Popular souvenirs include handicrafts such as lace doilies, wood carvings, toys, leather goods, and jewelry. The handcrafted colorful blankets, carpets and traditional costumes, which are woven by Bulgarian women and embroidered with artistic patterns, are particularly beautiful. Typical souvenirs are also spirits, wine and sweets. Branded clothing is imported from Turkey and is available cheaply. Eyeglass frames are up to 50% cheaper in Bulgaria.
The best shopping in Sofia can be found in the shops on Vitosha Boulevard. Here you can buy Bulgarian products, clothes and shoes. There are several electronics stores on Ulitsa Graf Ignatiev and Ulitsa Pirotska streets.
In the valley of the roses, which is about 200 km east of Sofia, is the world’s most important growing region for rose blossoms for the production of rose oil. The oil is one of the most expensive essential oils around. It has a wide range of uses in the perfume industry, in the perfuming of foodstuffs and in pharmaceuticals and is also popular with tourists.
The farmers and fishermen in the region offer their goods at the weekly markets. The market in Varna, which takes place in the park behind the cathedral, is best known.
Skilled artists offer their work along the waterfront in Albena. You can have paper cutouts or portraits made in chalk, oil or water color.
Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m., some shops also Sat 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
According to aristmarketing, Bulgaria has a diverse nightlife with numerous clubs and a lively bar scene. In the big cities like Sofia, Bourgas, Varna and Plovdiv, as well as in the holiday resorts, you can hear both modern Bulgarian sounds and international music. Tschalga (Popfolk), a Bulgarian music genre that originated in the 1990s and is a mixture of gypsy, dance and techno, is particularly popular. Often there are different shows in the night clubs in addition to dance and music. Current event information can be found in the tourist information offices and hotels.
The largest party mile in Bulgaria is located in the holiday resort Slatni pjasazi (Golden Sands), also known as “Ballermann on the Balkans”. There are around a dozen discos here where “Mallorca stars” such as Jürgen Drews, Mickie Krause and Markus Becker perform in the summer. The seaside resort of Slantschew brjag (Sunny Beach) also attracts mainly young party-goers with its numerous bars, pubs and nightclubs.
Music and folklore evenings are held in many restaurants. In Sofia you can see a performance by the State Opera or attend a classical concert by the national folk ensemble. Opera performances are also held in Plovdiv and some other major cities. Plays by Elias Canetti are often performed in the Sava Ognjanov Dramatic Theater in Ruse. In Burgas there are theater and opera performances in the sea park in summer. The Philharmonic Orchestra also gives summer performances in the open air. In August, the MTV music festival Spirit of Burgas takes place every year in the sea garden.
The special treats include:
- Tarator(cold yogurt soup with cucumber, stuffed peppers and eggplant)
- Kebapcheta(small, strongly seasoned meat rolls)
- Banitsa(dumplings filled with fruit or cheese)
- Shopska salata(large starter salad with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and white cheese).
- Kavarma(braised pork or veal with onions and mushrooms).
- Surmi(grape or cabbage leaves stuffed with meat)
- Kebapche(small, strongly seasoned minced meat rolls)
Tipping was relatively uncommon until recently, now 10-12% is appropriate.
Coffee is drunk strongly sweetened. Herbal teas are very popular. Among the white wines, Karlauski Misket, Tamianka, Evskinograde and Chardonnay are recommended, while the best red wines are Trakia and Mavroud. Typical local spirits include mastika (aniseed schnapps, is usually diluted) and rakia (a fruit brandy).
Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages
In Bulgaria you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.
Advance booking is recommended. Categories: There are luxury, first and second class hotels. Only a few hotels meet international standards. For more information, contact the Bulgarian Hoteliers Association, 2 Sveta Sophia Street, BG-1040 Sofia. (Tel: (02) 986 42 25. Internet: http://www.bhra-bg.org/).
Campsites are divided into categories I-III. The first two categories offer cold and hot water, washing facilities, showers, electricity, grocery stores, restaurants, telephones and sports fields. All campsites are close to vacation spots.
Other accommodation options
Available in over 30 major cities. Further information is available from the Bulgarian Tourist Office (see addresses) or from the youth hostel association USIT Colors, 35 Vassil Levski Boulevard, BG-1000 Sofia (Tel: (2) 981 19 00. Internet: www.usitcolours.bg).