Fact file: Bulgaria

Did you know?
A nod in Bulgaria means 'no', a shake of the head means 'yes'.
Bulgarian with a smattering of Turkish and Romany.
Not required for EU passport holders.
Getting there
Balkan Bulgarian airlines operates flights to and from most European capitals. Check package tour prices, they may be cheaper than flight only. You can get there by bus or train from other European destinations.
Flying time from London
Three hours
Getting around
The country's capital Sofia has a new, expanding, and efficient subway system. The bus and train networks are extensive and cheap if illogically timetabled. Private buses are slightly more expensive but more comfortable. Watch out for the soft porn decor - it's a traditional touch.
Bulgarian Leva. The currency changed in 1999 (new leva worth 1,000 times the old leva, but both still in circulation, so beware of old notes)
Bottle of beer 50p, moderate restaurant meal £6, litre of petrol 30p, four-mile taxi ride £2. Prices will vary.
Icy winters, summers invariably hot and dry. Summer temperatures reach 27C (82F). Dry heat of Black Sea area is less oppressive. The daily average in Sofia is 15C (59F) May-September. Rainfall is highest in the mountains.
Time difference
Two hours ahead of GMT October-March, three hours ahead April-Sept.
International dialling code from the UK
220V, 50Hz
Opening hours
Bank and office hours usually 9am-3pm, shops 10am-8pm.
Health - Before you go
Special precautions not required. Bulgaria is not part of the EU, so take out good travel insurance.
Health - When you are there
Stick to private clinics if you require medical assistance. You'll need to pay in cash for treatment, but prices are reasonable unless you require medicine imported from the West.
English tends to be widely spoken only in bigger towns and resorts.
Police 166, ambulance 150, road assistance 146. British Embassy, 38 Vassil Levski Blvd., 1000 Sofia. Tel: (359) (2) 980 1220 and (359) (2) 9817765 (out of hours).
Be prepared for uninterested staff in public sector jobs. Be wary of young pickpockets in Sofia.
Fine to bring them from the UK as long as you have the paperwork, but you will have to put your pet in quarantine when you return to the UK.
Introduced only recently, 10% for meals and taxis.
Tourist office
Bulgarian Embassy, 186-188 Queen's Gate, London, SW7 5HL. Tel: 020 7584 9400.


+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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