General information

Citizens and residents from the European Union, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States do not require a visa to enter Bulgaria for up to a 90-day stay. Only a valid passport or EU identity card is required for travel to Bulgaria. Passports must be valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave Bulgaria. Holding a valid Schengen visa also permits you to enter Bulgaria. For other countries, please check the following list. Note that visas cannot be obtained at border crossings. 
The monetary unit in Bulgaria is the lev (BGN) – leva in plural – whose value has been pegged to the Euro, at a fixed rate of EUR 1 = BGN 1.95583. It is always abbreviated to lv (лв).
Currency can be exchanged in banks or any of the country’s currency exchange offices. ATMs are also widely available. 
Most Bulgarian hotels, restaurants, stores, and large petrol stations accept standard credit and debit cards (mainly Visa and MasterCard). However, smaller hotels, restaurants, shops, and petrol stations may accept payments in cash only.
Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2007 and 2004, respectively. Bulgaria is a very safe country, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Crime level is low. The threat of terrorism is also relatively low, even lower than in Western Europe. However, you should always take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way you would do in your country. 
Travelling around Bulgaria with children is also very safe. Likewise, women travellers will not find any trouble. However, note that women may be requested to wear appropriate clothes covering their head and shoulders with a headscarf to enter churches and monasteries.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Bulgaria. Concerning the Covid-19 requirements, please contact us before departure. 
Tap water is generally safe and drinkable. Bottled mineral water is cheap and widely available. 
The country’s emergency phone number is 112. 
Before travelling, EU citizens and residents are encouraged to request a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – issued by your national health insurance provider – as it gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in an EU country at the same cost and under the same conditions as Bulgarian nationals. 
It is strongly recommended that all travellers hold an adequate insurance cover for medical expenses – which will not be covered by the EHIC – arising through illness or accident and including emergency repatriation. Note that credit cards sometimes provide such insurance. 
The climate in Bulgaria is generally continental, including cold winters and warm to hot, dry summers. Towards the Black Sea coast, the climate tends to be more mediterranean with less intense heat tempered by the breeze. Average highs during the summer are 29°C (82°F). Skiing fans will enjoy the winter season with plenty of snowfall from December to early April. In autumn, Bulgaria is gorgeous with stunning colours, especially in the mountains, while in late spring, mild weather is perfect for a road trip adventure. 
Bulgaria offers a wide range of accommodations. Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in the country, from standard to top-end. Some areas come with an on-site swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, or beachfront. Family-run guesthouses can be found in smaller towns and villages. They provide an opportunity to get to know locals better. Home-cooked breakfast is often offered. A few monasteries across the country also offer basic rooms to sleep overnight. This is an original and unique experience. 
Velstana will strive to select the best accommodation matching your requirements and tastes. 
There are several kinds of places to eat. Restaurants can be found everywhere and offer all kinds of possible cuisine. Most of them serve continuously.
Bulgarian cuisine is rich and diverse. You will have an opportunity to taste it in traditional taverns (or mehana in Bulgarian), usually accompanied by Bulgarian folk music and decoration. 
Note that tips are usually not included in the bill. Leaving a 10%-tip to the waiter or rounding up the bill is recommended. 
Velstana will provide you with tips and suggestions about where to eat and drink throughout your journey. 


Bulgaria is well connected by air transport (direct flights) to many European cities and the Middle East. 
The country has four main international airports, namely Sofia, Burgas, Varna, and Plovdiv. During the summer season, there are direct charter flights to the Black Sea resorts (served by Burgas and Varna airports). 
Car remains the most convenient way to explore Bulgaria, compared to other transports, including buses and trains which offer limited services. 
In order to make your tailor-made journey as smooth as possible, Velstana recommends and arranges for you the best ways to get around the country, including car rental, private transfers, or car rental with a driver via its partner companies. 
European driving licences are valid in Bulgaria. Driving licences issued by a country that ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic are also valid. If that is not the case, the foreign driving licence must be accompanied by an international driving licence. 
Speed limits for cars are 50 km/h in populated areas; 90 km/h outside populated areas, and 140 km/h on highways. They are regularly enforced by the police. 
Speed cameras have been installed on the main routes. 
Note also that you are required to drive with headlights in Bulgaria even during daytime throughout the entire year.


Bulgarian is the official language, and like in a few other Slavic countries, the Cyrillic alphabet is used. However, the Roman alphabet is also used on road signs and street names and everywhere in major towns and cities and tourist areas. English – and to a lesser extent German, Russian and French – are also spoken. 
Travellers from the EU can fully enjoy their home tariff without roaming surcharges. In other words, calls (to mobile and fixed phones), text messages, and data services are charged at domestic rates, that is, the same price as calls, texts, and data within your home country. The same rule also applies to any calls or text messages you receive. However, we always recommend double-checking your provider’s roaming rates. 
Bulgaria’s phone code is +359. 
There are three service providers in the country, namely Vivacom, Telenor, and А1.
Most hotels and guest houses in Bulgaria offer free internet access to guests. Restaurants, bars, and cafes may also share their wireless access to the internet for free.

Other practical information

Bulgaria’s dominant religion is Orthodox Christianity. It is a secular state allowing freedom of religion. 
In Bulgaria, the power plugs and sockets are European-type with a standard voltage of 220V or 230V.
Bulgaria is located in the Eastern European Time Zone, which is GMT+2 in the winter and +3 in the summer. 
In other words, when it is 11:00 in Paris, Brussels, or Rome, it is 12:00 in Bulgaria and 10:00 in London or Dublin. 

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What is tailor-made travel?

It is a private tour which is fully personalised to your needs, interests, tastes and budget. We believe that one-size-fits-all travel packages are not the most appropriate option to truly discover a region or country because everyone expects a different travel experience.

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Do not worry! You do not need to have a clear idea of your next travel experience. We will guide you through the design of your trip and provide advice and recommendations.

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Is Bulgaria safe for tourists?

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2007 and 2004, respectively. It is a very safe country, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Crime level is low. The threat of terrorism is also relatively low, even lower than in Western Europe.

Read more

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