Holidays to Bulgaria
Bulgaria, an EU member since 2007, is largely undiscovered as a tourist destination. New resorts are being created, with infrastructure and standards improving through investment programmes. During this transformation, the Bulgarian culture and value for money remain intact, creating a near-perfect destination for the adventurous tourist.
There are many natural attractions, notably the long, sandy Black Sea Coast, which retains its beauty and culture, as well as the Rila and Pirin mountains, where wildlife, scarce elsewhere in Europe, can be discovered on foot and horse-back.
Public transport is cheap, efficient and accessible, even in the remotest parts of the country.
The cosmopolitan city of Sofia enjoys alfresco dining, lovely parks and captivating museums; Plovdiv benefits from Roman remains in amongst the National Revival architecture, while Varna boasts a seafaring atmosphere.
Off the beaten track, there is a traditional, slow pace to life – a wonderful place for the amateur photographer and simply getting away from it all; a real holiday from the stresses of the rat race. There are colourful monasteries and timber dwellings, with donkeys a common sight.
Bulgarians are, as you would expect, patriotic, but they also want to make a good impression – they know the value of tourism, so customer service is valued.
A temperate part of the world, but the south of the country, including the Black Sea Coast, has the highest temperatures. Sofia has average daytime high temperatures of 28°C in July/August, but only 3°C December-February. The Danube Plain suffers the extremes of central Europe – very cold and snowy in winter.
Rainfall is highest in the mountains, with huge snowfalls in rural areas.
When to go
The weather may dictate your choice, but there are other motivations.
Spring – especially April to mid-June – is a particularly good time to visit, as the tourist venues are all open for business, the weather is comfortable and low-season rates are still in effect.
Summer – mid-June to early September - is the best time for exploring the mountains and forests, or for attending festivals, but you pay a premium for the rewards. The highest temperatures are seen on the coast, so if you’re after a sun holiday, this is your moment.
If you are not tied to school holidays, then September is your perfect time. The trees have started their vivid autumn colours, fruit and vegetables are readily available, the beaches are still inviting enough that you can sunbathe and swim in the Black Sea, but less crowded than a few weeks earlier.
Although the coastal tourist resorts are mainly closed down by mid-October, Bulgaria is getting ready for the ski season, which usually gets up and running by the middle of December, and continues until April some years.