Lula´s Recommendations Before Traveling to Bulgaria

Lula´s Recommendations Before Traveling to Bulgaria

bulgarian flag with lion face

Just before publishing my blog about traveling to Bulgaria, I had the idea to write down some useful tips and recommendations for you, so you won´t do the same mistakes I did. Of course, I will mention my fuckups as well to demonstrate what can actually happen if you´re not well-prepared.

#1 Different timezone

In Bulgaria is +1 hour compared to Slovakia which means, that a human working 9-5 will suddenly work 10-6. That wouldn´t be bad at all if I didn´t mess up and turned off my laptop at 4 pm already. By the way, I´ve already done the very same mistake in England and Turkey as well.

#2 Bulgaria is a part of the EU, but they don´t use euros

The good news is that in Bulgaria you can call and use mobile data just like in Slovakia without any additional fees. What I didn´t realize though was that their currency is the Bulgarian lev. That´s why I couldn´t understand the ticket vendor didn´t want my euros. The funniest thing about this was, that people waiting in a queue were asking me whether it was broken and I couldn´t explain what was the problem.

#3 Always have some cash

Spoiled being capable to pay by card almost everywhere I nearly forgot, that in this world there is still something called paper money and coins. Also, there are still so many places where you can buy in cash only. As an example, in Bulgarian public transportation. While in Plovdiv, after I got on a bus, I found out that there is a ticket collector all the time asking for money for the ride. Since I didn´t have any cash at all, it already seemed they´d lead me out of the bus. However, there was this elder kind lady who paid for my ride. I felt so embarrassed you couldn´t imagine. Lady, thank you!

#4 Not many Bulgarians speak English

Or maybe I wasn´t lucky to meet such people. On the other side, if I have stayed there for two more months, I believe I would be able to communicate in the Bulgarian language. I remember once I was visiting a neighbor. We had a beer and he told me stories about his family and how they used to inject some kind of chemical into tomatoes that turned them from green to red over a night. I don´t know if the beer played a role in this but I understood almost everything he said. By the way, Bulgarians don´t use the Latin alphabet but the Bulgarian Cyrillic. It is very similar to the Russian alphabet which I actually can read. I learned so when I was a kid and my aunt used to take me to Slavín where we would read the names of the Russian soldiers.

#5 Buses will take you everywhere, even to Turkey

Yes, you can travel by bus nearly everywhere. However, if you decide to go on a trip to the Rila monastery, the car would be more useful. Monastery in Rila is located about an hour South of Sofia. Back in the days, the train used to go there but these days there is only one bus that goes there in the morning. I missed it so I decided to visit the Kladnista monastery at least. When I arrived, a baptism of an old man was happening there and I decided to join it. I was hoping no one would notice me in this 32×16 inch wide room but it seem they were okay with it. After the ceremony, I talked to the priest and he offered me a ride to the Rila monastery. That was really kind and the monastery is beautiful, however, his driving skills frightened me to death.

#6 Going to Vitosha mountain without a car is complicated

Above Sofia, there is the Vitosha mountain range. I´ve read that there are multiple options for how to get there and that there should be a chairlift that would take you to the peak. The chairlifts are there but the one I tried to go to was closed. That was actually the only which based on Google was supposed to be open. There is a bus from Sofia that can take you there but it goes only a few times every hour. Moreover, I got off at a completely different bus stop. The weather brought showers but I successfully hitchhiked and stopped a car. Unfortunately, after a while, I realized that we were going back to Sofia. So I got off and met an awesome girl with an amazing car who promised to take me to the place with a nice view of Sofia. Of course, we got lost in the mountains and in the end drove around Sofia for three hours.

Bulgaria is nice. It is cheap here, if you speak any Slavic language you might understand them, the direct flight from Bratislava, Slovakia takes only 3 hours and Ryanair offers flight tickets starting from 9€. So why not come for a trip?