Visa and customs
According to The Motorcyclers, citizens of Russia to visit Bulgaria need a visa, either a separate one or a Schengen visa type C or D. You can stay in the country for no more than 90 days, according to Schengen rules, but staying in Bulgaria will not affect the time you spend in other countries. Customs regulations for Bulgaria are standard, you can read about them here.
Previously, there was a direct train from Moscow to Sofia, but in December 2014 it was canceled. Now you first need to get to Budapest, and then only to Bulgaria.
There are about 10 direct flights a week from Moscow to Sofia, and a plane flies from St. Petersburg once a week. From some cities you can fly to Bulgaria with a transfer in Europe. You can also fly to Istanbul, and from there get to Bulgaria by bus or train. By the way, from the countries of Western Europe you can get to Bulgaria cheaply by low-cost airlines, but remember that the transportation of luggage in them is seriously limited.
By bus or taxi
Bulgaria can be reached by bus from any neighboring country except Romania. At the same time, you can get not only to Sofia, but also to some other resorts. The length of the road from Moscow to Sofia is 2360 kilometers. The shortest way is to travel through Romania, but then you will need a transit visa. Instead, you can take a cargo ferry from Ilyichevsk.
A ferry departs from Ilyichevsk to Varna every week. The cost of the train is $70, three meals a day are included. There are also crossings between Bulgaria and Romania.
Public transport in Bulgaria is quite well developed – there are trains, buses and minibuses. City buses are often crowded, minibuses are not available everywhere, and it is often more profitable to take a taxi. Sofia has a metro.
Buses connect different cities with each other, but they are often old, and travel to new ones, mainly from large cities, is expensive.
Railways connect all the major cities of the country and allow you to enjoy the views while traveling. For example, routes between Sofia and Mezdra or through the Issykyr Gorge are popular with tourists.
IMPORTANT: It is easiest to rent a car or motorbike in Bulgaria, especially if you want to visit remote villages, national parks and monasteries. To rent a car, you must have more than a year of experience, and you yourself must be over 21. Most of the rental offices are in Sofia. On average, rent costs 30 euros per day, although it can be much more expensive.
Bulgaria is a rather small country, but tourists are unlikely to want to drive 8 hours to the Black Sea from Sofia. For these purposes, there are domestic flights from Sofia to Burgas and Varna.
The country’s currency is the Bulgarian lev. It is much better to take with you not her, but dollars or euros, which can be exchanged here at a fairly favorable rate. But the ruble exchange rate is unfavorable, so it is better to exchange rubles for foreign currency in Russia. Exchange currency only in banks! In street exchangers you can be deceived, and it will be difficult to prove something later. But in banks, any fraud is completely prohibited and severely fined.
Bulgaria is distinguished by fairly inexpensive products and locally produced souvenirs, but international brands are quite expensive here, so Bulgaria is not suitable for such shopping.
There are approximately 26 large shopping centers in Bulgaria. They are mainly located in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. But in the resorts there are almost no large shops.
IMPORTANT: From souvenirs in Bulgarian stores, many people prefer to buy local cosmetics based on rose oil.
Rose oil is generally used here in many places, including in the preparation of sweets and alcoholic beverages, so products with it are also worth paying attention to. A good choice would be Bulgarian teas and interesting spices – Russians most often take sharena salt and kimion. Often condiments and teas are very nicely packaged. More standard colorful souvenirs include silverware, copper and ceramic utensils, embroidered textiles, as well as rakija and mastic spirits and local wines.
The national cuisine of Bulgaria is in many ways similar to Greek and Turkish, with elements of Armenian, Hungarian and Italian. They eat a lot of vegetables here – you should definitely try Shopska salad, baked bell peppers, sheep’s salad and snezhanka.
Of the first courses, you should try tarator, shkembe-chobra (holiday soup), yakhnia bean. Meat dishes are common for the second – gbvech, kavarma, moussaka, puffed ingots, kyufte, pastarma, shishcheta, etc. There are also delicious sweets here – garash, banitsv, mebla, various pancakes and oriental delicacies like halva and Turkish delight. You can try all this in traditional restaurants in Bulgaria.