Last updated: 15 Jan 2019

Bulgaria

About

Bulgaria's beach and ski resorts are expanding quickly and the main cities have become vibrant and attractive, with well-kept boulevards, varied shopping and lively nightlife.

Spectacular mountains occupy half the country's territory and the expanse of golden beaches along the 370km- long Black Sea brings in hordes of tourists from around the world.

Visitors can stay in towns and villages that have aimed to preserve the authentic Bulgarian spirit and hospitality. Bulgaria is especially proud of its rich folklore traditions; and folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals play an important part in the life of Bulgarians.

Visit the busy resorts of Sunny Beach and Golden Sands; picturesque Albena, historical Nesebar, the cultural and historical city of Varna, or the Mediterranean ambience of port city Bourgas.

Ski the slopes. Quaint Bansko is the newest ski area, set in a historical town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains; Pamporovo in the Rhodopi range, is Europe's southernmost ski resort; and Borovets in the Rila Mountains, is Bulgaria's oldest and largest mountain resort.
Capital:  Sofia (SOF)
Currency:  Lev (BGN)
Language:  Bulgarian
Dialling code from SA:  + 359
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa) 
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday March to last Sunday October: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa) 
Public Holidays 2018: 

Jan 1; Mar 3; Apr 6-9; May 1, 6, 24; Sep 6, 22; Dec 24, 25, 26

Side of the Road: Right. 
Best Time to Go: April – Mid-October for beach resorts (June – early September is peak tourist season, April – mid-June is the best time to visit for good weather and low season rates).  Mid-December – March is the best time for skiing (peak season at the ski resorts is Christmas/ New Years and February – Mid-March)
Best for: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Religious Sites, Black Sea, Skiing
Plugs: 220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but bottled water is available. 
Health: Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage.
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Nodding the head means 'No' and a shake means 'Yes'. 
Local Offences / Laws: There is no smoking allowed in public areas. There are designated zones in restaurants for smokers.
Travel Tips / Warnings: Bulgaria is a largely cash-only economy, although credit cards are become increasingly more accepted. 
Duty Free: Bulgaria is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs - all at tax-free equivalent prices. If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Bulgaria by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers. 

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria,
1071 Stanza Bopape Str (formerly Church Str), Hatfield, Pretoria 0083
P O Box 26296 Arcadia 0007
Tel: (012) 3423720
Fax: (012) 3423721.
Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1200
E-mail: embassy.pretoria@mfa.bg 
Web: www.mfa.bg

O/hrs: Mon-Fri 0900-1200
Please make an appointment on telephones: (012) 342 3720 / (012) 342 7941. Please note that all visa applicants must present themselves personally for an interview at the Embassy, with a prior arranged appointment.

Visa Requirements

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

Visa Processing Time

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

Visa Cost

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

SA Representative

S.A Embassy
7 Shipka Street
Sofia
1000
Republic of Bulgaria
Tel: +359 2 939 5015

Web: www.dirco.gov.za/sofia/contact.html

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, Polio