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Holidays in Bulgaria

Understanding Bulgaria

Climate

Continental in the interior; cold, damp winters with snow in the higher elevations; hot and humid summers

Temperate on the coast; mild autumns, cool winters, mild springs and warm and breezy summers

Terrain

Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast; highest point : Musala 2,925 m

History

A branch of the Slavs merged with the local Proto-Bulgarians, a Central Asian tribe, in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state in the Balkans In succeeding centuries, Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empires dominated South-East Europe, but by the end of the 14th century the region was overrun by the Ottoman Turks Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878 largely due to the intervention of Russia and Romania, who clipped the wings of the declining Ottoman Empire in Bulgaria and elsewhere, and installed a minor German prince as a ruler of the newly independent country The country's iconic heroes were all freedom fighters to a man: whether Rakovsky Раковски, who mixed revolution and literature, Vassil Levski Васил Левски - the Apostle of Freedom, or Hristo Botev Христо Ботев, poet and fighter After a series of bloody and brutal Balkan wars, Bulgaria had the further misfortune to be occupied by the losing side in both World Wars, and fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946 Communist domination was brought to a swift, but for many people illusory end in 1989; though Bulgaria went on to hold its first multi-party election since World War II, essentially socialist policies were pursued until hyperinflation and economic meltdown drove the old guard out of power in 1997 Today, reforms and democratization have brought Bulgaria into the NATO fold, with EU accession celebrated in 2007 During Communist times, the Black Sea was a favorite destination for travellers behind the Iron Curtain Now, increasing numbers of western Europeans travel throughout the country and many have bought vacation houses near the Black Sea or in picturesque villages

Language

The Bulgarian language is related to Serbian, Russian and other Eastern European languages, but contains many international words Bulgarians use the Cyrillic alphabet which can make the task of getting around the country somewhat difficult if you aren't familiar with this alphabet as most signs are written in it However, getting acquainted with the alphabet isn't very difficult and may save you a lot of trouble, especially as many common words are homophones of English or French words

Also, as Bulgarian education emphasizes foreign language studies, especially English language, it wouldn't be a problem to talk and find information in English in bigger cities

See the Bulgarian phrasebook for a pronunciation guide, while this external page 2 has a different take and examples of the confusing but rarely used cursive forms

Holidays

Baba Marta Баба Марта Grandma Marta, March 1 A very old Bulgarian holiday People give each martenitsa мартеница, a type of white-red yarn, as a symbol of health this is not a public holiday

March 3 Трети март The day Bulgaria celebrates its Russian-aided liberation from 500 years of Ottoman domination 1393-1878

20th of April - 20 April 1876 is the official start day the greatest uprising of the Bulgarian people against the Ottoman rule

Gergiovden Гергьовден, May 6 St George and official holiday of the Bulgarian Аrmy

Ss Cyril and Methodius Day Ден на Кирил и Методий, May 24 The day of St Cyril 827-869, and St Methodius 826-884, who created the Cyrillic alphabet A beautiful holiday - with lots of flowers, music, and joy

Assumption Day - Golyama Bogoroditsa, August 15 There are big celebrations, especially in the main monasteries, with icons being paraded by the monks this is not a public holiday

Reunification Day Ден на съединението, September 6 The day the two parts of Bulgaria, the independent North and East Rumelia autonomous in the Ottoman Empire were reunited

Talking in Bulgaria

Bulgarian is a southern Slavic language, mutually intelligible with Macedonian variant of Bulgarian and closely related to Serbo-Croatian, Slovene and Russian If you know any of these or another Slavic language you shouldn't have much problem getting by Ancient Bulgarian also known as Church Slavonic is considered the "Latin" or mother language of the Balto-Slavs Some words or/and phrases might even be understood by Westerners since Bulgarian has a number of loans from other languages most notably French, German, Turkish, Italian and increasingly English

Modern Bulgarian is difficult to Westerners, especially English-speakers, as it has three genders, the infintive has fallen virtually out of use, and articles are appended to the end of either the noun if no attribute is present or the first attribute example: kuche = dog, kucheto = the dog, dobro kuche = good dog, dobroto kuche = the good dog However, it is actually easier than the other Slavic tongues as the other Slavs almost never use articles nor prepositions, but have noun cases instead, which makes them more difficult It takes a short while getting used to the Cyrillic alphabet, a writing system of which Bulgarians are proud Be sure to be in Bulgaria for the celebrations of the "Den na Pismenostta" "Day of the Literacy" The Russian/East Slavic version of the alphabet is almost identical to the Bulgarian one

It is also important to remember the fact that many Bulgarians - contrary to most nationalities - shake their head for Yes and nod for No! It is better to rely on the words da for yes and ne for no than on head movements Bulgarians often use ciao for good-bye instead of "Dovijdane" and merci for thank you instead of "Blagodarya"

Most young Bulgarians have at least a basic knowledge of English or/and a second foreign language , usually Russian, but German, French or Spanish can also be spoken and will often even take up a third one Those born before the mid-1980s are most likely to speak Russian, German because of ties with East Germany or/and Serbo-Croatian and usually have limited or zero knowledge of English at all

What to see in Bulgaria

The 100 tourist sites of Bulgaria are some of the more popular sites A reward scheme is available based on collecting stamps from the sites which encourages tourists to travel and sightsee throughout the country

Buying stuff in Bulgaria

Money

The Bulgarian unit of currency is the Lev лев, abbreviated "лв", plural: Leva, comprised of one hundred Stotinki The Lev is pegged to the Euro at 195583 Lev for one Euro 1 Lev is roughly US$ 075 and UK£ 046

Shopkeepers and other businesses in Bulgaria will usually not accept foreign money though many will accept the euro Bulgaria remains a largely cash economy in the rural areas but in major cities credit cards are generally accepted

In most cities there are many money exchange offices which are marked with signs that say "CHANGE" Most are legitimate, but some may rip you off It is much safer to exchange your money at a bank Banks apply little or no commissions, and generally offer good rates Higher commissions may be applied to traveller's cheques Old, dirty or very worn bank notes may be refused Never exchange money out on the street Beware of people on the street who offer high rates of exchange or who may ask you to make some change for them

Over the past years the ATM network in Bulgaria has grown considerably, making it relatively easy to obtain cash from the numerous ATMs in Sofia, as well as in all other major cities and resorts The national credit/debit card circuit BORICA 16, to which all ATMs in the country are hooked up, accepts VISA/Plus, Visa Electron, MasterCard/Cirrus, Maestro, American Express, Diners Club, and a number of other cards

Prices

Prices in Bulgaria for some items are around half that of Western Europe, and good bargains are to be had on shoes and leather goods as well as other clothing Note that clothes from famous international brands, perfumes, electronic equipment, etc often are more expensive than in other parts of Europe

Supermarkets

In Sofia and a few major cities you can find branches of international hypermarket chains like Kaufland, Hit, Billa, Metro, and other There are also many local supermaket chains like Fantastiko, Familia, and Picadilly All Bulgarian supermarkets sell products of European quality

Food and eating in Bulgaria

Bulgarian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of Southeastern Europe with some Turkish and Greek influences, but it has some unique elements The relatively warm climate and diverse geography produce excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits, Bulgarian cuisine is particularly diverse

Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of wines and local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as banitsa

Certain entries, salads, soups and dishes go well with alcoholic beverages and the alcohol of choice for some is Bulgarian wine

Restaurants serving international cuisine have also made a presence in the country, offering various options such as Chinese, French, Italian, and international contemporary

Vegetarian

Salads made of organic vegetables are very popular in Bulgaria Three vegetarian dishes that are commonly available are боб чорба/bob chorba warm minty bean soup, таратор/tarator cold cucumber yogurt soup, and Шопска салата/Shopska salad Fresh tomatoes and peppers can be found in many markets and are some of the most flavoursome in the world American vegetarians may be surprised to find meat inside innocent-looking breakfast pastries

Popular local dishes

The most popular Bulgarian salad is the shopska salad, which is a mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers preferably roasted, and sirene Traditionally it is dressed only with salt, sunflower or olive oil and vinegrette Another popular salads are the snow white salad, the shepherd salad and the lyutenitsa

As a main course you can have moussaka a rich oven-baked dish of potatoes, minced meat and white sauce, gyuvetch, sarmi rolls with vine or cabbage leaves, drob sarma lamb liver and lung with rice, kavarma minced meat with tomatoes, mish-mash fried peppers, onion and eggs

Traditional milk products

There are only two native kinds of cheese: the yellow-colored Kashkaval Кашкавал - more or less akin to the Dutch Gouda - and the more popular white Sirene Сирене - a kind of Feta cheese, similar to Greek Feta in taste Originally made from sheep milk, it is available from cow or goat milk, or mixed

The native Bulgarian kiselo mlyako yoghurt contains Lactobacilicus Bulgaricus, a bacterium which serves as the basis for active culture "plain" yoghurts in other countries Normally made from cow or sheep milk, it can also be prepared from buffalo milk, with a remarkably stronger taste

Being a staple, and quite favourite around the country, Bulgarian yoghurt also is an ingredient to many dishes, the most famous one being Tarator Таратор, a cold soup made from yoghurt, water, cucumbers, garlic, dill and walnuts A drink called Ayran - a yoghurt-water mixture with salt- is also very popular

Fast food

Traditional bakeries prepare different kinds of pastry products Banitsa and mekitsa are the favorites Pizza, dyuner döner, sandwich or hamburgers are also very easy to be found at the streets There are also many local and international fast-food chains

Drinking in Bulgaria

Non-alcoholic

There are more than six hundred mineral water springs around the country, so this is something you'd better taste and drink

Ayrian yogurt, water and salt and boza millet ale are two traditional Turkish non-alcoholic beverages that you can also find in Bulgaria widely

Wine

Grape growing and wine production have a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians Wine is, together with beer and grape rakia, among the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country

Some of the well known local wine varieties are Mavrud, Pamid, Gamza red dry, Melnik, Dimyat, Misket, Muskat, Pelin, Kadarka red sweet and Keratsuda white dry

Beer

Beer bira: бира is consumed all around the country Excellent local varieties like Kamenitza, Zagorka, Ariana, Pirinsko and Shumensko, as well as Western European beers produced under license in Bulgaria like Heineken and Amstel, are readily available mostly everywhere

Spirits

Rakia ракия is the Bulgarian national alcoholic drink and is served neat, usually at the beginning of a meal with salads Its powerful 40% vol, clear brandy that can be made from grape, plum or apricot In some villages people still distill their rakia at home; it is then usually much stronger >50% vol

Another quite popular drink is mastika мастика 47% vol, a drink closely related to Greek Ouzo and Turkish Raki It is usually drunk with ice, with water in a 1:1 mixture

Menta мента is a peppermint liqueur that can be combined with mastika

Accommodation in Bulgaria

Finding an accommodation in Bulgaria is very easy, for any price You can find everything - from hostels in Sofia and Plovdiv, very cheap boarding houses along the coast to inexpensive hotels in all cities and luxury hotels in large cities There are many "mountain huts" or villas available for rent all around the mountains in the country Overnight accommodations can also be acquired at about a dozen of the monasteries There are also plenty of guest houses and villas Bulgaria is famous for offering quality budget accommodation for rural and ecological tourism in charming small towns in its mountains as well as at the seaside In some of the coastal villages, elderly ladies often approach tourists disembarking from coaches and trains, offering accomodation in boarding houses These can often be excellent value for money from as little as $5 a night and can offer an authentic experience, however its recommended you check these out before you agree on a stay

  • Bulgaria Holiday Rental Self catering accommodation to rent in Bulgaria Sofia Rentals all across Bulgaria http://wwwbulgariaholidayrentalcom 12:00 11:00 Competitive Self catering holiday accommodation is a popular option in Bulgaria, particularly for holidaymakers along the coastlines

Working in Bulgaria

If you are moving to Brazil to find work, or are thinking it will be easy to find a job, you may want to think again

If you are a native English speaker, you may be able to find an English-teaching part-time job; but don't expect that to save your holidays The pay will be under-the-table without contract There is also a growing demand for Spanish language classes, especially in the major cities In both cases, it's always much more lucrative to find work privately rather than through schools This can be done by advertising in newspapers or weeklies or by putting up signs on the notice boards at universities

Refer to the Ministery of Labour webiste 28 for more detailed information

Gringoescom 29 is the main online community of expat's living and working in Brazil

Cities in Bulgaria

ahtopol  ajtos  alfatar  antonovo  ardino  asenovgrad  balgarovo  bankja  bansko  batak  batanovci  belene  belica  belogradcik  beloslav  belovo  berkovica  bjala  bjala  blagoevgrad  bobosevo  bobovdol  boljarovo  borovo  botevgrad  bracigovo  bregovo  breznik  brezovo  buhovo  burgas  carevo  cepelare  cirpan  dalgopol  debelec  devin  dimitrovgrad  dimovo  dobric  dolna banja  dolna mitropolija  dolni dabnik  dospat  dragoman  drjanovo  dulovo  dupnica  dve mogili  elena  elhovo  elin pelin  etropole  gabrovo  galabovo  godec  gramada  guljanci  gurkovo  gurkovo  harmanli  haskovo  ihtiman  iskar  isperih  ivajlovgrad  jablanica  jakoruda  jambol  kalofer  kameno  kaolinovo  karlovo  karnobat  kaspican  kavarna  kazanlak  kermen  kilifarevo  kjustendil  klisura  kneza  kocerinovo  kojnare  koprivstica  kostenec  kostinbrod  kotel  kozloduj  kresna  kresna  kricim  krivodol  krumovgrad  kubrat  kula  laki  letnica  levski  ljaskovec  ljubimec  lom  lovec  loznica  lukovit  madan  magliz  malko tarnovo  melnik  mericleri  mezdra  momcilgrad  montana  nedelino  nesebar  nikolaevo  nikopol  nova zagora  novi iskar  novi pazar  obzor  omurtag  opaka  orjahovo  panagjuriste  pavlikeni  pazardzik  pernik  perustica  pestera  petric  pirdop  plackovci  pleven  pliska  plovdiv  pomorie  popovo  pordim  pravec  primorsko  provadija  radnevo  radomir  rakitovo  rakovski  razgrad  razlog  rila  roman  rudozem  ruse  sabla  sadovo  saedinenie  samokov  sandanski  senovo  septemvri  sevlievo  silistra  simeonovgrad  simitli  sipka  slavjanovo  sliven  smoljan  sofia  sopot  sozopol  sredec  stara zagora  straldza  strazica  strelca  suhindol  sumen  sungurlare  suvorovo  svilengrad  svistov  svoge  tervel  teteven  topolovgrad  tran  trastenik  trjavna  trojan  tutrakan  tvardica  ugarcin  varna  veliki preslav  velingrad  vetovo  vidin  vraca  zavet  zemen  zlatarica  zlatica  zlatograd  

What do you think about Bulgaria?

How expensive is Bulgaria?
(1 BGN = 0.6 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant7.76 BGN
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)32.2 BGN
McDonalds meal7.74 BGN
Local beer (0.5 draft)2.21 BGN
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 2.82 BGN
Cappuccino1.78 BGN
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)1.77 BGN
Water (0.33 bottle)0.93 BGN
Milk (1l)2.13 BGN
Fresh bread (500g)1.01 BGN
White Rice (1kg)2.4 BGN
Eggs (12) 2.65 BGN
Local Cheese (1kg) 8.51 BGN
Chicken Breast (1kg) 8.26 BGN
Apples (1kg) 2.19 BGN
Oranges (1kg) 2 BGN
Tomato (1kg) 2 BGN
Potato (1kg) 1.11 BGN
Lettuce (1 head) 0.94 BGN
Water (1.5l)0.77 BGN
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 8.67 BGN
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)1.04 BGN
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 2.08 BGN
Cigarettes4.8 BGN
One way local bus ticket1.1 BGN
Monthly pass for bus36 BGN
Taxi start0.82 BGN
Taxi 1km0.71 BGN
Taxi 1hour waiting10.92 BGN
Gasoline (1 liter) 2.82 BGN
Utilities for a "normal" apartment179.07 BGN
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 17.16 BGN
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 452.79 BGN
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 270.22 BGN
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 803.28 BGN
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 576.18 BGN
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