Brief about Bulgaria
Territory – 110 912 sq. km.
Population – 7 538 000 (2003) (83,9 % ethnic Bulgarians; 9,4% Turks; 4,7% Roma; rest – smaller minorities Russians, Armenians, Vlachs, Jews, Karakachans etc.)
Relligion – 82,6% Orthodox, 12,2% Islam, 0,7% Protestant, 0,5% Catholics, 4,1% Others.
Capital city – Sofia (1 377 531 people in 2006)
Bigest towns – Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rouse, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo, Pleven
Mountains – 37 (biggest – Balkan Mountain: length – ~ 550 km.; width – ~ 30-60 km.); (highest – Rila Mountain – peak Musala – 2 925 m.a.s.l.)
Boundaries – North – Romania; East – Black Sea (coastline 378 km.); West – Serbia, Macedonia; South – Greece, Turkey;
Distribution of the lands – 0-400 m.a.s.l. – 59,8 %; 400-1000 m.a.s.l. – 27,6 %; 1000-2000 m.a.s.l. – 11,9 %; over 2000 m.a.s.l. – 0,7 %
Protected areas – 3 national parks, 10 nature parks, 55 reserves, 35 managed reserves, over 350 protected areas and 500 natural monuments
Mean year temperature – + 10,5 °C (Abs. Min. – -38,3 °C ; Abs. Max. – + 45,2 °C)
Mean rainfall per year – 416-650 mm in the lowlands; 650-1193 mm in the highlands
Rainy days per month – May – 7; June – 8; July – 6; August – 3; September – 6; (number may be higher in the mountains)
Mean daily/night temperatures (up to 1000 m a.s.l.) – May – 22/12 °C; June – 26/16 °C; July – 28/17 °C; August – 26/15 °C; September – 23/13 °C;
In Bulgaria two-pin sockets are normal. Voltage is 220 watts. If you come from the U.S. or UK you need to purchase an adapter, which is available only in Bulgarian cities and biggest winter and sea resorts.
Cell phone coverage
Currently the whole territory of Bulgaria is covered with a mobile connection. However the trekking & cycling tours are done in mountainous areas where the signal could be weak or even lacking from time to time. In such a situation you just need to change your location a bit in order to find available network.
Money and personal expenses
You will need some extra money to cover meals, drinks and extra trips not included in the tour price. Additional money for souvenirs and personal things could also be spent. That is why it is always necessary to have Bulgarian money in cash.
The payments in Bulgaria are usually made in “LEV” (BGN), which is the official currency. The exchange rate with EU and USD is quite changing sometimes, but approximately it is: BGN:EU – 2:1; BGN:USD – 1,6-1. Credit Cards could be used primarily in some supermarkets and restaurants in the biggest cities as well as in the petrol stations. Usually it is marked on their front doors if Credit Cards are accepted. ATMs (“bankomates”) are more frequent (again in the biggest towns only!). Traveler’s cheques take quite a lot of time to handle and not each bank deals with them (in many cases it takes even few days since their deposition in the bank!) – thus they are not recommended!
Here are some examples of comparative costs in Bulgaria (NB: prices in mid-range restaurants!):
– Coffee – 0,5-1 Euro
– Tea – 0,5-1 Euro
– Beer (0,5 l) – 1-2 Euro
– Soft drink (0,5 l) – 0,5-1 Euro
– Bottle of water (0,5 l) – 0,5-1 Euro
– Bottle of mark red wine (0,75 l) – 5-10 Euro
– Three-course lunch – 5-8 Euro
– Lunch pack – 3-4 Euro
Equipment and clothing
No special equipment is required. Weather in Bulgaria can be very hot in the summer during the days but cooler in the evenings, so bring some warm clothes with you. A rain jacket and good walking shoes are recommended. Pay attention that weather in October can be rainy and rather cold.
Nice to know/Local traditions
Tipping is popular in Bulgaria. You can leave 10 % of the bill to the waiter at a restaurant. Tips are also given to the taxi driver, receptionist, cleaning lady etc. Good to have small coins for a visit to the toilet.
You should cover your shoulders at a church visit.
Post office is the only place where you can buy post stamps.
Bulgarians usually nod when they say no and shake their head from left to right when they mean to say yes.
Be aware of pocket thieves especially in big towns and take a good care of your belongings.
Is not needed for EU citizens.
Is not needed for Bulgaria. Check latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure.
Strongly recommended. Please contact us for more information if you want to buy an insurance for the planned trip.