Bulgaria is not only famous for its yoghurt, but well known for rose oil products, sophisticated wines and colourful brandies. Bulgaria’s pre-eminent industry is tourism; ranging from historical Sofia and Mount Vitosha to the west, the Danube River in the north and the Black Sea in the East.
Sofia is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bulgaria alongside coastal and mountain resorts. Among its highlights are the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (one of the symbols of Bulgaria), constructed in the late 19th century. It occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq. ft.) and can hold 10,000 people. The city is also known for the Boyana Church, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers. The climate is moderate continental with Mediterranean influence to the south. The natural landscape of Bulgaria is diverse, consisting of lowlands, plains, foothills and plateaus, river valleys, basins, and mountains of varying elevations. About 70% of the country’s territory is hilly land and 30% is mountainous.
Bulgarian cuisine is exceptionally diverse and delicious, prepared according to traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation over the centuries. The most products for which Bulgaria is internationally known are yogurt and white cheese. These are almost always present on Bulgarian tables in one form or another. One of the most popular breakfast items in the country is banitsa. It is a made of dough with various fillings, such as cheese, spinach, rice, and meat. Other popular breakfasts dishes include pancakes, buhtas (fritters), mekitsas (fried dough pieces), and fried bread slices. Excellent fish soups are served in the regions of the Black Sea and the Danube River. Various stews and dishes in clay pots are also a regular part of the Bulgaria cuisine (hotchpotch and casseroles). These include Chomlek, Kavarma, and Kapama (in the Bansko region). Another favourite Bulgarian dish is prepared with stuffed cabbage or vine leaves – the leaves used may be either small or broad. The dish, which is prepared by wrapping the filling in the leaves, is very popular in the Thracian region.
Delicacies are usually accompanied with a Bulgarian wine. Thanks to the country’s unique climate and soils, a variety of grapes thrive here – Gamza (North Bulgaria), the Wide Melnik Vine (in the region of Melnik and Sandanski), Dimyat (in the regions of Varna, Shumen and Stara Zagora), Mavrud (Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Asenovgrad), Red Misket (Straldzha and Sungurlare), Ruby (Plovdiv and Septemvri) and Pamid (Pazardzhik, Pamidovo and Plovdiv). Another very popular Bulgarian spirit is Rakia. It is made of grapes or other fruits – plums, apricots, figs, pears, and others. A rose rakia is distilled in the Valley of Roses (in the region of Karlovo and Kazanlak), since this is the home of Bulgaria’s oil-yielding roses.
The monetary unit in the Republic of Bulgaria is the lev (BGN), which is equal to 100 stotinki (st.). Since 1997, the country has been governed by a currency board and the value of the lev has been pegged to the Euro, at a fixed rate of 1 EUR – 1.95583 BGN. Euro is not widely accepted. Normally all shops, bars and restaurants would accept payment with Credit or Debit card. No surcharges to apply. ATM machines are allocated all over the resorts and the towns close by. Number of banks will also be happy to exchange your currency to Bulgarian Lev.