Bulgaria Fast Facts

Bulgaria is located on the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Turkey. The varied and beautiful country offers holidaymakers in Europe very good value for money and has both great beaches and excellent ski areas. See ANDYEDUCATION for education in Bulgaria.

Capital City Sofia
Size 110.994 km²
Resident 7.200.000
Official Language Bulgarian
Currency Lew
Time Zone UTC+2 / UTC+3
Telephone Area Code +359

Fast facts to know

  • Surprisingly versatile holiday destination, both beaches for bathing holidaymakers and great ski areas lure.
  • Increased crime in the resort centers, possible difficulties in exchanging money.
  • Bulgaria was the first country in the European Union to use the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • Coastal area of ​​Bulgaria along its entire length (378 kilometers) a stronghold for bathing vacationers.
  • In terms of natural and cultural geography, it is considered a transitional country between the Orient and Europe.
  • Has 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Rila Monastery, Nessebar, Kazanlak Tomb, Sveshtari Thracian Tomb, Madara Horseman, Boyana Church, Ivanovo Cave Monastery, Pirin National Park, Srebarna Nature Reserve).
  • Music plays an important role in Bulgaria.
  • The downside is high unemployment, a lack of sales markets, significant environmental pollution and a huge informal economy.
  • The Valley of the Roses is a major growing area for rose blossoms worldwide.
  • Highly praised Bulgarian conviviality and hospitality.
  • The three and a half kilometer long and up to one hundred meter wide Zlatni Pjassazi (Golden Sands) has fine, shimmering golden sand and is located 16 kilometers north-east of the city of Varna.

Exciting cities in Bulgaria

  • Sofia
  • Burgas
  • Nessebar
  • Sozopol
  • Velingrad

History of Bulgaria

  • Finds of the Karanowo cultures from the Neolithic period.
  • Ruled by Thracians in Bronze Age.
  • 29 B.C. BC Conquest by the Romans.
  • 632 Foundation of the Greater Bulgarian Empire.
  • Between 1393 and 1396 beginning of 500 years of Ottoman rule.
  • After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878, the country was divided into the Principality of Bulgaria and the Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia.
  • 1879 First attempt at unification under Prince Alexander I.
  • 1908 Detachment from the Ottoman Empire and founding of the Tsardom of Bulgaria.
  • Occupation by the Russians in WW2.
  • Bulgaria becomes a member of the Warsaw Pact.
  • 1990 End of the communist era.

Climate & travel weather in Bulgaria

  • North: continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
  • Mariza Plain: Maritime influences with a moderate climate and lots of rain in spring.
  • Black Sea Coast : North-Mediterranean climate with rainy winters, warm summers and mild autumns.
  • Mountain regions: cold continental influences and high alpine climate.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Beach holiday: July & August
    • City breaks: April, May, September, October
    • Mountain hikes: June – August
    • Winter holiday: January – March

Ideas for trips in Bulgaria

  • Archaeological Museum and the National History Museum in Sofia.
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia.
  • Excursion by boat to the island of “Saint Anastasia”.
  • Rila Orthodox Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  • Hikes in the northern Balkan mountains with their beautiful landscapes.
  • Seaside resort of Golden Sands on the Black Sea.
  • Nessebr (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  • Mineralquellen in den Rhodopen.
  • Boat trip in the scenic Ropotamo estuary.
  • Park of Dancing Bears in Belitza.

Eating & drinking in Bulgaria

  • Fruit and vegetables play an important role.
  • Beans as a traditionally important ingredient.
  • Local yoghurt and milk products are very popular.
  • Fried or grilled meat dishes are served with pleasure.
  • Lots of fresh fish on the Black Sea coast.
  • Breakfast is rather sparse.
  • A schnapps is often drunk as an aperitif before lunch.
  • Popular drink: rakia.
  • Dessert often very sweet.
  • Typical dishes:
    • Bob chorba (bean soup; national dish)
    • Shopskasalat (salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, spices, feta cheese)
    • Ovcarska salata (mixed salad with olives, feta cheese and ham)
    • Tarator (cold soup)
    • Imam Bajalda (Stuffed Eggplant)
    • Baniza (puff pastry filled with feta cheese)
    • Piperki Palneni (stuffed Paprika)
    • Mussaka (potato, minced meat, eggplant, egg casserole)
    • Kebapcheta (minced meat rolls)
    • Supa Topcheta (Meatball Soup)
    • Sirene po schopski (Schopen-style baked cheese)
    • Kawarma (traditional clay pot dish with meat and vegetables)
    • Skumrija (grilled mackerel)
    • Güvetsch (meat with vegetables stewed in a clay pot)
    • Palneni Tschuschki (hearty stuffed peppers)
    • Mekiza (empty donut sprinkled with powdered sugar or feta cheese)
    • Palacinka (pancakes filled with chocolate or jam)

Particularly scenic

  • Rila Mountains with beautiful fauna and flora.
  • Fine sandy beaches of the Black Sea coast.
  • Balkan Mountains and Rhodopes.
  • Ropotamo Nature Reserve.
  • Pyramids of Stob.
  • Stone mushrooms near Beli Plast village.

Bulgaria Fast Facts