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A Balkan country with spectacular mountains and a coastline on the Black Sea, Bulgaria has a lot to offer to visitors. With mountains occupying half the country’s territory, Bulgaria is emerging as a new bargain ski destination. 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. Folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals play an important part in the life of Bulgarians.

Practical Information

Area: 110 994 km² (42 855 miles²)

Capital: Sofia. Population: 1.2 million

Population: 7.8 million

Currency: Lev (BGN) = 100 stotinki

Government: Democratic Republic.

Tipping: Until recently not applicable but some restaurants now include a 10 to 12% service charge.

Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October)

Languages: Bulgarian

Additional descriptions

Bulgaria: Social customs

Normal courtesies should be observed and handshaking is the normal form of greeting. Dress should be conservative but casual. If invited to the home, a small souvenir from one’s homeland is an acceptableRead more gift. Do not give money. Remember that a nod of the head means ‘No’ and a shake means ‘Yes’. Smoking: Since 1 January 2005, Bulgarian restaurants, cafes, nightclubs etc have zones for smokers and non-smokers. There is no smoking in public places.

Bulgaria: Food and local specialties

The main meal is eaten in the middle of the day. Dinner is a social occasion, with dancing in many restaurants. Food is spicy, hearty and good. A lot of meals include meat, potatoes and cheese. Fruit isRead more particularly good and cheap throughout the year. All good hotels have restaurants and there are many attractive folk-style restaurants and cafes throughout the country. The national specialties are: Tarator (cold soup made from cucumber, walnuts and yoghurt. ). Kavarma (individual casseroles of pork or veal, onions and mushrooms). Shishkebab (stuffed vine or cabbage leaves and moussaka). Kebapcheta (small, strongly spiced, minced meat rolls). Banitsa (pastry stuffed with fruit or cheese). Coffee, heavily sweetened, is popular. Drinks made from infusions of mountain herbs and dried leaves, particularly lime. White wines include Evksinograde, Karlouski Misket and Tamianka. Heavy red wines include Mavroud and Trakia. Liquors include mastika and rakia.

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