Travel

Bulgaria Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Republic of Bulgaria.

Capital

Sofia.

Geography

According to a2zgov, Bulgaria borders the Danube and Romania to the north, the Black Sea to the east, Turkey and Greece to the south, and Serbia and Macedonia to the west. The mountains of the Balkans run through the country all the way to the beaches on the Black Sea. Bulgaria is a fertile agricultural country with dense forests and numerous rivers. Although the country is in southeastern Europe, there are no extreme summer temperatures even in Thrace.

Government

Parliamentary republic, since 1990. Constitution of 1991. One-chamber parliament with 240 seats; 4-year legislative period. Direct election of the head of state every 4 years. Central state, which is divided into 28 administrative areas. Independent since 1878 (spin-off from the Ottoman Empire), Principality of Bulgaria (initially House of Battenberg), since 1887 House of Saxe-Coburg, 1908 – 1944 Kingdom of Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a member of the EU.

Head of state

Rumen Radev, since January 2017.

Head of government

Interim head of government: Ognjan Gerdschikow, since January 2017.

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz. No adapter required.

Time zone

Eastern European Time: CET +3 (CET +4 from March 26 to October 29, 2017)

Bulgaria Overview

TRAVEL WARNING

Overview Bulgaria

Current information

Due to the existing global threat of terrorist attacks, general security measures have been strengthened in Bulgaria. In particular, extensive controls were introduced at the borders. There may therefore be temporary restrictions in travel and, in particular, delays when crossing borders.

Travelers and passing holidaymakers are strongly advised not to take unknown hitchhikers with them. Against the background of the high number of refugees, this could constitute a criminal offense of smuggling, which is subject to heavy penalties, when inspected under Bulgarian law.

Country-specific safety information

There is currently no country-specific safety notice for Bulgaria.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official language is Bulgarian. Bulgaria is the only country in the EU where the Cyrillic characters are used. There are Turkish- and Macedonian-speaking minorities, with the Turkish spoken in Bulgaria being a strong dialect of the standard Turkish spoken in Turkey.

Around 9 million people worldwide speak Bulgarian, of which around 7.3 million live in Bulgaria. The constitution stipulates that every Bulgarian citizen has the right and duty to learn the national language. As a Slavic language, Bulgarian belongs to the Indo-European languages and is closely related to the Macedonian language. Some linguists even consider Macedonian to be a dialect of the Bulgarian language.

German, English, French and Russian are also spoken, especially in the holiday resorts.

Idioms

  • Eight = осем (osem)
  • Goodbye = Довиждане (dowischdane)
  • Please = Моля (molja)
  • Thank you = Влагодаря (blagodarja)
  • Tuesday = вторник (wtornik)
  • Thursday = четвъртък (tschetwrtak)
  • Three = три (tri)
  • One = един (edin)
  • Friday = петък (petek)
  • Five = пет (pet)
  • Good thank you. = Влагодаря. (blagodarja)
  • Hello = Добър ден (dobr den)
  • Hello = Эдрасти (sdraßti)
  • My name is… = каэвам се… (kaswam ße)
  • I do not understand. = Не раэбирам. (ne rasbiram)
  • Yes = Да (da)
  • Monday = понеделник (ponedelnik)
  • Wednesday = сряда (ßrjada)
  • No = Не (ne)
  • Nine = девет (dewet)
  • Zero = нула (nula)
  • Saturday = събота (ßebota)
  • Six = шест (shit)
  • Seven = седем (sedem)
  • Sunday = неделя (nedelja)
  • Four = четири (chetiri)
  • How are you? = Как си? (kak ßi)
  • What’s your name? = Как се каэваш? (kak ße kaswasch)
  • Two = два (dwa)
  • Ten = десет (deßet)

 

 

CULTURE

Religion

82.6% of the population are Orthodox Christians, another 1.2% belong to other Christian denominations. There is also a Muslim minority (12.2%) and a small Jewish community.

Social rules of conduct

General: In Bulgaria a negation is often expressed by nodding the head (horizontally), while shaking the head (vertically) can mean agreement. Bulgarians prefer to use the phone over correspondence. Bulgarians are very happy when you use a few phrases in their language.

Manners: The usual forms of courtesy should be observed. You shake hands in greeting. Hugging is common among men, and friends kiss each other on the cheek in greeting. One speaks with Gospodin (gentleman), Gospozha (woman) or Gospozhitsa (miss) together with the surname, in casual meetings one uses the first name. Bulgarians are very hospitable. The host is happy to receive small souvenirs, and the children are also happy to receive a small gift. Gifts of money should not be made. If you are invited to dinner, you should not eat the plate completely empty, as otherwise the host could fear that the guest was not full.

Clothing: Well-groomed casual wear is common, evening wear is only expected on special occasions. Swimwear belongs on the beach.

Photographing: People should be asked before photographing them. Photography is often allowed in mosques, but you should ask beforehand. Photography is prohibited in museums and churches. Military installations may not be photographed.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in closed areas of restaurants and cafes.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Hot summers, rainfall is possible. Often heavy snowfalls in winter. The basin landscapes in the south (Maritzatal) and southwest (Strumatal) are influenced by the Mediterranean, the north of the country is continental. The best time to travel is midsummer (July and August). From December to the beginning of March, the ski areas have the best conditions for winter sports enthusiasts.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +359 Area (sqkm) 110,994 Population 7186893 Population density (per sqkm) 65 Population in 2015 Member of the EU Yes main emergency number 112