For people who have not yet visited Bulgaria but plan or wish to visit it one day, it is only appropriate that you should know a lot of things about this wonderful Balkan country.
If you are not quite well-versed in geography (but want to learn more about a pretty low-cost vacation, and maybe even a place where you will want to live a few months in a year), then read this article. You will not only know all about the location of the country, but also will know about the good nature of Bulgarians and about wonderful climate of this region.
Where is Bulgaria?
Bulgaria, or as it is officially called the Republic of Bulgaria, is quite large Balkan country. Its area is 110,993 square kilometers. By area, it is ranked at 103rd in the world. Her possessions stretch in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula (or, in the south-eastern part of Europe), along the Black Sea coast. Water is not very salty, but very clean and clear, and it is inhabited by many species of fish.
By what countries does Bulgaria border?
Bulgaria is directly bordered by 5 countries: Romania to the north (there are guided tours to the country from Bulgaria; read more in our other articles), Greece and Turkey to the south of the country (many tourists enjoy visiting mentioned countries, included in excursion routes from Bulgaria) and by Serbia and Macedonia to the west. The eastern part of Bulgaria is washed by the Black Sea. Through it, Bulgaria is bordered by Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.
Bulgaria on the world map
Below on the map you can see the most popular resorts and attractions of the country. To learn more about them, read our blog, on which we talk about Bulgarian coastal cities, rest and relaxation there and the popular tourist spots around the region.
Unfortunately, as much as we would like to show them all to you, we could not fit all of them in this map. That is why we recommend you to read articles about summer vacation in Bulgaria and proposed excursions around the country.
For tourists planning on an independent DIY trip, we have prepared a detailed bus schedule from different cities of Bulgaria. Look for it in the tab “Services” in the header of our website.
A visa regime with Bulgaria
According to information published in the Internet, Bulgaria has been a member of the EU since 2007. We saw an evidence of that: all products are labeled by a symbol of European quality, including foodstuffs such as cheese (which are nutritious, by the way).
To get to Bulgaria, a visa is necessary. Do not worry, it is much easier to issue it, than a Schengen visa. If you have a visa to other countries (Cyprus, Romania, Croatia), or if you have a Schengen visa, it will not be difficult for you to enter Bulgaria. To find out more about all the intricacies of obtaining a visa, we recommend to read our article: A visa to Bulgaria.
You also might be interested to read an article: An insurance in Bulgaria.
The climate of Bulgaria
Climate in Bulgaria is generally pleasant and mild. The sea is generally quiet and peaceful, with clear waters (during 14 days of our holiday in the sea only once was storm). Compared to the Adriatic sea of Montenegro, the Black sea in Bulgaria feels cooler, but still quite comfortable for swimming.
During the summer, debilitating heat rarely occurs on the coast, since the sea breeze is very refreshing. In the year there are a lot of sunny days. The season starts at the end of May and lasts until the end of September.
For more information about the best time of the year to go to Bulgaria, see our separate article: When to go to Bulgaria?
During the winter, the country is no less interesting. Ski resorts start to operate from November or December, and the quality and beauty of the ski resorts are almost at par to other European counterparts. Borovets is probably the most popular ski resort in Bulgaria. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful and affordable winter vacation on the slopes of the Bulgarian mountains.
Beaches and the water in Bulgaria
Almost all beaches in Bulgaria are sandy, which is undoubtedly a huge plus in a choice of vacation spots. Only on small beaches in the old part of Nessebar, a promenade is composed of small shells, which is not pleasant to walk along or lie on. In Pomorie, you can find concrete beaches, but they are located only along the isthmus, which connects the old and the new part of the city.
The water temperature ranges between +20°C – +27°C, depending on the summer months. The water is usually warmer in coves and bays of Nessebar and Pomorie.
For a more detailed information about beaches of Bulgaria, their pros and cons, read our article: Beaches of Bulgaria: photos, reviews and descriptions.
Attractions of Bulgaria
Almost every city in Bulgaria has its own attractions. We will briefly describe only those which we ourselves were able to see during our vacation.
We liked Bulgaria with its amazingly beautiful and diverse nature, gorgeous plants and shady parks.
- Probably one of the most attractive places in the country is the Botanical Garden in Balchik. This is truly an amazing place. You can find a collection of cacti, which is the second largest in the world. In the garden you can also find a palace — or more correctly, summer residence — of the Romanian queen, Queen Maria. A entrance costs 7 levs (adult), but the unspeakable beauty of the gardens and the experience are worth it.
- Lake Pomorie is another attractive coastal town in Bulgaria. It also serves as a bird sanctuary. As it is a saline lake, Lake Pomorie still produces commercial sea salt, and its famous curative mud is obtained from the bottom of the lake. It is a popular tourist spot, where people would smear themselves with the curative mud from head to toe. However, it is better to consult with your doctor first before going to a mud bath.
- Along Lake Pomorie there is a narrow dam (at the widest point it is hardly reaches 50 meters), which separates the pond from the Black Sea. Sandy spit, which stretches from the sea, is a favorite vacation spot for tourists who prefer peaceful, quiet and secluded vacation. The beginning of this spit on the part of Pomorie is occupied by nudists.
In the country there are interesting national parks, but they are located in the interior of the country, so we could not see them. If you were lucky enough to see the beauty of these places, we would be glad if you share them with us!
In terms of cultural attractions can be mentioned in Bulgaria:
- Old Nessebar – Old Nessebar is a beautiful city, part of which is submerged under the water due to an earthquake. Narrow streets of the peninsula with small wooden houses along them constitute a certain charm. And in the evenings, the city is immersed in the mysterious glow of many small light bulbs. It is particularly pleasant to walk through these streets. There are two museums – Archaeological and Ethnographic. You will be able to get acquainted with the history, culture and peculiarities of life of Bulgarians.
- Pomorie – a seaside town divided by an isthmus to the old and the new parts. The streets of Pomorie is pleasant to walk (this applies especially to the old part), there are a lot of parks and beautiful flowers. The city is quiet and peaceful. Often, tourists make this area their permanent residence. It is impossible not to fall in love with this city!
- Burgas – a port city with an amazing seaside park. In the park you can find everything: from a variety of convenient shops, monuments and flowerbeds to modern bicycle paths and cafes. The town itself is also quite interesting. Burgas is often touted as the shopping mecca, although the prices there are often quite high.
- Sandy sculptures – these are the unusual sculptures created by masters from around the world at the annual exhibition in the park “Lake” in Burgas. Many tourists specially come to Burgas to see the beauty of these sculptures with their own eyes. An entrance to the festival costs 3 levs. Since it is an open space, we recommend to take a bottle or tumbler of mineral water, a wide-brimmed hat, a light long-sleeved clothing and umbrella to protect you from the sun.
- It is hard to the temples in Nessebar in mere words; it is just necessary to see them with your own eyes. Not in vain Old Nessebar is called the city of 40 churches. This is the number of churches, which in the olden days were placed on a small peninsula. During our visit there, we managed to find only 10, but they give an idea about the past greatness of this place. At the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the newest temple of Nessebar), you can see a miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin Odigitria, which helps to heal ilnesses.
- The Monastery of St. George in Pomorie – it is a very nice and “cozy” monastery. In it there is small museum where tourists can visit and learn more about the life of the сhurch. The doors of the monastery are always warmly open to parishioners, pilgrims and travelers alike. In the monastery there is also a healing source, which, if you believe the rumors, cures many diseases. There is also the miraculous icon of St. George, which helps those who suffer illnesses.
- Temples of Burgas – we liked their architecture and antiquity. One of the churches used to be a hospital, while another church is famed for its huge size. It is remarkable to note that temples in Burgas are generally concentrated in the city center. Tourists will get to see all these great churches in one place.
Excursions in Bulgaria
You can sign up for paid excursions and guided tours in Bulgaria. However, we strongly recommend to choose another option: riding buses or by renting a car to get to these coastal towns: Nessebar, Burgas, Varna, Pomorie – any of them is accessible to any tourist. We ventured to walk from Nessebar to Pomorie (almost 20 km) at one of the first days of out vacation, and were pleasantly surprised to discover amazing landscapes of Bulgarian nature. Another great discovery is a spit of Pomorie.
To find out more about organized (paid) excursions and their prices, see our article: Prices and a schedule of excursions in Bulgaria in 2015 – 2016.
There are also excursions to other countries from Bulgaria: Greece, Turkey, Romania.
For your convenience we have written an article Bulgaria: an independent tourism or excursions? After reading it, you will finally decide on how you would travel around the country.
Useful links and interesting information:
- Bus schedules in the popular resorts of Bulgaria and ticket prices.
- The culture of Bulgarians or what people are in Bulgaria?
- Is it safe to swim in the waters of the Black Sea in Bulgaria?
- Advices about an insurance for a visa to Bulgaria.
- A variety of sights of Bulgaria with a lot of photos.
- In what period of the year is it better to rest in Bulgaria? Popular beachfront and ski resorts.
- What can be seen in summer in Bulgaria?
- Overview of the most popular resorts in Bulgaria.