Printable travel guide for Bulgaria
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Bulgaria that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Bulgaria Page.

Basic Facts

Official Country Name:Republic Bulgaria
Capital: Sofia
Population:8,3million
Telephone Code:++359
Time Zone:GMT+2
Area:110912 sq km
Language(s):Bulgarian
Ethnic Groups: Bulgarian, Turkish, Gypsi, Jewish, Armenian
Highest Mountain:Rila-peak Musala
President/Head of State:Georgi Parvanov
Government: NDSV+ BSP + DPS
Currency:Leva
Exchange Rate: 1 Euro = 1.95583 Lv
Health Risks:
Electricity:220V,50Hz
Weights & Measures: gram, meter
Country Name in other languages:Bulharska; Bulgarije

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Maps

Links to the online maps:
  • www.bgmaps.com - Bulgarian maps! You can search street/address, wilage or route!!
  • www.topomaps.info - Here you can find free GPS topo maps of Bulgaria for Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers and online topographic map of Bulgaria!

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Trasportation inside the country.

Hitch-hiking

Possible, but only few drivers know English or other forign language. If you want to hitchhiking you need phrase-book and a Bulgarian map to show were you want to go.
The good thing is that there's nowhere forbidden zone for hitch-hiking - you can wave your thumb whenever you want.
But like in the other parts of the world the highways is not free for the walkers.

Using a boards with names of the cities is not common, also HH on a gaz stations but you can give it a try. In the small villages it goes better because there's no regular transport and the locals know that.

A personal advice - don't show your mobile or nice goods not because they might rob you but because the people over there are pretty poor and if the driver does you a favour by picking you up from the street thinking you might not have money, maybe he doesn't have even a mobile, not to mention about expensive profi-cameras.

Bus and train

The biggest bus station in Sofia for local travel is situated next to the main Railway station.
The schedules you can find at www.avtogari.info

Train is another option, but the routes Sofia-Bourgas and Sofia-Varna are usually overcrowded between 1 July and 1 September so it's better to buy a reserved seat, because it's not very pleasant to stand for 7-8 hours.

If you came by car and want to travel across the country this way there are 2 major highways, no tax yet (as far as I know), all the smaller roads in quite bad shape.
Plenty of gas stations in and around the big cities and towns, not so many on the secondary roads, but anyway to find oil is not a problem.

NB! Never take taxi-cab from the train/busstation - they will over-overcharge you! The rate per km is written on boards inside or outside the taxi. You can negotiate for the amount, otherwise they might overcharge you once they find out you're foreigner.

Taxi

  • Sofia: "OK taxi" tell: 02-973-21-21, 089/973-21-21;
  • Plovdiv: "Korona taxi", tell: 032-61-82;
  • Varna: "Phoenix taxi", tell: 052-388-111;

Another thing when you travel:

Be aware of pickpockets and wear your money close to your body.
Transportation by trains and buses is relatively cheap, but in the summer period you should buy tickets for buses few days earlier or reserve via phone.

Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest.

Hostels

Plovdiv

Hikers hostel - Plovdiv - Saborna Str. 53 - this street is located in the old town in Plovdiv. phone:+359 885 194 553; e-mail: plovdiv@hikers-hostel.org; site: www.hikers-hostel.org/; skype: hikers hostel plovidv

Varna

In Varna you can stay at FLAG VARNA HOSTEL Opalchenska 25 Str., tell. +359 52 64-88-77, e-mail flagvarna@yahoo.com They charge 10 euro per night. You get free laundry service, lockers, linen. It's situated in the centre area, English speaking personal.

Veliko Tarnovo

Hikers hostel - Veliko Tyrnovo - Rezervoarska Str. 91. phones: +359 889 691 661; e-mail: info@hikers-hostel.org; site: www.hikers-hostel.org/; skype: Hikers Hostel VT

Hotels

Camping

A lots of campings you can find summer in our south Black see coast.
My leader is camping KAVATSI and other campings near to Sozopol - 41 km. south-east from Burgas.

Other Options

A great advantage for this wild country is that the wild camping is allowed! Just make sure you're in a mountain area and you won't put up your tent in some preserved place. If you decide to wildcamp, be aware of the fact that many snakes appeared in the last few years so avoid hot spots or stones:o)

Other options are the mountain huts/chalets - they charge less but don't expect hot water and warm food everywhere, clean sheets is also hard to find, so it's up to you to bring your sleeping bag.

Bulgaria Accommodation Guide - http://www.inn26.bg

Camping

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants

Sofia

TROPS HOUSE -traditional Bulgarian meals
HAPPY BAR&GRILL - mostly chicken dishes but loads of stuff for vegetarians as well. Reccomended for guys - the waitresses wear mini-skirts;o)

Varna

GODZILA - Great huge sallads, tasty pizza's, pasta, potatoe-meals, alcohol and desserts for low prices! Be aware - it's always overcrowded there so you might have to wait a bit for a place or to you'll have share a table with other people.p>

Supermarkets

www.piccadilly.bg
www.billa.bg
www.ff-bg.com
besides these 3 big chains there is planty of little shops everywhere, but it's advisable if you're going to buy an alcohol to trust only the supermarkets.

Street Food

It's very, very, very cheap -you can eat 'gevrek' for 10 cents!!! You'll see Mc Donalds and KFC everywhere, but don't miss to try our traditional Bg street food - there are small bakeries here and there where you can find traditional stuff like 'banitza' and other doughy things, filled in with white cheese, meat or jam . The quality vary for every bakery.
There are also DUNNERS and HAMURGERS (huge variety!) which are kind of international food.

Local Specialties

Tripe soup - 'shkembe chorba' whit lot of chillis and garlic is the best way to become sober in the morning after party. You can find it in most of the restaurants and Fast Food diners.
If you go to the RODOPI mountains , don't miss to try 'patatnik' - made of potatoes and 'kavarma' - contains some meat. Smolyan region is well-known with it's tasty potatoes and big beans - 'smylyanski bob'.

Money and Costs

National currency - lev.

1 EUR - 2 leva

If you can change your money in the bank office not in the Exchange offices (CHANGE) at the street.
At this moment Exchange offices are the legitimate way to cheat!!

Bulgaria is cheap for eating and drinking in restaurants and pubs.

  • One beer is around 0.70 EUR,
  • hard alcohol - 0,1 dcl is 0.70 EUR on the average.

Food - you can eat pretty much for 2-3 EUR. It would be cheaper of course if you buy food in the markets and prepare it yourself, but don't miss to visit some restaurant and try our national Bulgarian food - order a Rakiya drink and some Shopska salad.

Have some cash! Your cards won't be accepted everywhere!!!

Visa and Documents and Embassies

see the link:Bulgarian embassies abroad

see the link:Foreign Embassies in Bulgaria

No visa is required for travel up to 30 days if you are a citizen of the European Union or the United States. For all other countries, please visit the Web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Borders and Customs

When you travel around in Bulgaria you should get a registration card at every hotel where you stay. If you only stay at hc-members you should register at the police together with your host. At the border you have to show these registation cards. If you do not have them, you might pay a penalty, but I do not know anyone who was forced to pay this penalty. [ifrost]
You can always ask at the border, but usually they are more strict at the airports, the others do not care.

Post and Communications and Internet

Post

In every town and some of the small vilages!

Telephone

You can make international phonecalls in the phonebooths situated usually in the central area of the cities. There is a big board with the prices per minute (not everywhere). It's VOIP connection so not always best quallity but much more cheaper then calling from the post office.

Fax

In the post offices.

Internet Access

Internet cafe's you can find everywhere. It is cheap - prices vary from 1.50 lv to 0.70 lv per hour. There are also 'night-offers'- you stay for whole the night, for example from 00.00h untill 8.00h in the morning and you pay 3-4 lv. It's a good option if you're homeless in the big city;o)

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas...

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Bulgariatek aka Teknival - 15th August south of Burgas. This is an underground techno party organized by some checzh soundsystems.

Climate and When to Go

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

http://bluelink.net/en/index.shtml - civil environmental gateway to Bulgaria

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

There are two things you must be aware of (as well as the Bulgarians themselves) :
1. The taxi-cabs, especially those who are waiting on th estations airports etc... - always try to negotiate!
2. Change bureaus - the most secure way to exchange money is to do it in the banks. Using PIN should be done very carefully. All kind of street deals should be avoided however 'great' and 'safe' they may look like.

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

Could not fit it into any of the categories above? Put it here...:-)

External Links

You may surf in:

And here some online maps:

  • www.bgmaps.com - Bulgarian maps! You can search street/address, wilage or route!!
  • www.topomaps.info - Here you can find free GPS topo maps of Bulgaria for Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers and online topographic map of Bulgaria!

Offtopic Messages

Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club (but related to the country). Do you need a visa invitation? Looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent? Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly!
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