За България и региона

За България и региона За България и региона За България и региона

                         Bulgaria’s Location

Bulgaria is amazingly kaleidoscopic – vast Black Sea beaches, green and rugged mountains, a fertile land and curative mineral springs. Modern resorts, as well as secluded nooks where one is alone with nature, are part of its landscape. 

Bulgaria occupies the eastern portion of the Balkan Peninsula. The now democratic Republic of Bulgaria (111,000 square kilometres) is bounded by Romania on the north, the border being marked by the Lower Danube River. The Black Sea lies to the east, Turkey and Greece to the south and Serbia and Macedonia to the west

Tourism is a real growth industry here, and Europeans frequent the beautiful city of Sofia, the numerous historic sites, as well as the winter resorts and spas on the Black Sea coast.

 Currency

The Bulgarian national monetary unit is the LEV. Coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 stotinki and banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 leva are in use. The exchange of currency is unrestricted and there is no compulsory exchange. Upon departure from the country any unused Bulgarian currency may be changed back into the respective foreign currency.

The GBP – BGN exchange rate tends to be more favourable in Bulgaria than in the UK. However, the currency exchange office at the airport does not offer competitive rates and you are better changing money at the resort (hotels or kiosks). The best rates will be obtained at banks in Borovets or Samokov.

Conversion of GBP – Euro can be carried out in the UK at competitive rates at Onlinefx. Euros will be needed if paying in cash for accommodation rental, car hire, etc.

Credit Cards      

Due to the high commission rates charged for the use of Credit Cards and Travellers Cheques, it is advisable to bring larger amounts of Sterling or Euros in cash.

Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express might be accepted in hotels, restaurants, shops, car rentals, etc. However, cash payments are the norm, e.g. at petrol stations. ATMs are available at Borovets. Accepted are Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus cards.

Time Zones    

Winter: GMT +2 hours (October through March)

Summer: GMT +3 hours (April through September)

Language    

Bulgarian is a Slavic language. English, German, French and Russian are spoken in the country’s resorts, hotels and restaurants.

Alphabet – Cyrillic (named after its founders, Saint Cyril and Methodius). Signs along international motorways, in airports and resorts are also spelled in Roman letters.

Communication, Phones – Access Codes      

The country dialing code for Bulgaria is +359, followed by the relevant city code.

From Europe dial 00 in place of +

From USA dial 011 in place of +

If phoning from outside Europe or USA please consult your telephone directory for international dialling access codes.

Bulgarian SIM cards can be purchased for less than GBP 10 to eliminate the mobile phone roaming charges applied to UK SIM cards. Several mobile phone shops selling SIM cards are located on the road from Samokov to Borovets.

Bulgaria offers a direct dialing service to 58 countries, which can be reached by adding the prefix 00 to the country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Calls to countries that cannot be accessed by direct dialling must be placed through an operator at 0123. Betcom or Bulgarian Telecommunication Company phone booths require a special card available from kiosks.

Telephone offices are also available and are attached to post offices.

Bulgaria is one of the few countries in Europe that has no peak or off-peak call times.

The country has two mobile GSM operators, and several Internet Service Providers. Internet cafes are on the increase in the big cities.

Political System      

According to the Constitution of Bulgaria, adopted by the Great National Assembly on July 13, 1991, Bulgaria is a parliamentary democratic republic in which the sovereign power belongs to the people who exercise it through their representative bodies, elected by direct and secret ballot. Every Bulgarian citizen over the age of 18 has the right to elect or to be elected. The National Assembly, elected for a period of four years, is the supreme body of state power.

Religion      

Religion by population: 85% Bulgarian Orthodox, 13% Muslim

The chief religion in Bulgaria is the Orthodox Christian Church. This religion has been established in Bulgaria since the 4th century and became the official religion in the 9th century.

In mosques, take your off your shoes and cover your legs and arms. However, you likely will not have the opportunity to visit mosques, quite a few of them, f.e. in Sofia, are not accessible to non-muslims.

 Customs YES & NO: Foreigners should be aware that a shake of the head means “yes” and a nod means “no”, although allowances are often made for visitors.

Duty Free: Travellers to Bulgaria over 18 years do not need to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine; 50g of perfume and 100g of eau de toilette; and gifts. Prohibited goods include arms and ammunition; narcotics and pornography. Travellers carrying cash or goods to the value of BGN8000 or more must provide details of this on a customs declaration form. Failure to do so will lead to confiscation of currency or goods.

Electricity:

The local voltage is 220-240 AC and so a continental adapter is required to charge mobile phones (or use any other electrical equipment).

 Healthcare:

No vaccinations are required to enter Bulgaria. Travel in Bulgaria poses few health risks beyond mild travellers’ diarrhea. Main water is chlorinated, but occasionally causes stomach upsets, so bottled water is advised. Food is safe in hotels and restaurants, but street vendors should be avoided.

A fully equipped and functioning hospital is located in Samokov (8 km from Beli Iskar). 24 hour medical facilities are available in Borovets. Dental services and pharmacies are also available in Borovets.

Some medical and all dental services must be paid by cash to the doctors (clinics). They should provide the necessary bills, receipts and invoices describing the service and the cost, so that you can claim back the expense to your insurance company. It’s recommended you call your insurance company and inform them in case of injury.

Tipping: Tips of 10% of the bill are customary in restaurants, while hotel porters and taxi drivers expect the change to round up the bill. With non-metered taxis you needn’t add a tip to the fare you agreed on beforehand.

 Bulgaria is an interesting and intriguing experience for anyone: for those who love the warm southern sea or snow-covered slopes, for those who want to see it’s cultural and historic monuments, who wish to delight in its unique and living folklore, for young people fond of sports, for families with children, for the aged and people who need treatment, for those who dream of carefree holidays.

Travel To Bulgaria

 

It will fascinate you with its fantastic creativity, squeezing so much beauty onto such a tiny land – curious rock formations and mysterious caves; sunny seashores with golden sands, quiet coves and romantic capes; majestic mountains with fiery peaks, mirror lakes and shady woods full of scent.  

By plane 

Bulgaria and Sofia are part of the international flight network, and there are direct flights to Sofia from most capitals of Europe.

  Sofia International Airport                                   + 359-279-321 ,  

                                                                 www.sofia-airport.bg

 British Airways                                  www.britishairways.com

Balkan Holidays (Flight Only)          www.balkanholidays.co.uk

Malev                                                     www.malev.hu

Bulgaria Air                                          www.air.bg

Wizz Air                                                  www.wizzair.com

Mari Travel                                            www.maritravlel.co.uk                                

Expedia.co.uk                                       www.expedia.co.uk

Cheapflights.co.uk                               www.cheapflights.co.uk

Lastminute.com                                   www.lastminute.com

Bus connections in Bulgaria

Bus time-table for domestic and international routes by Central Bus Station – Sofia 

 http://tis.centralnaavtogara.bg/guide/welcome.jsp;jsessionid=0000xsiRNyIkKaIY_lywkN5TZBT:-1

State Bus Stations: For national destinations In Sofia:

North Tel. # 38 31 91

South Tel. # 72 00 63

 East Tel. # 955 5362

To Bansko – 3 hours – 7 leva single trip

To Blagoevgrad – under 2 hours – 5 leva

To Sandanski – 3 hours – 6 leva

Private Bus Stations

 Most privately-run domestic and international buses depart from two large staging areas near the central train station in Sofia or from the central bus stations in major Bulgarian cities. Mitsubishi and Mercedes luxury coaches featuring air-conditioning and video are some of the vehicles used.

Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) Phone: + 359 2 981 11 10

Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) can get you to most towns, although trains are very slow by Western standards and delays are common on the longer routes. Intercity and express services only operate on the main trunk routes, but on everything except the humblest branch lines you’ll find so-called rapid trains. Use these rather than the snail-like “passenger train” services unless you’re planning to get off at some particularly insignificant destination

Tips for Driving TO – and – IN Bulgaria  

Crossing countries: It is more different crossing the countries of former Yugoslavia; it is recommended to use the route Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade-Sofia. The roads are first class, most of them highways.

Insurance has to be made in advance or paid at the border. Cars (self-drive and chauffeur driven) may be rented at the border checkpoints and in all tourist offices throughout the country.

Foreigners may drive in Bulgaria using their national driving license (though, should you stay longer than six months, it must be translated and legalized), but most of the neighbouring countries require an international license.

It is required to have third-party insurance plus a “Green” or “Blue” card – the latter can be bought at the frontier.

Entering Bulgaria, your vehicle will be registered with a special “visa tag” or carnet de passage which must be presented on leaving.

Upon arrival in Bulgaria, an entrance fee is payable on all motor vehicles (car/van US$10; minibus seating 8 or more US$60), plus a disinfection fee (car US$2; van/minibus US$4) – though EU citizens are exempt from the former charge.

Bulgarian Speed Limits: 50 km/h in populated areas, 90 km/h outside populated areas, 120 km/h on highways

Road signs follow international standards. But If you want to explore Bulgaria better take dual language map because most of the small town signs are only in Cyrillic.

Be very alert when driving at night. Bear in mind that horse-drawn carts, motorcycles and scooters can sometimes be encountered on major roads driving at night without lights.

DO NOT drink and drive: For tested levels in excess of 1.2 per 1,000, there is a maximum prison sentence of one year in addition to a licence suspension for up to four years.

Road Assistance Service: Provides 24-hour technical assistance on the road. In case of malfunction or accident, call 146 (or cellular(+359) (0)48 146). The Central Dispatch Office is located at 3 Pozitano St. in Sofia, Tel. (+359) 2 980 33 08 and is open 24 hours a day.

Visa requirements for UK nationals:

UK passport holders, endorsed British Citizen, do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for a period of up to 30 days in a six-month period. Passports should be valid for the period of intended stay. Other UK passport holders require a visa and a passport that is valid for at least six months.

Visa requirements for Irish nationals:

Citizens of the Republic of Ireland do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for a period of up to 30 days within a six-month period. A passport valid for the period of intended stay is required.

Visa/Passport Note:

Visitors must have proof of sufficient funds or onward or return tickets in addition to other documents needed for the next destination. Valid health insurance is required. All visitors to Bulgaria must register as foreigners at a local police station within two days of arrival, as a dated registration slip has to be submitted when leaving the country. From 1 January 2006 all children entering Bulgaria will be required to have their own passport.

Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate. The Bulgarian Embassy in London can be contacted at +44 (0)207 584 9400 and the British Embassy in Sofia +359 2 933 9290.

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