Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Issues to Know Earlier than You Go to Bulgaria [2023] – Wild Junket Journey Journey Weblog


Final Up to date on August 7, 2023 by Nellie Huang

Bulgaria is only a three-hour flight from most elements of Europe and it’s extremely inexpensive. But it stays an under-visited vacation spot in Japanese Europe. 

After my first Balkan journey virtually 10 years in the past, I used to be so pleasantly stunned to search out such an fascinating area that has seemingly slipped underneath the radar. The Balkan states, spanning throughout southeastern Europe, are simple on the pocket, and are chocked filled with historical past and Soviet structure. 

I lastly returned to Bulgaria this summer time, and rekindled my love for the underrated Balkan state. Bulgaria is a fantastic nation packed to the brim with wealthy historical past and tradition, and a tinge of Soviet edginess that you just simply can’t discover in western Europe. Right here’s my Bulgaria journey information full of the whole lot you want to know earlier than you go to Bulgaria.

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Bulgaria Journey Information 2023

Value of Journey in Bulgaria

Excellent news, you don’t have to interrupt your financial institution to go to Bulgaria. Bulgaria is an extremely low cost vacation spot and it’s rather more inexpensive than different elements of Europe. You’ll get a bang in your buck, happening Bulgaria day excursions for as low cost as $50 and staying at respectable accommodations for $50/night time.

Meals in Bulgaria is de facto inexpensive, recent and scrumptious. A meal in an ordinary restaurant is normally round US$5-10 together with drinks. A pint of beer prices round $1-2.

Count on to pay round $30-50 for a midrange resort with air-con, non-public lavatory and WiFi. Inns on the seashore are positively rather more costly, at $70-150 for a four-star resort.

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Easy methods to Get to Bulgaria

By Airplane

Sofia Worldwide Airport is the principle gateway to Bulgaria. It’s a small airport but it surely’s served by most main cities in Europe.

You will get low cost flights to Sofia from London, Amsterdam and Paris for round $100 return (three-hour journey). Airways that serve Sofia embrace British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Wizz Air and Ryanair.

Aeroflot and LOT Polish Airways fly from New York to Sofia for round US$700-1000 return. You’ll almost definitely must transit through Moscow or Warsaw.

Seek for Low-cost Flights to Bulgaria

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By Prepare

As a landlocked nation surrounded by 5 nations, Bulgaria is simple to get to overland. However most trains are typically previous and tacky, and journey occasions are normally slower than buses. 

From Serbia, the Balkan Specific runs every day between Sofia and Belgrade (11 hours) from June to September. Trains depart from each cities within the mornings. Take a look at Serbian Railways’ web site for particulars.

From Romania, you may catch a practice from Bucharest (10-hour journey) to Ruse or Veliko Tarnovo. From Turkey, the every day Bosfor (Bosphorous Specific) goes from Istanbul to Sofia and continues onto Bucharest. The journey takes 9 hours and there are sleeper cabins on the practice. Examine the Turkish State Railways web site.

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By Bus

It’s even cheaper to go to Bulgaria by the worldwide buses from the encircling nations and so they’re comparatively comfy. On my first journey to Bulgaria, I took an in a single day bus from Istanbul to Plovdiv and it was simple and smooth-sailing.

When touring out of Bulgaria by bus, the price of entry visas for the nations involved aren’t included within the costs of the bus tickets. A superb timetable for worldwide connections might be discovered right here

Plovdiv is the principle gateway for these touring overland from Greece, Turkey and Macedonia. Sofia is the closest metropolis for these touring overland from Serbia and Romania. Right here’s extra information for every journey route:

Worldwide Bus Routes to Bulgaria

Nation

Departure

Arrival

Length

 

Greece

Thessaloniki

Sofia

5-6 hours

 

Greece

Thessaloniki

Plovdiv

8-9 hours

 

Macedonia

Skopje

Sofia

6 hours

 

Macedonia

Ohrid

Sofia

9 hours

 

Romania

Bucharest

Sofia

9 hours

 

Romania

Bucharest

Ruse

3 hours

 

Serbia

Niš

Sofia

3 hours

 

Serbia

Dimitrovgrad 

Sofia

1-2 hours

 

Turkey

Istanbul

Sofia

10 hours

 

Turkey

Istanbul

Plovdiv

7 hours

 

When to Journey Bulgaria

One of the best time to journey Bulgaria is throughout the shoulder season, from April to June, and September to October. The climate shall be extra nice, and the costs are decrease. I went to Bulgaria in April on my first journey and it was excellent.

It will possibly get actually sizzling in summer time, from June to August, with temperatures rising to 40+ levels Celsius. Summer time can be the height tourism season, when the seashores on the Black Sea are packed to the brim.

Winter is generally off-season throughout the nation, and a lot of the smaller cities will shut down. However Bulgaria is likely one of the greatest funds ski locations in Europe, with inexpensive and glorious ski situations. Bansko is the preferred ski resort.

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How Lengthy to Journey Bulgaria?

This relies on your curiosity after all, however two weeks are sufficient to discover Bulgaria correctly and get to know its tradition and folks.

I spent round every week in Bulgaria on my first journey and 10 days this time. I felt that I really received to understand it rather well on my second journey and noticed much more than on my first journey.

Should you’re an intrepid traveler, I like to recommend the next itinerary because it’ll will let you see the most effective of the nation at a soothing tempo. You in all probability wish to skip the seashores, however I counsel protecting Varna in your itinerary because it’s a cool coastal metropolis.

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Two-Week Bulgaria Itinerary

  • Days 1-3: Sofia
  • Day 4: Day journey to Seven Rila Lakes & Monastery
  • Days 5-7: Veliko Tarnovo
  • Day 8: Day journey to Etara Ethnological Centre
  • Days 9-10: Varna
  • Day 11: Day journey to Nessebar
  • Days 12-13: Plovdiv
  • Day 14: Sofia

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Easy methods to Get Round Bulgaria

By Automotive

It’s comparatively low cost and simple to drive in Bulgaria. The principle highways are nicely constructed and indicators are in each Bulgarian and English. You possibly can lease a compact automotive in Sofia for US$78 per week or $130 for 2 weeks.

To be able to drive on Bulgarian roads, you’ll need to show a vignette offered at petrol stations and put up workplaces. Rental vehicles employed inside Bulgaria ought to have already got a vignette.

Bulgarian drivers might be aggressive and most don’t keep on with the pace restrict, so simply remember.

Seek for Automotive Rental in Bulgaria!

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By Bus

Bus is the quickest and hottest strategy to get round Bulgaria. There’s an excellent bus community throughout the nation and distances aren’t that lengthy. You will discover many bus and practice schedules right here.

Listed here are the principle bus firms in Bulgaria:

  • Biomet — Runs between Sofia and Veliko Târnovo, Varna and Burgas.
  • Etap-Grup — One other in depth intercity community, with buses between Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Ruse and Veliko Târnovo.
  • Union-Ivkoni — Hyperlinks most main cities and plenty of smaller ones, together with Sofia, Burgas, Varna, and Plovdiv.

By Prepare

Touring by practice is the most affordable manner to discover the nation, even cheaper than taking the bus.

For instance, a practice ticket from Sofia to Plovdiv prices simply US$5 for a two-hour practice journey. Though the trains are typically previous and gradual, a few of the rail journeys supply stunning views.

All trains are run by the Bulgarian State Railroad Firm. You possibly can purchase practice tickets on-line.

Length for Principal Journey Routes in Bulgaria
Departure Arrival By Bus By Automotive By Prepare
Sofia Veliko Tarnovo 3.30-4 hours 3 hours
Veliko Tarnovo Varna 3-4 hours 2h45min
Varna Plovdiv 7 hours 4.5 hours 5-6 hours
Plovdiv Sofia 2 hours 1.5 hours 2 hours

The place to Keep in Bulgaria

There may be all kinds of lodging to select from in most elements of Bulgaria and so they’re less expensive than in different elements of Europe.

Sofia: Rosslyn Thracia Lodge Sofia

As the most effective accommodations in Sofia, this elegant resort is situated only a few minutes from Vitosha Road, a pedestrianized road proper within the coronary heart of town. Room charges are affordable, decor is trendy and the breakfast unfold is superb! Examine charges right here.

Veliko Tarnovo: Park Lodge Sevastokrator

This resort has distinctive views of Veliko Tarnovo from above in addition to a pleasant swimming pool. It’s technically situated in Arbanasi, a hilltop city simply 10 minutes away from Veliko Tarnovo. Examine charges right here.

Varna: Rosslyn Dimyat Lodge Varna

This upscale trendy resort is situated within the coronary heart of Varna subsequent to the Sea Backyard, 500 m from the Varna Seashore. You possibly can’t get a greater location that that. Costs are inexpensive for a 4-star high quality resort. Examine charges right here.

Plovdiv: The Keep Lodge Central Sq. Plovdiv

An extremely fashionable resort situated proper within the coronary heart of previous city Plovdiv, the Keep Lodge provides glorious worth for cash. Rooms are spacious and have numerous amenities. Points of interest are all inside strolling distance from right here. Examine charges right here.

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Meals in Bulgaria

I’m a giant fan of Bulgarian meals, particularly the barbecued meats which might be ubiquitous right here. 

Bulgarian delicacies shares traits with different Balkan cuisines — it’s like a mix of Greek and Turkish meals. Meat is the principle staple, together with recent substances like tomatoes, dill and onions.

It’s really fairly simple to search out vegetarian Bulgarian dishes on practically each menu, although resulting from Bulgaria’s love affair with its cheese and dairy merchandise, vegans gained’t be so fortunate.

There are some Bulgarian staples you want to attempt:

  • Shopska salad — A mixture of tomatoes, cucumber, sirene cheese
  • Tarator — A chilly yogurt soup manufactured from cucumber and garlic
  • Kebapche — Referred to as Kebab in most locations, grilled meat with spices
  • Meshana skara — Blended grill that sometimes consists of kebapche, kufte, and a skewer of pork meat just like a souvlaki

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The place to Eat in Bulgaria

There are many Bulgarian eating places in all places, in addition to extra worldwide choices within the large cities. I’ve discovered meals to be actually meals wherever I went.

Listed here are a few of the greatest locations I ate at:

  • Hadjidraganov’s Cellars, Sofia — This conventional Bulgarian restaurant generally is a little touristy, but it surely’s the most effective place to go for a really feel of Bulgarian traditions. Parts are large, and meals is served on picket Medieval-style platters. Learn critiques.
  • Restaurant Shtastliveca Outdated City, Veliko Tarnovo — Rated as the most effective restaurant in Veliko Tarnovo, this place has glorious views of the previous city and provides a well-rounded number of conventional and trendy delicacies. Make sure to make a reserving upfront! Learn critiques.
  • Park Lodge Sevastokrator, Arbanasi — The restaurant at this resort in Arbanasi not solely has nice views, but in addition an inexpensive and good menu. They use recent merchandise and meat and I extremely suggest the grilled trout.

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Issues to Do in Bulgaria

Discover Sofia’s Outdated City

Bulgaria’s capital Sofia makes a superb base to get an introduction to Bulgarian tradition and historical past. Town has an eclectic mixture of Roman buildings, Ottoman mosques and Soviet blocs. You’ll want a minimum of three days to see all of them.

Begin with St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the second largest cathedral within the Balkan area. Then head on St George Rotunda, the oldest constructing in trendy Sofia that dates again to the 300s. Don’t miss the Central Tub, probably the most photographed buildings in Bulgaria.

This bike tour is an effective way to see all of Sofia’s sights on wheels.

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Hike across the Seven Rila Lakes

Out of doors lovers would love the Seven Rila Lakes, a gaggle of glacial lakes located within the northwestern Rila Mountains near Sofia. Mountain climbing trails weave their manner across the lakes which might be perched 2,500 meters above sea stage.

Every lake carries a reputation related to its most attribute function. The very best one is named Salzata (“The Teardrop”) resulting from its clear waters that permit visibility in depth.

Should you’re tight on time, you may e-book a day journey to the Seven Rila Lakes from Sofia.

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Go to the Well-known Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is the biggest and most well-known Japanese Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. The enduring landmark is situated near the Seven Rila Lakes, at 117km (73 miles) from Sofia.

Based within the tenth century, the monastery is known as after its founder, the hermit Ivan of Rila (876 – 946 AD), and homes round 60 monks.

It’s also possible to mix a go to there with the Seven Rila Lakes. This day tour is inexpensive and comes with nice critiques.

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Wander round Veliko Tarnovo

Of all of the locations I’ve visited in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo might be my favourite. This small city was as soon as the medieval capital of the Bulgarian empire, and now has a particular allure because of its lengthy historical past.

Veliko Tarnovov is a hodgepodge of spectacular castles, museums and historic websites. Stroll alongside the cobblestoned Gurko Road and admire well-preserved previous homes, and watch craftsmen arduous at work within the Samodovska Chashia Market.

It’s also possible to go to Veliko Tarnovo on a day journey from Plovdiv. Get extra information right here.

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Discover the Tsarevets Fortress

The enduring image of Veliko Tarnovo is the Tsarevets, a formidable fortress that dominates its skyline. With solely pedestrian entry, you may stroll alongside the breathtaking fortress partitions and soak up views onto the encircling hills of Sveta Gora.

Youngsters are free to run, clamber and uncover, the one place the place warning is suggested is at Execution Rock on the northern finish of the fortress. Because the identify suggests a fall from right here all the way down to the Yantra River can be nothing lower than deadly. 

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Immerse within the Open Air Etara Ethnographic Museum

Situated near Veliko Tarnovo within the city of Gabrovo is that this stunning open air museum that transports you again in time. The ethnographic centre spans over 7 hectares of space, showcasing how life was once throughout the Bulgarian Nationwide Revival.

The park has replicas of conventional homes throughout that interval, in addition to water installations and craftsmen workshops. There are additionally shops promoting sweets and art work from yesteryears.

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Go to the brand new Neofit Rilski Historic Park

Just some kilometers outdoors of Varna is the newly opened Neofit Rilski Historic Park. It’s but to be absolutely accomplished, however already provides some thrilling actions. I used to be relatively impressed by the size of the park.

For curious vacationers, the historic park is a superb place to study Bulgarian historical past, from the Neolithic interval to the Thracian Civilization and Second Bulgarian Empire.

The park offers the feeling that you just’re stepping again in time, right into a medieval complicated with archery demonstrations and horse-riding shows. There are quite a few replicas of archaeological website and historic monuments in addition to properties that individuals used to dwell in.

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Calm down on Varna’s Seashores

As a vibrant coastal metropolis, Varna is the principle gateway for vacationers which might be heading to the Black Beach. Intrepid vacationers will in all probability select to skip the seashores, however don’t miss out on the allure of Varna.

Town is full of historical past but it’s completely trendy, with a lush and inexperienced seafront park to amble on. Its seashore will not be too dangerous to whereas away a lazy afternoon and revel in some recent seafood.

Within the metropolis centre you’ll discover Bulgaria’s largest Roman baths complicated and its most interesting archaeological museum, in addition to a energetic cultural and restaurant scene.

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Get Misplaced within the Charming Outdated City of Nesebar

The traditional a part of Nesebar is situated on a peninsula that juts out from the Black Beach (beforehand an island).

Nesebar has on a number of events discovered itself on the frontier of a threatened empire, and as such it’s a city with a wealthy historical past. Because of the metropolis’s abundance of historic buildings, Nesebar grew to become a UNESCO Web site  in 1983.

As we speak it’s actually fashionable with vacationers particularly in summer time, so get there early if you wish to get misplaced in its slender cobblestoned streets.

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Soak Up Historical past in Plovdiv

As Europe’s oldest repeatedly inhabited metropolis, Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s heartthrob with a romantic previous city. Town is full of colourful and creaky Nineteenth-century mansions that at the moment are house-museums, galleries and guesthouses.

Because the European Capital of Tradition 2019, Plovdiv is shortly drawing extra music and artwork lovers. As soon as an amiable waystation between Bulgaria and Greece or Turkey, town has flowered right into a vacation spot in its personal proper – and one which ought to be on any itinerary via central Bulgaria.

For these quick on time, this present day tour leads you round Plovdiv, Asen Fortress and Bachkovo Fortress in 1 day.

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Language in Bulgaria

Bulgarian is the nation’s solely official language. Bulgarian is written with Cyrillic, which makes making an attempt to learn Bulgarian phrases fairly troublesome for many of us.

English isn’t broadly spoken in Bulgaria, particularly among the many older era. However youthful Bulgarians within the large cities have a tendency to talk a little bit of English.

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Security in Bulgaria

Most elements of Bulgaria are very secure and I by no means felt unsafe on each journeys there. I traveled solo on my first journey and with my four-year-old daughter on this current journey.   

The one hazard that vacationers face is theft, primarily from pickpockets. On the whole, attempt to not stand out and keep away from darkish alleys at night time if touring solo.

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Sensible Suggestions for Touring Bulgaria

  • Inside cities, minibuses known as marshroutki act like shared taxis and are widespread in lots of ex-Soviet nations. You simply must flag them down and purchase tickets from the driving force.
  • One factor to notice for these touring Bulgaria with youngsters, it’s allowed to smoke in most locations in Bulgaria, even indoors. It may be annoying for non-smokers.
  • As an ex-Soviet nation, Bulgaria nonetheless shares a relationship with Russia and plenty of Bulgarians nonetheless communicate Russian.
  • I consider Bulgarians as fairly just like Russians. They could not smile so much and might come throughout as impolite. However give them a while, present that you just’re pleasant and so they’ll finally heat as much as you.

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