Where is Bulgaria located?

What countries border Bulgaria?

Bulgaria Weather

What is the current weather in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria Facts and Culture

What is Bulgaria famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: Bulgarians are generally optimistic, good-humored, and loyal to family and friends. Generally, most people in Bulgaria are working to put... More
  • Family: Bulgarians usually marry in their late teens or early twenties. Bulgarian families are smaller than in generations past, with an... More
  • Personal Apperance: American and European fashions are popular; at home, people wear T-shirts, jeans, skirts, and blouses. At school young people do... More
  • Recreation: Boys are interested mainly in soccer. Wrestling for competition is also popular among boys. Girls like gymnastics. Roller blades are... More
  • Diet: Bulgarians usually have breakfast between 8-9 o’clock. A typical breakfast is small and may consist of a pastry and coffee.... More
  • Food and Recipes: In addition to three meals a day, Bulgarians might have a mid-morning snack and afternoon coffee. The continental style of... More
  • Visiting: Typically people socialize in public by having a drink in a café or in a restaurant. Some people gather at... More
  • Dating: The youth associate in groups at first. One-on-one dating does not usually occur until people are in their twenties. Favorite... More

Bulgaria Facts

What is the capital of Bulgaria?

Capital Sofia
Government Type parliamentary republic
Currency Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
Total Area 42,810 Square Miles
110,879 Square Kilometers
Location Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
Language Bulgarian
GDP - real growth rate 3%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $20,100.00 (USD)

Bulgaria Demographics

What is the population of Bulgaria?

Ethnic Groups Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian)
Languages The official language is Bulgarian, and nearly all inhabitants speak it. About half of the Turkish population speaks Turkish as its mother tongue. Bulgarian is a Slavic language that uses an alphabet first developed in the ninth century by Cyril and Methodise. English is now the most popular language for children to study, followed by German and French.
Nationality Noun Bulgarian(s)
Population 6,966,899
Population Growth Rate -0.81%
Population in Major Urban Areas SOFIA (capital) 1.174 million
Urban Population 73.100000

Bulgaria Government

What type of government does Bulgaria have?

Executive Branch chief of state: President Rumen RADEV (since 22 January 2017); Vice President Iliana IOTOVA (since 22 January 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister Nikolay DENKOV (since 6 June 2023)

cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, elected by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president and vice president elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 14 and 21 November 2021 (next to be held in fall 2026); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister, elected by the National Assembly

election results:

2021: Rumen RADEV reelected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Rumen RADEV (independent) 49.4%, Anastas GERDZHIKOV (independent) 22.8%, Mustafa KARADAYI (DPS) 11.6%, Kostadin KOSTADINOV (Revival) 3.9%, Lozan PANOV (independent) 3.7%, other 8.6%; percent of vote in the second round - Rumen RADEV 66.7%, Anastas GERDZHIKOV 31.8%, neither 1.5%

2016: Rumen RADEV elected president in second round; percent of vote - Rumen RADEV (independent, supported by Bulgarian Socialist Party) 59.4%, Tsetska TSACHEVA (GERB) 36.2%, neither 4.5%
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Bulgaria

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
National Holiday Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
Constitution history: several previous; latest drafted between late 1990 and early 1991, adopted 13 July 1991

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly or by the president of the republic; passage requires three-fourths majority vote of National Assembly members in three ballots; signed by the National Assembly chairperson; note - under special circumstances, a "Grand National Assembly" is elected with the authority to write a new constitution and amend certain articles of the constitution, including those affecting basic civil rights and national sovereignty; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote in each of several readings; amended several times, last in 2015
Independence 3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)

Bulgaria Video

YouTube: Rick Steves Plovdiv, Bulgaria: Culture and Folk Traditions

CountryReports YouTube Channel:

Join CountryReports YouTube Channel (Click Here)

Bulgaria Geography

What environmental issues does Bulgaria have?

Overview Bulgaria is a country of mountains, plains, and seacoast, occupying 110,000 square kilometers (43,000 square miles) of the Balkan Peninsula. It measures roughly 260 miles from east to west and about 150 miles from north to south. Much of the country is mountainous with only about 40% cultivated. The Danube River, Black Sea, and the Pirin and Rhodope Mountains provide natural borders on the north, east, and south. Flowing south into Greece are the unnavigable Struma, Maritsa, Mesta, and Arda Rivers, important sources of water for irrigation. The Iskar River is the longest river. The Balkan range extends across the north-central part of the country, separating the wheat-growing Dobrudzha region from the Thracian plain, where vegetables, fruits, grapes, and tobacco are cultivated.
Climate The climate is usually designated as "continental, with many micro-climates." From May to November, the climate is pleasantly warm and sunny. Sofia is on the same latitude as Rome, but is 1,500 feet higher in elevation and has a climate similar to the Intermountain West of the United States. Plants, flowers, and fruits common to Britain and France grow well here, but the climate is too cold for citrus. November through April are snowy and cold, with temperatures ranging between -5°F to 50°F in Sofia. Summer temperatures may reach 105°F on occasion but tend to hover around 70°-75°F, and humidity is moderate to low. During July, the mean temperature is 68.7°F (20.4°C); during January, 30.6°F (8°C). Mildew and insects are not significant factors.

Sofia's main climatic problem is winter smog, which is caused by industrial air pollution, soft-coal smoke, vehicle exhaust emissions, fog, and surrounding mountains that keep winds from blowing the smog away. Gray-brown dirt or coal dust and sand are scattered on Sofia's snow-covered streets in winter.

Winters may often be gray but are quite beautiful in the nearby mountains. Mount Vitosha (altitude 2,290 m.), with its ski resorts and runs and walking paths, overlooks the city. Trees and flowers make Sofia a more colorful city the rest of the year. Rainfall is moderate, averaging 25 inches a year.
Border Countries Greece 494 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia and Montenegro 318 km, Turkey 240 km
Environment - Current Issues Air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, and detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
Environment - International Agreements Party To: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Terrain Mostly mountains with lowlands in the north and southeast

Bulgaria Economy

How big is the Bulgaria economy?

Economic Overview Bulgaria, a former communist country that entered the EU in 2007, has an open economy that historically has demonstrated strong growth, but its per-capita income remains the lowest among EU members and its reliance on energy imports and foreign demand for its exports makes its growth sensitive to external market conditions.

The government undertook significant structural economic reforms in the 1990s to move the economy from a centralized, planned economy to a more liberal, market-driven economy. These reforms included privatization of state-owned enterprises, liberalization of trade, and strengthening of the tax system - changes that initially caused some economic hardships but later helped to attract investment, spur growth, and make gradual improvements to living conditions. From 2000 through 2008, Bulgaria maintained robust, average annual real GDP growth in excess of 6%, which was followed by a deep recession in 2009 as the financial crisis caused domestic demand, exports, capital inflows, and industrial production to contract, prompting the government to rein in spending. Real GDP growth remained slow - less than 2% annually - until 2015, when demand from EU countries for Bulgarian exports, plus an inflow of EU development funds, boosted growth to more than 3%. In recent years, strong domestic demand combined with low international energy prices have contributed to Bulgaria’s economic growth approaching 4% and have also helped to ease inflation. Bulgaria’s prudent public financial management contributed to budget surpluses both in 2016 and 2017.

Bulgaria is heavily reliant on energy imports from Russia, a potential vulnerability, and is a participant in EU-backed efforts to diversify regional natural gas supplies. In late 2016, the Bulgarian Government provided funding to Bulgaria’s National Electric Company to cover the $695 million compensation owed to Russian nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the cancellation of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, which the Bulgarian Government terminated in 2012. As of early 2018, the government was floating the possibility of resurrecting the Belene project. The natural gas market, dominated by state-owned Bulgargaz, is also almost entirely supplied by Russia. Infrastructure projects such as the Inter-Connector Greece-Bulgaria and Inter-Connector Bulgaria-Serbia, which would enable Bulgaria to have access to non-Russian gas, have either stalled or made limited progress. In 2016, the Bulgarian Government established the State eGovernment Agency. This new agency is responsible for electronic governance, coordinating national policies with the EU, and strengthening cybersecurity.

Despite a favorable investment regime, including low, flat corporate income taxes, significant challenges remain. Corruption in public administration, a weak judiciary, low productivity, lack of transparency in public procurements, and the presence of organized crime continue to hamper the country's investment climate and economic prospects.
Industries Electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Currency Name and Code Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
Export Partners Germany 12.5%, Italy 9.2%, Turkey 8.5%, Romania 8.2%, Greece 6.5%, France 4.2%
Import Partners Germany 12.9%, Russia 12%, Italy 7.6%, Romania 6.8%, Turkey 5.7%, Greece 4.8%, Spain 4.8%

Bulgaria News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Bulgaria?
Source: Google News

Bulgaria Travel Information

What makes Bulgaria a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. Tourist facilities are widely available, but conditions vary and some facilities, infrastructure, and services may not be up to Western standards.


Pick-pocketing and purse snatching are frequent occurrences, especially in crowded markets, on shopping streets, and aboard the busiest tram and bus lines. Con artists operate on public transportation and in bus and train stations. Credit cards and ATMs should be used with caution. Be wary of people who approach you at an ATM and offer assistance. Do not give your PIN to anyone under any circumstances. (See the Special Circumstances section below.)

Travelers should be suspicious of "instant friends" and should also ask persons claiming to be government officials to provide identification.

We recommend that you immediately report any crimes to the police, as they have helped recover money and valuables in the past. To avoid becoming a victim of more serious crimes, use the same personal safety precautions that you would use in any large U.S. city.

You should pay special attention to the drink prices at high-end bars and nightclubs. Travelers have been charged exorbitant prices, especially for champagne and hard alcohol. Bills have been as high as several thousand dollars for drinks, and in some establishments, the management may use force to secure payment.

Taxi drivers occasionally overcharge unwary travelers, particularly at Sofia Airport and the Central Train Station. We recommend that you use taxis with meters and clearly marked rates displayed on a sticker on the passenger side of the windshield. The standard rates normally range between BGL 0.59 and 0.70 (approximately 40 U.S. cents) per kilometer. Prior to a current law that established a maximum charge per kilometer, some taxi drivers charged as much as BGL 6.70 (approximately US$5) per kilometer. However, there is only sporadic enforcement of the current law.

At the airport, there is a clearly marked booth within the arrival terminal that arranges for metered taxis at a fair rate. Finding reputable taxis at the Central Train Station is more difficult. We recommend that before you enter a taxi, you first inquire about the fare. Always ensure that you account for all luggage, packages, and hand-carried items before you pay and release a taxi. The likelihood of retrieving articles left behind in a taxi is remote.

Automobile theft is common, and very few vehicles are recovered; four-wheel-drive vehicles and late-model European sedans are the most popular targets. Automobile break-ins are also common in residential areas or near parks, especially when valuables are left in plain sight. Residential burglaries are also a frequent occurrence in any major city. If you plan to reside in Bulgaria on a long-term basis, you should take measures to protect your home and consider installing window grilles, steel doors with well-functioning locks, and an alarm system.

Take some time before your trip to learn how to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for personal security.

Use caution when making credit card charges over the Internet to unfamiliar websites. Recent experience has shown that offers for merchandise and services may be scam artists posing as legitimate businesses. In many cases, the businesses do not actually exist.

Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While in Bulgaria, you are subject to its laws and regulations, which sometimes significantly differ from those in the United States, and may not afford the protections available to an individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. Bulgarian law enforcement authorities may take you in for questioning if you don’t have your passport, U.S. passport card, or long-term residence card with you.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Bulgaria are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

If Arrested: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.


The official language is Bulgarian, and nearly all inhabitants speak it. About half of the Turkish population speaks Turkish as its mother tongue. Bulgarian is a Slavic language that uses an alphabet first developed in the ninth century by Cyril and Methodise. English is now the most popular language for children to study, followed by German and French.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Bulgarian physicians are trained to a very high standard, but most hospitals and clinics, especially in village areas, are generally not equipped or maintained to U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies and over-the-counter and prescription medications are widely available, but highly specialized treatment may be unavailable. Pediatric facilities are underfunded and lack sufficient equipment. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States may cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments for health services.

Safety and Security

Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union has enhanced the overall security environment for tourists and business travelers; however, violence related to criminal groups sporadically occurs in public locations. Incidents include bombings and shootings, likely the result of turf wars between rival organized crime syndicates, which remain highly prevalent in Bulgaria’s largely cash economy. In 2010, a journalist who had published a book containing details on Bulgarian organized crime was assassinated in Sofia during daylight hours.

Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes in response to world or local events can sporadically occur. Traffic disruptions in Bulgaria, particularly in the central city, have occurred as a result of demonstrations. While these demonstrations are normally peaceful, confrontational demonstrations have occurred, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Nationwide demonstrations in October 2011 resulted in some violence and destruction of property. You are urged to avoid demonstration areas if possible and to exercise caution if traveling within the vicinity of any demonstrations. You should monitor media coverage to stay abreast of local events and should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Bulgaria can be found on the Embassy Sofia website.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The Bulgarian road system is largely underdeveloped. There are few sections of limited-access divided highway. Some roads are in poor repair and full of potholes. Rock slides and landslides may be encountered on roads in mountainous areas. Livestock and animal-drawn carts present road hazards throughout the country, especially during the agricultural season. Travel conditions deteriorate during the winter as roads become icy and potholes proliferate. The U.S. Embassy in Sofia advises against driving at night because such road conditions are more dangerous in the dark. Some roads lack pavement markings and lights, and motorists often drive with dim or missing headlights.

Driving in Bulgaria is extremely dangerous. Aggressive driving habits, the lack of safe infrastructure, and a mixture of late model and old model cars on the country’s highways contribute to a high fatality rate for road accidents. Motorists should avoid confrontations with aggressive drivers in Bulgaria. In particular, drivers of late-model sedans are known to speed and drive dangerously. Motorists should exercise caution and avoid altercations with the drivers of such vehicles, which may be driven by armed organized crime figures. In some cities, traffic lights late at night blink yellow in all directions, leaving right-of-way unclear and contributing to frequent accidents. A form of “Russian road roulette” has taken hold in Sofia wherein drivers make bets about speeding through red lights at speeds that exceed 120mph in the late hours of the evening; bets are also taken challenging drivers to go the wrong way around roundabouts at high speeds.

Heavy truck traffic along the two-lane routes from the Greek border at Kulata to Sofia, and from the Turkish border at Kapitan Andre to Plovdiv creates numerous hazards. Motorists should expect long delays at border crossings. A U.S. state driver's license is only valid in Bulgaria when used in conjunction with an International Driving Permit.

If pulled over by a police officer, you should be aware that under Bulgarian law, police officers may collect fines on the spot, and may confiscate your driver’s license depending upon the offense.

The use of seat belts is mandatory in Bulgaria for all passengers, except pregnant women. Children under 12 years of age may ride in the front seat only if seated in a child's car seat. These rules are often disregarded in practice. Speed limits are 50 km/h (31 mph) in the cities/towns, 90 km/h (56 mph) out of town, and 130 km/h (80 mph) on the highways. For motorcycles, speed limits are 50 km/h in the cities/towns, 80 km/h out of town, and 100 km/h on the highways. Motorcyclists must wear helmets and ride with lights on at all times. At unregulated crossings, the driver on the right has the legal right-of-way, but this rule is frequently ignored. Drivers may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood level as low as 0.05 percent. Right turns on red lights are not permitted unless specifically authorized. The penalties for drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death range from a US $25 fine to life imprisonment. Drivers are required to use their headlights during the day and night from November 1–March 31.

For specific information concerning Bulgarian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please visit the Bulgarian Embassy website.

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island North Macedonia Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe