General travel information for Bulgaria
Geographical location: northern Balkans, located on the Black Sea.
The highest elevation: Musala (2925 m above sea level)
Longest river: Danube (length in Bulgaria 500 km)
Government: Parliamentary republic
system of government: Parliamentary democracy
neighbors: Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania
Area: Approx. 111,000 km²
Residents: Approx. 7 million people (2017)
Population density: 64 residents per km²
Religions: Approx. 78% Christians (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), 10% Muslims, 22% no answer or no denomination
Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN); One euro is around 1.8 BGN. Travel
Climate: In the north continental climate, to the south transition to Mediterranean climate, high mountains alpine
Time zone: UTC + 3
Area code: +90
Country code: TR, TUR, 792
Electricity: In Bulgaria the Type C and F sockets used. The mains voltage is 230V with a 50Hz change interval.
Cities and regions in Bulgaria
Since 1999, the Bulgarian central state has consisted of 28 administrative districts, so-called oblasts, which are usually named after their respective capital. Among the big cities, the Bulgarian metropolis Sofia and the city of Plovdiv play a central role as administrative centers. Varna and Burgas have also developed into administrative centers on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and also have the country’s most important ports. Media and service companies as well as the country’s cultural institutions are also concentrated here. Due to their comparatively more highly developed infrastructure, they are also of the highest regional importance for traffic and trade and show the most dynamic economic development. Other cities in Bulgaria with more than 100,000 residents are Russe, Stara Sagora and Pleven.
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and with its universities, colleges and research institutions the outstanding educational center and with numerous publishers, radio and television companies also the dominant media center of the country. The city in the plains of the same name in the west of the country has been continuously settled since the Neolithic Age and is therefore one of the oldest settlements and cities in Europe. Unfortunately, not many monuments have been preserved from the city’s rich cultural heritage, especially from ancient times. In today’s city center, the ancient “Serdica” housed the forum and the seat of the praetor, on the ruins of which the “Cathedral Sweta Nedelja” was built around 1900.
An example of Ottoman architecture is the famous Ottoman Banya Bashi Mosque from 1576. The “Central Market Hall”, built in 1911 with a clock tower and Sofia coat of arms, was built in the Renaissance style. Sofia’s oldest church is located in the Bojana district. The architecture dates from the 9th to 11th centuries, the church itself has been provided with countless and in some cases immaculately preserved wall paintings from the various epochs. Also worth seeing is the small Sweta Petka Samardschijska church from the 14th and 15th centuries with well-preserved wall paintings. Sofia also has numerous beautiful green spaces, such as the Vitosha Nature Park or the Borisova Gradina Park.
Varna is a port city on the Black Sea and with about 340,000 residents, after Sofia and Plovdiv, the third largest city in Bulgaria. In the historically significant city, many monuments from the various cultural epochs of the city have been preserved. These include the exposed Roman thermal baths from the 2nd century AD, the Byzantine thermal baths from the 4th to 6th centuries AD, which were only fed from thermal springs, or the New Roman Baths from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD The city’s landmark is the Cathedral of Our Lady from 1896, located in the center of the city. Other sights in Varna are the clock tower, the planetarium, the pantheon, the portal monument and all the churches richly decorated with frescoes and icons. Between the center and the coast lies an area in which many old art nouveau facades can still be seen today. The city’s proximity to several summer health resorts transform Varna into a lively tourist center in the summer months. The port city is the cultural center of northeast Bulgaria and is internationally known for its festivals. The city’s archaeological museum also houses the world’s oldest gold treasure.
Culture and sights in Bulgaria
During the more than 8000-year history of Bulgaria, many peoples have left their cultural traces and a rich cultural heritage in the country. Bulgaria had been settled since prehistory and early history. The Ottomans, Greeks, Romans and Thracians in particular ruled the country for a long time.
Art in particular has a long tradition in the territory of Bulgaria. From the 15th to the 18th century, the art that originated in the monastic republic of Athos was decisive. Bulgarian artists were already involved in the busy Ottoman construction activity of public buildings and structures in the period after the conquest. With the Bulgarian rebirth at the end of the Ottoman occupation, new art schools arose all over the Bulgarian lands, all of which belonged to the so-called rebirth style. During this time wood carving developed as a specific Bulgarian art form. Many important church painters emerged from the Samokov Art School.
Bulgaria also has a great tradition of choral singing. The state choir became very successful due to its own style and numerous Bulgarian women’s choirs such as Angelite are internationally known today.
The Bulgarian national instrument is, besides the three-part length flute Kaval, the bagpipe Gaida. In most parts of the country the high-pitched Thracian Gaida is played for dancing, while in the Rhodopian Mountains the low-pitched Kaba Gaida is used to accompany mostly sad ballads. The smaller, one-piece shepherds flutes Swirka and Duduk are also used. The bowed short-necked lute gadulka, the long-necked tambura and the stringed instrument gusle are widely used as stringed instruments. The drums Tapan and Tarambuka are used in traditional Bulgarian folk music, which has a great variety of rhythms. The folklore and customs that were used during the Ottoman-Turkish rule not only for the preservation of national identity, but also contributed to the further developments of art and literature, plays a special role in the cultural history of Bulgaria. Especially the folk songs that arose from the resistance against the Ottomans are still popular today because of the variety of texts and rhythms and the original melody.
The Kukeri carnival games, which represent a kind of folk theater, are represented in all regions.
In Bulgaria there are numerous cultural sites and monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These include the life-size rock relief of the rider of Madara near the village of the same name, the Rila monastery in the mountains of the same name, the old town of Nessebar, the church of Boyana in Sofia or the Thracian tombs of Kazanlak and Svehtari. In addition, many listed villages in Bulgaria such as Koprivschtiza, Schiroka Laka, Boschenzi or Arbanassi are culturally and historically significant and worth seeing because of their well-preserved architecture.
Unforgettable impressions of nature can be gained on a trip through Bulgaria in the Pirin Mountains nature reserve, in the mountains of the Rhodope Mountains in the Kamchia Biosphere Reserve near Varna or in the wild landscape of Belogradschik with its fascinating red rock formations. The Batscho-Kiro Cave near Gabrovo or the Magura Cave near Vidin and the Stone Forest near Varna are among the natural sights of Bulgaria. Last but not least, the idyllic banks of the Danube in many places and of course the Black Sea coast offer beautiful landscapes as well as the well-known party miles on Golden Sands or Sunny Sands.
Holidays with a fixed date in Bulgaria
Jan 1st New Year
Feb 1st Memorial Day for the Victims of the Communist Regime
March 3rd National
Holiday May 1st International Labor Day
May 6th St. George’s Day,
May 24th Culture and Education Day
September 6th Unification Day of Bulgaria
22nd May Sept. Bulgaria’s independence day
November 1st national revival day
December 24 Christmas eve
25 December Christmas
December 25 Boxing day
Medical information for Bulgaria
For legal reasons, we as a tour operator are not allowed to communicate any binding medical information for Bulgaria and therefore refer to the information provided by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Robert Koch Institute and the German Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health
Travel advice for Bulgaria
You can obtain current travel and safety advice, information on entering and leaving the country, as well as special criminal information and recommendations for your stay in Bulgaria from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Foreign mission in Bulgaria
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia (there are further honorary consulates in Plovdiv and Varna).
Administrative district / consular district: Bulgaria
Street address: Uliza Frederic-Joliot-Curie 25, Sofia
Postal address: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, P.O. Box 869, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Telephone: +359 2 91 83 80
Fax: +359 2 963 41 17, +49 30 1817 672 54
Email: Contact form
Official languages in the host country: Bulgarian
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Berlin
(There are other general and honorary consulates in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Magdeburg Munich, Münster and Darmstadt)
Street address: Mauerstraße 11
Postal address: Mauerstraße 11, 10117 Berlin
Telephone: 030 201 09 22
Fax: 030 208 68 38
Email: [email protected]