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Bulgaria is situated in Southeast Europe and occupies an area of 111 000 sq.km in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The average altitude is 470 m. Although but small in area, the country’s territory is greatly varied with high and medium-high mountains,  sheltered plains and valleys reaching down to the level of the Black Sea. Climate-temperate continental, mild and suitable for travel during any season. January is the coldest month with an average temperature around 0o C. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 26o C.

Population - about nine million.

Capital - Sofia, population over one million


Sofia is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. "Ever Growing, Never Ageing" is the motto on Sofia's coat of arms.

For over 7000 years Sofia has been a meeting place of the four directions of the world.

Tribes and peoples came and went, civilizations flourished and declined but the city stayed forever.
Historically it has been recorded as Serdica, Sredets and Sofia.

Over 250 archaeological, historical and cultural monuments that the Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Turks created are part of the cityscape of a capital with a population of million.

Today Sofia is a modern and busy capital and a centre of Bulgaria's political, economic and cultural life.

The harmony between the past and the present day lends the city its unique charm.

Religion- predominantly Eastern Orthodox. The Bulgarian Church is
autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.

Language -the official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cirillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in  populated areas, resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, country.French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the  Time difference. -Winter time: GMT + 2 hours( October through March) Summer time: GMT + 3 hours (April through September).

Official holidays: January 1 - New Year; March 3 - Bulgaria’s Liberation; Easter; May 1 - Labour day; May 24 - Enlightenment and the Day of Bulgarian Culture and Slav Script; December 25 - Christmas.

Working hours: State institutions and banks usually work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Most shops are open from 9 a.m. and to 7 p.m. Mainly stores selling food beverages, as well as catering establishments, work round the clock.

Important telephone numbers. In all populated areas:

0123 - operator for international calls (if no direct phone call is possible) 

120 - wake up call 

121 - operator for long-distance calls within the country 

140 - sending of telegrams

144 - telephone information service for office phone numbers 

145 - telephone information service for home numbers 

146 - Emergency Road Service 

150 - Emergency Medical Aid 

166 - Police/Road patrols 

175 - weather forecast 

180 - exact time ("speaking" clock) 

Monetary unit and currency exchange - the national monetary unit is the LEV. Banknote 1, 2, 5, 20, 50 leva. The exchange of currency is unrestricted and there is no compulsory exchange. Upon departure from the country any unused Bulgarian currency may be changed back into the respective national currency at the border. 

Credit cards - American Express, Diners Club,  Bankamericard Visa, Access, Eurocard, Mastercard and Carte Bulgaria. Blanche, among others, are accepted in They can be used for the payment of all standard services:hotel accommodation , restaurants, night spots, shopping, car rentals, plane tickets, etc.

How to reach Bulgaria? 

By air - both foreign, as well as several Bulgarian state-owned and private airline companies link the country with the operate and five continents. Domestic services charter flights are organised to resorts in summer and winter. 

By train - the main trains - European and trans-continental trains run through Bulgaria. International trains link Sofia with the many European capital cities and inland rail network provides access to all larger settlements. 

By boat - there are sea an river connections via the Black Sea and the Danube. The majority are tourist cruises rather than regular boat links. 

By car - there are numerous border checkpoint for entry into the country. National driving licenses are valid in Bulgaria. advance or paid at Insurance has to be made in the border. Cars ( self-drive and chauffeur driven) may be rented at the border checkpoint and in all tourist offices throughout the country. 

Speed limit: 50 km/h in populated areas, 90 km/h outside populated area, 120 km/h on motorways.

Passports and visas

I. Visa-free regime

1. The citizens of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden may enter the country without a visa for a period of 30 days with a normal valid passport or ID.
The citizens of these countries are not required to fill out border control cards, nor is any address registration required for a first entry in the country for every calendar year, save at their own wish.

2. The citizens of Cuba, Croatia, Czech Republic Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro and Tunisia may enter the country without a visa for a period of 30 days with a normal valid passport.

3. US citizens may enter the country without a visa for a period of 30 days with a normal valid passport, after paying a border fee of 20 USD.

4. The citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the CIS (with the exception of Uzbekistan) may enter the country without a visa for a period of 30 days with a normal valid passport. They must fill out a border control card and certify the possession of funds to the amount of 40 USD per day for every day of their sojourn or present a package holiday voucher. The voucher (family or individual) of the travel company must be filled out in three copies and addressed to a licensed Bulgarian tour operator. It must show the number and license of the settlement and hotel which provides the services. The three copies of the voucher are stamped at the border, the third copy being kept by the tourist.
Groups of organized tourists from the CIS (with the exception of Uzbekistan) arriving in the Republic of Bulgaria are not required to fill out border control cards or to certify the possession of currency funds.
Organized tourist groups of children from the CIS (with the exception of Uzbekistan) arriving on charter flights in Bourgas, Varna or Sofia may enter the country as listed, a passport being required only for the group's leader.
Organized tourists in items 2 and 3, listed as a group, arriving in the Republic of Bulgaria, are not required to fill out a border control card. In the absence of a list they are treated as normal individual tourists. If, during their sojourn, they briefly visit neighboring countries, the list is stamped at the border upon departure from the country. Their re-entry in the country, through the same or a different border checkpoint, is regarded as a first entry in the country.
Individual (not organized) tourists must fill out a border control card.
All tourists of the countries listed in items 1, 2, 3 and 4, entering Bulgaria in a motor vehicle, may only enter the country with a normal valid passport and must fill out a border control card.

II. Visa regime

The citizens of all other countries, visiting the Republic of Bulgaria for the purposes of tourism, may enter the country with a valid passport and entry visa, issued by a diplomatic or consular representation of the Republic of Bulgaria, and a package holiday voucher.
No visa is required of the citizens of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Republic of South Africa, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe, provided they are in the possession of a package holiday voucher.


III. Vessels

All yachts entering the territorial waters of the Republic of  Bulgaria are subjected to an "entry" and "exit" inspection at the following sea and river ports:

Danube: Vidin, Oryahovo, Svishtov, Rousse and Silistra; Black Sea: Balchik, Varna, Bourgas, Nessebur, Pomorie
and Tsarevo. 

The following fees are collected at border checkpoints for entering or transiting the Republic of Bulgaria:

Cars - 10 USD; 
Coaches seating more than 8 + 1 persons, including the
 driver's seat - 60 USD; Two-axis trucks - 70 USD; TIR trucks - 100 USD. 

A disinfection fee is also collected at border checkpoints as follows:

Cars - 2 USD or 3 DM; 
Minibus - 4 USD or 7 DM; 
Coach - 6 USD or 10 DM; 
Trucks - 10 USD or 17 DM. 

 No compulsory immunizations are required of foreign citizens arriving in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Customs Formalities and Restrictions

Currency Regulations

Upon entry and departure from the country foreign nationals are obliged to fill out declarations according to a specimen, approved by the Minister of Finance, about the following currency valuables carried by them:

1.Bulgarian banknotes and coins in circulation in excess of 10,000 leva. Amounts over and above this figure may only be taken in and out of the country with a permission by the BNB, valid for a period of 90 days after the date of issue; 
2.Bulgarian coins in circulation of numismatic value (may only be exported from the country with a permission by the BNB); 
3.The equivalent in foreign currency in excess of 1,000 USD; Foreign natural persons may export convertible currency to an amount not exceeding the amount of the imported and declared currency, reduced by the cost of objects bought in the country; 
4.Shares, bonds, promissory notes, bills of exchange, cheques and other securities in circulation, issued by local persons in leva; 
5.Shares, bonds, treasury bonds, certificates of investment and deposit, cheques, bills of exchange, promissory notes, letters of credit and other similar securities, issued by foreign persons in foreign currency; 
6.Precious metals and precious stones and articles thereof in excess of the normal amount for personal and family use - in kind, weight and value; 
7.Coins containing gold, silver or platinum - in kind, weight and value; 
8.Other currency valuables. 

The export of objects, including coins made of gold, silver or platinum of historic, archaeological, artistic or numismatic value is prohibited, except with a permission by the Minister of Culture.

The respective value of the objects and coins is determined by the Ministry of Culture and the Bulgarian National Bank.

Import of Goods

Prior to the customs check travellers, i.e. foreign natural persons, are presented with an instruction leaflet, containing information about customs regulations in the country in one of the internationally accepted languages for the verbal declaration of objects subject to declaration. Persons aged below 16 are acquainted with the obligations for declaration by foreign nationals by the adult persons accompanying them. The instruction leaflet is signed by the foreign nationals in confirmation of their being acquainted with their obligations for declaration.

Travellers are obliged to declare verbally:

expensive objects, subject to return (cassette players, TV sets, photo, video and film cameras, musical instruments, lap-top computers, etc.); objects in excess of the set limits for duty-free import; objects of a commercial nature in kind and quantity; objects prohibited for import and export from the country or which are subject to licensing requirements: weapons, ammunition, narcotics, psychotropic substances, protected animals and plants, objects of historic, archaeological,  artistic or other value. 

The value of the objects, subject to declaration, is declared according to purchase prices.

Information regarding import regulations for hunting weapons:

Weapons may be imported by groups of individual or organized tourists arriving for the purpose of hunting tourism with package tour vouchers, the permission applying to hunting weapons and hunting carbines, together with the necessary instruments and ammunition.  The import of short-range weapons (pistols and revolvers) is prohibited. It takes place under a different procedure, established by the Ministry of the Interior. 

Travellers who fail to declare any objects, subject to declaration, are liable under the Customs Act and the Penal Code.

Duty-Free Iimport

Travellers have the right to import the following without paying any duty or import charges:

articles for personal use: articles needed by foreign nationals during their stay in the country, corres and profession; consumer goods: 
a.Tobacco products (for persons aged above 16): 200  cigarettes or 250 g of other tobacco products; 
b.Alcoholic beverages (for persons aged above 16): 2 l
of wine or 1 l of spirits; 
c.Other beverages: 500 g of coffee or 200 g of coffee
extract, 100 g of tea or 40 g of tea extract;d.50 ml perfume and 250 ml eau de toilette. 

 The transit transport of goods in commercial quantities on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is only permitted in containers which can be sealed.


Drivers of motor vehicles with foreign registration, entering and staying in the country, must have Civil Liability insurance. If they do not, they are obliged to take it out at the border checkpoint.

Optional insurance:

medical expenses for foreign citizens residing temporarily in the country or transiting it; civil liability for environmental damage for the transport of goods by road on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. 

Tourist Services

Tourists can book hotels or other accommodation facilities in the tourist service offices of Tourist Information and Reservations EAD at border checkpoints. Package services, currency exchange, sale of phonecards, telephone services, etc., are offered.

Traffic Rules

Traffic rules in Bulgaria are the same as in all other European countries.

The permitted speed limit (km/h) for different types of motor vehicles in the country is as follows:

                         Category A/  50/  60/ 100
                         Category B /  50/ 90/ 120
                         Category C  / 50/ 80/ 100

Drivers of motor vehicles who exceed the permitted speed limit without causing an immediate danger to traffic are fined.

In case of accident, the person driving a motor vehicle with a foreign registration, is obliged to remain on the scene of the accident until the arrival of the competent authorities (traffic police).

 Driving is prohibited after alcohol consumption (over 0.5 per mill in the blood) or under the influence of drugs.

Petrol stations sell 91 and 98 octane petrol, 95H unleaded petrol and diesel fuel. There are petrol stations in all border checkpoints, on international motorways, in populated areas and along second-class roads. 


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