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
Read more about the history of Sofia.
The Bulgarian lev is the only legal currency in the country. The lev is fixed to the Euro at €1.85 for 1 lev.
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.
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.
Mon – Sat: 10 am – 7 or 8 pm (no lunch break)
Sun: Most shops close early.
10 am - 10 pm Mon to Sun.
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.