A First-Timer’s Guide to Bulgaria: Top Things to Do

Some travelers rush their way through Bulgaria while on a trip to the Balkans. Little did they know, the country has plenty to offer for an extended visit.


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With its ancient history, natural beauty, and warm local hospitality, our insider Lora has some tips that will help you plan your first journey to the land of Orpheus.

Top Things to Do in Bulgaria

With its varied nature and continental climate, Bulgaria has something for every taste, in every season.

While trying to shrug off its Communist block past, Bulgaria embraces its newly-found place in the EU community and searches for an inspiration in its ancient traditions.


If you like the hustle and bustle of the urban life, go to the capital, Sofia. The biggest Bulgarian town bears the traces of curious Socialist architecture, boasts recently excavated Roman ruins, and the peaceful coexistence of Orthodox churches with a Synagogue and a Mosque, and hosts an exuberant variety of modern bars, clubs and restaurants.


The second-biggest Bulgarian city, Plovdiv, is one of the oldest continually-inhabited settlements in the world. In 2019, as the European Capital of Culture, it will welcome visitors with its well-preserved Roman amphitheatre and renovated Old Town artistic quarter of Capana.

Bulgarian Summer

In summer, dip yourself in the lazurite blue waters of the Black Sea in the ancient Byzantine towns; Nessebar and Sozopol, modern resorts; Sunny Beach and Albena, or nature reserves; Ropotamo and Silistar.

Bulgarian Winter

In winter, ski Bansko resort in the breathtaking Alpine scenery of Pirin Mountain.

National Folklore Festival of Rozhen

Fall in love with the most romantic Bulgarian mountain, Rhodope, the birthplace of Orpheus, during the National Folklore Festival of Rozhen, or in one of its many spa cities.

Places to Stay in Bulgaria

Depending on your budget, choose from hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs through international websites like booking.com. Couchsurfing is also popular, and safe.

In Sofia, avoid the oldest part of the town, between the Central Train Station and the Central Market Hall. Sofia’s excellent transportation system will help you get around if you’re staying far from the city centre. 

Cost Guide to Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Lev is the local currency. At the time of writing, 1 lv equals roughly US$0.55.

  • If you have someone to help you with Bulgarian lingo, you can find cheap accommodation all over the country.
  • You can order food online, or buy it from the supermarket. Mobile apps like Food Panda will give you a rough idea of the prices in the bigger cities.
  • In Sofia, a single ticket for public transport costs 1,60 lv, and taxis charge around 1 lv. per km.
  • You’ll need to buy tickets for most museums. 

Bulgaria: Know Before You Go

  • Bulgaria enforces the General Visa Policy of the European Union.
  • Bus transport is the best way to get around. Check Sofia Central Bus Station for destinations.
  • Currency can be exchanged in banks or in exchange offices. In bigger cities, the use of credit and debit cards is widespread, but in smaller cities you need cash.
  • You will not find many signs in Latin alphabet, so basic knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet could be useful. When in doubt, approach a younger person who is more likely to speak English.
  • Bulgarians are usually friendly with foreigners and will want to show you around. Beware, though, when a Bulgarian nods, this usually means ‘no’, so always ask to speak the word.
  • Bulgaria is the biggest producer of rose oil in the world and has quality beauty products based on it. They make the perfect souvenir, along with the great Bulgarian wines.

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1 Comment

  • Bextol Anderson said

    Also I highly recommend to visit Musala. "The average elevation range of Bulgaria is 472 m (1,549 ft). The highest point of Bulgaria is Musala, with its official height being 2925 m (9,597 ft)."
    Source: http://www.confiduss.com/en/jurisdictions/bulgaria/geography/

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