Bulgaria: Tourism Information

Last updated Jan 2015

Before you visit Sofia, you'll need to know the basics. Here are some useful facts and tips about traveling in Bulgaria to help you plan your trip.


SOFIA IS THE CAPITAL OF BULGARIA

Bulgaria is a country of 7.2 million people with a capital Sofia (1.2 million inhabitants). Sofia is the political, economic and cultural capital of Bulgaria and is the biggest city in the country. 


HISTORY OF SOFIA

The history of the city stretches back millennia.

You can visit the oldest surviving building in Sofia, the St George Rotunda (4th century) and the 6th century century St Sofia Basilica church

Read more about the history of Sofia.


BULGARIAN CURRENCY 

The Bulgarian lev is the only legal currency in the country. The lev is fixed to the Euro at €1.85 for 1 lev.

Read about exchanging money, using ATMs, credit cards and how much do things cost in Sofia.


BULGARIAN LANGUAGE AND ALPHABET

The official language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian (a south Slavic language) written in the Cyrillic alphabet. 

Learn some useful Bulgarian phrases. 


GETTING BY WITH ENGLISH IN BULGARIA

English is the most popular foreign language with Bulgarians under the age of 40 and you will not have any problems to get by with English in Sofia or any other bigger Bulgarian city. 

Most restaurants have English menus and the wait staff speaks English. 

The train and bus stations is where you might have some problems, so we would recommend being able to read Cyrillic.

Here, as anywhere, taking the time to learn how to say “hallo” and “thank you” in the local language is common courtesy.


WEATHER AND CLIMATE IN BULGARIA

Temperate climate with 4 seasons, hot summers and cold, snowy winters.

When is the best time to visit Sofia?


TIME ZONE IN BULGARIA

Bulgaria is two hours ahead of GMT and one hour ahead of most European countries. 

Daylight saving time is observed between March and October.


BUSINESS HOURS IN BULGARIA

Many supermarkets and restaurants are open 24/7. So are some of the pharmacies.

Banks

Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5 pm (with some branches staying open until 7 pm)
Bank offices in shopping malls are open until 10 pm Mon to Sun.

Shops

Mon – Sat: 10 am – 7 or 8 pm (no lunch break)
Sun:  Most shops close early.

Shopping Malls

10 am - 10 pm Mon to Sun.

Open-Air Markets

Close before dark; Saturday is the busiest market day.


OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS IN BULGARIA

January 1 – New Year’s Day
March 3 – National Holiday /Bulgaria’s Independence from the Ottoman Empire/
Easter Holidays– 3 days /Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday/ according to the Orthodox calendar
May 1– Labor and International Worker’s Solidarity Day
May 6 –St. George’s Day (Gergiovden ), and the Bulgarian Army’s Day
May 24 – Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and the Slavic Script 
September 6 - Unification Day
September 22 – Independence Day
November 1 – Day of the Bulgarian National Revival Leaders (for educational institutions only)
December 24- Christmas Eve
December
25, 26 - Christmas Days

Find out about official holidays in 2015, working Saturdays and more.


ELECTRICAL PLUG SOCKETS IN BULGARIA

Voltage: 220-240 V, 50 Hz (same as the rest of continental Europe)

Socket type: The plugs used in Bulgaria are europlug /schuko with two round pins.


Electrical power outlet used in Bulgaria


Adaptors/transformers are needed for appliances made for countries outside the EU.

Some hotels might offer an adaptor but it is best to carry your own.

Adaptors are hard to find in Bulgaria outside the big electronic stores like Technopolis and Techno market.

An adaptor costs approx. 10 lv / €5.


SPEED LIMIT IN BULGARIA

In towns and villages - 50 km/h 
Outside towns and villages - 90 km/h
Motorway - 130 km/h (some newer motorways 140 km/h)


ROAD TAXES IN BULGARIA

Vignette stickers are required for all vehicles driving outside cities. Vignette stickers (vinetka) are sold at all major gas stations and post offices in the country. 

FInd out all about driving in Bulgaria.

 

Last updated Jan 2015
 
   
resized/Nevski Cathedral doorknobs 2 600x200
resized/Nevski Cathedral doorknobs 2 600x200
Nevski Cathedral doorknobs 2
Nevski Cathedral doorknobs 2