Bulgaria Area Guide

Bulgaria is a stunning and interesting place to visit. It is a small country with an ancient culture, scenic beauty and friendly people who are warm and hospitable. Here you can learn something about the country and some travel information to help you on your way.


Stunning mountain landscapes combined with golden sandy beaches make Bulgaria ideal for tourism and it is fast becoming a genuine resort paradise offering year round opportunities. The Black Sea Coast on its Eastern border is famous for fine sandy beaches and the ideal summer temperatures of both water and air, making it a perfect summer resort, while the mountain areas offer excellent winter sports facilities, including skiing. The capital city of Sofia is an interesting, vibrant city steeped in history and attracts many tourists year round, looking to enjoy city life, including the latest designer stores along with extensive dining and entertainment outlets.


Bulgaria is divided into twenty eight provinces and lies in South Eastern Europe, occupying the north eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. In the east, it borders the Black Sea with Romania to the north separated by the Danube River. Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are to the west and to the south are Greece and Turkey. The capital city of Bulgaria is Sofia. Bulgaria has a population of 7,450,349 (July 2005) and consists of 110,910 sq km of which 110,550 sq km is land and 360 sq km is water, with 354 km of coastline. The terrain is mainly mountainous with lowland in the north and southeast with the lowest point being the Black Sea at 0 metres and the highest point being Musala at 2,925 metres. Bulgaria is divided into 28 provinces.


There is something for everyone in Bulgaria. For those who like active holidays, there is swimming, skiing, riding, climbing, hunting, fishing, boating and so on. While if you prefer relaxing holidays there are sunny beaches, healing spas, monasteries, churches and interesting towns and villages.


It would be a shame to leave Bulgaria without exploring its amazing nature, ancient culture and endless beaches. There are high mountains with marvellous gorges and caves, clear fishing lakes and rivers, wide valleys and healing springs. The people are extremely friendly and the mouth-watering cuisine and wines should not be missed.


Just over 40% of the country is arable land with the main agricultural products being vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers and sugar beet. Despite its numerous tourist attractions Bulgaria is a poor country and many people live below the poverty line. The villagers mainly live on what they raise and preserve which is almost everything, even meat.


In 2007, Bulgaria joined the EU and today, after extensive harmonization with EU legislation, investment property potential is very attractive to foreign investors.

The History of Bulgaria

A Central Asian Turkic tribe called The Bulgars merged with the local Slavic population in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian State. In the following centuries Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the Ottoman Turks overran the country. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1989, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. Today, reforms and democratisation keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into the EU. The country joined NATO in 2004.


Travel to Bulgaria


Bulgaria is situated at a crossroads between Europe and Asia and is easily accessible by road, river and sea transport from a large group of countries. There are 4 international airports at Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas with regular flights from many local UK, European and worldwide airports.


Medical, Water and Vaccinations


A UK passport and medical card number plus an E111 is required to receive medical care in Bulgaria. Hospital treatment and other medical and dental treatment is usually free but payment will have to be made for medicines supplied by the public pharmacy. Bulgaria has put major reforms into place within its Health Service to conform with EU regulations.
Drinking water in major towns is generally safe, though it may be wise to drink bottled water in more rural areas.


No vaccinations are required for travellers to Bulgaria from EU countries.


Information Required When Travelling to Bulgaria

Visas:

  • Visas are required by all except the following:
  • Nationals of EU countries for stays of up to 90 days within each six-month period (except nationals of Estonia, Ireland and the UK, who may stay for up to 30 days within a six-month period);

Note: UK nationals living overseas do need a visa.

  • Nationals of Chile, Iceland, Malaysia and Norway for stays of up to 90 days within a six-month period;
  • Nationals of Andorra, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Switzerland, USA and Vatican City for stays of up to 30 days within each six-month period;
  • Nationals of Croatia, Korea (Rep), Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Romania, San Marino and Tunisia.

Vaccinations:

No vaccinations are required from European countries

Time Zone:

Bulgaria is 2 hours ahead of GMT in winter and 3 hours ahead of GMT in summer

Electricity:

In Bulgaria the voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Plugs are of the round two-pin continental type, while lamp fittings are the screw type.

Weights and Measures:

Metric system

Tel. Dialling Code:

00 + 359 + area code + tel.
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