Are you planning to move to Bulgaria or simply visit our lovely country for a few days? Scroll down to see some of the most important Dos and Don’ts when you visit Bulgaria … and we hope you enjoy your stay here!
1. Do not visit only the big cities, e.g. Sofia and Plovdiv… (do visit the small Bulgarian villages and towns!)
Unfortunately, it is very common that tourists limit their trip to Sofia and Plovdiv (the two biggest cities in Bulgaria). However, the Bulgarian architecture and history are quite rich so we definitely recommend exploring other unique places like Bozhentsi or Melnik.
2. Do not forget to pick up some Bulgarian language skills before your trip … (do learn at least the Bulgarian alphabet or join a free Bulgarian language crash course!)
Most signs in Bulgaria are of course in Bulgarian language and good English skills are more common among young people. Also, Bulgarians love it when a foreigner tries to speak Bulgarian language, so we definitely recommend learning the alphabet or taking part in our Bulgarian language course (available for free for international students in Bulgaria)!
3. Do not stick to the Bulgarian seaside… (do visit the Bulgarian mountains too!)
Are you planning to visit Bulgaria in summer? You probably already know about the beautiful beaches in Bulgaria! Don’t forget that views in the Bulgarian mountains are also breath-taking, so make sure you check out famous winter resorts like Pamporovo, explore the Seven Rila Lakes or visit a beautiful waterfall!
4. Do not count on fast and punctual public transportation… (do plan your trip in advance and be more flexible!)
People in Sofia always complain about public transportation being late. Also, travelling by train in Bulgaria usually takes ages! Hence, if you are in a rush to catch a flight, you should consider taking a taxi or booking a private pick-up! Also, if you are planning to travel around Bulgaria, the best thing you can do is rent a car and go to the best sightseeing places in Bulgaria (which are, unfortunately, not easy to reach via public transportation).
5. Do not limit yourself to famous fast-food chains... (do explore local pubs and restaurants!)
We love Bulgarian cuisine, so you should definitely give it a try! Famous Bulgarian dishes include moussaka, shopska salad, stuffed peppers (palneni chushki), bob chorba, parlenka, tarator, etc.! Small pubs and restaurants are also quite cozy and cheap, so make sure you don’t limit yourself to well-known famous fast-food chains. Of course, you can also explore international cuisine in some of the best international restaurants in Sofia and Plovdiv!
6. Do not trust all taxi drivers… (do use taxi applications or book airport pick-ups in advance!)
Unfortunately, many taxi drivers take advantage of foreigners who are not familiar with the local currency and the average price of a taxi ride. Hence, we recommend you download taxi ride applications like TaxiMe or Taxi Stars, ask a local in advance for taxi recommendations or book airport pick-up in advance!
7. Do not bargain… (do take advantage of the small shops where prices are super cheap!)
In Bulgaria it is considered a very rude practice if you try to bargain in shops – you should not do this! Prices in Bulgaria are quite cheap, so locals are definitely not trying to rip you off and we are sure that small shops definitely offer cheap souvenirs!
8. Do not go to Sunny beach… (do explore some of the best and less touristic sea resorts in Bulgaria!)
Sunny beach is a very famous summer resort in Bulgaria, but it is overpriced and very touristic! Hence, we recommend you visit other pleasant summer resorts like Sozopol or Sinemorets (which are over 3 times cheaper in comparison to Sunny beach) or you visit Varna and Burgas (two of the biggest cities at the Bulgarian seaside which both have a lovely pedestrian street and a park close to the beach).
9. Do not argue about politics or history of the Balkan peninsula… (do ask more about Bulgarian traditions!)
Sensitive topics in Bulgaria include politics, origins of food or traditions (e.g. is moussaka Greek or Bulgarian dish?) and the alphabet (e.g. who invented the Cyrillic alphabet?), so be careful when you have a discussion with Bulgarians. In comparison, locals absolutely love talking about their traditions such as Baba Marta, nestinarstvo, kukeri, etc.!
10. Do not trust nodding as a way of expressing a positive reply… (do ask “Was that a Yes or a No?”)
An interesting fact is that most Bulgarians will nod if they want to say “No” and shake their head to say “Yes”. Of course, some Bulgarians might do the exact opposite, so don’t take nodding or a head shake for a definite answer and always ask if that was a Yes or a No.
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