| Welcome to Bulgaria!
Hotels in Sofia
situation: Bulgaria is situated in South-Eastern
Europe, on the Balkan peninsula. It is bounded by Romania,
UR Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. The Black
Sea washes its eastern border.
Local time: GMT +2 (GMT +3
from the end of March to the end of September)
Climate: Mild continental
(2,000 to 2,400 hours of sunlight per year). Four seasons.
Dry and hot summer. Average temperature (April - September):
+ 23 °C Cold winter with snowfalls, average temperature:
0 °C. The average yearly temperature is 10.5 °C.
Taxi: Travel with the Sofia
Airport taxi cabs is recommended. Arrangements can be
made in the arrivals hall and in the VIP hall. Private
taxi cabs operate at higher fares. The fare (especially
on long-distance drivers) can be negotiated. Foreign
currency is acepted at the rate of exchange for the
day, or at some other negotiated rate.
Hotels: One to five - star
hotels. Reservation in advance is recommended. Major
credid cards are accepted.
Wide variety of cuisines is offered. Along with
traditional Bulgarian dishes, many restaurants in and
outside the capital offer Italian, French, Greek, Chinese,
German, Arab, Hungarian, Latin American, Indian and
Car hire: Big international
rent-a-car companies hold offices in the arrivals hall
at Sofia Airoport, in downtown Sofia, in the country
and in the holiday resorts.
currency: Bulgarian lev (pl. leva). Coins with smaller
denomination are called "stotinki" (100 stotinki = 1
There are banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 leva. and
coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki.
currency exchange: Many local banks and currency
exchange offices function in the capital and in the
country. Big international banks also have offices here.
Working hours of the banks: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday
to Friday. Currency exchange offices are open to 6 p.m.,
some working 24 hours a day. Currency exchange at the
airport on arrival or departure, and in the big hotels,
is also possible.
! Do not exchange
money in the streets or outside banks and currency exchange
offices despite the advantageous rate offered. The danger
of deception is considerable.
Public transport: Bus N 84
connects Sofia Airport with downtown Sofia. Public transport
in the capital consists of buses, trams and trolleybuses.
Tickets can be bought from drivers or in advance from
Public transport kiosks at most bus-stops. Longer-term
tickets for 1, 5, 10 days or 1, 3 months are recommended
when more travel is expected.
Railway transport: Fast and
express trains link the capital with big towns in the
country. Sleeping cars are recommended for night travel
to more remote destinations like Varna, Burgas, Rousse,
Dobritch. Tickets for all destinations and for sleeping
cars can be bought in advance at the Transport Centre
in the National Palace of Culture. Travel with first
class and reserved seats is preferable. Tickets can
be bought from ticket-collectors in trains, but at a
! Do not leave
your luggage unattended. Telephone number for information
at Sofia Central Station - 3-11-11.
dialing code for Bulgaria - 359, for Sofia - 359 2.
Direct telephone communication from Bulgaria to countries
in Europe, Asia and Africa is possible from Betcom or
Bulgarian Telecommunication Company phone booths, with
phonecards. Phone calls, telegram and telefax services
in the country and abroad are offered by the Sofia Central
Post Office and by Post Office in the capital and the
Major phone numbers:
- 0123 - operator for international calls
(if no direct phone call is possible)
- 120 - wake up call
- 121 - operator for long-distance calls
within the country
- 140 - sending of telegrams
- 144 - telephone information service for
office phone numbers
- 145 - telephone information service for
- 146 - Emergency Road Service
- 150 - Emergency Medical Aid
- 166 - Police/Road patrols
- 175 - weather forecast
- 180 - exact time ("speaking" clock)
Electricity supply: 220 V, 50
Roads: Driving is on the right
Shopping: Vitosha boulevard
is Sofia's major shopping area. Variety of shops also
along Graf Ignatiev and Rakovsky streets. The Central
Department Store is the biggest in the capital; it is
situated in the central part of the city. Shops' working
hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday to Friday; on Saturday
to 1 p. m. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day.
Fresh food products, fruit and vegetables can also be
bought from market places open every day in the capital
and the country.
from a representative study of the National
Institute of Statistics as of March 1, 2001)
Largest city populations:
Location of population as average across age
Net population growth: minus 5.1% (2001)
Birth Rate: 8.07 births/1,000
Death Rate: 13.8
4.8 migrants/1,000 population
mortality rate: 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births
Total fertility rate: 1.13 children
born/woman (2000 est.)
Age breakdown: (2001 est.)
10-19 years: 13%
40-49 years: 14.1%
60 years and over: 25.5%
Sex breakdown: (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: (2000 est.)
Total population: 70.91 years
female: 74.56 years
Ethnic groupings (2001 est.)
Catholic, Jewish, Gregorian-Armenian, Protestant,
Lutheran, other Catholic
Official language: Bulgarian
spoken: Turkish, Romani, Armenian, Hebrew,
etc. - roughly corresponds to ethnic breakdowns
Literacy: (percentage of age 15 and over
that can read and write - 1999)
January 1: New Year
March 3: National Day
April or May (variable): Orthodox Easter Monday
May 1: Labour Day
May 6: Bulgarian Army Day
May 24: Day of Bulgarian Literature & Cyrillic Writing (for Saints Cyril
September 6: Day of Unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia
September 22: Independence Day (from Ottoman Turkish Empire)
November 1: Day of Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival
December 24-26: Christmas