Bulgaria has hot, dry summers, much like the rest of the Balkan countries along the Black Sea. Winters can be cold and snowy, especially in the Balkan Mountains, and summers can be very hot.
When to fly to Bulgaria
Peak season at the coast is, naturally, summertime, with most visitors arriving off their flights to Bulgaria between late June and early September. Bulgaria’s ski resorts are emerging as some of the best in Europe. The ski season runs from late December through to Easter. Sofia is a year-round destination, busiest in the summertime and around Christmas.
Low season fares apply at the seaside resorts around Varna for most of the winter. The weather is less good, but the scenery is still appealing.
Getting around Bulgaria
Buses are faster than trains and the network far more extensive, however, it can be confusing working out where they are going and where you need to get off, as many drivers will only speak Bulgarian. There are two train lines between Sofia and Varna and Sofia and Bourgas. Service is fairly poor.
Bulgaria Air flies between the main destinations of Sofia, Varna and Bourgas.
Bulgaria insider information
- Sofia is one of the oldest capitals in Europe and it is filled with historic monuments. Increasingly popular as a city-break destination thanks to a host of low-cost airlines offering flights to Bulgaria, the city has many attractions for tourists. The Alexander Nevski Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and supposedly the most photographed building in Bulgaria. When you visit the church, don’t miss the flea market, held in the square in front.
- Varna is the starting point for holidays in the Golden Sands region. As well as the stunning beaches, there are a number of interesting destinations around the town. The Stone Forest, or Pobitite Kamani in Bulgarian, is, as the name suggests, a naturally occurring “forest” of stones. Limestone pillers, around ten metres tall, cover an area of approximately 13,000 square metres.
- Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second-largest city, situated in the centre of the country. One of its main attractions is the incredibly well-preserved Roman amphitheatre. It is still in use today for concerts and operas during the summer months. A Verdi Festival takes place annually. Book tickets for events at the tourist office.
- Located on the southeast coast, Bourgas is the second-largest seaside town. The city beach is huge. Take a walk along the pier, with views of the sea, port, beach and city.
- The festival of Martenitsa takes place on March 1 and is the Bulgarian celebration of the start of Spring. Bulgarians give each other red and white spring or wood dolls, called martenitsi. These are tied to the wrist or pinned to clothes and worn until the person sees a stork for the first time that year – a sign that winter will not last.