Bulgaria Travel Guide
While most European countries suffered various levels of identity crisis over the centuries, Bulgaria was the only country to remain true to its given name. After 500 years of living by Turkish rules, Bulgaria sought independence and opened its arms to a new culture filled with artists, writers and musicians. First time visitors booking flights to Bulgaria can be confident that Bulgaria is rich in more than its natural landscape. As the newest member of the European Union (joined January 2007), Bulgaria is part of an ever-growing community of countries focused on powerful and peaceful personal relationships.
Board a flight to Bulgaria for the same reasons you would travel to any other European country – get out and explore the scenery. Bulgaria sits along the Black Sea and most visitors book Bulgaria flights for a respite along the beach during the hot summer months. If the sun gets to be too much, take a trip through the tiny Bulgarian villages and immerse yourself in the red poppy-lined roads that seem to travel back in time. When your flight to Bulgaria arrives, you’ll learn that men and women still hold their ancient lifestyles sacred and thrive in their small communities, operated by rickshaws and street markets. A cheap flight to Bulgaria might be your way into the country, but visitors never forget the plentiful lifestyle Bulgaria enjoys.
Book a flight to Bulgaria for a surprisingly enlightening trip.
What’s the weather like in Bulgaria?
Bulgaria has hot, dry summers, much like the rest of the Balkan countries along the Black Sea. Winters can be cold and snowy, especially in the Balkan Mountains, and summers can be very hot.
When is the best time to fly to Bulgaria?
The weather in Bulgaria is lovely and warm from Spring until the end of Autumn, and even then the sun stays shining until after Christmas. You’ll struggle to find cheap flights to Bulgaria throughout the peak of Summer, July and August, although these months can get unbearably hot. Spring is a fantastic time to secure cheap flight tickets and avoid crowds of tourists. Although Sunny Beach is becoming increasingly popular as so many tourists flock there during the Summer you’ll find the beaches crowded with many rowdy, often drunk, tourists roaming the streets.
The same goes for the holiday season and the early winter months, when skiers and winter sports enthusiasts are booking cheap flights to Bulgaria to take advantage of the popular ski resorts of the Balkan Mountains.
December to the end of February is the coldest time of year to visit. January and February can sometimes see temperatures plummet to -4 degrees and snow will fall sometimes knee-deep or higher. That said, skiing and winter sports can be enjoyed in many of the resorts scattered around Bulgaria. There are good mountain resorts near Sofia and you’ll find the cheapest flights to Bulgaria during the winter. Around April and early May you’ll find cheap flights to Bulgaria and get a mix of weather. It will be pleasant and hot, but nights may bring rain and spectacular thunderstorms.
When is the best time to book a flight to Bulgaria?
Book your flight tickets a couple of months in advance to grab the best deals. If you want to avoid the tourists then opt for Spring or late Autumn, although some attractions might be closed. The heat in Summer can be unbearable for some people so consider that before you book your flights to Bulgaria. If you can be flexible with your dates and your location then you’ll find the cheapest flights to Bulgaria, especially if you book in advance. Those who love the sun should avoid the middle of winter as the conditions can be very harsh and extremely cold. But for those who love the snow, this is a great time to find deals on flight tickets.
How long is the flight to Bulgaria?
When departing Miami for Bulgaria, expect flights to last just under 12 hours. Flights from New York City typically run around 10 hours, while those leaving Los Angeles last around 14 hours. If you leave from Seattle, you can expect to arrive in Bulgaria in just over 12 hours. Please note that these flight times don’t include time spent taxing before departure and upon arrival, which can add up to 30 minutes to your on-plane time on each end of your journey.
Which airlines fly to Bulgaria?
No U.S. airlines offer direct flights to Bulgaria, but those traveling to the country can get connecting flights to their final destinations. International carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Alitalia, Air Berlin, El Al Israel Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot all offer flights to Sofia Airport from major European cities, including London, Paris, Rome and Berlin.
What should you pack for a flight to Bulgaria?
When traveling to Bulgaria, be sure to keep copies of your travel documents and itineraries, any prescriptions you require, and some extra cash in your carry-on bags in the case of lost luggage. Packing light works best as it typically gets you through customs faster and leaves you room for souvenirs of your European trip. Also, be sure to bring an adapter that lets you use personal-care items such as hairdryers and charge U.S. electronics in European outlets. You can also take along handy picture books that help you communicate with the locals if you don’t know the language.
Though summers in Bulgaria run hot, it’s a good idea to bring along a jacket just in case temperatures dip or for chilly nights enjoying the nightlife and exploring the historic streets. If you plan on visiting the mountain areas, pack warmer clothing, and an umbrella and foldable raincoat are good ideas no matter your final destination. For winter trip, take hats, gloves, thick socks, and shawls if your want to stay toasty warm. Boots are a necessity when exploring the countryside or winter visits, even during dryer seasons. Sneakers work best when you’re walking in towns.
Getting to and around Bulgaria
Traveling around Sofia is extremely easy and very cheap thanks to the metro system in place. For 1 Bulgarian Lev you can hop on the metro and stay on it as long as you need. From the airport you’ll want to jump on the Sofia Metro Line 1 and then at Serdika you’ll have to change for Line 2. It takes around 20 minutes or so. There are also bus options available and once you get to the city you can travel around via trams. Taxis are available from outside of the airport too, however, make sure you agree on a price beforehand. Although Sofia is perfectly safe, it would be better not to travel alone in a taxi at night.
If you have booked your flights to Bulgaria during the summer and you want to experience Sunny Beach, then you’ll fly into Burgas. You can get bus number 15 into the city center of Burgas and then change there for a bus to Sunny Beach. It’s the cheapest way to get there and is reliable, too. If you’re not traveling to Sunny Beach then you can just get off the bus in the center of Burgas and find your hotel. You could opt for a taxi if you have a lot of baggage however you’ll end up spending a lot more money than if you choose to use the bus.
What are some things to do in Bulgaria?
An Eastern European country, Bulgaria borders the Black Sea to the east and the Aegean Sea to the West, which makes it a much-loved destination for those who enjoy beach resorts. Lots of summer sunshine makes jaunts to Bulgaria an ideal getaway, and if you get tired of lounging in the sun and surf, many resort towns also offer a variety of historic places to explore.
At Sunny Beach, you get typical resort amenities combined with lots of bars and clubs that make this destination popular with younger travelers. Those preferring a romantic interlude usually head to Sozapol, a quaint old town filled with dimly lit streets and intimate dining opportunities. Nessebar sits close to Sozapol and offers guests rich historical ambiance highlighted by charming 18th-century buildings and clear blue waters.
A small and quiet place, Lozenets provides travelers with a slow-paced atmosphere ideal for some rest and relaxation. Those wanting a bit of excitement here find it by way of surf schools that offer private lessons and opportunities for mountain bike expeditions that let you see more of the gorgeous countryside. Situated along the coast of the Black Sea, the highly popular resort town of Varna boasts luxury accommodations and beautiful white sand beaches. While here, visit the enchanting Sea Garden and watch sea life play at the Dolphinarium. For a historic cap on your beach trip, stop at the town’s Roman Spa.
If you’d rather spend time exploring historic places, Bulgaria has plenty from which to choose. As one of the oldest European states, tradition and history pervade every inch of this country. In Sofia, explore the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which is one of the world’s largest Eastern Orthodox churches. Also in Sofia, find the largest museum in Bulgaria — the National Historical Museum. This must-visit spot contains over 650,000 pieces collected from ancient to modern times.
One of the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria, the Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains dates back to the 10th century. Here, you can enjoy not only the stunning mountain scenery, but also explore this ancient church and learn about Eastern Orthodox religious traditions. Museum lovers should also visit Koprivshtitsa, a well-preserved town situated on the Topolnitsa River in the Sredna Gora mountains. The home of the leaders of April 1876 uprising that gave Bulgaria its freedom from the Ottomans, this place lets you immerse yourself in traditional Bulgarian culture.
Tips for your stay in Bulgaria
Finding Flights from Bulgaria
Travelers leaving Bulgaria typically exit via Sofia Airport, the most trafficked airport in the country. To get to the airport from the city of Sofia, you can take Metro Line 1 from an array of stops near residential and more far-flung areas of the town. This line also connects with railways for easy access to the airport from other Bulgarian cities. You also have options for traveling to the airport on buses, including the 84 and 384 bus lines. OK Supertrans also offers reliable private transportation to Sofia Airport. Most flights from Bulgaria head to London or Dublin, where you can take a connecting flight back to the U.S. via an array of American and international airlines, such as United, Delta, American Airlines and British Airways.
(prices quoted are from London)