Bulgaria: Local Knowledge
Location: The Republic of Bulgaria is located in Southeast Europe, and is at the crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa in the Northeast part of the Balkan peninsula.
It has 5 neighboring countries. Romania to the North divided by the the River Danube, Greece to the South, Turkey to the South East and Serbia and Macedonia to the West.
Population: approximately 7.5 million
Language and Alphabet: Bulgarian is a Slavic language and uses the cyrillic alphabet
Time Zone: +2 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time Calling Code: 359. (drop the zero from the dialled number)
Climate: The climate is influenced by the Black and Aegean Seas, cold, winters with snow most places especially on Mountain areas and long hot and humid summers.with four distinct seasons throughout the year
Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast; highest point :Mt Musala 2,925 m
Religion: Christian Bulgarian Orthodox approx 83%- Islam 12 % 5% atheist protestant ,catholic
Local Knowledge for Holidaying with Children
Due to the sun sea and sand then the first choice for families will usually be the Coastal resorts on the Black Sea
Bulgaria’s Black Sea with long, sandy beaches, water parks and other activities that will appeal to young children; bigger hotels here often have playgroups and kids’ clubs. More rural areas may also appeal to older children, as activities like horse riding, cycling and wildlife watching are available. All big towns have public parks with playgrounds, as well as attractions that children might enjoy.
Family Friendly Restaurants
Almost all restaurants in Bulgaria will welcome families with younger children although many restaurants that are away from the coastal resorts of the Black Sea or the capital Sofia will not have children’s menus or have high chairs available for toddlers
Most of the necessities for travelling with toddlers, such as baby food, fresh or powdered milk, disposable nappies (or diapers for our American cousins), are readily available in shops.
Children’s car seats.
The larger International Car Rental companies do have children’s car seats at an extra cost and it is important that you check the information and book these in advance.
Local Knowledge for the Solo Traveller
Like most destinations in any part of the world, common sense is the best guide to avoiding dangerous situations, such as hitchhiking, sharing hostel rooms and walking alone at night. A bit of local knowledge goes a long way.
In general, travelling around Bulgaria should not be a problem for solo travelers and in particular female travelers. Most Bulgarian men are polite and respectful. However, Bulgarian women don’t normally go to a bar or nightclub unaccompanied and so single foreign women should be aware that this may attract attention if you turn up at a venue unnacompanied.
For overnight train journeys, choose a sleeper compartment rather than a couchette. Young women in the big cities and coastal resorts are comfortable wearing miniskirts and low-cut blouses, but more modest apparel is advisable if you’re travelling in more rural areas.
Feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, are widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies across the country.
Local Knowledge for Disabled Access
Unfortunately, Bulgaria is not an easy destination for disabled travelers. Uneven and broken footpaths make walking a potential hazard and wheelchair maneuverability is problematic. Ramps and special toilets are few and far between for wheelchairs users, so are many of the historic sites that you may wish to visit so always check first if you have any doubt of access. Only a few top-end hotels in Sofia and other big cities may be wheelchair friendly. Public transport is also not geared towards the needs of travelers with disabilities.
Local Knowledge about Toilets Facilities
Public toilets are usually found at bus and train stations, underpasses and parks, and standards of cleanliness can differ from filthy stinky to Spotless. Most toilets have someone on the door to take your 50 stotinkis and they will usually keep the toilet clean. Check for toilet paper before you sit down, you may have to ask the lady on the door for some and that may cost you another 50 stotinkis.
The good news, toilet facilities are available in the modern shopping malls and fast-food outlets. Find a McDonald’s, they always have clean toilets with free toilet paper!
Hotel & Restaurant toilets are of the sit down European variety so too are restaurants. In bars around the villages and other out of the way places you will be in the lap of the Gods and if you travel near to the Turkish border you may have to experience the Middle Eastern squat toilet, but ‘if you’ve got to go, then you’ve got to go!’
Tourist Travel Information Offices.
Information offices can be found in the larger cities and towns. Some are better than others regarding their local knowledge but all will do there best to assist.