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Are you planning to travel to Bulgaria?. An honest opinion about Bulgaria.

Viaje de España a Bulgaria

Hi there, I'm Luis, travel advisor in senderismoeuropa.com . The first time I traveled to Bulgaria, some years ago, I knew that that first trip was not going to be enough and that I would want to return. Why travel to Bulgaria ?: because I love these types of countries that are not overcrowded with tourists. There the local people treat you like a “Foreign” and not as a “tourist”, for example they do not try to sell you things or deceive you at every step, for them you are a simple foreigner and they are delighted that you visit their country but they do not try to “express yourself” and get your money for it. It is puzzling that European tourists prefer to travel to neighboring Greece or Turkey, that are much more crowded and therefore are more expensive tourist destinations, when they could have an exciting travel experience in Bulgaria, or other countries of the Balkan Peninsula different from those two so exploited. When you travel to Bulgaria you can live a totally different travel experience…
Many people only have an appreciation for the Eastern countries, or from the Balkans, as a synonym for wars or insecurity, however that is past history, in fact Bulgaria has had a peaceful history since the end of World War II. It is currently a safe country and nothing dangerous, that is not threatened by Islamic or other terrorism, obviously there is petty crime and theft as in any part of Europe, but being prudent is not a major problem. In fact even your capital, Sofia, it is safer and less dangerous than many other European cities at night.

sofia en cirilico

Welcome to sofia

That different travel experience that I mentioned before also helps the fact that the Bulgarian language uses Cyrillic letters (like russian) and all the commercial signage, roads, etc, it is difficult for the traveler to understand, which definitely makes the traveler feel that they are “other side” of comfortable Europe, when it's really only 3 flight hours from Spain. That which, for me it is a point in its favor because it makes it a surprising and exotic place, very different from the rest of the Europe we know and where with every step you take a new anecdote is generated to tell when you return.

But let's try to answer the question of ” Why go sightseeing in Bulgaria? ” in a more concrete and objective way (let's try…). For some travelers the decision to visit Bulgaria is based on the fact that it is a cheap tourist destination within the European Union. Most travel articles speak of the wonders of each country from the point of view of tourism promoters who seek only to extol the virtues of the country. (I recognize that we too fell into temptation and for example we have this page of our website where we show only the great virtues of Bulgaria: “Reasons to travel to Bulgaria“. But not everything is black or white, there are gray scales and I want to talk about the country from the personal impression that a middle-class Spaniard has. To know where to go, what to see, etc. the travel guides are already, this article tells you what does not appear in those guides, then you decide if Bulgaria is a good destination to discover for you or not.

There are several reasons why Bulgaria captivates and surprises me on every trip I make there, I can think of 8 to get started:

1- In Bulgaria I feel more free.

In countries like Bulgaria, I feel like I'm in a “city ​​without law”, something similar to “wild West”, I exaggerate a bit, but to understand each other I mean that there I feel freer, with fewer rules and regulations, It is not that there is debauchery or lack of justice, I mean those little rules that restrict our movements in other more populated countries. For example, on the subject of hiking, there camping is allowed, you can have barbecues in the country all year round, you can walk through private farms because many of them are not fenced and the owners do not care, you can drive to quite remote places without finding a fence of “private preserve”, etc, etc, I suppose this is all due to the fact that the population density is low and that nature is lush enough to absorb the few travelers who enter its forests without causing major damage, therefore it is not necessary to limit people's movements as much as it is done in other countries. Can you imagine that finding marks of hikers who have passed before you on the roads is quite a feat? Well, it happens there and many times you feel like a true explorer, as if you were the first to pass by…

por que viajar a bulgaria en coche

Barrier-free travel, no private reserves, no fences…

2- Bulgaria is a very diverse country.

When you visit its different regions you realize that, like Spain, Bulgaria is also a very diverse country and that despite its small size. The different regions of the country differ a lot from each other in social matters, economical and landscaped, you will say that this also happens in Spain, It is true, but the point is that Bulgaria is the size of Andalusia + Extremadura approximately, Therefore, in Bulgaria you move quickly from one region to another and the changes seem more noticeable when you go on a circuit trip of a few days through the country. Therefore exploring several very different regions of the country is feasible on a travel trip. 7 u 8 days.

3- He “orderly chaos”.

Bulgaria is very different from what is customary in other Central European or Northern countries, in the sense that in cities there are not many gleaming glass office buildings, nor perfectly cobbled and clean streets, no order or silence and although sometimes the big cities seem a chaos, is that, they seem, because it is a chaos “organized”. There are no well-marked lanes for traffic or perfectly groomed sidewalks for pedestrians, nor posters with the routes of public transport, etc., the tram comes from anywhere, etc., However, since everyone knows how to get around the city and what to do, the city does not collapse and is very dynamic. The local people are adapted to the environment and function with ease, while the new tourist that I was years ago when I first arrived is puzzled at every step he takes and from the moment he sets foot on the street when he leaves the hotel a adventure, an adventure in a big city, who'd say…., but an adventure that is fun and that generates multiple anecdotal situations…. after all, it is one of the reasons to travel, know new and different things, truth?.

Tranvía en Sofía (Bulgaria).

Tram in Sofia (Bulgaria).

4- His popular folklore.

Culture is valued in Bulgaria, history and popular folklore as not seen elsewhere, it does not need to be promoted or subsidized by public administrations as in Spain, every Bulgarian, i repeat, every Bulgarian, is a good connoisseur of history, folklore and traditions of his country and is also very proud of them. It is also surprising that the new generations, although already influenced by new technologies, television, etc. they also know ancient traditions and follow them with gusto, they do not deny them, Unlike, culture, especially music, it is something that unites young and old, something that has always surprised and excited me.

folclore popular bulgaro

5- Bulgarian rural life.

The rural life, I could write a full article about it to explain why travel to Bulgaria. The country has charming cities like Plovdiv, Great Tarnono, Varna, Bourgas or the capital itself, Sofia. However, the essence of the country is in its rural way of life.

There are towns in Inland Bulgaria where time seems to stand still, not only because of the age of their houses and buildings, but also because the lifestyle of our ancestors is maintained, in many towns the way of life based on self-consumption persists, the houses have their own garden, a neighbor has animals, the other has vineyards, the other makes bread and thus they feed on their own productions and trade with the neighboring towns with the products of the land and livestock. There are no large cooperatives nor is it produced on large farms for export, most are small private farms (remember that the country was under communist influence from World War II until the end of the 80). It is true that young people tend to go to cities and in small towns older people stay but whenever there is occasion, the children return to the village to visit their relatives, to help with agricultural work and to stock up on fresh products; although they live in the city they have not lost contact with the countryside.

viajando por Bulgaria

Return to the city from the village after the weekend

6- It is better to repair than to throw away.

In Bulgaria the philosophy of “it is better to repair than to throw away”, either by tradition or by family finances, people are used to caring, maintain and fix things before changing them for new, there are no whims and things are made and manufactured designed to last for many years. Whether they are utensils, facilities, furniture, cars, houses, infrastructures, etc, everything is repaired whenever possible before changing it, what makes the country maintain a style “retro” which gives rise to a multitude of anecdotes among visitors. The prices of products manufactured in the country are cheap, However, everything that is imported has high prices compared to the low Bulgarian wages and therefore there is this tendency to repair and maintain things as long as possible. By the way, if you plan to travel to Bulgaria, note that they have not yet adopted the euro as their currency and have their own currency, the lev, cam in plural, with BGN code.

En Bulgaria "se repara, no se tira"

In bulgaria “is repaired, it is not thrown”

7- Traveling to Bulgaria has an adventure tourism part.

Best of all, when you do tourism in Bulgaria, you do not know what you are going to find no matter how many times you have been, from the moment you land at the Sofia airport until you return to your city of origin, the anecdotes multiply, every trip to Bulgaria is different and new experiences arise. It is a combination of adventure travel, ethnographic journey, cultural trip and of course gastronomic.

The country is still a diamond in the rough, real and authentic, like its people, friendly, some rude, others smiling, some very direct, other shy, etc., They are just like life and the changes have made each one. Yes, they don't hide ulterior motives behind a fake smile, if they smile it is because they feel it and if not, they have no need to smile. But ultimately everyone I know is inside, very noble and in short “good people”. In fact, they are people you can trust and who do not hesitate to help you in difficult situations. (It happened to me that I was stranded on a deserted Bulgarian road due to a car breakdown and a young couple took me to the city to 1 hour away and then after leaving me “safe” they made their way back, they did it just to help me…).

vida rural en Bulgaria

8- The gastronomy.

It is worth mentioning, although you will not find seafood, Iberian ham or other luxuries…, the truth is that Bulgarian food is the best you can taste in Europe, after the spanish, Of course. It is based on traditional homemade recipes, used vegetables from the garden, and the pork and chicken, either grilled or in delicious stews. The portions are always generous and the prices surprising. There the tomato tastes like “real tomato” and they don't charge you for it like it's a gourmet tomato, there are street stalls where they sell you excellent tomatoes from their family gardens. The eggs, the chicken, the pig, vegetables, everything has more flavor than the one you buy in Spain and that shows when it comes to savoring the dishes. Get to know some recipes on our page “Bulgarian food recipes“.

Cazuela de Kavarmá, receta típica búlgara

Kavarmá casserole, typical bulgarian recipe

If you have never traveled to Bulgaria or the Balkan countries, I hope this article will help you to know a little better what you can find there if you decide to travel to Bulgaria.. If you want to travel to Bulgaria, either traveling alone or in a group, In the rest of the pages of this website you will find proposals for guided and self-guided trips, as well as a brief description of the natural wonders, cultural and gastronomic offered by the country. But like i said before, With this article I wanted to scratch the surface a bit and delve into the soul of the real Bulgaria, a country that leaves no one indifferent, find out for yourself to have your own opinion and don't let them tell you…

Do you agree with my opinion?, Have you ever done tourism in Bulgaria??… then you can also tell your honest opinion in the comments below please… COMMENT is free!…

6 comments

  1. Vivian Reply at

    These are some of the reasons to travel to the country, and I love that you expressed it from a more substantial point of view, and not so much tourist routes, etc. Preservation of customs is the main wealth of Bulgaria. And happy baba Marta!

    • Luis Carro Reply at

      Thanks Vivian, we wanted to give an opinion deepening what the tourist guides do not tell, we like that you like it 😉

  2. Luis Carro Reply at

    Jose, we agree, people appreciate this type of tourism more and more… you have to change the mentality that “holidays” means only “Sun and beach”, there is another world to discover…

  3. Rodolfo Reply at

    I have had the opportunity to get to know Bulgaria through videos through the front cabin of a train in real time.
    An incredible country, with mountains, very varied, little exploited very similar to Romania, although a little more reduced, but with a wide variety of villas and dream landscapes with imposing valleys. It is evident that the least populated countries with little exploitation of man, They are worthy of knowing and transporting to the past of a millenary society with secrets and surprises never seen before.
    Very good article and well detailed!

    • Luis Carro Reply at

      Thanks for your comment Rodolfo, we who do know Bulgaria in person, we couldn't have put it better!!

  4. Albert Reply at

    I had the privilege of visiting Bulgaria and, frankly, I loved. The capital, Sofia, has that image of a ramshackle city, poorly lit at night, but it's full of parks, and I was surprised at how extensive it was. Sofia's metro is one of the best I have visited, very modern (Of course, this is also due to the fact that they did it a few 20 years) I had been warned that Bulgarians were rude and serious, but my perception there was different. What I liked the most about Bulgaria was its Orthodox churches, some very small, but full of icons, to spend hours admiring them. Definitely, a great country, with so much to offer, and a great unknown.

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