Bulgaria is a beautiful country. There you can find four seasons, amazing nature, the long coast of the Black sea and much more. When you’re planning to visit Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria there are some main things you need to know about Bulgarian people and places. Here they are:
How Bulgarians say “Yes” and “No” with language of the body
In Bulgaria, people shake their heads up and down when they mean “no” and not left to right for “yes”. Yes, I know that’s strange and opposite to all over the world but that’s fact. This will take some time to adjust to during your visit but it’ always fun.
Currency in Bulgaria
The main currency in Bulgaria is LEV. Except for hotels, you can pay only in Leva, so make sure you have some in you. In case you don’t have Leva’s you can change money at change or bank. Remember – never accept offers to change money from people on the street.
Transport in Sofia
When you came in Sofia you can use Public transport and Taxi.
You can stop taxi anywhere by waving your hand. You need to know that the average fare for a taxi ride from the airport to city center is around 20 Leva and from Central bus station/ Railway station to city center – around 8 Leva. If you don’t want to be deceived ask the driver how much it would cost before you get on.
One public transport ticket costs 1,60 Leva. You must punch the ticket immediately after you get on the vehicle. If you have more that a small hand bag you should punch an extra ticket for it. Metro ticket is 1,60 Leva too. The blue metro line is going to the Airport.
Parking downtown Sofia
If you will come in Bulgaria with a car there are some important things you need to know about parking downtown. Parking downtown is paid and divided into two zones – Blue zone and Green zone.
In working days from 8 – 19h
Saturday from 8 – 14h
Maximum parking two hours
2 Leva per hour. You can pay with a prepaid ticket or by SMS. To pay by SMS you should send your car license plate number to number 1302 but it’s only for Bulgarian mobile operators.
In working days from 8 – 19 h
Maximum parking four hours
1 Leva per hour. You can pay with a prepaid ticket or by SMS. To pay by SMS you should send your car license plate number to number 1303 but it’s only for Bulgarian mobile operators.
Be careful and look for signs that mark downtown zones because an illegally parked vehicle can be locked or towed away. Unlocking the car will cost you 30 Leva and if it’s towed away you should pay 60 Leva.
Hello – Zdrasty
How are you? – Kak si?
Thank you – Mersi
Please – Molya
Entrance – Vhod
Exit – Izhod
Open – Otvoreno
Closed – Zatvoreno
Typical prices of some beverages, food and other things you may need
There are some typical prices about how cost some of the most usable products:
Beer: 1-2 Leva in shops and 2-5 Leva in bars
Coffee/tea: around 1-2Leva
Sandwich: 3-5 Leva
Soup: 2-4 Leva
Salad: 4-10 Leva
Main course: 8-20 leva
Mineral water: 1 lev
Cigarettes: 5-7 leva
Other interesting things you need to know when you traveling to Bulgaria
Rakia is national strong drink. It’s made out of fermented fruits. Its alcohol volume is 40 degrees and goes up to 50-70 degrees when homemade. So try it but be careful.
You can freely smoke in open public areas. There are even smoking areas in some restaurants.
The average salary in Bulgaria is around 600 leva (EU 300) and the good salary is around 1000 Leva (EU 500).
Boza is not a latte macchiato drink. It’s a thick beverage, made from wheat-ferment. Bulgarians usually have it for breakfast with “Banitza”. Locals believe that it has breast augmentation effect.
Bulgarian mixed spice of salt, pepper, savory and paprika is chubritza. It’s used in soups, sandwiches, and dishes.
There are different options for your accommodation. It depends on your preferences. There are many hostels in Sofia which prices are about 7-20 euros. The hotels are expensive. You can find places to stay at Booking.com, AirBNB. These days AirBNB is a good choice because you can stay at Sofia downtown for really good price.
Free tours in Sofia (The work is on donation)
Free Sofia Tour – The free English-language sightseeing walking tour of Bulgaria’s capital, organized by a non-profit organization. Every day, twice a day – Mon-Sun: 11 AM & 6 PM. No reservation required! Duration: around 2 hours; Start: Palace of Justice.
Sofia Free Bike tour – Explore Sofia on a bike – one of the greenest capitals in Europe! Get a bike and join the free guided Sofia bike tour. See all famous landmarks and green parks with a guide who is a local. If you don’t have a bike for the guided tour, you can rent one for it from Sofia Bike Rental, just for 10 leva ( 5 Euro ) + free bottle of water.
Free Hike tour – Escape from the busy city – spend a day of healthy hiking from the protected by UNESCO Boyana church to the beautiful Boyana waterfall and Boyana lake. See a panoramic view of Sofia city from the Vitosha mountain!
If you are wondering what to see in Sofia, here are some of our proposals – 7 PLACES IN SOFIA EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT. In case you have more time and you are planning to make a trip to Bulgaria you can take some inspiration from here – Where to go in Bulgaria.