Eco-friendly travel guide to Bulgaria advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Bulgaria, Europe.
- Air quality: 2.5 / 5
- Bus connections: 5 / 5
- Train connections: 2 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 4 / 5
- National parks: 5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$7 - $270
- Budget per day: US$50 - $400
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Bulgaria is a European country in the southeast that is known globally for its historical and cultural significance. The country shares its borders with Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and the Black Sea. It is part of the Balkan countries, but Christianity is the dominating religion here. The capital city is Sofia, which is the largest Bulgarian city. The official language is Bulgarian, and more than 80% of the ethnic groups are Bulgarians. Turks and Roma are other minority groups present in Bulgaria. Christianity is the most followed religion that comprises 61.1% of the total population, while Bulgarian Orthodoxy and Islam are other followed religions. The country covers 110,993.6 square kilometers, out of which about 2.16% constitutes water bodies. According to 2019 population estimates, the country homes more than 6 million residents. If you are traveling to Bulgaria, you must keep in mind to abide by the laws and not be involved in illegal activities. It is because it may land you in a lot of trouble, which includes getting deported. If you want to create a memorable trip to Bulgaria, you must respect the culture and travel responsibly. You can travel responsibly by adopting various eco-friendly measures to your trip like recycling, reusing, volunteering, etc. It will also help in supporting the local communities and resolving environmental issues.
Air Quality and Pollution
Compared with other Balkan countries, you will find that air quality and pollution are not different in Bulgaria. The pollution levels are at a moderate rate, but these rates differ from one city to another. Globally, air pollution in Bulgaria is not sound, and it is ranked 24th out of 98 countries with severe air pollution. Not all cities and towns of Bulgaria have high pollution levels. The metropolitan cities like Sofia, Plovdiv, Vidin, Blagoevgrad, and Pernik have bad air quality and high air pollution rates that exceed 100 units. On the other hand, Dobrich, Varna, Sliven, Haskovo, Smolyan, and Kirklareli are some Bulgarian cities with excellent air quality and low air pollution. For tourists that suffer from some respiratory or pollution-related health issues, it is advised that you either opt for face masks and other pieces of equipment or stay in the less polluted areas of Bulgaria.
- Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the most polluted city.
- Burgas is the cleanest city in Bulgaria.
Respect the Culture
In the Balkans, Bulgaria is one of the Islamic countries where the living standards are quite good. You will find that the culture and traditional background are reliable, and the locals are very patriotic when it comes to their nation and history. Bulgarians are the prominent ethnic group present in the country that constitutes 84.8% of the total population. Turkish and Roma are the minority groups present that constitute a low percentage of 8.8 and 4.9. While visiting Bulgaria, you must try your best to not criticize the culture, traditions, economy, politics, or history of the country in front of the locals as they take such things very personally. Creating any such negative impression in the minds of the locals can land you in deep trouble. Therefore, it would be best to understand why these things mean so much to the locals and keep your negative comments to yourself. The best way to get deep insights into the local culture is by participating in activities that bring you close to the locals, such as attending festivals, live concerts, learning to cook Bulgarian food, befriending a local, etc.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Sofia: The first place to visit in Bulgaria is none other than its capital city, Sofia. The city is not only the capital of Bulgaria but also the largest city in the country. It is home to numerous churches that date back to over 2000 years. The city is a perfect amalgamation of the old city of Sofia and its modern township. Some of the must-visit sites here are the Boyana Churcand Saint Nedelja Church, which will give you great insights into the history of religion in Bulgaria. Other famous sights include modern museums, city parks, municipal buildings, cathedrals, art galleries, and many more impressive monuments.
- Varna: Although Varna is a resort town in Bulgaria, its popularity amongst tourists is not less than Sofia. This beautiful town is a preferred vacation spot for both local and foreign tourists. Varna is famous for being home to some majestic Roman baths, museums, and ancient cathedrals. These places play an essential role in representing Bulgarian history and heritage. The beach present in the town attracts most tourists as it is the best place to sunbathe and get some peace of mind.
- Plovdiv:It is another famous Bulgarian city which is a historical city. Anthropologists and history lovers positively love this city. The striking feature of Plovdiv is that it is built around seven hills and sits along the Maritsa River course. Visiting this historical city is like stepping back in time when fortresses, theaters, vintage houses, and cobbled stone roads existed. The must-visit places in this town are the Plovdiv Roman stadium, Staria grad, and the Roman amphitheater.
- Veliko Tarnovo: Veliko Tarnovo also goes by the name of; the city of Tsar. The city's name comes from the hill Tsaravets, one of the three hills surrounding this small town. The most fantastic feature of this town is about 7000 years old and sits near the Yantra River. The three mountains, Tsaravets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora, surround Veliko Tarnovo. The city was once a fortified one with walls on all its sides. The fortification now lies in ruins, but it still offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding areas. It is home to numerous monasteries, mythical homes, and churches.
- Bansko: If you are looking for the best skiing destination in the Balkans, Bansko is the place for you. Bansko sits at the foothills of Pirin mountains and is a center of winter sports in Bulgaria. The place is home to a ski resort that offers the most extended skiing season. You will find that this fantastic ski resort homes many ski restaurants, spas, the Vihren peak, and annually hosts the Bansko Jazz Festival. The destination is only suitable for visiting during the winters as the mountain slopes are covered with ice. Still, during the other seasons, the mountains lose the snow are most of the activities are stopped for the time being.
- Sozopol: While visiting Bulgaria, Sozopol is the place you have to visit anyhow. It is an ancient coastal town in Bulgaria that exhibits relics of the Bronze Age. The town has both historical and cultural significance. It is perched at the Black Sea coast, and much archaeological evidence of a Christian complex is found in this town. This town is known for its happening nightlife that attracts a large number of travelers. The Apollonia Art and Film Festival is held here every year, which makes it culturally significant.
- Pamporovo: Set in Rhodope Mountains' foothills, Pamporovo is another ski resort in Bulgaria. The specialty of this ski resort is that it has the best pine forest and skiing area. Pamporovo is a popular place to visit in winter as well as in summer. In winters, snowboarding and skiing are the popular activities that take place here. While during summers, hiking and camping are the most enjoyable sports in the area. The resort gets many tourists; therefore, it would be best if you booked in advance.
- Pobiti Kamani: Pobiti Kamani is the only desert present in Bulgaria that stretches about 20 kilometers west of Varna. This desert is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The tourists' most fascinating thing is that the dunes and rock formations go up to 7 meters in height. The must-see sites in this desert are the Stone Forest, Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, and the Quarry in Beloslav.
- Ruse: Ruse is Bulgaria's important river port that is present on the right bank of the Danube. This Bulgarian city houses over 300 Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo buildings. There are times when Ruse is compared to Vienna, which made many people start calling it 'Little Vienna.' The city's most striking feature is that it is the only Bulgarian city with a Bulgarian-Romanian bridge name Ruse-Giurgiu Friendship Bridge. The must-visit places here are the Liberty Square, Friendship Bridge, Eco Museums, Sveta Troitsa Cathedral, and Orlova Chuka Cave.
- Nesebar: Sitting by the Black Sea coast, Nesebar is a pretty little town that is known for its stunning beaches and ancient ruins. It is another popular vacation spot in Bulgaria that has Byzantine-era fortifications. Apart from the much historical significance, this town is packed with fun-filled activities such as water sports, delicious seafood, beachfront water park, beaches, etc. Nesebar is a great place to visit with your significant other and spend some quality time exploring the beautiful churches and towers.
Apart from the primary destinations that attract tourists from all over the world to Bulgaria, the country has many beautiful and mind-blowing places that will make your trip worth every penny you spend. The historical and cultural sites are, no doubt, the must-visit places while exploring the country. Apart from them, the many parks, museums, landmarks, and beaches present in the different cities, towns, and areas will help you get in-depth knowledge about the Bulgarian culture, traditions, history, and communities. While exploring these places, you must keep in mind avoiding involving in any activity that may cause harm to the local environment.
Every Bulgarian city homes some city parks. These city parks are present for the locals and tourists in each city. These parks' primary purpose is to provide a quick getaway from the busy streets and the urban jungle. City parks differ in sizes and types, but they have in common that they are open spaces. Some of these parks have vast grasslands with few shrubs, shade trees, fountains, play areas, benches, and other necessary things. These types of parks are ideal for picnics and small children. Another common type of city parks is a wider one with tree-lined trails, jogging tracks, exercise area, pond or lake, children's play area, open space, food stalls, bathrooms, and many more facilities. These parks are for people that want to entertain themselves and stay fit. Visiting these parks will help you get some fresh air and help you get a good mood. These parks are ideal for going on dates with your partner.
- Park Kameniza (Plovdiv)
- Borisova Gardina (Sofia)
- City Garden (Sofia)
- Asparuhov Park (Varna)
- The Sea Garden (Burgas)
- Crystal Garden (Sofia)
- Doctors’ Garden (Sofia)
- Garden of Tsar Simeon (Plovdiv)
Just visiting the many historical and cultural places packed with tourists and locals is not always fun. You will find that these sites can become boring after some time. Therefore, national parks provide visitors with some entertainment and knowledge about the various plant and animal species. These parks are more extensive than city parks. You will find that the central or state government maintains these parks. To maintain them, the government of each state or province gets funds regularly. These parks play an essential role in representing an area's distinctive biodiversity and preserving it. The animals and plants in these parks are provided with an environment that is closest to their habitat. Therefore, these parks help them survive and continue to grow. Most of these parks are accessible without any charges to locals, while tourists may have to pay some entry fee to visit them. Usually, these national parks provide a guide/ driver who knows every aspect of the park. If you want to rejuvenate your body or get some peace of mind, then these national parks are great for visiting during your trip.
- Rila National Park (Rila Mountain Range)
- Kamchia Biosphere Reserve (Kamchia)
- Pirin National Park (Pirin)
- Central Balkan National Park (Gabrovo)
- Srebarna Nature Reserve (Silistra)
If you are looking for a fun-packed place during your visit to Bulgaria, then the Bulgarian beaches present in different regions of the country are the ones to visit. These beaches are top-rated amongst the locals. You will find that beaches become a massive trend during summers, making them overcrowded and less enjoyable. Some of the beaches in Bulgaria are private, while some are public. The public beaches are accessible to anyone; therefore, these beaches often face large crowds in summers. A resort or some person owns the private beaches on the other hand. The entry to these beaches is restricted, and only particular people can visit them. It is the reason why these beaches don't face large crowds. It is always a great option to plan a trip to the beach as these places are packed with loads of fun-filled activities such as sunbathing, water sports, beach games, partying, etc. Most of the beaches present in Bulgaria are family-friendly, but some nudist beaches also present with age restrictions. Therefore, you must always search beforehand about the beach you are visiting.
- Marina Dinevi (Sveti Vlas)
- Smokinya Beach (Sozopol)
- Sunny Beach (Sunny Beach)
- Pomorie Beach (Pomorie)
- Sinemorets Veleka Beach (Sinemorets)
- Nirvana Beach (Golden Sands)
- Little Sea Beach (Shabla)
Landmarks are similar to historical and cultural sites. The only difference is that these landmarks, as the name suggests, are used to represent or recognize any particular area in a city or a province. There are various landmarks present in each Bulgarian city. These landmarks are not just monuments or buildings as landmarks can be physical objects such as public squares, markets, fountains, streets, shops, restaurants, educational institutes, parks, beaches, or even a water body. Unlike the historical sites, landmarks are small places and are a great help to tourists. These landmarks help the tourists recognize the different areas in a city and not get lost. There are various tours offered by the travel agencies that cover the landmarks present in the city. You can learn a great deal about Bulgarian history, tradition, culture, and livelihood by visiting these landmarks. Some of these landmarks are named after some renowned personalities, while some are statues made to honor those personalities.
- Perperikon (Kardzali)
- Beglik Tash (Primorsko)
- Main Astronomical Point of Bulgaria (Sofia)
- Madara Horseman (Madara)
- Tsarevets Fortress (Veliko Tarnovo)
- Monument to Freedom, Stoletov Peak (Kazanluk)
- Amphitheater of Serdica (Sofia)
- Rila Monastery (Rilski Manastir)
Museums often off as dull places to most people, which is why museums are not for everyone. Only people with an interest in history, culture, and art can enjoy visiting a museum. There are different museums for different things. Some museums showcase the area or the country's history through relics and remain found by archaeologists. While others represent the different artists and their work. Museums play an essential role in acknowledging the rich history, traditions, and cultures present in the country. If you like learning, then you can try visiting any Bulgarian museum. Some of these museums are free to access, while others require some entry fees. The museums that charge some entry fees require that money to maintain themselves or help the artists and the staff earn a living. There are galleries also present in Bulgaria, which are different from museums. The main difference between museums and galleries is that museums showcase items or artifacts. The galleries, on the other hand, represent the work of various artists. Visiting a museum or a gallery can help you increase your knowledge about Bulgarian history and culture.
- National Historical Museum (Sofia)
- Open Air Ethnographic Museum (Gabrovo)
- The Retro Museum (Varna)
- Abritus Interactive Museum (Razgrad)
- Salt Museum (Pomorie)
- National Archaeological Museum (Sofia)
- National Museum of Military History (Sofia)
- National Maritime Museum (Varna)
Bulgaria is the country that brought the classic creamy yogurt into existence. A Bulgarian doctor named Stamen Grigorov discovered this popular food item who is the person to discover lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus in 1905. Since the discovery, yogurt has become a common ingredient to most Bulgarian dishes, including banista and tarator. You will find that the food culture is unique, and meat dishes constitute most food cuisines. Most locals are non-vegetarian, but some vegetarian dishes are also popular, including Shopska Salata, Tarator, Sirenka, Snezhanka, Meshane, etc. Many restaurants serve traditional and modern food cuisines. Some of these restaurants are decades old, while the others are recent addition but are gaining popularity at an increasing rate. Although full vegetarian dishes are not that prevalent in Bulgaria, the present food cuisine has a perfect balance of vegetables and meat. Vegan food is also gaining popularity in Bulgaria, but the traditional dishes are still the preferred choice of every Bulgarian.
- Lozovi Sarmi
- Meshana Skara
The most famous Bulgarian beverage is Bulgarian wine, which is gaining international popularity. The wine is grown locally in Bulgaria and includes different local varieties of grapes, including Rubin, Melnik, Mavrud, Ruen, Dimyat, Pamid, and Red Misket. The most prominent wine-growing region in Bulgaria is the Thracian Valley, which produces more than 80% of its total wines. Apart from Bulgarian wine, mastika and rakia are other popular alcoholic beverages. You can find these three alcoholic drinks in almost all bars, pubs, clubs, hotels, and restaurants in Bulgaria. Apart from alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks are also present in Bulgaria. These drinks are also very trendy among locals and tourists. You must explore Bulgaria's drinking culture, or else you may feel your trip to Bulgaria is incomplete.
- Homemade juices
- Cabbage juice
- Bulgarian wines
- Herbal tea
- Grape juice
The overall quality of tap water in Bulgaria is good as most tourists and locals consider it safe to drink directly from tap water sources. Many tourists consider tap water's taste in Bulgaria a bit odd, so most tourists opt for bottled water. These bottles of water are cheap and safe to drink but come with some disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that the bottles are made of one-time-use plastic, which is cheap plastic and is very hard to decompose. Because of plastic use, these bottles cause many lands and water pollution when disposed of in any water body or landfill. The second disadvantage is related to your health. These bottles contain water that is safe to drink, but if you refill these bottles and use those for an extended period, then the plastic of these bottles will release certain chemicals that will cause severe problems to your body. Therefore, you must avoid such plastic bottled water for the health of the environment and your body. The best alternative to bottled water is opting for metallic or reusable plastic water bottles. The availability of water is quite useful in all of Bulgaria. You will find that mineral water is the country's specialty and is very pure and void of chemicals.
During your visit to Bulgaria, you will find that you can indulge in different activities than the usual tourist tours. Numerous activities can meet the wants of any type of tourist. From city tours to extreme sports, all activities are available at reasonable prices in different cities and towns in Bulgaria. These activities are present to make your Bulgarian trip more fun and exciting, as just visiting the tourist places will make your trip boring. These activities are more fun if you do them with a group of people.
- Sunbathing on the Black Sea coast
- Skiing or snowboarding
- Indulging in water sports
- Visiting a water park
- Take a cooking class
- Exploring the food and drink culture
- Exploring the flora and the fauna
- Attending a Bulgarian festival or cultural event
During your visit to Bulgaria, you will find endless accommodation options in different Bulgarian cities. These options range from cheap motels to luxurious resorts. In the Metropolitan cities like Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Vidin, Pernik, etc., there are many five star hotels and lodges where you can stay. These cities also have various hostels, guest houses, apartment buildings, and camping grounds. During your visit to a Bulgarian city, these are the right options for you. Some of these options are cheap, while others can be a bit expensive. There are many luxurious and cheap resorts available when it comes to different beach and ski resort towns. You could also opt for couch surfing, which is the cheapest mode of accommodation. Before you book a hotel or an apartment, you must keep in mind that it does not exceed your budget limit and is an environmentally friendly option. An eco-friendly accommodation place is friendly not only to the environment but also to the local communities. These hostels and lodges have recently started gaining popularity, but you will not find many Bulgaria options. Therefore, you should ensure that the place that you opt for follows some sustainability measures.
As the name suggests, green hotels are sustainable hotels. These hotels are no different than your regular hotels. Most of the green hotels once used to be standard hotels, but they got the certificate of being a sustainable hotel by adopting various eco-friendly practices. With the increasing need to preserve our resources, these hotels are becoming very popular worldwide. Becoming green may require a large investment, but these hotels can get more returns than their investment after turning green. You will find that these hotels are more expensive than your standard hotels, but they can help you keep your carbon footprint minimal. These hotels use various measures like solar panels, wind energy, hydropower, rainwater harvesting, localized staff, organic food, LED lights, etc., which help them maintain their reputation as green hotels. You will not find these hotels in small cities or towns; instead, these hotels are standard in big cities like Plovdiv, Sofia, Burgas, Pirin, etc.
Hostels and Guest Houses
If you are looking for affordable hotel alternatives, then hostels are the ones for you. These are very affordable as they offer different types of rooms and dormitories depending upon your budget. If you are a solo traveler or with a group, these hostels are the cheapest and readily available Bulgaria options. Usually, hostels provide shared rooms and sometimes dorms that have two to eight beds. You can share the room with other solo travelers or with your group. Most of the hostels present in Bulgaria offer only shared rooms, but there are a few that offer private rooms as well. You will find that apart from rooms, the bathroom can also be shared in some places. Some hostels serve complimentary breakfast to their guest free of cost and often hold special social events like Christmas parties, New Year celebrations, dinner night, etc. You can meet and interact with fellow tourists and learn about different tips and caution points from them.
Guesthouses are not as cheap as hostels, but they are great for people that seek privacy. Most hostels do not provide privacy as the rooms and bathrooms are shared. Guesthouses, on the other hand, provide complete privacy and security to the guests. If you are going to travel to Bulgaria alone or with your partner or with your loved ones, you can rent a guest house when you are in a Bulgarian city and enjoy some good times. These guest houses are not cheap, but some come at reasonable prices and come with a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and lawn.
With the increasing tourism rates in Bulgaria, rental apartments or flats are very high in each Bulgarian city. You will find that these are not cheap initially as they are not for a temporary basis. If your trip to Bulgaria is months long, then apartments are the best choices. The reason for them being the best choice among hotels, hostels, and guest houses, is because the total cost of these apartments is relatively lower than any other accommodation option. Most tenants require paying some security deposit when renting the place, but this amount is refundable if you do not cause any harm to the building or the landlord. You will find that selecting the right apartment is a crucial job. While searching for an accommodation option in a foreign country, the chances of getting cheated are higher. Therefore, you must inspect the building and its legality before you dwell further about renting out the place or not. Another excellent method is to interact with the present tenants about various things. Staying in an apartment will help you become independent and also get full privacy.
This concept first started in Europe. You will find that Couch surfing's popularity in Bulgaria is not that high, but there are some Couch surfing hosts present in different cities. Finding such hosts is higher in bigger cities like Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv, etc. These cities have high tourism rates along with a high population. The locals often look for opportunities to earn some pocket money by helping out foreign tourists. Couch surfing is an excellent option as it is very cheap and will help you befriending a local. Although, you can not entirely depend on couch surfing as there are chances of the host canceling the deal. You must have backup options for accommodation when you are couch surfing. You must also not trust the host blindly as he or she may cheat you or involve you in some illegal activity. Therefore, you must interact with other couch surfers before you contact the host.
Camping is one of the best accommodation options present in Bulgaria. You will find that this option is only suitable for travelers than can live off the bare minimum and have an adventurous streak in them. Camping is not a piece of cake; therefore, only experienced campers can opt for camping by themselves. If you have never camped once in your life, you must become part of a camping trip to gain experience. Some camping trips involve extreme sports like cliff jumping, diving, river rafting, etc. These sports will help you get proper exposure to the environment and discover different animal and plant species. Before you go for a camping trip, you must be equipped with proper camping pieces of equipment, including camping gear, a tent, first-aid kit, sports shoes, warm clothes, sleeping bag, refillable water bottle, reusable food containers, compass, map, etc. You must keep yourself equipped with all the necessary equipment as you may get lost and might require these items to get back to your camping group. Also, keep in mind that you can only hunt or fish-specific animal and aquatic species during camping. It would be best to hunt the endangered species or face severe penalties and even jail time.
|Northwest Bulgaria |
country's gate to West, and where the national capital, Sofia, is located
|Southwest Bulgaria |
mostly mountainous part dotted with wintersport resorts
|Northern Thrace |
plains dominated by Maritsa River and its tributaries, with many ancient Thracian sites and the second largest city of the county, Plovdiv, Haskovo
|Bulgarian Black Sea Coast |
relatively undiscovered resort towns, as well as large industrial port cities such as Burgas, Golden Sands and Varna
|Central Northern Bulgaria |
cities with turn-of-the-20th-century architecture such as Lovech and Rousse, lying along great rivers including Danube, and Ludogorie, literally "wild forests" towards the coast
- Sofia — the capital and a major point of interest in Bulgaria, featuring nice parks, a nice town center, many bars, pubs, and disco clubs, over 250 historic landmarks and architectural monuments, and a great deal of cultural places of interest. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe
- Burgas — though known for its commercial port (Port of Burgas) and oil refinery, picturesque waterfront and nearby downtown and shopping area makes this city popular with tourists
- Golden Sands - a beach resort area 17 km from Varna
- Lovech — known as the "Town of Lilacs" and famous for its Varosha resort
- Pirin - a small town named after a national park, a great hiking destination in summer with beautiful landscapes, lakes, and the second highest summit of the country
- Gabrovo — A popular tourist destination close to the center of the country, providing quick access to other cities, such as Veliko Tarnovo and Kazanlak, the Balkan Mountains and the ski resorts of Uzana.
- Plovdiv — nation's second largest city, which boasts a lovely shopping promenade and many parks, an ancient city with a preserved amphitheater, and many "revival" style Bulgaria homes. Be sure also to take a side trip to Bachkovo Monastery which is about an hour away
- Rousse — known as the "Small Vienna", the city centre offers an impressive architectural ensemble that cannot be found any place else within Bulgaria. The city boasts various places of interest among which the Sexiginta Prista Roman Castle, The Theatre, The House of Caliopa, The Pantheon and so on
- Pleven — a historical city, famous for its Panorama monument and for its beautiful parks and fountains in the city centre.
- Sunny Beach — the country's largest beach resort with more than 800 hotels in a strip along the Black Sea Coast
- Varna — the nation's third largest city (near to Golden Sands), primarily a beach resort with a notorious nightlife, especially during the summer season. The Varna Archaeological Museum is one of the most famous archaeological museums in the country
- Veliko Tarnovo — picturesque university city near the Yantra river that was the capital of medieval Bulgarian Empire
- Bansko — Ski resort
- Kardzhali — This small town is known for its natural beauty. Arda river bisects the city and has a reservoir. It is a nice place for fishing.
Getting There and Moving Around
The country of Bulgaria is equipped with an efficient transportation system that can help you reach the country and move around the different areas. If you want to reach the country, the best way is to get a direct flight to any Bulgarian city. Remember, you should prefer direct flights only and only opt for transfer flights when no other options remain. You will find that Sofia's airport is the main airport connected to all major cities' airports. Another popular way to reach Bulgaria is through roadways. There are some countries in Europe where you can travel in your car or rent a car. During international road travel, all you are required is to show your VISA and other necessary documents at the country's border to get access. You can travel through VISA only for a limited number of days.
For moving around in Bulgaria, different buses, trains, rental vehicles, and more are reasonable prices. You will find that most locals prefer using motorized vehicles that operate on fossil fuels. These fuels emit carbon dioxide and other harmful substances that cause respiratory diseases and air pollution. You must avoid using personal cars and taxis as costly and cause a lot of harm to the local environment. You can opt for healthy alternatives like walking, riding a bicycle, renting electronic vehicles, and even using public transports to move intercity or within a Bulgarian city.
Bulgaria has about seven recognized airports present in all its significant cities: Burgas, Sofia, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna, Stara Zagora, and Rousse. Among these airports, only a few are connected to major cities' airports, while the rest are not very popular for international travel. The remaining airports are mostly used for domestic travel or for traveling to the neighboring countries. If you want to reach Bulgaria, then Burgas or Sofia airport is the best choice as these two airports are connected to many major airlines. You must also opt for direct flights to this country as an aircraft produces a high pollution rate. Some airports offer transfer flights at discounted rates, but these flights are not the best option as they will delay and cause more pollution than direct flights. For domestic travel, you should avoid using aircraft as the roadways, waterways, and railways are efficient enough in reaching every corner of the country.
Since international road travel is allowed in Bulgaria, some buses operate outside the country as well. You will find that the bus network is the most used and highly efficient transport network in Bulgaria. You can find different buses ranging from international travel ones to double-decker buses. These buses have varied prices which depend on the distance and type of journey. If you want to reach Bulgaria through buses, you must be present in one of the neighboring countries connected to Bulgaria via a bus network. You will have to present all the necessary documents such as VISA, passport, and identification proof when you reach the border patrol. After analyzing your documents, the patrol will allow you to travel inside the country. Traveling through VISA is limited; therefore, you must remember the due date and plan your trip accordingly. For moving into the country, different types of buses are available. If you want to travel for a long distance, then long-distance buses are available. Different minibusses, tour buses, and double-decker buses are available for tours and trips inside a city. You can also use local buses to travel within a city.
When it comes to traveling through railways, you will find that rail networks are obsolete in Bulgaria. Sofia is the only city with metro, while other cities' metro projects are still work in progress. Therefore, there is no presence of trams and trains in Bulgaria. You can opt for the metro lines in Sofia to travel to the destinations it serves. The metro in Sofia is highly efficient and has world-class standards present. The metro in Sofia is the most affordable and efficient mode of traveling after buses. The only up point of the metro is that they are faster than the local buses and help you save lots of travel time.
Hitchhiking is a way of traveling where you ask for free rides from drivers on the roads. It is a challenging way of traveling as there are chances that you will not get any help. Most of the time, the local Bulgarians stop interacting, but they will not always help you out. Instead, they will give you food or money to help you reach your destination. You must be very patient and respectful while hitchhiking as the drivers will only help you if you create a good impression. You should be alert and stay cautious as there are chances of getting involved in illegal activities as the crime rates are moderate.
Other ways to reach Bulgaria and move around include ferry rides, rental cars, walking, riding bicycles, and using electronic vehicles. Among these options, walking, bicycles, and electronic vehicles are the best options as the rest operate on fossil fuel, contributing to the increasing pollution levels. You will find that walking and bicycling is excellent for moving within a city while renting an electronic vehicle is excellent for your whole Bulgarian trip. Electronic vehicles' presence is not very high, which is why you might have to pay a bit more than usual to rent them.
When you shop positively, that positively impacts the local environment and health; it is considered sustainable shopping. You will find that the need for shopping sustainably is increasing day by day as the global warming crisis is rising. During your visit to Bulgaria, you should try to indulge in sustainable shopping mostly. It involves using products and services that are beneficial to your health and the local environment. The local environment includes both nature and the local communities. You must support both of them and create the right image of tourists. You can visit the second-hand shops, flea markets, food markets, and eco-fashion shops to do so.
Recycling is an excellent way of reducing your total waste and making the best out of it. Although the concept of recycling is centuries old, the need for it is rising presently. Due to the high rates of pollution and the degradation of natural resources, you must try your best to use recycled items at the most. By reusing items, you can contribute to spreading awareness of recycling and helping people adopt the practice.
Bulgaria's waste management system is not very efficient as the pollution levels are very high. The main reason for such uncontrolled conditions is that the government was not very strict about environment-related laws. Bulgaria's government now realizes the need to become strict and make the people abide by the rules because the pollution levels are barely controlled. The capital city and other metropolitan cities are the ones with excessive pollution rates. There are various cleanliness guidelines that the municipalities and the government is making the locals follow. The tourism industry is also responsible for contributing to such severe conditions. In the past, many tourists violated the laws by throwing their garbage inappropriately and without any concern. You must dispose of your waste in designated places such as garbage bins, trucks, and containers.
Work and Study Abroad
Bulgaria's education and career opportunities are quite good, but their quality is not the best in Europe. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities available in different fields that you can pursue. You can look up jobs on various employment websites and portals and interact with the businesses to determine their requirements. If you can meet their requirements and are eligible enough, then you can work with them. For studying in Bulgaria, you can contact the educational institutes directly and inquire about the various courses and scholarships available for international students.
Bulgarian educational institutes provide different programs to international students that want to study in the country and learn about its culture, history, traditions, and art. You can opt for directly contacting these institutes and inquiring about their eligibility criteria to study in them. You can also opt for long-distance learning, which is becoming quite a trend these days. Some institutes provide various scholarships as well, which you can opt for and enjoy some discounted course options.
Au pairing is like hiring a housemaid; the only difference is that an au pair is responsible for taking care of the children. Some families also ask for household chores, so the type of job differs from family to family. As a tourist to become an au pair, you need to present yourself genuinely and create a good impression in the first meeting only. The first meeting means a lot to the families as they will judge you the most during that time. If you do au pairing, you can also get some monetary and accommodation benefits that most families offer to au pairs in return for their services.
When you try to help out the local environment in any way possible on your own, it is called volunteering. Volunteering is not forced, and usually, people agree to volunteer all by themselves. You will find that there are many organizations present in Bulgaria that involve themselves in such activities. While visiting Bulgaria, you should also opt for volunteering to learn more about the culture, livelihood, living standards, and other aspects of the local communities.