Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Bulgaria
Photo: Vitosha Boulevard/First.bg
So you’re planning to visit Bulgaria soon? Great, because you are going to have an amazing time. However, Bulgaria is one of the most undiscovered and unpopular countries to travel. That’s why you need to be prepared and what better way to learn about a destination than from the local experts.
Check out what some of the best local travel bloggers say about the most important things you need to know before visiting Bulgaria.
1. The unique combination between jaw-dropping scenery and delectable cuisine
Bulgaria boasts a unique combination of breath-taking mountains and a drop-dead gorgeous seaside. It is one of the oldest nations in Europe and its cultural heritage is among the top 3 in the world.
Bulgaria’s location has contributed to the diversity of its delectable cuisine which combines the fiery Balkan spirit with the mild fragrance of the Mediterranean and is generously sprinkled with the spicy love drops of the Middle East. If you add the fact that all this comes at reasonable prices and with top-notch service, you will end up with your next travel destination.
– Svetoslav from Svet Dimitrov
2. The multifaceted metropolis
Many people coming in Sofia have no idea what she actually is. Some depart fascinated, others bored, third disappointed. In reality, there’s something for everyone but it`s hidden and can`t be seen immediately.
This is a town with character – aristocratic; gray; sometimes even arrogant, but if you succeed to find the way to her heart, she will enchant you with colors and shapes. The little coquette streets are full of treasures – from quirky bars to creative places. Sofia isn`t for everyone, she`s a challenge for brave and tireless. So coming hither stock up with card, preselected info and discoverer spirit.
– Stela from In Resfebella’s Backpack
3. Go to the mountains!
Many travelers visiting Bulgaria focus on the most frequented tourist sites – the cities and Black Sea coast. But if you want to know the ‘real’ Bulgaria, to taste real food, to see the authentic traditions and to observe the life in its most traditional appearance, go to the mountains!
During the long and turbulent Bulgarian history, mountains were the places where people could preserve their national identity. That’s why you will find fine traditional architecture in Koprivshtitsa, amazing folklore in the area of Bansko, tasty traditional food around Kardjali and the most beautiful views in each of the Bulgarian mountains.
– Geri from When Woman Travels
4. The highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula is located in Bulgaria
This is the top of the Rila mountain – Musala peak, 2925 meters high. Despite its impressive height, Musala is not so difficult to climb up. Hiking to the peak takes about three hours in direction. The starting point of the route is hut Yastrebets. The hut can be reached by cable car from the center of the Borovets resort. The distance between Borovets resort and Sofia is 70 km or approximately an hour and 20 minutes driving.
So, if you come to Bulgaria and you have a free day, you can devote it to climbing the top of the Balkans. For sure, you will be awarded with wonderful mountain views and with amazing feeling!
– Elena from Drumi v Dumi
5. Vitosha mountain
Just a few kilometers outside of the center of Sofia, there is a beautiful mountain called Vitosha which makes for a perfect getaway from the noise and the pollution of the busy city. It is great for skiing in the winter and picnics and hikes in the summer.
You can reach it by bike, car or even bus to some extent, then a nice walk in the nature will lead you to a magnificent view of the city from above that can leave you speechless. If you like to hike you can reach the Boyana waterfall where you can chill and enjoy the fresh air.
– Sianna from EO Stories
6. Go to Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the sixth oldest town in the world and it has been selected as European Capital of Culture in 2019. Yay! Here are some must see places in #pLOVEdiv.
– Kapana (the Trap) – the creative and alternative district
– The Old Town – the historical place
– The Rowing Canal (Regatta Venue) – the largest sport facility in the Balkans
And last but not least, don’t forget to climb some of the hills to see Plovdiv from above! But if you want to survive, please, plan your trip during the spring season, the summer is hot like hell.
– Stanislava from Om Trips Blog
You were a ghost town and I was too patriotic to leave. – Anonymous #pLOVEdiv #mytravelgram #travelgram #diary #personalblog #blogger #blog #zen #europe #travel #travelblog #mytravelgram #plovdiv #bulgaria #mood #namaste #notebook #colorful #architecture #oldtown #free #house #winteriscoming #winter
7. FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST EAT IT!!!
You are thinking about visiting Bulgaria? Wow, you must be quite the adventurous type! You must be reaaally crrrrrrraaazy! Just kidding, you must be awesome and I gotta tell you – you are in for a real treat! 🙂
If I had to give you just the one advise I would say: If a Bulgarian “baba” (grandma) invites you to eat (cooks for you; offers you food; welcomes you into her home; etc.), never, NEVER say no. There’s no such thing as “Oh no, I am too full to eat” or “I don’t eat that or that” FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST EAT IT!!! 😀 Anything else wоuld upset the “baba” or could even make her mad… You don’t want to take that risk, I’m telling you!
– Jo from 99 Lives
8. The great wine
Get ready to discover and enjoy unique wines of Bulgaria, one of the oldest producers of wine in the world. The modern face of the Bulgarian wine combines the traditional with the modern. Local grape varieties such as Mavrud, Melnik and Dimyat are found alongside such famous international blends as Merlot, Pinot Noar and Syrah.
Make sure you try the typical Bulgarian varieties and if you know very little about them, I recommend making your choice in Vino Orenda Wine Shop in Sofia –the Bulgarian wine specialists– where you will find a great wine selection, friendly atmosphere and good advice. However, the best way to discover unique Bulgarian wines is to go on a wine tour and visit some of the Bulgarian wineries.
– Elitsa from Life Tasting
9. The unique handmade crafts
On your way to Bulgaria make sure that you leave lots of empty space in your suitcase for all the lovely souvenirs you are going to buy. Handmade pottery, woodcarvings, jewellery, leather items, even rose-oil and yogurt based cosmetics – the choice is staggering and the prices are a fraction of what you would pay for similar craftsmanship and originality anywhere else in Europe.
Plus, make sure to check some of the many art galleries all over the country. You will find some of the most amazing paintings, sculptures and one of a kind jewels making you feel like a proper art collector.
– Rossi from Rossi Writes
10. The country in which yes is no and vice versa
When you do not speak the local language, you rely on English and the body language. But there are such places as Bulgaria where even gestures might mislead you and you can end up in funny situations. When we want to say YES, we shake head to the left and to the right, and when we want to decline, we nod head up and down, i.e contrary to the general rule. It is good for you to know this fact.
Very often in the supermarkets the women at the cash desk do not speak English and they ask you in Bulgarian do you want a bag. If you respond only with a gesture yes, you will not get one, because the lady will think you are saying no.
– Tsvety from Betty Travels
11. Bulgaria is full of natural phenomenons
People always wonder what is so special about Bulgaria. For me, Bulgaria is a land full of thousands of spectacular natural phenomenons that will leave you speechless once you see them. If you are ready to enjoy some more time in the country, head outside of Sofia to places like Prohodna Cave, Belogradchik Rocks, Melnik Pyramids (on the photo below), Pobiti Kamani, the Stone Wedding rock formation and many more. Don’t plan when to leave the country because once you visit you’ll be surprised how much you can see here!
– Maria from Travelling Buzz
12. Rural Therapy
Rural life in Bulgaria becomes more and more appealing. Either you open guest house, practice traditional local crafts or you’ll just pick herbs in the woods and sell them in the local markets, the choice is all yours. And why don’t you try to become a biological farmer – to grow vegetables, to make your own wine or to take care of beehives?
Rural areas in Bulgaria have great scenery, air is clean, water is abundant, soils are perfect, and property prices are the lowest in all Europe. Don’t think twice!
– Gavrail Gavrailov (“Bulgaria’s Villages – Directions for Tourism and Culture” – Siela)
13. Rose Damascena- One of the symbols of Bulgaria
The valley of the roses is located south from The Balkan mountains (Stara planina). The valley is popular with the cultivation or roses for industrial purpose. They’re one of the symbols of Bulgaria. For centuries Bulgarian people have cultivated Rose Damascena. This beautiful plant has been imported from the Middle East about 300 years ago and was used for the production of popular rose oil.
Nowadays Bulgaria produces more than 70 % of rose oil in the world. It makes our country the largest producer of the valuable rose oil. It is used in perfumery, medicine and cosmetics. It is really interesting that the rose harvest is done manually very early in the morning. The color should be fresh and it is necessary in order to be preserved roses’ flavour and moisture longer. And if you come in May or June in Bulgaria you can attend the Rose festival held in Karlovo, Kazanlyk, Pavel banya and you won’t regret 🙂
– Julia from Time2Travel
14. The impressive historical heritage
Bulgaria is one of the few places in the world that provides such diversity and insight into human civilisations. Between Europe and Asia, this area has been host to tribes, kingdoms and empires. With major artefacts still being uncovered with astonishing regularity, it takes a little while for the magnitude of historical wealth to sink in.
From the smallest details to the grand ascetics of castles and fortresses, the history of Bulgaria is told through its vast and well preserved heritage, and sparks the imagination of young and old.
History buff or just curious traveller, you wont be disappointed!
– Alek from Kukr
Let us know in the comments – what is your experience with Bulgaria? Are you visiting soon or you’ve already enjoyed its beauty?