Bulgaria travel guide

Bulgaria Tourism | Bulgaria Guide

You're Going to Love Bulgaria

A mix of top beaches on the Black Sea coast, rich churches, and bustling cities make Bulgaria one of the hottest destinations in Europe.

What to do in Bulgaria

1. Discover Sofia

The buildings of the capital city of Bulgaria mix the old and new style that is a testimony of the country's most recent history.

2. Visit the Oldest City in Europe

Speaking of historical places, a trip to Plovdiv has to be part of every traveler's itinerary in Bulgaria. Inhabited since 6000 B.C., the city is the second largest city in the country and the 2020 European Capital of Culture.

3. Lose Track of Time at Sunny Beach

Whether you enjoy sand, sun, and sea or not, Sunny Beach is the largest resort in the country where the party never ends.

4. Visit the Rila Monastery

A short day trip from Sofia, the Rila Monastery has become one of the top tourist attractions in Bulgaria.

5. Visit Veliko Tarnovo

Home of a medieval atmosphere and narrow cobblestoned streets, the old town of Veliko Tarnovo is one of the must-see destinations in Bulgaria for history enthusiasts.

When to visit Bulgaria

Bulgaria in May
Estimated flight+hotel price
£127
2 travellers
Flight to Bulgaria
3 nights at hotel
Bulgaria in May
Estimated flight+hotel price
£127
2 travellers
Flight to Bulgaria
3 nights at hotel

Between June and August is the best time to visit Bulgaria if you enjoy warm weather and spending time at the beach. Top events around this time are the Varna Summer International Festival, the International Jazz Festival, and the Rose Festival.

How to Get to Bulgaria

Entry Requirements

Bulgaria is part of the European Union but not part of the Schengen Agreement, so all passengers must show a valid passport or an EU national identity card upon entering the country.

EU citizens don't need a visa. Nationals from Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand don't need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Plane

Most international flights to Bulgaria arrive at Sofia Airport. The country is well-connected to other European cities with regular flights. Passengers flying in from elsewhere in the world will most likely need to account for at least one layover.

Train

Bulgarian State Railways operates all international connections. There are regular trains to Bulgaria from North Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, and Turkey. Connections are more frequent in the summer.

Car

To drive in Bulgaria, your car needs to display a sticker that you can purchase at the border, valid for one week to one month. Cars rented in Bulgaria should already include this sticker.

Bus

There are several international bus routes connecting different cities in Europe to Sofia or Plovdiv. Customs and border control happens aboard the bus, but in some cases, you may be asked to disembark.

Boat

There are regular ferry boat connections across the Danube River from Bechet (Romania) to Oryahovo in Bulgaria.

Popular airports in Bulgaria

Popular airlines serving Bulgaria

United Airlines
Good (69,522 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (47,698 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (28,424 reviews)
KLM
Good (3,808 reviews)
Delta
Good (30,763 reviews)
Air France
Good (4,367 reviews)
British Airways
Good (23,354 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (23,624 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (9,192 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Excellent (11,550 reviews)
Iberia
Good (6,169 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (25,055 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (4,862 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (15,780 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (5,585 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (5,454 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (18,761 reviews)
Finnair
Good (3,882 reviews)
LOT
Good (5,410 reviews)
ITA Airways
Excellent (17 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Bulgaria

Accommodation in Bulgaria ranges from hotels and hostels to family-owned guesthouses, with rates for every budget. The cities of Sofia, Varna, and Plovdiv tend to be the most expensive.

Where to stay in popular areas of Bulgaria

Most booked hotels in Bulgaria

Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena
Excellent (9.3, Excellent reviews)
£85+
Hotel Bulgaria Burgas
Excellent (9.3, Excellent reviews)
£49+
Rila Hotel Borovets
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
£72+
Hotel & Casino Cherno More
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
£46+
International Hotel Casino & Tower Suites
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
£72+
Best Western Plus Bristol Hotel
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
£51+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Bulgaria

Public Transportation

Minibuses, trolleybuses, and public buses are the most common modes of public transportation in most cities and towns in Bulgaria.

Getting around by taxi in the cities is also a popular alternative. All taxis should have a working meter – don't accept negotiation for a flat rate.

Trains

Trains are operated by Bulgarian State Railways, and the trips are more scenic than comfortable or practical. They can be express, fast, or slow passenger.

Bus

Bulgaria is served by a good network of buses connecting all towns, cities, and villages in the country. These routes are operated by Biomet, Union-Ivkoni, and Etap-Grup.

Car

If you're getting around Bulgaria in your car, you'll need to carry the registration papers, proof of insurance, a valid driver's license, and the sticker purchased at the border.

To rent a car you need to be 21 years old or older and have a license for at least a year.

Plane

Bulgaria Air operates the only two domestic flights routes in Bulgaria, from Sofia to Varna or Burgas.

The Cost of Living in Bulgaria

ATMs are easy to find. Pay with credit or debit cards in larger businesses and with cash elsewhere. You can exchange your money at the airport. One-week groceries cost around 50 BGN (28 USD). A cheap meal is about 10 BGN (6 USD).

Popular cities in Bulgaria