: Sculpture Park at the Museum of Socialist Art

    Lachezar Stanchev 7
    1756 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel.: +359-2/90 21 862
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue–Sun: 1000–1800

    After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the Bulgarian people spent a good two decades debating what to do with the countless sculptures and artworks created under Socialist rule: to destroy or exhibit them? And if the latter, then how? Finally, the Museum of Socialist Art opened in 2011 as part of the National Gallery. The sculpture park presents more than 70 works from 1944 to 1989, ranging from a modest bust of Che Guevara to several statues of Georgi Dimitrov and monuments to Lenin, including a 45-ton colossus. Special exhibitions are held in an adjacent hall.

    03:00 p.m.: Zhenski Pazar/Ladies’ Market

    Stefan Stambolov Boulevard
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Female farmers from the surrounding area used to come here to sell produce grown on their fields and gardens, hence the name Ladies’ Market. Today, a wider range of goods is available. The recent renovation has diminished the charm of the market slightly, but it’s still a great place to wander around, particularly in the harvest season. The sheer variety of tomatoes is impressive, including sweet oxheart tomatoes that can weigh anything up to half a kilo each. Small kiosks sell Bulgarian crafts and pottery, souvenirs and snacks.

    04:00 p.m.: Stroll through the Crystal Garden

    Corner of Rakovski/Boulevard Tsar Osvoboditel
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    During the Communist era, this was the main meeting place for Bulgarian dissidents, particularly writers, actors and artists. Now, the small park in the city center is popular with the young crowd who meet here to hone their skateboarding skills or chill. The Crystal Café, which gave the park its name, closed down a long time ago, but there are two small bars that serve beer, wine and cocktails.

    05:30 p.m.: Swimming Pool

    Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd. 10
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel.: +35-887/89 52 51
    Show on map

    Exhibition opening times:
    Fri – Sun: 1400- 1900

    Gallery or culture center? In 2014, on the rooftop of a five-storey, 1930s apartment building, Swimming Pool founder Viktoria Draganova turned the rooms around the pool into an arts venue for exhibitions, performances, presentations and debates with Bulgarian and international artists. From the rooftop terrace there is a beautiful view across Sofia. The exhibitions are only open Friday to Sunday.

    08:00 p.m.: Dinner at Talents Restaurant

    Petar Beron 9
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel.: +359-2/42 19 068+359 2 421 90 68
    Show on map

    If you’ve come here looking for traditional Bulgarian cuisine, you’re in for a disappointment, because Talents is a hotbed of experimentation. The restaurant is the training center for the HRC Cookery Academy, which is where the elite chefs of the future learn their skills. Under the watchful eye of a renowned chef, the young cooks learn new culinary techniques and experiment with unusual ingredients. The menu is seasonal and the only rule the young cooks have to abide by is that they must use as many fresh products as possible.

    10:00 p.m.: Drinks at Bar Petak

    Yosif Gurko 21
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel.: +359-893/62 40 62
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily from 1800

    Bar Petak is a veritable institution of Sofia’s nightlife. Although the name translates as “Bar Friday”, it’s open daily and offers a varied program of events. The city’s cool young creatives flock here, and there are concerts, theater performances and film screenings. On party nights you can expect to see and hear the best Bulgarian and international DJs on the club’s two floors; in summer the outdoor area is a popular place to relax.

    These tips and addresses can be downloaded as an iCalendar file (.ics) and imported into any of the usual calendar programs – experience Sofia for yourself!

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    Rose oil for the whole world

    Sheltered from the wind, Rose Valley, 200 kilometers east of Sofia, is a haven for the damask roses that thrive there on fields that stretch for miles. In June and July, the blossoms are harvested and sent to local distilleries, where the viscous rose oil is extracted and then exported all over the world for use in the production of cosmetics. The best place to purchase organic, rose-based cosmetics is in the pretty Rose of Bulgaria store.

    Rose of Bulgaria
    Vitosha Boulevard 10
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria

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    Restaurants in Sofia

    ListMap

    Bulgarian cuisine features elements borrowed from Balkan cooking, such as the generous use of yoghurt and a preference for paprika. Typical Bulgarian specialties include a wide range of different types of sausage, like the caraway-flavored pepper sausage lukanka, and a seemingly endless variety of spirits, with the plum brandy rakiya at the top of the list.

    There are restaurants throughout the city center of Sofia, ranging from simple, rustic mehana taverns all the way to restaurants that serve first-rate gourmet food.

    La Terrazza di Serdica

    Budapeshta Str. 2
    Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 2 810 7799
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    Upmarket Italian and Mediterranean cuisine served in a 5-star hotel.

    L’Etranger

    Ulitsa "Tsar Simeon" 78
    1204 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 2 983 1417
    Show on map

    Price: Luxurious

    Classic French cuisine served in a Parisian-style bistro.

    Hadjidraganov's Cellars

    Hristo Belchev Str. 18
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 2 981 81 48
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A traditional mehana tavern with rough stone walls and wooden barrels decorating the walls. The tavern is renowned for its grilled meat dishes.

    Lavanda

    Ulitsa Tsar Shishman 12
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 88 224 9740 ‎
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    If you prefer European cooking, then this is place for you. To get to the restaurant, walk through the garden and head upstairs.

    Catch’ A Mak

    Ulitsa Neofit Rilski 62
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 89 012 1012
    Show on map

    Price: Budget

    International dishes served in an unpretentious atmosphere.

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    Hotels in Sofia

    ListMap

    There is a wide choice of hotels in Sofia, covering every category and comfort level. The prices are generally low by European standards.

    For a central location, pick a hotel close to the cathedral, where many hotels are located in beautiful art nouveau buildings.

    Arena di Serdica

    Budapeshta St. 2
    Sofia, Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    This luxury hotel offers opulent elegance. It was built on the spot where the Roman theater in ancient Serdica once stood, and remains of the old ruins can be seen in the hotel lobby.

    Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Sofia

    Narodno-Sabranie-Platz 4
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Category: Luxurious

    Large central luxury chain hotel, offering all modern conveniences; located close to the cathedral.

    Crystal Palace Boutique Hotel

    ul. Shipka 14
    1504 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Chic design hotel with an unbeatable central location.

    Magic Castle

    Cherni Vruh Boulevard 29
    1421 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Situated a little south of the city center, this small owner-managed hotel is right next to the “European Union” metro station. It offers all modern amenities and, if you’re lucky, the owner will put on an impromptu magic show in the restaurant.

     

     

    Scotty’s Boutique

    Ekzarh Yosif Str, 11
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Category: Budget

    Affordable boutique hotel with individually furnished rooms named after the world’s major cities.

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    Nightlife in Sofia

    ListMap

    Whoever said that you will find a bar on every corner in Sofia was absolutely right! There are also plenty of other places to have a good time. Many clubs are located in the city’s big hotels.

    If you want to drift and explore the city’s exciting nightlife, the best place to start is Ulitsa Angel Kanchev, where there are numerous bars, pubs and cafés.

    Sense Hotel Rooftop Bar

    Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard 16
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359-2/44 62 500
    Show on map

    Offering great views of the city, this is the perfect place for an alfresco aperitif.

    Dada Cultural Bar

    Ulitsa Georgi Benkovski 10
    Sofia
    Bulgaria‎
    Tel: +359 87 706 2455
    Show on map

    Small arty bar that also puts on regular concerts and exhibitions. The paintings on the walls are for sale.

    Cosmo Club

    Positano 8
    Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 89 349 1500
    Show on map

    Hip dance club that regularly hosts big-name DJs.

    Memento Bar

    Ulitsa Georgi. S. Rakovski 106
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria
    Tel: +359 88 242 2928
    Show on map

    Coffee bar by day, this transforms into a cocktail lounge and music club most evenings.

    Sofia National Opera and Ballet

    30 Dondukov Blvd, ulitsa "Vrabcha"
    1000 Sofia
    Bulgaria

    Show on map

    Excellent opera and ballet performances. Many shows are suitable for non-Bulgarian speaking audiences.

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    Calendar of events

    Liberation Day

    March 3, 2020

    Venue: everywhere in Sofia

    This national holiday is celebrated across Bulgaria to commemorate the liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878. The day is marked with celebrations all over the country, and particularly in the capital city.

    Sofia International Film Festival

    March 2020

    Venue: selected cinemas in Sofia

    This annual festival has taken place since 1997. The program presents international films and a competition for the best debut film was added in 2003.

    Orthodox Easter

    April 19, 2020

     

    Venue: Orthodox churches throughout Bulgaria

    Easter is the most important festival in the Bulgarian-Orthodox ecclesiastical year, and the celebrations are suitably lavish with midnight masses and processions.

    St George's Day

    May 6, 2020

     

    Venue: Throughout Sofia

    This public holiday is the Orthodox festival to celebrate Saint George; it is also the Bulgarian Armed Forces Day.

    Bulgarian Culture and Slavonic Script Day

    May 24, 2020

    Venue: Sofia National Library

    National holiday honoring the Saints Cyril and Methodius who are credited with inventing the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet. To mark this day, parades and an official ceremony are held in front of their statues outside the National Library.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

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    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone
    Country code: +359

    Mobile telephony and Internet
    Since June 2017, EU citizens traveling within the EU, and also in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have been able to use their cell phones and surf the Net without incurring any extra charges: In other words, customers pay the same price for phone calls, text messages and data volume as they do at home. Restrictions do apply to the constant use of SIM cards abroad, however, and caps may be set on data packages. For full details, contact your mobile telephony provider in your country. Travelers using a SIM card from a non-EU state do not benefit from the new arrangement.

    Free Internet access via Wi-Fi is possible in many busy tourist spots. When using public Wi-Fi networks, it is a wise precaution to ensure encryption of all passwords, credit card details and banking TANs entered. Use of a VPN app or security software to check the safety of a hotspot is recommended.

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    Shopping in Sofia

    Key Areas

    Sofia’s main shopping drag is pedestrianised Vitosha Boulevard. The most famous department store is TZUM (blvd. Knyaginya Мaria Luiza 2), first opened in 1956 and a classic example of Soviet architecture. Ulitsa Shishman is a small street filled with trendy clothes outlets, jewellery shops, and other boutiques.

    Markets

    Sofia’s neo-Renaissance covered Market Hall (blvd. Maria Louise 24), open Mon-Fri, first opened in 1911 and remains the

    place to come for food and everyday items. On the ground floor are food stalls; above these are stalls selling clothing and accessories.

    Shopping Centres

    Opened in 2006, City Center Sofia (blvd. Arsenalski 2) was the city’s first modern shopping mall, with more than 100 stores and restaurants, and a cinema multiplex. Seven other malls have opened since, each one bigger than the last. Serdika Center (blvd. Sitnyakovo 48) is the largest central option, housing over 200 outlets.

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    Best time to visit

    Today: Sunday, 15.09.2019 12:00 UTC

    sunny

    temperature


    77°F

    wind direction

    north

    wind speed

    4.375 mph

    7 days forecast

    Monday

    16.09.2019

    81°F / 52°F

    Tuesday

    17.09.2019

    84°F / 54°F

    Wednesday

    18.09.2019

    75°F / 57°F

    Thursday

    19.09.2019

    63°F / 48°F

    Friday

    20.09.2019

    68°F / 50°F

    Saturday

    21.09.2019

    70°F / 48°F

    Sunday

    22.09.2019

    73°F / 50°F

    Climate & best time to visit Bulgaria

    Summers are warm with some rainfall; winters are cold with a good amount of snow. The valleys of the Maritsa and Struma rivers in the south are influenced by the Mediterranean climate; the north of the country has a continental climate.

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    60.8 °F

    -23.8 °F

    68 °F

    -14.8 °F

    86 °F

    -0.4 °F

    82.40000000000001 °F

    14 °F

    89.59999999999999 °F

    28.4 °F

    93.2 °F

    41 °F

    100.4 °F

    41 °F

    98.59999999999999 °F

    41 °F

    98.59999999999999 °F

    28.4 °F

    91.40000000000001 °F

    21.2 °F

    75.2 °F

    14 °F

    68 °F

    -5.8 °F

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    31 mm

    34 mm

    37 mm

    49 mm

    78 mm

    75 mm

    56 mm

    49 mm

    38 mm

    35 mm

    53 mm

    44 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    2 h

    3 h

    4 h

    5 h

    6 h

    7 h

    8 h

    8 h

    7 h

    5 h

    2 h

    2 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    82 %

    79 %

    72 %

    65 %

    67 %

    68 %

    64 %

    62 %

    68 %

    77 %

    80 %

    84 %

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute maxØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan60.8 °F-23.8 °F33.8 °F24.8 °F82 %31 mm72.4 h
    Feb68 °F-14.8 °F39.2 °F28.4 °F79 %34 mm63.0 h
    Mar86 °F-0.4 °F48.2 °F32 °F72 %37 mm64.2 h
    Apr82.4 °F14 °F60.8 °F41 °F65 %49 mm95.7 h
    May89.6 °F28.4 °F68 °F50 °F67 %78 mm116.6 h
    Jun93.2 °F41 °F75.2 °F55.4 °F68 %75 mm107.9 h
    Jul100.4 °F41 °F78.8 °F59 °F64 %56 mm88.5 h
    Aug98.6 °F41 °F78.8 °F59 °F62 %49 mm58.1 h
    Sep98.6 °F28.4 °F71.6 °F51.8 °F68 %38 mm57.4 h
    Oct91.4 °F21.2 °F60.8 °F42.8 °F77 %35 mm65.3 h
    Nov75.2 °F14 °F48.2 °F35.6 °F80 %53 mm72.9 h
    Dec68 °F-5.8 °F37.4 °F28.4 °F84 %44 mm72.2 h
    year100.4 °F-23.8 °F59 °F41 °F72 %579 mm885.4 h

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    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre

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    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    General info: In Bulgaria a nod of the head means ‘No’ and a shake means ‘Yes’.

    Traveller etiquette

    Shaking hands is the customary way to greet acquaintances, while friends will exchange a kiss on the cheek and men will usually embrace. The correct address is Gospodin (Mr), Gospozha (Mrs) or Gospozhitsa (Miss) followed by the person’s last name. First names can be used in more casual meetings.

    Bulgarians are very hospitable, and hosts always appreciate a gift or small souvenir; a small gift for their children is always welcome. However, giving money is frowned upon.

    If you are invited to a meal, it is polite to leave a morsel on your plate, as the host may otherwise think that you have not been offered enough to eat.

    Clothes

    Smart leisure clothes are generally worn; evening dress is only expected for special occasions. Swimwear should only be worn on the beach.

    Taking photos

    Always ask for permission before taking anyone’s photo. Photography is permitted in many mosques, but it is advisable to ask beforehand. Photography is not permitted in museums and churches, and military installations must not be photographed.

    Smoking

    Smoking has been banned in restaurants and cafes since June 1, 2012.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know

    Health

    Food & Drink

    On the whole, tap water is chlorinated and relatively clean, however, minor stomach complaints may be experienced. It is advisable to drink bottled water for the first few weeks; this is widely available. When buying bottled water, ensure that the original packaging has not been damaged or opened. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are generally safe, as are local meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables.

    Other Risks

    Ticks are active during April to October, predominantly in river plains and forest areas in some parts of Bulgaria. Protect against Lyme disease by wearing clothing that covers the skin and applying an insect repellent. If you are planning to be outside for either professional or leisure purposes between April and October in endemic areas with a heightened tick risk, it is highly recommended that you vaccinate against TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis). This tick-borne disease is transmitted with the tick bite. If you have been bitten by a tick, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

    There is an infection risk for hepatitis A and hepatitis B across Bulgaria. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended. If you are planning to stay longer, backpacking or staying outside the main tourist centers, vaccination against hepatitis B is also recommended. Care should also be taken to ensure meticulous food and drinking water hygiene.

    Rabies is endemic, and the main carriers are dogs, cats, forest animals and bats. Vaccination is recommended for backpackers, children, occupational risk groups and if you are planning to stay in the country for a longer period and anticipate handling of animals. If you have been bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

    There have been regional outbreaks of measles throughout Bulgaria, especially in the areas Pazardzhik, Vratsa and Plovdiv. Travellers should check that they have been vaccinated and should boost their immunization if necessary.

    Flight and accommodation