I’m Sorry, But This is What Bulgaria Really Looks Like
For most, Bulgaria is one of those Eastern European countries we only catch glimpses of. Every four years, you might see a Bulgarian champion weight-lifter at the Olympics. Maybe you’ve spotted a curious packet of old Bulgarian stamps at the local flea market, identified by a Russian-looking alphabet, communist motifs, and skilled drawings of prized cows. I remember seeing a late-night public-access 1970’s-era TV doco, laced with heavily moustached Bulgarian taxi-drivers talking about politics and America whilst the women made home-made yoghurt and darned socks.
Growing up in the “West”, Eastern Europe seemed like a kind of bizarro world where life seemed similar, and yet, very different. It seemed, in a strange way, exotic.
Not so long ago, very few people in the West knew anything about Eastern Europe. But, we were fairly certain we knew exactly what Eastern Europe was like because all our blanks were filled in by the ever-reliable Western media. A grim, poor, ramshackle, communist, and muddy group-perception of life behind the Iron Curtain emerged, and unfortunately, that image still exists for many people in the West – despite Eastern Europe having moved on long ago.
By 2015, seven of the top eight tallest skyscrapers in Europe, are located in Russia. Budapest has the newest subway line in Europe. Romania has the fastest internet anywhere on the continent. The entire carefully crafted image of Eastern-Europe as a backwards, drab, gray, muddy, dangerous, poor little cousin of Western Europe isn’t entirely true. Perhaps, it never really was.
I’ve just spent six weeks in Bulgaria, it’s about as East as Eastern Europe gets.
click to see an interactive map showing the location of this article
I considered running this article as a top-ten list about Bulgaria (and you wouldn’t believe number three). Then, I decided against it, because it’s easy enough to pithily summarise Bulgaria in just a few sentences: Bulgaria is a classic European nation, with visual and cultural elements derived from a multitude of empires, with history spanning back longer than almost any other nation in Europe. Sofia is a vibrant and modern European capital city. There’s a handful of UNESCO-listed towns nestled in between rolling mountains, with much of Bulgaria’s stunning nature remaining pure and pristine.
Bulgaria was communist for almost half-a-century, these days that legacy is only apparent by the appearance of mostly decaying concrete monuments and brutalist architecture, and I’ve been told, the often onerous bureaucratic processes. Leafy cobble-stoned streets wind through quaint villages, and the food is great, as are the people. Bulgarians invented the Cyrillic alphabet (Bulgaria is the reason “EBPO” is written underneath “EURO” on Euro banknotes all across Europe – even though Bulgaria doesn’t use the Euro). The remote beaches along the coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria are probably the least expensive, and quietest, peak-season beaches anywhere in Europe.
Obviously, a top-ten listicle can never do an entire country any justice. And the thing is, from a generic tourist perspective, everything about every country everywhere has already been written about, photographed, published, shared, liked, and forgotten. Already, more information on Bulgaria exists in every language than you will want or need. For thousands of years, Bulgaria has truly been a crossroads between Europe and Asia, East and West. Indeed, for millions of years, the humans that came before modern humans, have been travelling through Bulgaria.
So, I can’t see any point in getting too specific about Bulgaria with short-term prescriptive advice on what you should do and see, and I’ll leave the disposable top-ten articles to somebody else. Because, I know that travel, is personal exploration. It always has been, and always will be, personal.
During my more than 1000 days of travel (so far), Bulgaria has been the quiet highlight. I’ve visited Bulgaria seven times since I began my journey back in 2012. On this visit, I extended my stay, multiple times, at every place I stopped. It was my second time in Bulgaria this year, and I’m planning on heading back again in a few weeks from now. That’s the best endorsement of Bulgaria I can give.
A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I first visited Bulgaria motivated purely by a single photo. That photo did more than just make me want to visit Bulgaria.
It was a photo of Bulgaria, showing “Buzludzha” in the winter snow, that helped spur me to turn my life upside down, pack my bag, quit my job, throw away my career, leave my family and friends on the other side of the planet, and begin the life of a recalcitrant semi-homeless itinerant, just to see and experience what was really out there.
A few days ago, I commenced my fourth year of continuous full-time travel.
Not a disclaimer: I was not sponsored by Bulgarian department of tourism, even though I did send them an email suggesting the motto “Bulgaria: maybe you should make a plan to visit Bulgaria, or possibly somewhere else, whatever”, however, my stay at The Crib Hostel in Plovdiv, including a private double room, Rakija, beer, several cooked breakfasts, and some surprisingly tasty Mexican food, was provided complimentary. Much like Chelsea and Scott from “Live Your Legend” (who we met at The Crib), this is the only hostel Phillipa and I stay in, anywhere, in any country. If you do check in, say hi to my man Yotsko – he will look after you, and I don’t get paid anything for saying that. Well, maybe Yotsko would shout me a Taco Grandé and a beer.
266 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, But This is What Bulgaria Really Looks Like”
seems like a very amazing trip!
Thank you, I checked your IP address and see you are an employee of Jetair in Belgium, located in the city of Oostende.
Just a personal message: you live in a wealthy, Western country (Belgium). Rather than sitting in your office at Jetair in Oostende, trolling the internet, maybe you should spend your time making the world a better place. Here’s a tip: start with yourself.
Of course, I changed your comment.
Have a great day.
I’m curious as to what the original comment was. I can’t see why anyone could have anything negative to say about this, I’m super jealous of what you get to do. Most days I wish more than anything that I had enough money to quit everything and go travel the world with my fiance.
Hey Peter, it was along the lines of that Bulgaria is incredibly boring, and that this whole page was shit. No big deal, I can handle the trolls ;)
Believe me, I don’t take a single day for granted, I feel super-privaleged to have the lifestyle I have, and I believe that if you put your mind to it, you could do the same thing. It might not happen tomorrow, but if you’re dedicated to doing it, one day, you will.
I’ve been living in Bulgaria for several years due to job reason. I can re-confirm that Bulgaria is the least place you’d want to visit cause it’s super duper boring…People tend to be quite rude and ignorant here, of course not all but many that I met. The Black Sea is really nothing special compared to its neighboring country Greece and Turkey or any other tropical countries. Maybe it’s a perfect place for pensioners with its extreme low living cost and 10% flat income tax. Otherwise I would recommend everyone to visit Romania which is just above the country Bulgaria. It’s a much more cultured place because of different colonization from the past. Especially Transylvania is a really nice region to visit with lots of great Austrian-Hungarian style architectures and lovely villages!
At last I want to say…it’s always different when you just travel to a place for a couple of days than actually living here for several years!
Hi Janet. It’s strange, even though I’ve spent just a few months in Bulgaria, it seems I got to know it better than you have.
Perhaps you are too “cultured” for this planet?
I have always found that wherever I go, there I am! So if I’m in a tiny town off the grid with one supermarket and I’m happy and satisfied, the people and experience that I encounter will be happy and satisfied. By the same token, I can be in the most amazing place according to others and if I’m off or in a way, the folks around me are usually off and in a way. How we see the world is from the perspective that we have developed throughout life. It represents the internal, not the external. The external ‘just is’ until meaning is placed on it by our perspective and our collective experience of life.
I’ve been to both Romania and Bulgaria and have friends who live in both countries and gave me the gift of brilliant tours in both places. I have spent much more time in RO. I felt as though BG had it going on over RO as far as tourism. My time in both places was amazing and I enjoyed the culture and rich history that both countries offer. I know many Bulgarian’s who dislike their country much like there are ex pats from every region and others who love their country very much. It’s all an individual perspective.
Bulgaria did show favoritism in hotel rates to BG’s over visitors from outside the country. Each culture has an dentrenched DNA and I love the exposure of different ways of lIfe and thinking and being! I love traveling and I love staying put too.
Nate, I thoroughly enjoyed your piece on Bulgaria and look forward to following along on your travels. More pix of Nesebar next time would be great! Thank you!
U are almost right regarding the price difference at the hotels in Bulgaria .
Summer 2018 hotels in sunny beach was cheaper for roren nationals than Bulgarians .The price of one night At Grand hotel Burgas in sunny beach 4* the price for one night BB was around 250€ per room per night and from UK 1 week HB including return flight and transfer was 500£ pp. and that wasn’t only at that place.
Maybe I’m too cultured for Bulgaria ;) I can only say it’s a personal taste for the country and the experiences I made from here during travelling & work in and outside BG. There’s no doubt that it’s a beautiful country just like in every country, but this country still has a lot to improve like infrastructure (road condition), education, mindset of the people, integration of Gypsies etc. Maybe it’s way off the topic since this is a blog for travel journals.
P.s. I probably travel more hardcore than you could imagine even I don’t write dreamy blogs as you do :)
Janet, I am not very sure what do u mean when saying that we have to improve infrastructure, integration of gypsies and education. The person who has invented the first computer is born and educated in Bulgaria, our gypsies are living with us already 1300 years and they just refuse to integrate and about the infrastructure if you was not given such a great support tp US politicians who worked against us during the cold war now we would have not only better roads but many other things as well like standard of living for example. It’s true that we are too direct and you see us as rude but on the same note we see you as very snobish people… I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle.
I don’t think Bulgaria and Romania differ in people’s mindsets, both countries have similar institutional history, especially in the past century, and they’re very similar in economic terms.
I guess your perceptions depend on personal experience, however generalising a whole country by saying you’re too cultured for it is a bit far-fetched.
By the way, Bulgaria has a lot more highways than Romania.
Janet maybe if western politics didn’t gave the money to the mafia and support it it’ll be different
Janet, what do you mean when you say that you travel ” more hardcore ” ?
Janet, I am Bulgarian, who doesn’t live in Bulgaria and I am pretty sure I travel much more than you do. I have the chance to explore many places and cultures, I don’t know where you come from, but I am sorry but you seem very uncultured for me!
As i see your list, i can’t agree more on what we have to focus on, completely accurate. Considering our country as destination to travel however – its fairly satisfying in many ways, i’ve been to fair number of EU countries (5 or 6 in total + Serbia) where i’ve expected to be treated as tourist while … well lets say it didn’t match my expectation for hospitality. Lets hope we would improve :) Tell us more about how people treated you, maybe we could learn how to improve :) Best, M.
Mariet, I think Janet actually means that she is a prostitute. In which case, I am glad she doesn’t find Bulgaria cultured, it really is a compliment.
Jokes aside, Janet, love, the mere fact you refer to roma people as gypsies speaks a lot about your level of political corectness.
I live in a village and totally agree with every one of your comments. I blown a 250 lev brand new winter tyre in a huge pot hole and hit several others. My village life could also be a lot better. It really could be paradise in the mountains but infrastructure can sure be improved. Every year there is a heavy snow fall and every year there are power cuts. Trying to find competent tradesman that won’t charge you 4 times more than a local is also difficult – I guess it just takes time to build up credible contacts. My books don’t get through from Amazon – sacred mail it seems here can be pilfered as fair game. Still, there are also some massive benefits. The cost of living is more than a minor point as I can live like a king here but couldn’t even afford to live in a bedsit in the uk. Also where in the uk can you park for free in a city right outside your favorite cake shop for 40 p per hour or free after 5pm or free all weekend?
I am self exiled – I ran out of places to live. I can’t sell so just have to learn the lingo and get on with it.
Janet…very cheap comment dear, just because you know a few Bulgarians doest not mean your opinion apply to all..? Does that make any sense to you??
It is great you have launched this dispute regarding education and whatsoever…are you actually aware of the fact that most of the Bulgarians speak several languages, yep you read it right-several, just like the time you spent in Bulgaria. So sad you have not realised that, for reference I do speak fluently four.
Secondly I am trying to remember who you are and where you come from to give advices about infrastructure and gypsies integration…?? :D Oh sorry, have I been sarcastic and impolite?? Of course genius there is lot to be improved in here but dont forget aint nobody perfect even you and your home place(whichever it is).
And yes you were right that was all about travelling as you have noticed already you went much further….
Last but not least, you should consider yourself and comments you left as truly vague, incompetent and incapable of presenting the reality.
Absolutely false statement of yours, I strongly recommending you Janet going to Nigeria and exploring the local fauna and flora.
Good luck mate
p.s Who I am- Mr. Valchev, Ba degree Medical University Varna, last year Ba Culinary Arts Management in Birmingham UCB…is that good enough for you?
maybe you should do some reading as to the history of the country and how much it’s people have been though in order for you to understand why things are the way they are, not be judgmental without supporting information. in addition, there is always a balance, for example , wealthy, less-corrupt countries have nowhere near a rich culture, history, and natural beauty. but I assume that you haven’t truly picked up on anything around you while living there. clearly you need to travel and live in more countries around the world to be able to understand.
I have read pretty much all of your comments if I’m right, including the followed replies.
I have to say that unfortunately I do agree with your comments. The healthier system, education and infrastructure are terrible. People are rather closeminded but of course it depends where you go and which company you work for.
I agree completly with what you said.
Furthermore, the guy called Georgi that commented on your comment said that the person who invented the computer is Bulgarian and was born in Bulgaria and studied there. Well, he is completly wrong. He was never born in Bulgaria and he was raised in Florida and he was born in New York. I am not a big fan of Georgaphy, but i think think that’s in US not in Bulgaria. John Vincent Atanasoff got a science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida, which means he never even studied in Bulgaria, so don’t listen to him.
Btw, i know i am very late
You go to Cyprus: no decent beaches except for north part, ones a day bus from Paphos to Larnaka, where is an international airport, no railway on island, no decent bus connections, most of the roads without an Emergency bay, terrible agricult. products due to overuse pesticides, no essential medical equipment in a hospitals, so they have to take their patience to another countries for the treatments (if they will not die on their way to) etc. and Bulgaria will seems as a Heaven…
Man, Nate.. you killed me with that last question. I am from Bulgaria and what she said was quite rude, although most of the people are really rude. This little country of ours is full of life and good people, you just have to know where to find them ;). Thank you for appreciating the beauty of our country!
Hey Teodor… there are rude people every where, and in Bulgaria, I’ve found friends for life so it’s all good!
Теодоре, много се извинявам, но за кой въпрос конкретно става дума в твоят коментар ?
Аз нещо не мога да разбера … Кой е авторът на този блог или пътепис или уеб сайт за България? Нейт или Peter? За мен не е ясно … Аз мислех, че Авторът казва хубави неща за България във самият материал, а пък в коментарите от Нейт чета нещо съвсем различно за мнението му относно България и че Българите са доста груби …. Доста е объркващо …
И защо след някои от лошите коментари тук няма Бутон?
Nate, are you the author of the piece above?
Why we can not REPLY to some of the bad comments here? It is NOT Fair !
Hi Mariet…. apologies, I’m not sure why you can’t reply. I would just add a new comment at the bottom, and mention the name of the original commenter. I’ll look into it.
BTW, yes, I am the author, and unfortunately, I also have to run this website and be responsible for anything that doesn’t work ;)
I just read this comment from Janet and your reply and it’s hilarious.
I’ve lived in Sofia for almost two years and I love Bulgaria. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited.
I have also lived and worked in 3 other countries so I have plenty to compare to. Some people just don’t appreciate what they have on their doorstep :)
Rebecca, do you mean that we as Bulgarians do not appreciate what we have ?
I mean people in general often do not appreciate what they have, I’m not referring to Bulgarians specifically … In London people complain, in Sofia people complain, these people always say they want to be somewhere else … but the grass is always greener on the other side.
And Mariet, just to be clear, I have nothing bad to say about Bulgaria or the people here, in fact I spend 99% of my spare time developing a website about Bulgaria to try and show the world what a lovely place it is. If you’re interested you can take a look, it’s called Eat Stay Love Bulgaria.
I spent a year working in Veliko Tarnovo and found these folks a wonderful lot.
I would have no issue recommending a trip to Varna, Plovdiv, Sofia or Veliko Tarnovo and many more quaint villages.
Agree Dennis. I’m actually back in Bulgaria (Plovdiv) right now. I love this place.
Perhaps you should take some time to really get to know the culture, the people and the country Janet. I too live here in Bulgaria and it was the absolute best thing I ever did to leave the westernised and commercialised Uk behind.
The amazing contrasts here in Bulgaria are awesome to see, the nature and the scenery are beyond magical (how can nature ever be boring when it changes each and everyday) … The true Bulgarians are the most caring, generous and knowledgeable people I have ever met – they have little but share everything and make you so welcome in their homes, whether they are pristine and renovated or old and run down, always a smile, a welcome and a drink with something to eat.
Every time I visit people in the villages I come away with gifts and amazing home grown food as well as a feeling of acceptance, enjoyment and magic..
If you take the time – the culture – the folklore and the hand crafted items here are wonderful ….. I don’t think you have really tried to discover the true beauty and culture of Bulgaria….
Nate, perhaps as a writer writing about a placec, you should be more open ane welcoming to
people’s opinion of your article rather than attacking them.
I myself spent a week in Sofia, and Sofia alone, and foune the City boring and the people rude and disconnected from the world, despite their borders being open as long as their neighbors, for example Romania, who are a world apart.
I have traveled extensively to over 43 Countries, and am currently in Serbia. From my impression of Sofia, I can say I do not want to visit it again, although I am sure the rest of the Country might be different.
Hi Fez, I’m very welcome to all opinions, and I’m glad you felt free to express your opinion here.
My opinion, is that one week is only enough time to forge a basic “impression” of a city. It’s not enough time to get to know a city, really, it’s not – whether that’s Sofia or anywhere else. Personally, I have visited Sofia countless times now – every year for the last few years. At first, and for many visits to be honest, I found it to be a little boring. Finally, with some good local knowledge, I was introduced to so many things to see and do. It’s really a great city, and I’m sure I will return often. I’m yet to meet anyone rude in Sofia, but I’m sure they exist.
However, everyone is different in this world. Bulgaria is not for every person. Nor is Serbia, nor is anywhere else.
Serbia is great! Enjoy!
Sofia is a horrible capital and terrible representation of what Bulgaria has to offer. Go to Velika Tyrnavo, Varna, Plovdiv, Seven Rila lakes.
I would say she is a Romanian.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country with so much to offer. I have lived here for close to 9 years and we are still exploring new places and areas. Anyone that says it is boring should maybe get out more and actually visit various places. I have travelled around Romania a number of times and personally much prefer Bulgaria and find the people far more pleasant and friendly.
Rachel Rachel Rachel :) I hope this doesn’t turn into a Bulgaria vs Romania thing, we both know that both countries have a lot to offer. I wouldn’t worry about what the other person said, I agree with you – she needs to get out more and explore. Poor thing is stuck behind a desk it seems ;)
Romania is a much more cultured place???
Have you completed your secondary education yet?:) I doubt it, honestly. You know nothing about Bulgaria-I mean nothing about its history and culture.
“Different colonazition from the past”- haha, is it a kind of advantage or what?
You can see nothing except “Austrian- Hungarian ” style which obviously means a lot for you:)
Janet, for a person who claims to have lived in Bulgaria for several years, I think that you need to explore it to really appreciate what this country has to offer. There are so many things to see and do. I would suggest that you do it while you can and then share your thoughts with us again.
Poor creature. What must have happened to you during your stay in Bulgaria, if at all, to be so negative about it.
Or maybe some handsome Bulgarian levent has broken ur heart :) If this is the root of your angrines, let it go. I’m sure u will find ur prince charming somewhere else. Open ur eyes and mind all rest will come soon or later.
I guess that you are a boring lifestyle person. Have you even been to the mountains? What have you visited anyway…?
I would never compare the majestic Bulgaria
Sorry, I have to disagree. Bulgaria is incredibly beatiful!
I would strongly advise you to leave Bulgaria and seek employment elsewhere, since you find the country which provides you with living and earning money boring. Your salary should’ve been allocated to a bulgarian who is happy to live in his country!!! Go back to where you came from!!!
Janet, I am Bulgarian American. I hate your country just as much as you hate mine! So what are you doing working in my country? Go back to your poor infested American or capitalistic streets. Bulgaria is not for everyone. But I do agree… most Bulgarians are rude!
Why insult people for either praising Bulgaria or passing on more negative impressions? I’m sure that the commenters had some basis for their impressions.
I understand that there is no balance either in the article or the comments, it’s either white or it’s black, there doesn’t seem to be any grays.
When you visit a new country already equipped with preconceived negative ideas, guess what? Surprise Surprise, you’ll find the negative, because you are drawn to the ugly dismissing the positives as rare exceptions.
I’ve never been in Bulgaria or the countries that are often linked to, Moldova and Romania. Someday I would like to spend time, renting a flat and car and checking out the “real” country as if I was a resident, not a tourist.
First, I am drawn to Australia, Thailand, Great Britain, France as well as Germany and the Czech Republic. Why, because I know people (friends) who live in the countries, as well I’ve already visited or I’ve been learning about the area for some time and it’s been atop the wish list.
Maybe other people feel the same way, it’s not that they dislike Bulgaria, but they are more connected to and wishing to stay in more familiar places. It’s only been since the 1990’s that you could chose to travel to those post-communist countries. After the revelutionary changes, no one would expect to see a well developed tourist industry catering to visitors from the West, at least for a few years.
Surely it’s impossible not to have some exposure to the dirty, crumbling cement look to many older section, or a a Roma village, piled with makeshift shelters and garbage filled open areas. Again you can find what you’re looking for anywhere much the same way foreigners seeing photos of rundown Detroit expect America to look like those photos. I believe we are by and large, more fair in our judgements to wait until we learn more. More and more people will visit Bulgaria dip their toes in the Black Sea, as well as finding good food and beautiful mountain vista’s, tell their friends and viola everything changes.
Obviously, a very biased comment full of BS as well…..Sure many people are rude but to say the country is boring because your stupid a**s doesn’t know how where to go or what to do?GTFO!Where are you from?USA or UK? “But of course, westerners are a very party like people”.They work from Monday to Friday and get a six-pack at the end, don’t know what a holiday is and are as funny as a dead lava rock.How do I know? I live in the USA and see that shit.Oh, and even though Romania is slightly better economically then Bulgaria it is by no means different mentality wise.I will tell you what americans say: Love it or leave it b***h
Janet you are talking about ignorant people and you say that “Romania is above Bulgaria” like a 7 years old child.
Romania is above Bulgaria in MANY different ways, get over it!
Ok so I can say you are right and wrong, here is why: I have been living in bulgaria since I was born here, I am a 17 y/o “kid” from sofia that has been living in vidin as well, enough introductions now on to the reasons . Yes the people are rude if you dont know how to talk to them, its all about the tone, and about the “boring” part, no Bulgaria isnt boring at all, the country is freaking amazing but most Bulgarians cant experience it due to money issues since we are in levs not euro (its a big difference in payment). If a german mechanic gets paid around 1000 euro a month, a bulgarian one is about 500 euro, this means our prices are high for our standards but low for most other contries. Still tho, bulgaria is a beautiful country with rich history that has NEVER EVER lost its flag in a battle, and isnt even close to being boring.
I’m with you, Janet!
I would say more..the reality of the situation on the ground today is quite bleak
fuck you janet
Um, sorry no… Bulgaria is a piece pf the Heaven, we have beautiful places, beautiful mountains and forests, the air pollution may be a little bad, but that’s global problem now, so… We have so many magical places, and we’re kinda rude and have trust issues, because of people like you, who hate our country, and because we like our country, doesn’t mean that we’re rude… Also we have so many hidden gems, that you can’t imagine off, and if you don’t want to be here and don’t like our- oh, wait, I forgot about the Black Sea and the cultures… We have so many different cultures in Bulgaria and so many places that can heal people, BUT WITH GOOD HEARTS, and the Black Sea… may not be one of the most beautiful and you can’t compare our a little bit northern country with ,,exotical” one, because of course they would be better and I approve this fact and if you don’t like our country, then go back to your country and don’t talk sh*t about Bulgaria again!!!!!
I live in Bulgaria part of the year, every year. I love it too! Great story and only a tiny fraction of all there is to experience. Bulgarians need nothing to have a good time. The family structures center around friendships. The friendships never end. They remain always…
piss off bulgaria isn’t boring
From a Bulgarian girl
Damn right he has to start with hisself. He sits there on his lazy ass not aware of all the thing that Bulgaria has.
I travel around the world and I consider Bulgaria to be a dangerous place. Lots of narrow minded Nazis in hiding. Would never set foot there.
Please say hello to KITT.
Nazis? This year a new order took place, prohibiting nazi gatherings in Bulgaria.
I actually found very strange that this occurred in a first place as it is very well known that only one country during a WWII War which never betraiyed their Jewish population was Bulgaria!
But didn’t Bulgaria help the nazi invasion in to serbia? It wasn’t until I lived in Bulgaria I saw so much racism.
Hi there, I’m Bulgarian and yes it will be amazing trip and good healthy life here in Bulgaria :) I love my country very much, so if you need info about Bulgaria, just ask and will be my pleasure to come back to you and all people here, why interested the real life in My Bulgaria
I live in GCC – middle east and having my annual vacation soon in Bulgaria for 35 days, first time for me to go there, me as a middle east person, when I tell my co-workers and friends that I’m going to spent a whole 35 days in Bulgaria and Bulgaria only they find it strange, I think Bulgaria have all the 3 themes: City – Beach – countryside’s/mountains.
I hope I’m right in my decision and came back with good experience and freinds.
Ahmed, 35 days is an amazing length of time. I’m certain by the end, you’ll love Bulgaria. If you get a chance, come back here and let us all know how your vacation was. Cheers, and enjoy.
I just spent three days in Bulgaria, and I hate to say that I was deeply disappointed. The people were not nice and seemed to dislike foreigners (-‘d to some extent, life itself). Wish I could at otherwise! I’m sure (I hope) it will change on future trips, but the people were consistently colder, ruder, and seemingly resentful, than neighboring countries of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania (where I’ve also been in the last three months). Don’t know what else to say but from the hotel, to restaurants, to retail, and even just people on the street, the reception was colder and meaner. I’ll be back to try again, but it was shocking how consistently rude people were as a norm… a deep contrast from opposite experiences in neighboring countries.
Three whole days?
I can assure you that you’ll have tremendous time during your holiday in Bulgaria! Simply enjoy and indulge!
Whatever you do, dont talk about Islam !
Oh, what makes you say, “Don’t talk about Islam”. I’ve just read that a new mosque is due to be built in Kardzhali. Apparently, it will be the biggest mosque in Bulgaria.
That’s great news, in my experience (generalising), Mosques are peaceful places that bring new life to an area.
First of all the bulgarians have made the alphabet , it was by Kiril snd Metody and then given to the Russians after they helpedus fight the Turks.Secondly it is known that in Bulgaria there are the biggest treasures of gold left by the tracks.There is much more amazing history , which makes me fully disagreewith this funny article made by someone who could not research probably.
Nope they are not Bulgarians. There is no source to prove that. There are more sources for them stating they were Greeks (at least methodios) rather than Bulgarians. Byzantines were trying to teach Christianity to Bulgarians so Methodios was given the task to make a new alphabe and teach the Christianity to them. Being a Greek himself used some letters from the Greek alphabet like Π, Ρ Δ etc. Sorry to kill it Bulgarian guys as I know this is a big thing for you, but also is a big myth.
Actually the Cyrilic alphabet we use today is created by their student Kliment who was Bulgarian :). But yes, Kiril and Methodios had Byzantine roots.
This sounds like another desperate myth pushed to artificially breathe life into floundering modern day culture. I’ve been to more countries that created languages and writing and alphabets…. it’s really fake. My experience with Bulgarians are not as pioneers, inventors, and cultured people. My experience is a a country more brutish, cold, and rude… like their Soviet roots. I will celebrate when I experience otherwise. For now, this is all fake history.
The Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the 9. century AD at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire. It was ordered by the Bulgarian Knyaz Boris I.
The Cyrillic alphabet has nothing to do with Cyril and Methodius (despite the name Cyrillic). This is not a myth but a mainstream historical fact accepted by the scientific community worldwide. Check for instance in Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica or any History book on Church Slavonic. Go ahead Kyle! Refute this if you can. I challenge you.
Well after living in the USA for 23 years I pick my country -Bulgaria , over any Capitalistic ignorant low class country!
Svetla: No one is nailing you to the floor in the USA — you hate the capitalism? Give back your dollars earned here, and head on back to Bulgaria. Personally, I love my country, the USA, and I also love traveling to new places, and would not insult other people’s cultures — so don’t you DARE insult mine, especially after profiting off of it.
Wow! Why do you hate the USA? I have been here for more than 30 years and still believe,that the US is a best place to live.
I used to travel and know Bulgaria, but the standard of living is definitely different.
I am a Polish-American,BTW.
I would appreciate any comment- my e-mail address is: email@example.com
(excuse me for jumping in)
USA is great, but there are some serious issues in that country, and it’s getting worse not better. I talk to Americans regularly, from all over the country (and not just “chat” – via my tours, I spend weeks at a time with them). It’s incredible how many people are not happy with the USA. Indeed, one guy I know moved to Poland, and prefers the lifestyle there.
I’ve also lived in *many* countries – including places like Australia (by most rankings, a better place to live than the USA), however, I know many other places that are even better.
Ths cyrilic alphabet was invented by a descendant from Cyril and Methodus, within a Bulgarian school and is historically considered a Bulgarian invention. Only an ignoramus such as yourself would consider it fake history.
Kyle you ignoramus, the first thing it says that Cyrilic was invented in Bulgaria on the wikipedia page:
You’re entitled to your opinion but to spam every person that enjoyed their time here, telling people what to think and spreading misinformation about my country’s history is crass and disgusting, all while dismissing people who refute with condesending comments such as fake “communist history”. You’re a petty little human being and I hope you never come back.
Kiril and methodios were Greeks ofcourse….
Why of course? How do you know? You were there?
The medieval biography of Cyrill says that the Byzantine emperor addressed Cyrill asking him to go and create Christian literature in the Slavic language:
“И като вземеш брата си, игумена Методия, иди прочее. Защото вие сте солунци, а всички солунци чисто славянски говорят…”
Which means: “And by taking your brother, the abbot Methodius, you should go (to Bohemia). Because you are from Thessaloniki and everyone from Thessaloniki speaks Slavic fluently…”
In the late 600s AD many Slavic tribes settled into the territory of the Byzantine empire, especially in Northern Greece. This territory remained mostly Slavic/Bulgarian speaking until the 1900s when the Bulgarian populations was expelled into Bulgaria.
Unless the population of Thessaloniki in the 8th century was going en-masse to Slavic language school for an unknown to history reason, it can safely be deducted that Cyrill and Methodius (and most of the Thessaloniki area) was of Slavic origin.
I have to call into question this whole line of discussion about a country, 65% of whose populace refuse to take a vaccine that will protect them from the pandemic cataclysm. From my viewpoint, it seems that many of the people in this country must be as stupid and ignorant as Donald Trump. What does Bulgaria do? What is their place in the world?
I am an American, living in mainland China. I came here to spend my last few working years as a teacher because of an injury with no plans to stay, and I’m now in my sixth year. Yes, this is a communist country. And it has its own issues. But things are MOVING here. People work hard in school to educate themselves, and they work hard during their working years. There aren’t a lot of people sitting around sipping tea, but they do find the time to get together after a hard day and socialize. These are lively, gregarious people, and the majority of them have the brains to understand that, on balance, it is better for themselves and for their country to get vaccinated for COVID.
Go ahead and hate me for dumping on stupid Bulgaria.
Dear D.A. Bruck,
It is not fair to compare Bulgaria with USA or China. Bulgaria is a small country and (luckily) has no nationalistic claims like Serbia, for example. However, it has beautiful nature and many smart and intelligent people. I am a second generation university graduate and I suppose I can be your mother (51 at present). My daughter is an IT in Scotland and my son studies law in the Netherlands. Can you boast of the same in your family? Unfortunately, the Russian and, later, Soviet despotism has left its mark on this country. But there is one great thing which the Americans cannot understand: WE ARE EUROPEANS. I believe in the European Union and my children do. We have the rich cultural heritage of Europe, borders do not matter: free movement of people, goods, capital and services – as simple as that. So, I see the future of my children in the united Europe, hopefully with Ukraine joining very soon.
Great post, per usual. Thanks for the insights into Bulgaria – I’ve haven’t stopped drooling over it since your initial Buzludzha post, to be honest.
Seems to be a great example of that gritty Balkan realness that is starting to attract serious attention in the travel world. I’d better make it there sooner rather than later – though I’m starting to think I’ll need at least a year to see all I want to in the Balkans…
Buzludzha has got to be one of the biggest draw-cards to Bulgaria! And yes, in the Balkans, even a year isn’t enough. I’ve been floating around here on and off for quite a while now, and there is just so much I’m yet to see. There’s a lifetime of things to see here…
Do see the Balkans, but for your money, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Bosnia are better visits. Bulgaria is a work in progress. The rudeness I’ve recently experienced by most aspects of Bulgarian society must be due to an identity crisis or or jealousy or some unnamed angst to the west or visitors in general. Amazing experiences in the rest of the Balkans.
Ignorance is bliss, but in your case you really missing out on the blissfulness (if you are not getting what I am saying open the dictionary and look up the phrase).
If you go around talking incessantly like this, I would not be surprised that people are rude to you. I would be too. Nobody likes to hear you trash their country WHILE you are residing in their country. If you don’t like it – leave.
The only one rude here is you Kyle. I’ve been to other places in the Balkans and don’t see how we differentiate in attitude. Your incessesant need to shove this idea down peoples throat makes you come off as a massive prick and it’s no surprise we were rude to you.
Inspiring, I hope to visit Bulgaria soon. I learned a little bit about the Glagolitic Alphabet this summer on Krk. Is there a place in Bulgaria where we can see the oldest Cyrillic?
Hi Dick… I’m sure there is, as Bulgarians are very proud of it. I’ve seen examples here and there, but I don’t know exactly where to recommend. I hope you will get to see Bulgaria soon, and you have a head start because knowing Cyrillic is really helpful!
I recommend Rila monastery as a start
I’m still yet to visit! One day…
Hi Dick vestdijk,
you can see Glagolitic texts in the National Museum of History in Sofia and old church Slavonic in every church on the walls under the Icons there are writings.
Looking forward to seeing you and P.
Same! See you in a few weeks! :) :) :)
Hi there, i really enojoy the article. Thanks for the kind words, I live in Varna but I’ve never seen the place from ‘Phillipa, Black Sea, Bulgaria.’. Could you, please tell me the location (: Thanks
Hi Borislav… I spent a few weeks in Varna, staying in the old town. I *really* enjoyed my time there. The photo you are asking about was taken at Sinemorets. I really recommend taking a look down there, it’s quite amazing.
Thanks for the info (:
Great stuff! Really. Not just because it’s about a very, very beautiful country, but your shots and notes are superb. Cheers!
Thanks GWB, much appreciated.
Varna features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And also in ‘Drunken British kids on foreign beaches series 5’.
As to Polvdiv, only heard of it recently when watching random episode of US ‘Who do you think you are’ featuring Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks wife, whose family name is Ibrahimoff, her father being Greek – Muslim born and brought up on both sides of what is now the Greek/Bulgarian border, um called Western Thrace at some point, so I looked it up and still cant work out which country or empire it was at what time ! Im including Ottoman, Nazis and Communists as empires.
haha… cheers Rohan, but I believe “Drunken British kids on foreign beaches” was filmed in Sunny Beach, not Varna ;)
Ending “-off” clearly shows it is a Bulgarian name – there are no Greek names like that. “Ibrahim-” shows it is Muslim, since it is a typical name among them. Region was Bulgarian but captured by Greece in WW1 I believe, now it is Greek and the people there are Greek. Most of the people would either call themselves Bulgarian or Greek, depending on what will make their lifes easier :)
Nenko, “ibrahim ” is “abraham”…I personally suspect that Rita Wilson’s father family in Oraio, Greece were turks and not “pomaks” as officially claimed , “pomaks” spoke bulgarian while Rita’s father family were and still speaking turkish , not Greek or Bulgarian. Hassan Ibrahimov however, spoke several languages move to Smolyan around 1927-1934, where he was drafted as a soldier in Bulgarian army in 1941 and actually invaded his own town Oraio (bul. Брещене, Орайово). There Hussan was sentenced to 3 years, 8 months imprisonment for stealing 28 siphon bottles and 5 levas ( around $30 today) , a very small amount of money – a minor crime, but for an army with strict discipline was not. in 1943/46 Hassan settled in Plovdiv and apparently married to Armenian woman and had a son with her ,which is not a wild spreat fact. Hassan’s has a secret file from that time ; he actually had been in a labor camp since October 1946 and then was transferred to other camps, including a mining camp. in 1947 he managed to escaped the coal mining labor camp and apparently came to America on May 4, 1949 as a stoker on a ship. Than officially in 1960 Hassan converted to Orthodox Christianity upon his ( second) marriage with Margarita’s mother and changed his name from Hassan Ibrahimoff to Allan Wilson . Strangely the records shows Rita’s parents’ married in June 10, 1951, not in the 60’s, so it took him 10 more years before Hassan converted to Christianity and changed his name.
The true name and religion of her mother Dorothy Ibrahimov is also unknown, even though Wilson claimed she was Greek.
I am really glad that you liked Bulgaria! I have been to a lot of places in Europe (as you will probably find from my IP) and rarely someone in Western Europe knows about Bulgaria. If they do mostly is bad stuff from the media, as you mentioned. Anyway, it feels good to the heart when someone knows something good about your home country.
The places you visited are really one of the best, but Bulgaria is literally filled with beautiful landscape, interesting cities, monuments and so on (I hope someday Bulgarians will realise that too, but we will have to push and wait for it :/ ), I wish you visit them all! :)
It was pleasure to read your thoughts.
Thanks Hrsito – it’s funny how people don’t realise what they have in their own back garden!
Hi, after spending 23 years in the US I can tell you It never became a true home. There is nothing better than landing on my Bulgarian land and Thank God I am home. you are right, there is too much to see in Bulgaria and we are full of Beautiful landscapes and loads of history. Greetings from Edelvise homestead Rebrovo
I came across this post as I am currently vacationing with my family in Cancun, Mexico (bought a residence here). Rest of this post may come slightly off the vacation topic to Bulgaria so for everyone reading – Go to Bulgaria! You will not regret it! It is a magical place where you can enjoy superb beaches in the summer and fantastic skiing in the winter! It is definitely not for everyone though! You can expect some rude customer service at times but that is definitely not the norm. This has happened to me pretty much everywhere I have traveled in life. Lets just say the good outweighs the bad in every way! The food, the variety of destinations within the country, the rich culture, the ancient history…Bulgaria is a natural gem you won’t soon forget! I’m not just saying that becuase I was born there, but the argument will come back that there is no place like home. :) Please STOP reading further if you do not need information outside of vacationing to BG. Apologies Nate for steering this post off topic a bit!
I have travelled the world and continue to do so on a regular basis. I’ve enjoyed every trip, even the time I was robbed in Guatemala :)
Reason I stopped on this post is I have worked and lived in the USA for 28yrs, but honestly I am also on the same mindset – I can’t seem to accept it as home. SO I am looking at places outside of the US where I can settle down my wife and two small children (1 and 3). We currently live in a beach town in Florida and its very good living but again, missing the culture, work/life balance, people with same mindset etc. Before everyone jumps on me, I have lived all over the US – from Wash DC to Wyoming and pretty much everything in between. I settled on FL because I love warm weather, beaches, golf, tennis, fishing and outdoor activities in general. Also I came to the USA with a suitcase 28yrs ago and nothing in life has ever been given to me! I will say that pretty much everywhere I have travelled in the world, work is #2 or #3 on the priority list/topic of conversation. Unfortunately money and work are the #1 topics of conversation in USA and I’m just tired of having shallow relationships with shells of people who work to live…I’m ready to live to work!
Anyway, I was looking at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Fell in love with the vibe there, seems like there is good potential for work, good schools for the children but being that I’m Bulgarian….I feel like its not the right decision. I have lots of family in BG, a house in Varna, a house in Balchik, two vehicles I have imported over the years since I go back at least once a year. My issue is that almost everyone I know is trying to get out of Bulgaria and give their kids a better future. Maybe the mentality has changed in recent years? I’m seeing that Varna for example is a tech hub and considered top 20 cities to live in if you are in tech (which I am). I’m a bit too far away from retirement unfortunately, and I do have small children to worry about, otherwise I would be on the first plane to Bulgaria. I LOVE Bulgaria! Its not perfect but perhaps its my calling to go back and help make it better? Most importantly do you think it is now a good place to raise a family and ensure the kids have a good education? I know Varna can get very gloomy in the fall/winter which I’m definitely not looking forward to, but I have the feeling I will most likely keep our house in FL. Thanks in advance and sorry again if this is a bit off topic.
Nice pics and words about Bulgaria, a country I enjoy visiting quite a lot as well.
Since you’re in the area, maybe you’d be interested in visiting Romania as well, there’s quite a lot of beautiful places in here as well :).
Hey Daniel – glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve been to Romania many times, but I’m definitely overdue for a return visit.
Enjoyed this articles pretty much as well. As a Bulgarian student crossing the world for a ”better education that the one in Eastern Europe” so many people ask me why my whole world spins around getting a plane/bus /train ticket for back home. Well I asked many times myself the same question and honestly I can’t put it into words that simply. The West is so tidy, clean and ordered and people are earning good money, driving nice cars, going to expensive holidays and so on. Life is smooth (and fake). That is what I dislike the most, walking on a Wednesday evening trough a city in Austria and seeing all the lights off, everything closed, life is over because people need to work, earn money and put them in banks. Thorough my eyes that is the major difference between the East and the West , people in the East don’t have massive bank accounts but they have big dreams and appreciate life. Is that simple. Just visit and you will know what I mean. Cheers.
TZ, this is one of the best comments ever left here. Couldn’t agree with you more.
Can we subscribe here or what :)
Hey Ivan – apologies, I have added the “subscribe” box to the article now (at the bottom). Cheers!
Nate, the E-mail subscription box does not work … Do you know why? Thank you!
Hi Mariet – it is working for me (just checked)….
So many kind words! As a Bulgarian, I thank you!
I was really surprised to read that Buzludzha was that one thing which brought you to Bulgaria (which I absolutely understand, the monument and the landscape are stunning!). Can you believe that a lot of Bulgarians see no value in it?
Hi Lily, thanks, and yes, I know all about the relationship that Bulgarians have with the monuments built during the socialist-era!
Two years ago I spent quite a bit of time in Bulgaria. I visitedSofia, Plovdiv and Leshten and drove through the mountain ranges and met the most wonderful people you can imagine. Best trip I ever took.
Of the ten countries I’ve visited in the last six months, Bulgaria was at the very bottom. There is another side to what folks on this message board/blog have experienced. I’ll be back to visit other areas of Bulgaria, but so far, my experiences lead me to say that the majority of Bulgarians I met were not friendly and not interested in growing, changing, developing, or being involved with global (let alone EU) dialogue. There’s an insecurity and preemptive meanness that appeared to hang over the place. I hope it changes on my next visit in 6-8 months!
Has your opinion changed? Or has it remained the same?
Considering most of your lot (specifically the shitty attitude you’ve displayed) and EU in general simply come to Bulgaria to get piss stinking drunk in Sunny Beach I don’t blame them for treating you the way they did. But of course you won’t reply and just keep parroting the same bullshit.
You won’t be missed.
“not interested in growing, changing, developing, or being involved with global (let alone EU) dialogue”
So because somebody chooses to live and conduct their life in a way that doesn’t conform to your globalist shill view you generalize them as being mean spirited as all being mean spirited. Sounds like the problem WAS YOU.
I’m in Bulgaria for 6 months, of course I haven’t seen enough, but it is an amazing Country!
It is a very different culture, so I’m still adapting with relationships… but I’m a Brazilian, so I can’t blame them :)
Well, good or bad, this is what we are – honest. We know our shit, of course, but we are slowly making progress.
Thanks for that review.
I really enjoyed reading your article, I think it really gives the reader a bit more of a personal view of Bulgaria and the places you visited there.
I am from Bulgaria, so it feels nice when I read articles like yours. Unfortunately, lots of Bulgarian people have spent very little time exploring the country. I am originally from a small town near Plovdiv – it’s called Pazardzhik (Пазарджик), which is not very interesting, haha, but I would suggest for your next visit to consider the Seven Rila lakes (if you haven’t been there before) and some of the caves near Devin; and the Rhodopi mountain where the “marvelous bridges” or Чудните мостове, are. There is also a small town in the Rhodopi mountain called Batak, with a small church where the bones of the people who died during the batak massacre in 1876 at the beginning of the April Uprising, are being held. It’s not a very cheerful experience but it’s keeps a huge bit of our history. Personally, Rhodopi is my favourite mountain, but they all have something to offer. I hope you enjoy your other visits in Bulgaria too and thanks again for the nice article.
GO F**K YOURSELF :)
haha I like the smiley face Kristina, but I’m not sure who or why you are talking to :)
Sea coast is not bad, but you should go again, since you’ve missed the most magnificent and magical places – the mountains. Rila and Pririn are amazing and if you got to the Rhodope mountains are one of the most beautiful places on this Earth.
Hey George, maybe you missed the bit where I said I’ll be returning in a couple of weeks :) (I can’t stay away!)
Another comment from Bulgaria
I see that you like it here and I am happy for that.Yes we have many problems but no matter how bad is everything we support each other.
You have to know that you make the best choice for stay in Plovdiv. I love this town and the people. No matter that I live in Varna, silly but true.
So I can suggest you if you are coming here again, you have to visit some of the best cities.I don’t mean sofia, go on Google maps and search for Melnik or Trayvna which is our best city for old stuff made like a thousand years ago….
If we are going to talk for food, I think that you didn’t try our best soup Shkembe, or traditional kufte wich you say meat balls,or lutenica. And many others.
So next time you came here mail me and I will suggest you some trips
Best wishes from BG Marin
Just recently watched the Drunken UK teens in Sunny Beach show (or What happens in Sunny Beach)…I am originally from Burgas, right next to Sunny Beach…and I have been living in California for 13 years.
I consider my teenage years wild, with lots of partying and drinking in Sunny Beach every summer. And I was just in SHOCK at the way UK teenagers party in Sunny Beach!
We never even done 5% of what they are doing…
So for the “cultured” previous poster…the party scenes are more of embarrassment for UK kids than of the Bulgarian country itself.
I have to agree that the people are rude…clearly not cool. But French are rude, Italians are even more…and South Koreans just yell at you…still there is plenty to see in these places.
Funny, been thinking about you, your travels and the imagery from the divine. ( your photo skills keep improving, I must say!) .
I just found out from my older brother doing one of those DNA reports, that I have strong hereditary traits from the region you have been bangin around with Phillipia( sorry if spelling is off). Just makes me want to spend a few seasons connecting with the ancients.
So, keep on keeping on, tell me your secret of financial abundance and maybe, just maybe, if you see a vintage scooter with a bewildered pole on it, flag it down, could possibly be me….ha!
Say hello to the world for me from your Bulgarian hang out!
OK – this is freaky – I was just looking at an old post and saw a comment from you, and thought, I should send Laurence a message! One minute later, bam, your comment is here.
Interesting family connections there – I think that means I owe you a beer when you get over this way ;)
Take care mate!
I enjoyed reading your article. I left Bulgaria 10 years ago but visit every year. Now that I’ve lived abroad for so long I realize that it takes certain mindset to adapt and/or accept different cultures. The first reaction is always of criticism. Then, you begin to understand that different is not necessarily bad or wrong. I think Georgi’s comment was right on.
The blunt direct opinionated Bulgarian may often appear rude, when in fact she can merely be honest and outspoken. Well, it is not infrequent that you see Bulgarians who are burned out and jaded having lived 45 years under communism and 30 more witnessing redistribution of communist assets via criminal organisations. Yet , there are successful, open minded young people enjoying life and building the new face of our, over the years, much tormented country.
On the other hand, Bulgarians tend to perceive the people from western countries as snobbish and distant, cold and indifferent when in fact there are polite, considerate and many times rather remain silent than express a negative comment. It is funny that for the first 4 years I couldn’t pick up on negative feedback…it was so subtle for my Bulgarian brain :-)
Back to your article. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Hey Nate, great post! You’ve really shown some unexpected sites along with the most popular ones :)
Everyone sees a place through their own eyes and decides to like or not like what they see… For me, Bulgaria is still a place where you can discover something new and amazing on every trip. As I live now away from Bulgaria, I get sometimes asked why I visit at all, instead of going somewhere else?!? The problem is, when you live at a place and deal with everyday problems, you stop seeing it for its beauty. Sad, really.
If you allow me, I’d like to share my “top 5” reasons to visit Bulgaria: http://ntripping.com/5-reasons-to-visit-bulgaria-right-now/
Thanks for a different view on the topic and amazing photographs!
Just to let you know that the fastest internet in whole Europe in not in Romania, is in BULGARIA! This is something we are very proud with!
Thanks, Nate, and may you encounter only good people and incredible places to see during your trips.
Best regards from Sofia, Bulgaria.
For Dick Vestdijk:
Try the often ancient monastries in Bulgaria, like Rila Monastry. You might find a lot of Glagolitic writing.
First of all, great pictures you have posted!
A quick review about this country:
Nature: Phenomenal, astonishing and just plain beautiful!
Unfortunately you will find quiet often pollution and trash in mid nature, which always makes you wonder why the locals throw their beer cans right next to a beautiful waterfall.
There are some people that pretend to practice the profession of a politician, but they are more like a joke. Those people unfortunately still have the mind set of small street thief’s.
Thanks to the EU there is quiet an improvement to downtown Sofia and surrounding areas. Also, it will surprise you that some 30 year old mountain roads are in better condition than some roads build 2 years ago.
Money buys everything! Corruption is everywhere, from the small local police officer to the highest ranked politicians. You can go to jail for running over a chicken. You can get away with murder if you know whom to pay. Bad news if you are a foreigner, police knows the advantages of a strong foreign currency.
The intelligent and / or educated folks is either trying to migrate to a better life or at least they are seriously considering the move. If you life in a closed environment with an established social network, earning somewhat enough money, you might feel well here. Although the everyday exposure to stupidity and hate as well as road rage can drive you crazy, day by day.
Conclusion: Vacation and short to mid-term visits are recommended. Living here and establishing a family and having serious thoughts about your future should be well thought through. This country has its very beauty and the total opposite. In terms of the good the bad and the ugly, the ugly is dominating the game.
People tend to always point out the rich history of this country, which truly is amazing and impressing. But unfortunately this history doesn’t help the 80% of the people that are living of nothing in this country. The extreme poverty combined with the extreme wealth of a few, is a perfect fire starter for a social disaster.
There is much more I could talk about but this should give you an pretty good overview.
Also, I would like to mention that the pictures are truly beautiful, and I have been to many of those places. But pictures do show just a very limited frame of the whole.
If you plan on visiting the black sea, go in June or September in case you want to see the purity of this place. Otherwise you will face a clash of tourists, locals, beer cans, cigarettes and factor 50 sun cream swimming in the water.
So true, Sababa, your posted analysis is almost 100% right to the point. And, unfortunately, I have to agree with your ‘Conclusion’, as well.
I agree with Sababa’s comment completely, as it describes thoroughly the situation in Bulgaria. Despite of the outrageous reactions to Janet’s opinion, it’s a well known fact that 2,5 million people already left this desperate country for better education, career or even survival. For example, the above mentioned inventor of the first digital computer Jhon Atanasoff is born and raised in the US. He has partial Bulgarian ancestry, BUT in the end is an American scientist. Actually, Some of the outrageous comments above are telling a lot about the mindset of the people living here. Otherwise, it’s awesome to gather beautiful pictures, emotions and impressions during a short term trips around this and other Balkan territories.
Please, the filth of politics and police is everywhere! The education in the US is a joke. So dont tell tales. There are millions in America that dont work in their field because there are 1000’s competing for one spot. I have a degree in CJ and the best I got is a security officer job. The sweet spots are taken by blacks and everyone is walking around blacks as on broken glass. Whites and Europeans are nothing more then slaves to their black coworkers. My supervisor had a 3 month course and I had 6 years in college. An idiot that almost got me blown up because she had no brains. uneducated ignorant low class is what my sypervisor was. She made it because ……. So dont spin tales about education. Plus that education is worthless yet paid 60 K for a diploma that is USELESS. Take off your rose colored glasses and stop talking nonesense! And most women jump from bed to bed to get a decent job! I rather be a homesteader in Bulgaria than being a slave of any system. Some Americans are not only running far up the mountains, they are packing and leaving this dump for something better. And they are smart to realize America is nothing more than a run down capitalistic country that leaves their people to starve and bag on the streets!
Every country has its own filth!!!!!
A much more cohesive and objective summation than anything Kyle has posted. Spot on. Our was fucked by socialism and the people that are most needed are migrating.
Thanks for writing such a nice perspective of Bulgaria. I lived there for 3 years, spending about 2 years in Plovdiv and can’t wait to get back. There are so many great places to see from cities like Sofia, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo to the many small villages. One of my favorite places to go is Selanovsti, a small town near the Danube.
Hey Dan, I’m Bulgarian and one of my best friends is from Selanovstsi, so I’m wondering what did you like in it? For me it seems as an isolated place (besides some crazy american guy named Curtis living there), not suitable for foreign tourists.
Thank you for your kind words regarding this country, most importantly – one of my favorite cities of all time (Plovdiv). Your pictures are great, and very nicely depict what I too like about Bulgaria, especially about the seaside.
However I must comment on the latter, since I just got back from the sea. Some of the largest tourist destinations are indeed ruined. Overpopulated, overbuilt, ugly hotels made for the sole purpose of gathering as many guests as possible, illegal buildings right next to the seashore.
And the worst – Russian middle class tourists all over the place, like, hundreds of thousands of them, some of whom actually own apartments there from recently, so they’re there to stay. I’ve missed the last few years of development of the popular tourist destinations, so I’m kinda surprised. Apparently a mass campaign about gathering Russians is going on for years, and these are the fruits from it. Most of the Russian tourists are not very intelligent, are often rude and loud, and while I met some decent, nice families during my last trip, the majority were just as I pictured them. Unfortunately, this is what locals and local mafia (the same with the illegal buildings etc.) wants, they attract Russians, while Romanians and Greeks for example prefer to go to a little more expensive, but nicer places like those in Greece.
So, my advice is, when you go to Bulgarian seaside, pick a smaller town, smaller tourist destination. Those on the North (above Varna) are still pretty much untouched by the way, go while you still can. If you go to Sozopol, Nesebar, Zlatni Pyasatsi (Golden Sand) during the peak of the season, you may regret the decision (despite the fact that Sozopol has a great Old City part that you GOTTA see if you’re there). If you go there slightly off-season, you may find it just empty and lonely, in a way.
Your pictures are beautiful! I’ve only spent about three weeks total in Bulgaria but it’s a beautiful country. I had never left the US before travelling there and adopting our little boy. I wasn’t sure what to expect, most of our information came from other adopting families and experiences were kind of all over the place. Since this is a travel blog I’ll leave out the negative things I could say about their societal views on people with disabilities, and children being sent to live in adult mental institutions. During our first trip there, the ‘meetcha’ trip we stayed in Veliko Tarnovo, and if you haven’t been there yet you should go!! It was (as I guess most of the country is) an amazing mix of old world and new. We stayed at the Real Hotel and it was lovely and much more modern than we were expecting. But we also visited the ruins of a castle and the views were amazing of the mountains and the villages in them. Every restaurant we ate at had great food and we were impressed at how inexpensive it was. Our last night we ate at the restaurant Shtastlivetsa and it was gorgeous and every thing we ate was delicious! I wanted to take pictures of the inside, every thing was so pretty, but I didn’t want to look like a total tourist, taking pictures of the tables and decorations :)
You really must see some of the mountains in Bulgaria! I guarantee that the pictures will be amazing :)
Everyone in Bulgaria studies languages, because we all want to go out of here. Even i am in a language school. I think thats enough. Come for 2 weeks or 2 months, but not for life….
Hi Yoanna – I think the question to ask is *why* do people want to leave Bulgaria, and *where* do they want to go to?
Most of them just want to live wealthy and don’t care for the country. Instead of getting of their lazy asses and trying to change something they choose the easy way out. That’s pretty much it. By the way is this a C6 Corvette in the pic and is it yours or rental? It sure looks awesome!
Not my ‘vette, unfortunately.
Yoana, even Americans dont want to stay in America either. And let me tell you something … America or the Capitalist countries can care less about you and the red carpet is only for Hollywood! Dont think Any country will like you taking up their jobs. Jobs in their countries are for their people, not for you! Foreigners – women have to jump from bed to bed to get a decent job. So unless you sell yourself, dont count on a prosperous life in a capitalistic country. And oh ya, be prepared to put a smile on and never take it off in public! When you go to the States, be prepared to fake it every waking moment put in public.
Hey, this article left me speechless! I’m also from Bulgaria and I still haven’t visited some of those places, but your photos were brilliant.
But guys, I think you went out of topic here. Bulgaria, as land, is beautiful in every single way, as I see it. But the country is trash. The political system has a long way to go to reach its perfect stage, but that isn’t a valid exuse to leave. I don’t like the education here, that’s why I’m going to study 5 years in Germany, after which I want to come back here.
I LOVE Bulgaria and I’m certain I’m coming back. I don’t care about the system because I know I can change things here. And this is so exciting!
Bulgaria is awesome! People can be harsh sometimes but don’t pay attention. Find those who actually worth it. And there’s a lot of those people. We have plenty of mountain peaks, castles, historical monuments, monasteries, stone and cliff wonders, delicious food, mind blowing alcohol, astonishing views of nature, cultural events, beautiful cities like mazes and so on and so on. So don’t you dare missing paying us a visit! <3
Thanks Sunny – I think your plans, and your attitude, is really great. There are good and bad people in every country, and unfortunately, bad politics in almost every country. People often have the “grass is greener” attitude, when really, they haven’t spent any time on the other side of the fence.
From experience, I can say that people in Bulgaria, in general, are warm, generous, and community-minded. More so than most other countries. Of course, as I mentioned in the article – Bulgaria is not perfect. However, what most people don’t realise is that no country is.
I’m with you – I don’t care about “the system”, I will work within the system to change my own life, for the better.
As a Bulgarian living elsewhere this article made me really miss it. Reading some of these comments its clear that some people don’t see the good sides of Bulgaria only the bad and commercialized ones (gypsies etc). This country has so much history that its simply amazing compared to other countries. Hoping to go back soon. Great article, you captured a lot of the good in Bulgaria!
I read this post when you published it and thought ‘hmmm, seems like fun, I should go have a look.’ Then, I came back and read all the comments and knew I must visit азыр.
In related news, we’re having visa issues and on the verge of being kicked out of our current home. Perhaps a sign we should leave and get out on the road?
I think a visit to Bulgaria may be in our very near future.
Damn Eric, I was considering coming to see you soon(ish)…either in a month, or in November (another cold winter)… if you want any advice/tips/anything, let me know!
Bulgaria is an adventurous country where you can find freedom to do anything you imagine
Hey Nate. I feel guilty saying that I am woefully behind in reading your blog, and I need to take the time to catch up. Great post as always. I love that you’ve opened my eyes to the travel possibilities in Eastern Europe. I’ve always loved your different POV on travel and the places you’ve visited. As I said the other day, I can’t believe you and Phillipa have been on the road for three years now. I don’t remember how, but I remember stumbling across your blog when you were getting ready to leave. I remember marveling at you talking about giving up your job, downsizing, and getting ready to leave. I was so envious, still am. I’m so glad our virtual paths crossed, and I looked forward to our paths crossing in real life one of these days. Keep being you, and keep the stories and photographs coming.
Funny that I stumbled upon this article today, because yesterday my waitress at my local diner in Connecticut was Bulgarian. When I told her that I had spent half my summer in Eastern Europe, but had not visited Bulgaria she asked me why I skipped it. I have no good answer for that, but seeing this post, I think it’s going to be my first destination for next summer’s travels!
i did see that you will be traveling to Burgas soon. If you have the time try to visit Strandzha nature park, its basically on your way to Sinemorec. There are some beautiful villages around and the view from the top is astonishing! Bordilovo is one of those villages which is just about a 10 – 15km off the drive from Tsarevo.
@Sunny, many people have had the same thoughts as you do but eventually all those hopes break down. I wish you the best not giving a damn about the system and changing it within. But this is something that can not be changed by single individuals, and as for know the residents of this country are not willed to sacrifice for change. Also this change might happen some day but not in our as well as the next generation.
@Nate, the grass is greener on the other side attitude is something that human kind will always endorse and chase. BUT, people live here with 150 euros a month outside of Sofia, try to tell them about the grass is greener attitude. Where else in Europe can you buy a house in a beautiful mountain village for 5000 EUR???? Why? Because everytime you go on vacation, people will steal you stuff and there is not really much you can do about it. I have lived on the greener and not so green sites. Please consider that this country is part of the EU and that it is pure misery for people living here. Sure we could compare with Africa. But hey, there is always worse. Also, statistically, Bulgarians are one of the unhappiest people in the world.
Check this out. 144. Place after Afghanistan and 3 places before Syria. This is pretty strange especially looking at all the countries that are in front of Bulgaria.
As this could be a endless topic, just go and enjoy and dont forget to check out the mountains! Strandzha as i mentioned before is close to you next Burgas trip. Once you make it to Sofia, check out Vitosha, Rila and the rhodope mountains. By the way Musalla at Rilla Mountain is the highest peak at the Balkans, worth to visit and gorgeous!. The 7 Rila Lakes are worth a visit and lots of other good stuff around there.
Enjoy and keep sharing you beautiful pics and stories.
Sababa, Bulgarians are stuck in the past. They are blinded by capitalism. That is why they are not happy! I live on 300 Euro per month and I am extremely happy! I live up in the mountains in Bulgaria and I could not ask for a better life. Americans too are leaving the fake American dream garbage and trading it for a simplistic homestead life instead.Americans are leaving the US to live in poor countries and for a good reason. money dont make you happy. Just ask me. I and mom brought 3K a mounth and I was miserable. WE are both retired and free from bills and the need for loads of cash. It is not about money. It is about your standard and your wants. in the end of the day… I can care less about ” The grass is greener on the other side” is total lie. Life is what you make it. Bulgarians are unhappy because they have money signs in their eyes and brains. But if you rather be a slave to capitalism and its filthy system…. then by all means stay! Nate is one smart man!
I really enjoyed this article and I find it wonderful that there are travelers who enjoy their stay here that much. I just wanted to note that at the end of the day you’re a tourist and you see probably the best of every place you go, as every tourist. Life here is… let’s say weird, in a really specific balkan-post-communist-south-eastern way :D.
So, yeah, Bulgaria looks like that in 2015. And that’s an amazing touristic attraction. But living here… People have reasons to talk shit about it, after all. Thank you anyway, it’s good to hear something good about Bulgaria for a change.
I really enjoyed reading your article, it bolstered my own thoughts on Bulgaria.
My wife and I are making the giant leap and moving to the Elena district next Spring. Even as retired folks, there’s still one more adventure left in us! Oh, and we’ll be driving from the UK to get there…
Good luck with the move, Jeff. And driving from the UK will be a great adventure! (I’m a big fan of long drives)
I just wanted to say I have truly enjoyed reading all of your posts. I am from the U.S. and am currently living in Poland with my amazing Polish wife who wants to see the Balkans as well. After your amazing posts about Bulgaria we are currently setting up a road trip there as well. I truly appreciate your site and look forward to the next adventure. Safe travels!
Thanks for the good words! As a Bulgarian living abroad, it’s making me severely homesick, but in a good way :)
Visiting the Rhodopes Mountains is a MUST! Some places I’d recommend – the Trigrad Gorge, Yagodinska Cave, the Devil’s Throat Cave, – all these west of Smolyan. The region of Kardzhali – the remains of the ancient Perperikon /more than 4000 years old! /, Tatul, an ancient sacred place believed to have been a temple of Orpheus, many remains of Thracian shrines, and breathtaking views of beautiful rocks, river meanders, forests – beauty is everywhere around you.
Who was Orphans?
both my parents are bulgarian. I was born and live in Vienna, and because of that It was very important for them that i am close to my culture and my roots, so we went to visit our family in varna since i am 4 months old every summer. Since then, i have never experienced a summer in Vienna but i don’t see it as a loss (although vienna has the highest living standard in europe, bulgaria is my bae! I also went to bulgarian school for 8 years the same time i visited my usual school in vienna. I even got a diploma, which is like a graduation. As that being said, i think it’s obvious that i am bond to this country. it makes me cry, it makes me laugh, i love the geography, i love the people and their ignorant image. i love the good and the bad, everything.
I always felt that the other people around me don’t think like that, they don’t see anything special in Bulgaria, i knew it was just my personal opinion, which was/is influenced emotionally, and because of that i found it so surprising that when i showed a friend my city while she was staying in a hotel at the golden sands, she was amazed. She even told other mutual friends in vienna and now everyone wants to come! That is so beautiful, and i am very happy that you too fell in love with my little precious. You are a real traveller, not a tourist. You are always welcome such as everyone appreciating our waters and mountains.
Oh and by the way, the 12th picture is taken from the broken restaurant in varna, am i right? Thats my favorite place in the world. You found it. If don’t, you have to return and go there.
I also gave my email so you can send me other trips and pictures. I hope you recognize me by my very long and complicated surname :D have a nice day and thank you for this page!
I’m a UK expat, ‘Beach-Bum’ realist and recluse since 2009. I live inland around 60km west of Burgas. I recognise this forum to be one containing comments and information written by several individuals who’ve set aside their Rose Tinted Spectacles to form their opinions. That written, be wary of water quality in areas such as Officer’s Beach near Varna and Lozenets between Sozopol and Sinemorets: both beaches have been closed due to unacceptable water quality and as far as I can tell, (as of February 26th 2016), no meaningful remedial work has occurred. In general, Black Sea off shore currents run along the coast from the direction of Romania down toward the Turkish/Bulgarian border and contaminated water will, therefore, be diluting as it’s carried southward from these areas. Visiting motorists, particularly north- western Europeans, should be mindful of Bulgaria’s road fatalities per 100,000 vehicles statistics and expect to witness and be subjected to acts of mindless stupidity and recklessness and drive accordingly whilst avoiding areas of roadway where the Earth’s Crust can be inspected in the potholes .. Pampers are available from most Bulgarian chemist shops.
You’re not the only one who spent more days than planned in Bulgaria :) I know many tourists from my country, Romania, and from other counties as well who booked a tour in Bulgaria during summer and extended their stay there. It has a certain “magic” to it.
Are you sure that the Bulgaria is the one who created cyrilic alphabet? As I’ve heard (and studied in school), Cyrilic Alphabet was created by a serbian man named Vuk Karadžić… Not trying to be rude though, great article!
Nope they are not Bulgarians. There is no source to prove that. There are more sources for them stating they were Greeks (at least methodios) rather than Bulgarians. Byzantines were trying to spread Christianity to Bulgarians so Methodios was given the task to make a new alphabe and teach the Christianity to them. Being a Greek himself used some letters from the Greek alphabet like Π, Ρ Δ etc which Bulgarians themselves can confirm that. Sorry to kill it Bulgarian guys as I know this is a big thing for you, but also is a big myth.
Its not even funny anymore so let me help you.
“Cyrillic is derived from the Greek uncial script, augmented by letters from the older Glagolitic alphabet, including some ligatures. These additional letters were used for Old Church Slavonic sounds not found in Greek. The script is named in honor of the two Byzantine brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by early disciples of Cyril and Methodius.”
Cyril and Methodius(both greek, brothers) create THE GLAGOLITIC ALPHABET. Their disciples(bulgarians) use the GLAGOLITIC ALPHABET to create the “CYRILLIC”. They name it “CYRILLIC” to honor one of their teachers(Cyril).
Or with simple words – the cyrillic script is created by bulgarians based on the alphabet that was created by greeks.
On the bottom of the page you can compare glagolitic and cyrillic and see the difference, its not rocket science.
It is always this “RO-BG” thing… can’t you people understand that these are two different countries! Of course Bulgaria has its negatives, of course there are rude people but why we should judge the country because of some red-necks? Who invented the Cyrillic, history, computers, roads, food, drinks, money… SOOO BORING! People, you should appreciate what you SEE, you should enjoy the places you visit and keep you negativism only for yourself.
The way the author has showed Bulgaria, definitely made me feel good and showed me the way tourists see our country!
Nate, if you head up to Bulgaria again, I would love to share with you some places you might like but are not known from everybody!
Cheers buddy, #enjoy and #discover!
Thanks George. To be honest, Bulgaria is becoming like a second home to me. I’ve already spent a month or so in Plovdiv during 2016, and I’ll be returning again in a month or so from now. It truly is a great country, and slowly but surely more people are realising what a gem it really is.
How can you even dare to say Bulgaria is boring and uncultured ? This country is founded 681 and has a lot to tell the world. I lived in Holland for over 10 years and visited enough of Europe and couldn’t find a similar culture to compare with Bulgaria, the people and everything else. Educate yourself before posting!
It’s not boring. I’m Bulgarian and we have wonderful nature, cuisinde and… and that’s it!
Don’t get me started on the people. Everyone loves Russia too much there. And it’s true, people are very negative. Some Westerners are negative, too like the Dutch. I do cherish my childhood memories from the 90’s and early 2000s growing up in Bulgaria, but one cannot live on memories. Unfortunately, society has become OTT negative and toxic, discussing politics on every occasion and other toxic topics like that. I agree that many Bulgarians are rude. But the same is true for Londoners, many Dutch people, Norwegians are passive-agressive, many German people (seriously Germanic tribes must have a gene for hatred or/and anger!). US Americans are nice as long as you’re their color. I think French people have the name of being rude. I just hope, I pray to God that’s not true as I feel something special for France, something I have never felt even for Bulgaria. Like a longing to go there, like… home. Bulgaria never really felt like home to me.
if you want to experience France, don’t go to Paris. Go to Lyon, Marseille, Normandy…. but not to Paris :)
Amazing blog! Really enjoyed reading it. :)
Why? This rubbish satisfied your need to hate ?
I think you confuse the blog with the comments below it.
The blog itself is flattering for Bulgaria, I think he says very nice things for the country.
Did you even read it??
We must’ve not read the article
One of the best things in life was to know Georgi Stantchev from the city of Sofia. He was my best friend of many years until his death. We talked about going to Bulgaria where he told me we would eat and drink like humans were created to do. Lol… Alas, we never made the trip but I feel as Bulgaria could be my second home. Long live Bulgaria!
You really should stop insulting Bulgaria and any other Eastern European country for that matter. I’ve been in USA and most Western European countries. If I start posting pictures of “their backyards” ( read ghettos) , they would be much more strikingly ugly than these posted in this hateful article. I have seen human fecals on a street in Germany and many places in US you would afraid to walk even in the middle of the day. Many westerners are arrogant, selfish, dirty, farting, smelling, politically and otherwise uneducated, ….., I can go on and on. Thanks to the mafia and US greediness Bulgaria has places that gave material to your hatred , Ms. Janet or whatever your name is. Get out of my country and shut up your filthy mouth. We dont want someone like you in Bulgaria. Moron.
well this sure seems to be a finer piece of Bulgarian friendliness and culture.
He wrote an article trying to improve the country’s image you fucking idiot. The fact you’re so dense and responded in such a soft-skinned way doesn’t surprise me that people have such a negative perception towards the way Bulgarians treat foreigners/tourists. The fact that you’re so tone-deaf and overreact to anything resembling criticism instill in myself a deep sense of shame-and I say this as a BULGARIAN
I have been studying Bulgaria for a few weeks now. The entire history from the beginning through Ottoman rule and the USSR influences and down to the statistics of the economy and growth. The median income, etc….Bulgaria is a different world then I am used to. I lived in Europe for a few years in the military 30 yrs ago and am doing my research about this country. The truth is…..I am married to a Bulgarian woman. The best personality and outlook I have ever seen. Family ties are strong and I go to the Bulgarian Culture Center gatherings and am learning the …very difficult…language. Her whole family except her parents have left the country to work. It seems like jobs are very scarce and wages are the lowest in the EU. Beautiful YES…the most patriotic people I have met. After she gets her US citizenship we will live in the US and retire in Bulgaria. Hell I may just move there in a few months forever…I don’t know. All I can add to this blog is that the country has economic problems that are being fixed and , as my wife tells me also, the people may not say hi to passerbys but this new world, to me, will be were I may very well spend the rest of my life. Its not perfect but its real. Don’t bash a little country because you cant go to Walmart at 3am or they steal your mail and maybe charge more if you are an outsider. It is what YOU make it. Kindness is a currency accepted everywhere in the world. Save up some before you go and you may find it a different world. I am just a mechanic living in Sarasota, FL. My wife and I are athletes and adventurers. This is my opinion so be nice. I am nobody special so…..
If you are planning on retiring in Bulgaria , now is the time to buy land and house before the Euro pops in. Dont wait or you will regret it!
amazing place I love it
I’d go back here but there are just quite few stuff that I dislike in Bulgaria :p
Dear Stranger, who wrote this,
Your words made me love my land, my nation and myself more!
Let God bless you!
Bulgaria is cheap,good food,country is beautiful, every comfort you need,and centered in the middle of great travel destinations. The problem with most Bulgarians is that they don’t see worth in themselves or the beauty that they have. These ideals of themselves create oppression and such heaviness leads to rudeness and the other negative emotions. However, there is rudeness and hatred in every culture. I like Bulgaria for the most part. If I could change anything it would be to bring down the poison of Orthodox church,sex industry, and mafia types. To lift up a true image of Christ in these broken people’s lives and allow them to see the beautiful creations they are and the beautiful country He gave them. Prayers always for Bulgaria and to all nations.
Excellent article! Thank you!! It was the title that caught my attention when researching on whether to go to Bulgaria or not. Fantastic.
I’ve have left three entries, and yet none of them passed the content police who decide what is posted. For anyone who thinks this website represents a unanimous love for all things Bulgaria, it’s just fake. It’s information control. My experience was quite the opposite. People were rude, and much of the society felt like my years spent in Algeria, Yemen, and Pakistan. There is a coldness, and a rudeness, but then again, this comment won’t be posted because it’s not as cheery as the other input. It’s just sad to see such information control by a “happy” website. I travel nonstop, among 30-40 countries a year, and do spend about 1-2 months a year in the USA (NYC, CA). I will be back in Bulgaria in a few months… I hope I find things different. Thanks, Kyle.
There are no “content police” here, or information control. Each comment is approved manually just to prevent spam, and sometimes (as I’m travelling a lot), it may take a few days before I see the comments.
As far as rudeness, I find that in this world, whether it’s Bulgaria, or any other country, you attract what you give out.
Yes see people who don’t agree with your opinion are part of some grander conspiracy.
We get it dude, you didn’t enjoy yourself. Lets move on.
Hey folks,just back from a year living in Varna,been reading these comments,and it seems some people say its are bad etc etc and some say good..I saw lots of Bulgaria and the scenery is gorgeous and the mountains are beautiful,the Black sea is nice too..the people can be friendly and happy and some can be very direct and some can be rude or moody..but every country has that in its people,I come from Ireland where we have the reputation as one of the friendliest places in the world(just look what our fans did in france during the soccer)I found in my local area for instance the first few weeks i found people a bit cold or just doing their job like in the few bars and cafes etc but once they got to know my face I got greeted as a one of their own!!high fives and cheers about my antics drunk night before or something like that and no problems,even my grumpy shop keeper grew on me after few weeks haha!!but I will tell the truth about somethings,In varna by the beach the macho attitude of the muscle brigade is almost laughable(guys just relax remove the sunglasses when it gets dark and stop walking swaying the shoulder that fake swagger walk every macho guy walks the same..been said to me by Bulgarian men and women)the walkways or foothpaths are really bad in some places( I work in the construction industry all my life and the concrete slabs are just fired on mud or sand..no cement or stone used..not their fault lack of budget)..the Buildings are mass concrete soviet style..inside they are fine from what I saw, public transport is really good I think 1 lev on the bus is super cheap in the city centre,beer and food is super cheap and good and the fruit and veg is best Ive eaten,found things I did not like and things I did,for me it was so different and a bit of a culture shock,It is not that clean of a country in Places but yet again so many other countries the same..found bars with music I hated and bars with music I loved some places your on your own and other places they will all talk to you….for me it is not my favorite country I have been too but it grew on me and I got used to the broken paths etc etc after few weeks i didnt take any notice!!…It has its ups and downs like all places in the world but I got to love it in summer,hate it in the winter haha!! bloody freezing!..the main thing is just to learn that the people can be just different in their approach to you then maybe you home place and just remember it is not personal and smile…that worked for me,my grumpy shop keeper even started to smile at me so..thats my story..Chow Chow!!
My name is Pieter and I’m from Belgium. At work, I deal with people from all over Europe, including from what a lot of us still refer to as “Eastern Europe.” Over time, I became acquainted with a Bulgarian woman who it turned out I share an interest in music with. This really surprised me because she grew up under the Communist Rule so I never would have thought she would know as much about rock and metal bands from the 80s as she does. Eventually, we decided I come visit with her and we’d go see two of our favorite bands at a Bulgarian rock festival together. As nice as she is and as excited as I was to go see the concerts (both bands mostly play small venues or afternoon shows at music festivals here, but are going to be headliners over there), I must confess I was a little worried about visiting a former Soviet State for the exact same reasons you mentioned in your blog. The only information I got about Eastern European countries growing up was through the Hollywood movies and shows of the 60s, 70s and the 80s and the picture western governments painted off that part of the world. So I started doing some research and one of the first pictures of Bulgaria I came across was of the Buzludzha monument covered in snow (maybe the same one that got you to pack up and take off to explore that country) and I was immediately fascinated by it for the same reasons you were. Eventually I came across your website and I just wanted to stop by and thank you for all of the beautiful pictures and the information you’ve posted. You’ve completely taken my worries away and now I’m very much looking forward to my visit there, so thank you so much for that!
Keep on traveling and sharing beautiful bits of the world with us that we otherwise might not have got to go see for ourselves!
Hey Pieter – thanks for a great comment. I love reading stories like that. And…. you’ll find that 80’s rock and metal is quite popular in Bulgaria (oh, the stories I could tell you with regards to that :)
IN any case, have a great time, you’re going to really enjoy Bulgaria.
That’s true…it’s really nice in Bulgaria.
HELLO i am a Greekvlach born in Rumania with an ancestor in Melnik…would i ever have the chance to have a cute bulgar woman like Nina Dobrev s face to be my wife?
i saw 24 european lands i have college degree geography and i am 33 and 178 cm and slender body…rumanian women are very rude for 12 years they behave like i never existed in rumania and i can never even date one !
i have photo and musical memory i love back back Kalina girl song one woman i met on internet once by name Mirela Doncheva Gencheva from Harmanli some 3 years younger than me translated me the song.. a woman wanting a man having already kids and family..such sweet Balkan tradition I wanna stop being even half Rumanian…i became expert in Bolgar HISTORY ! KRUM asparukh ivaylo kaloyan bogoris tervel kardam these names sound so magic to me ! i feel pure Balkan and nothing in common with rumania since my mentor i grew orphan no mum and dad …my grandpa who had ancestor in Melnik who died above Russe in Gyurgevo Giurgiu Rumania..by name dr Georgescu Pavel Mihail..he taught me love of Balkan Europe music since age 7 ! i survived fall of communism fall of yugoslavia etc
I’ve just come across your post and I enjoyed your positive view on Bulgaria in general.
I hope that you’ve got to discover the Rhodopes as well, my home place.
Sincere kindness is a state of mind and by no means nation-bound.
By the way, Bulgarian beer is quite good, is it not then?? :) Only bugger is I can’t root for Rhodopean beer, too cold for hops and barley up there :D
Honestly, I’m glad you’ve had a good time in my country although you seem the kind of person that would feel good almost anywhere. You’ve learnt to appreciate beyond the obvious and this post is as much a compliment to Bulgaria and its straightforward beauty as it is to you as a human being.
Wishing you the best in your future trips anywhere :)
Wow. Thanks Yana for a great compliment.
I’ve only seen the Rhodopes briefly, it’s on my to-do list for when I return to Bulgaria (BTW, I seem to visit several times a year these days). And I agree, Bulgarian beer is great! In general, yes, I feel good almost everywhere – but, there are some places I’ve visited, and never written about, as I found it too difficult to be positive. And the world already has enough negativity, IMHO…
Cheers again, your comment made my day.
None of the negative comments here worked at all to deter me from coming to Bulgaria,
I will see you next year Bulgaria, cant wait :)
death to the uncultured
Bulgaria is amazing. I moved here 1+ year ago. Never looked back ;-)
Checkout Burgas, Plovdiv, Nessebar, Sofia and the amazing nature Bulgaria has to offer.
Nothing wrong with the buildings and looks of Bulgaria. Looks normal. But people are very cold and unfriendly, just like in the Western countries, really no difference.
We’re not cold, we’re just not hypocritical!
im planning on going to a culinary school in Varna, what are your thoughts on the city and the country? is spending 3 years there cool? or should i look for a college in italy, found a pretty good one in varna but if youll know about some place i would love to hear from you’ll!
Its not the countryside thats the issue. Its the people who act like neanderthals and have the personality of a mad goat. Also, the organizational skills of society seems to have come from some breed of monkey. The food is awesome, prices are cheap, but the spirit and general air of the people sucks huge shit.
50 years of communism and lack of strong institutions will leave its mark on a society. You try living off the lowest median wage in Europe, with some of the lowest living standards, and you’d develope a negative, toxic attitude as well.
I do actually live in Bulgaria, I was born and raised here.
What the person just before me in the comments says is true and that is just the way most Bulgarians think, which I consider as the biggest problem of my nation. Let me explain.
This is just my personal opinion that I’s like to share. I think these years of communism and everything else that has happened in the past should be left in the past. All these people who have reached their 60’s should retire and let young people take their places.That’s a big issue. How can we expect things to change if we don’t make a change?!
Someone else in the comments I just read have said that Bulgaria is a perfect place for pensioners to live. Sad, but at least 50% true. Most young people in Bulgaria nowadays go study and work abroad and they actually stay abroad, they don’t want to come back. Either it is a fear or a clever decision, that’s another story. Anyway, as for the few who stay, (because of financial issues or due to other reasons) most of them struggle with living a good life, especially if they don’t have any influential contacts around. In other words, if you are a young person and you have a wish, if you are passionate about something, if you have a goal and you have to start from the bottom you will have to overcome thousands of obstacles while you are trying to reach that goal. That is happening because of the old system that keeps on working … or not working at all.
After all, as someone living in Bulgaria, I’m saying that there are A LOT of things that have to change. A lot. I realise the fact that we should change it all by ourselves. The problem is, that many people out there do not realise it. Many people just sit in one place and complain about just how awful and miserable their life is. THERE ARE positive people, there are people who keep their heads up and “look at the stars, not just the floor”, there are kind people, and the fact that it’s more likely to meet a rude adult than a kind younster around, doesn’t mean you will not meet one at all.
On the other hand, If I look at the bright side, life in Bulgaria can be not bad at all. I am in my 20’s and I am not rich, on the contrary, my parents barely make ends meet! It’s just the way they have made up their lifes. I think it is up to me to build my life the way I want it, so I am going to try. I think it will get better. I also think that everyone out there in the world should try and break the stereotypes! That stuff about the Eastern countries, Russia, the relation someone made between the Bulgarian language and Russian language (we may use the same alphabet, but the languages are quite different) and so on… Truth is, we are TRYING to move on. We are living in 21st century and we are trying to actually live in it.
I just remembered now about that guy from a “Western country” who asked me once “If you are from Bulgaria, how do you know how to write? How do you know English?” I got really upset back then. (I have been learning English since 1st grade at school, that makes it at least 12 years until now… I know my English is not perfect but…)
That’s what I am talking about.
There are so many things out there and this comment got too long… It is really complicated. Anyway, I wanted to express my thought on some comments I read. As for the actual post, it is great! I love the photos and the positive things the author said about Bulgaria! I am glad you’ve had a good experience here! I think life of a traveller is great! Keep on doing what you are doing!
Best wishes! :)
I am an expat from Denmark that has chosen to live in Burgas, Bulgaria. I will initially say that you sound exactly like the what the future of Bulgaria needs!
That being said, i love Bulgaria. Many people here are super smart, but most do not even know it.
I have only had a few negative experiences with the locals here, and countless positive experiences. Most negative experiences are with taxi drivers, and government officials. I think it’s the low salary that makes them negative..
There is a very bright future for Bulgaria. Amazing country on so many levels. The nature, the history, the people, the beauty that is found everywhere. I recommend everyone to come here as either a tourist or to build a business.I have lived here now 1+ year, and will never leave.
Hi, I was in Sofia 10 days ago for three nights and I thought it was great! The people there weren’t rude to me for sure. I had a guide and she was brilliant but she also wanted to be treated like a princess at night-time.
The arrogance and borderline racism of people in the comment section make me wish we were more xenophobic and unfriendly to foreigners, not less.
Please can you fix the photos that we can’t see.
Hi Stamen, fixed. Not sure what happened there, but I appreciate you letting me know. Also, I have now made all of the photos much larger than before.
I really liked your congratulations.
It’s just ugly and poor just as the whole europe; poor, cold and nothing can grow.
poor western world.
Hello I just wanted to give my honest opinion about numerous things mentioned in this blog about Bulgaria.I’m a u s citizen lived here all of my life.I’ve visited small villages and cities throughout Bulgaria over the past 25 years.I’ve normally spent two months at each location over the years.I don’t consider myself an authoriy on human behavior, never will.Its unfortunate that many visitors become the judge,jury,and execuetioner in life.Many people visit other countries and are reluctant to care enough to realize that mindsets differ for reasons.Anyone can be cold and rude natured no matter where it is in the world including the u s where I’m from.Respect means everything throughout life but few people are considerate enough to be humane.My experiences throughout Bulgaria were positive ones.Taking time to genuinely listen to what people have to say is so important,even if their response seems rude or negative,it’s their response which should be respected.Many people wear their heart on their sleeve and get offended easily.Bulgaria is a beautiful country full of creative intelligent people that’s normally willing to spend time conversing with those who respect them.I’m going to retire 2019 in Bulgaria and stay there.Everyone has a right to their opinion obviously, understood.An ounce of kindness is worth much more than a pound of hatred, at least in my life.Smile alot love more, because everyone only passes through life but once, obviously.
Best advice don’t spend tourist money in Bulgaria,it’s not appreciated.
I moved from England to Varna. I love it here and love Bulgaria. You’re very right about the perceptions people have about places in Eastern Europe down to what the media feeds them.
If you’re ever in Varna, message me and ill meet you for a beer!
I have enjoyed reading through these comments. The title is a bit like clickbait, as I was expecting photos of bad things. I am very much wanting to visit eastern Europe again soon as I’ve really enjoyed places I’ve been recently, such as Romania, Poland, and Ukraine. I actually transited across Bulgaria back in 1984 when it more difficult to visit, but could easily get a 24 hour transit visa. Actually, I’d like to move to that area because I like the culture better than here in the U.S.
Oh,please, you said things people feels ashamed to know about their country. Imagine i go to your house and, left it, talk dirt words about it. You would not like it. Try to informe us about countries you visit, but comment not too heavy… you can be right but … minus… minus…. give it a discount…
I am from rio de janeiro… here is a bandit´s territory, bribery, drugs, murderers… 68.000 homicides in 2018 and this number is more then any war you know.. and brazil is not in war… Please, i swear, don´t visit brasil, rio de janeiro… it is a shit country… i prefer say it then you say for me instead.
Its funny how frequently people try to negate someone’s opinion by contradicting their point.
Your article is correct, but i did really enjoy their food like banitsa.
BULGARIA IS THE MOST BEAUTIFULL COUNTRY WE HAVE AMAZING MOUNTAINS YOU STUPID ENGLISH PEOPLE THINK BULGRIA IS UGLY BUT ITS NOT YOU CHOOSED THE UGLIEST PICTURES YOU PIECES OF SHIT
Bulgaria is a shithole of corruption, crime, bad food and rude stupid people.
It is also full of garbage.A few “nice” pictures is a goog indicator that this blog is a sponsored LIE.
Yes, I am sponsored by your mother, thanks for letting people know.
Absolutely spot on. Bulgaria is a massive shithole and Bulgarians know it but many of the are too chickenshit to admit it. They have ego problems. They lie, steal and gossip any chance they get. If you have a bit more money/a nicer car/clothes, etc than a Bulgarian, he/she will be jealous and make your life a living hell. The Bulgarian culture is an absolute disgrace. All they do is COMPLAIN and LIE. There is a Bulgarian lady who did her PhD thesis at University of Mass. in Boston breaking down (over 300 pages) how all they do is complain. You can find it online. It’s an embarrassment for Bulgarians and their shitty country.
They never admit their wrongdoings/problems. They always point the finger and blame someone else (Romas, Turks, refugees, etc). But they never take responsibility for their actions. Bulgarians have a TERRIBLE reputation abroad. Just look up what people think of Bulgarians in Western Europe (hint: drug dealers, thieves, prostitutes, etc).
Imagine how miserable you have to be to lie everyday of your existence and live in a fantasy that Bulgaria is a proper place, which obviously it isn’t. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be leaving by the hundreds per day and the population wouldn’t be shrinking (literally).
I am a liberal but I have no problem calling a spade a spade; there are shitty countries and cultures and Bulgaria is one of them. Definitely near the top of the list.
If you meet a Bulgarian who is polite and HONEST, not miserable, not jealous, not envious, not rude, not racist, not bigoted…consider it a miracle. They are less than 1% of the country. The other 99% are absolute garbage. That is the truth and they know it but they will never admit it.
I like to consider myself the type of Bulgarian you described in the last paragraph, though sometimes I wish I could say I’m not Bulgarian at all.
I agree with everything you’ve said— the people there are so quick to defend themselves, hold others accountable, but never hold themselves accountable.
And yes, there is a real problem with discrimination there. Thankfully, I now live in a place that is truly accepting of all people and celebrates diversity. If I had stayed in Bulgaria, I don’t think I would’ve ever come out as gay, and I have friends there, who are indeed still in the closet.
And it’s not only homophobia. If you walk into any drugstore, you won’t find a foundation shade darker than slightly tanned Caucasian. Black people are still segregated into different cities/parts of cities, along with Roma people, Turkish people, etc (well doesn’t that ring a bell? Hmmm, sounds like america 60 years ago)
Currently on a Danube River cruise tour, at each port they put us on busses for a guided tour. Yesterday’s guide host told made jokes about “gypsies” that were blatantly racist. She went to great lengths to point out what she said were the electric meters high on poles in the “gypsy neighborhood” put there, she said, by the electric company because the Roma — she only used the word “gypsies” — were using magnets to slow and falsify the meter counters. True or not, a hakfear decent guide could have spent that time talking about history, local economy, art, agriculture– so many topics besides spouting racist tropes.
I’ve also noticed with each tour guide over four days now that they spend what seems like an inordinate amount of time complaining about the Communists. It’s as if they feel they must say this for this ship of satisfied well-off white upper middle class Americans, Brits, and Aussies on this tour.
They come across, every one, as deeply cynical, and sardonic.
After miss anti-Roma spent the better part of a 2-hour bus ride complaining about many things but especially Communists, then complained that the beaches used to be open in Communist times for everyone but are now all private, except the smallest, least pleasant spot with brown sand, I had to stifle my desire to shout at her, “Welcome to capitalism honey!
Couldn’t be more agree with you mate , well i could add something about thier history too once they created Balkan second war once they decided to occupy north Macedonia , which somehow led to the First world war
Funny thing is they are offending Romas as they are gypsy meanwhile considering them selves pure Europeans !
Completely agree with Steve. Writer looks like a paid douche bag, or some bulgarian bitch is extracting money from him.
Thanks Johnny, and good luck in clown school.
Hello Steve. You sound hurt and angry. How did Bulgaria do that to you? Can we do something to change it? It is very disturbing to have you this way.
I hope you are well and happy where you are.
Out of curiosity where is your haeven on Earth?
And I liked it in Bulgaria, rested on Golden Sands. Of course, the more you travel, the more you compare, but Bulgaria is not the worst option.
Sure, Bulgaria does have some beautiful places, HOWEVER, please don’t ignore the bad aspects of living there.
As someone who was born and raised there, spent the majority of my life there and was forced out of the country, I feel like loads of people are misrepresenting Bulgaria as being a paradise of sorts due to the beauty of some of the places there.
First of all, let’a agree that all countries have their pretty places. So does Bulgaria. However, the majority of the coastal line in Bulgaria is now being built on, and beaches and monuments with great historical value are being destroyed for the purpose of profit.
Bulgarian people are very careless when it comes to tidiness and cleanliness in public spaces. If you know enough Bulgarian people and you know enough about the history of the country, you’d know that it is within our culture to be self-centred. Most people there live with an “each to their own” attitude, which I’ve not seen in many other countries. With this cones disrespect for public spaces. However, unless you live there, you probably won’t see the consequences of that. Bulgaria does a great job of secluding residents from tourists, with entire towns, reserved especially for tourists (quite ironically, this is similar to North Korea).
Apart from that, when people talk about opportunities for growth and development, they seem to think that Bulgaria is a suitable destination. Unfortunately, Bulgaria has a major problem with nepotism. So many businesses, no matter their size, would only hire family members. They may favour a person with no formal higher education to a graduate, simply because they’re related to someone within the company. This culture of nepotism has robbed young people of opportunities and has killed their enthusiasm. No wonder there are more people leaving Bulgaria than entering.
Companies aren’t the only corrupt authorities. The entire government is corrupt. I won’t go into the depths of Bulgarian politics, but it’s a sinister, manipulative shitshow which has negatively impacted the lives of so many people.
The healthcare system is failing, and so is the educational system. In Bulgaria, no one cares about mental health and stress, and there’s a whole lot of stigma around people struggling with their mental health.
I’m also not going to go into the religious brainwashing that happens IN SCHOOLS, as well as the rampant discrimination against gay people, black people, Muslim people, women, etc.
So yes, Bulgaria does have some beautiful places. But when you look at what lies beneath the surface, you’ll realise that perhaps the title of this article may well be sincere and not sarcastic.
Oh pleas if you have this problems with your country (which is main too) stop complaining and running and start doing something to make it better or at least fight for better life.
I consider my self for very normal teenager
with very normal life and as person which lives in Sofia i never have seen that discrimination for which you talk. Nobody talks bad about afroamericans i even had long time ago friend which was black and about homosexuals there are pride parade in Sofia and its hard for a very religious nation as ours to easy accept that new idea because they may be afraid for their souls and last but not least roma people the country help them a lot just some peoples are angry they get muny on ready wail they work very hard for nothing. In fact i live just next to region where a lot of gypsies live and at least my neighbours live happy live they have small two stories house with smaller building next to it they have very good car and work as everybody else their grandchildren come often to see them so i think that is pretty sweet normal life. About corruption that is a real problem but it is not as bad as you make it sound.
The nature of Bulgaria is amazing the history and the culture are very reach the streets are not in trash and they are even clean at least cleaner that this in Paris(a lot of my friends which have been in Paris talk how smelly and dirty the streets were) not bad feelings and beaches are not over build and expensive( that summer i was on holiday in Sozopol and neither it was expesive nor it was overbuild).
About the education system it is not bad as a student in the Sofia High Sckhool for building architecture and geodesy “Hristo Botev” which is one of the most elite sckhools in the country and the best for architecture in Bulgaria i may say that we study a lot and we have grate teachers which explain everything very well the only problem
Is the new program but that can be easy to fix.
My last words are that if i ever go to study in an different country i will come back and i will make Bulgaria and the world better because i hold them dear to my heart and soul and i would give my life if thats means that i will make a change to better.
I have no idea what all these people are saying. I spent 6 months in beautiful Bulgaria and had not one problem with anyone! And the women loved me! I had a blast and wish I could retire there!! As a Latin American I was welcomed, Bulgaria is absolutely amazing and I’ve been literally all over the globe. I went sight seeing, clubbing, wine touring, all the cities and all over the countryside. The amount of things to do is endless.
Wow so I just want to say that you have to be a really hateful person to think like that uneducated Janet. Just by reading her comment I can understand why people were rude to her lol. Go back to America JaNeT. Oh and it’s funny that she say Romania is much more nice than BG because Romanian people say the absolute contrary.
I came here to see the pictures but I read people calling each oher bad things. Are you crazy?
What makes me really sad is the fact that in order to buy readers and create some socially socially desirable image, many media platforms mutilate the image of Eastern Europe, or this “scary” entity everything east of Austria is for some weird reason generalised and dropped into.
Unfortunately, even people who have never set foot here, love to complain. What can we do – the consequences of the 20th century will linger on for centuries.
Anyway, although I don’t get why people brag about the number of countries they’ve visited, I can say that for me, the Bulgarian coast is beautiful.
Was funny to Recognize some created info by Bulgarians obviously throw some comments, Something like alphabet is originally Bulgarian!! , computer founder born to in Bulgarian! … Well ,i do agree the defense for own country, but do it in proffisional way guys rather than wasting our time reading such silly info !!!
Based on self experience and visiting Bulgaria before , i would like to compare it with country like Georgia or Montenegro rather than any another country in EU with same quality of beautiful nature of course ,, definitely not like Switzerland for example!
Honestly, people there are same that i met in Georgia before , rudes ( sorry for My transparency), aggressive till a level to make you barley deal with or smile to unknown in the street , poor community that i ve never expected from a EU country , worst place to work in ( as per more than a friend advice lives and struggles in Sophia )
Virgin Nature is something very common in Balkan countries so i’m not that much spoiled by it’s nature , would prefer Slovinia forests or Bosnia villageS that any places in Bulgaria.
Finally,, you could find a true statement by refugees From certain countries who passed throw There how they treated them in order to have a full idea about how healthy is living there .
The country is a shithole. This piece is a joke. I can go find half-decent places in a third world country, take very selectice photos and then make up feel-good stories, too.
The Bulgarians who have left and continue to leave the Jungle aka Bulgaria in droves have done so for a reason; because the country is a shithole full of morons. Are there good people there? Of course, but they are the minority and difficult to find.
If it wasn’t a shithole, it would be a sought after country like other developed nations but it isn’t.
You can run, hide, lie, manipulate, delete and edit things you don’t like but the truth is the truth; Bulgaria is a shithole, the poorest and most corrupt nation in the EU. If it wasn’t, people would be talking about it and trying to move there, not US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and so on.
Nice try, though. ;)
I agree totally with this comment quoted below. Bulgaria described in few words : Corrupt shithole , that deserves totally its faith. Majority of the population that still remains in Bulgaria , are either stupid enough that can’t make it overseas or simply leeching from the EU funds provided. Thank god even the EU funds will finish sooner or later , and i hope that would be the day that this country seize to exist on any map… thanks
The country is a shithole. This piece is a joke. I can go find half-decent places in a third world country, take very selectice photos and then make up feel-good stories, too.
The Bulgarians who have left and continue to leave the Jungle aka Bulgaria in droves have done so for a reason; because the country is a shithole full of morons. Are there good people there? Of course, but they are the minority and difficult to find.
If it wasn’t a shithole, it would be a sought after country like other developed nations but it isn’t.
You can run, hide, lie, manipulate, delete and edit things you don’t like but the truth is the truth; Bulgaria is a shithole, the poorest and most corrupt nation in the EU. If it wasn’t, people would be talking about it and trying to move there, not US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and so on.
Nice try, though. ;)
I’m an American.
I’ve been stuck in Bulgaria 40 days waiting out the 90 day re-entry law try to go back to Serbia. I’m having very bad culture clashes in this country. I’ve been ripped off and most Bulgarians I’ve met are very hot and cold. Hard to gauge. Hard to read. Rude. I’m trying my best but I’m having a very hard time here.
When there is an issue (no hot water in star hotel, AC not working etc.) Bulgarians don’t focus on what is true and false. They don’t focus on the truth. They only focus on winning the argument from an emotional perspective and seeing things their way.
They are constantly trying to rip me off and change prices. I was ripped off by the Taxi’s., yelled at by low IQ police who can’t speak English (they work in an airport but can’t speak English what kind of idiot puts someone like that at the airport to work). robbed by a gypsy in Varna when I got up from the table for 10 seconds, ripped off by apartment hosts, hotel staff, short changed, outright lied to.
The worst by far have been the Real Estate Brokers. This is the reason I came here – cheap houses near the Black sea, cheap office rent, cheap labor. I’m here to invest $200,000.00 USD in CASH yet treated like I am a nobody. Every Realtor here is insulting my intelligence with cheap low class Real Estate hustle tricks. Bait and switch. Fake listings. Everything. Finally one of them got so tired of me he admitted in an email that all the discounted ads in Bulgaria are FAKE and that if I’m not going to overpay they don’t want me here. I have a copy of the email for anyone who wants to see it. The attorney’s I PAID before I came here did not provide a clear picture of the legalities involved which are very expensive and time consuming for American citizens. Adding more to the cost. All the Realtors lied to me. They will say anything to get you out here. Once you are here they flip the switch. It’s insane to think you can make money by being dishonest to someone from the start. I don’t understand the Bulgarian mentality. Please read the other stories online about the Bulgarian Property websites. Even the old pensioned Brits I spoke with told me it cost twice as much to buy as they were lead to believe and they are only in Bulgaria because it’s cheap.
Bulgaria along the coast has allot of potential but it doesn’t matter when the culture is so incompatible to the West.
I was going to open an office and hire people here but not only did they want to make it more complicated they want more money up front just to open your doors which is crazy. Again – American citizen not for EU citizen.
I have met many kind people here. But there is a overwhelming “white gypsy” feel to the place. An old American phrase is “what a gyp” meaning ripped off or invested in something to get nothing in return that should have been obvious from the start. This describes my experience in Bulgaria perfectly. The people are hard.
My friends in other European countries specifically told me not to go to Bulgaria. I should have listened them. Now I am out allot of money and time.
Many of the people here, overall, are lazy and incompetent and not even close to being fluent enough in English for business or anything complicated.
Sofia has been the only European city I’ve wanted to leave after arriving. My feelings were screaming at me – get out of here. Get out of here. Go back to the airport. Get out of here. Yet there was not logical reason why. Sometimes you have to go with the little voice in your chest. I should have listened to it.
I have to concur with some of the comments left on there; the Bulgaria I’ve seen is nowhere near pure and pristine. There are beautiful mountain rivers so filled with plastic you can’t even see the water beneath them anymore. Driving up the road between Plovdiv and Bansko is heart-wrenching.
Outside the huge hotel complexes on the coast, there are just hordes of stray cats and trash.
I wanted to like it so badly, but it is one of the most landfill-esque countries I’ve visited in my life. I’ve seen a comment here about France, where I live, and any kind of comparison is laughable.
Also, I don’t understand why you are so adamant about making Bulgaria out to be super modern (or why it matters; saying some people lead an old-style farm life is not necessarily derogatory). Yes Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, and all the nice cool hipster-ish cities are, but go to rural places and there are people moving bales of hay in horse-drawn wooden carriages in the middle of winter. You don’t even have to go far outside the beaten path; you can even see them in Banya, which is 5km away from the most famous ski resort in Bulgaria.
Yes a big part of Bulgaria is poor, and outside the touristy areas the infrastructure bulgarians use is often dated at best. Denying it seems almost offensive, and I don’t really understand the point of it.
May I also add that I have trouble understanding why some negative comments are met with such harsh responses.
People look for different things when they travel; what seems like an amazing experience for someone might be horribly unpleasant to another, and some people might have a string of bad luck in their journey while others don’t.
Which is fine as long as people acknowledge their personal experience doesn’t encompass the reality of a whole country (it may be why so many people take issue with this article; there is no “what Bulgaria *really* looks like”. The problem with attempting to generalize your experience is that there will always be someone to contradict it with theirs).
I also find the notion that people will be unkind to you mostly because you’re unkind to them to be preposterous. There are ill-intentioned and ill-mannered people everywhere, and Bulgaria is no exception.
Nobody is going to read this long-a** comment but her we go still:
Hi, my nave is Via and I am Bulgarian.
My first memories are form the small village in the notoriously impoverished (till this day) north-western region of the country (look up Montana, Bulgaria to get a visual reference). My parents – had left their hometown of Sofia because of the 1996-97 hyper inflation that devastated trillions in family savings and because of the “security guard” gangsters and their various cartels extorting all small business owners (as my parents who were grocers) from all they have earned during the day. My mom and pop had just then bought a large house and the corresponding 1000m2 yard – a little fair-farm, where I could hide, forge, imagine, and play-pretend Indian Jones or Agent Skully. The village back then numbered 2000 – quite the number for Bulgaria – most of it was made out of pensioners struggling to make ends meet and Romani families peacefully coexisting with both them and the struggle. The only kid my age in close proximity to my ‘farm’ was – Georgi – my first little love. His mom was bright, intelligent, and stoic his father – an abusive alcoholic of whom I was terrified.
Georgi is now an auto-mechanic meandering between jobs in Sofia, his mom provides palliative care in an Austrian village.
My dad died when I was 5. My mom and I moved back to her home neighbourhood in the quaint suburbs of Sofia – to live with my (adoptive) grandpa.
She then started working at a car wash – 12-16h shifts – washing “some famous oligarchs’ BMWs” most of the time. I was always a shy and introverted child but by then I have utterly drown into my tiny fortress of daydreams.
I got out only when I was 14. Sofia was full of possibilities…
My mom now had her hard-earned therapeutic trade license and I could finally ask for pocket money without feeling utterly guilty and ashamed.
I ended up in one of the capital’s elite language high schools (as I like to call them: pro-emigration education centres).
I lived, drank and laughed trough my late teens. Learned how to flip off the present cat-collars in the streets. How to skip school and not get caught, how to get too angry at the impolite attitude of strange adults who though me “snobbish, cold, aloof, moody, a bookworm, a prude”. I never learned how to live, drink, lough and even talk to these people for I thought them beneath my intelligence and sophistication.
A little less frequently I thought of the populists and “BMW owners” in charge that emerged from the mobs and cartels dating decades back.
I immigrated to the Czech Republic 3 months after graduation – at the time this article was written with so much zest and love for a place I could never call my own. 4 months after my arrival to Prague my jacket, and all, all of my valuables in it got stollen in a private event in my school – I could not even get to my apartment. This was 4 days away from a trip back home – 6 days before Christmas.
But the coldest thing I remember is the disapproving expression of the receptionist at the police station and the change in his tone of voice when I told him I am from Bulgaria. He picked up the phone to tell the officer on shift. “Some Bulgarian has a problem”.
This is the first time I felt the treatment I served my compatriots with all my life – and in the city I dreamt of since I was 10.
Then, I cried quietly on the sidewalk.
After my initial studies, I returned back to Bulgaria, for the first time in 3 year, in 2018. Not knowing if I’d stay.
But for the first time I was able to see the place for what is was.
Sad, withdrawn people.
A tram station – only exausted people over 50 waiting for the arrival of their unreliable ride.
Outdated media all over, disorientation.
Crumbling, inadequate, nonsensical infrastructure.
But above all – the luscious, serene scenarios depicted in the pictures above.
I traveled to Plovdiv and met smile, fantastic hospitality and treatment.
Happy children running around.
The amphitheatre and ethnological museum – Hellenistic, Ottoman, Bulgarian, Armenian, Jewish, Romani cultures intertwined in Balkan Baroque and the single most competent, lovely, and jovial tour guide yet.
I went to Rumania a week after – with my mom. She hated Bucharest. It is now my favourite city in Europe. She hated the disorderly, dysfunctional traffic and mean drivers, I loved the gargantuan panel buildings and the excess of the executed Ceausescu lingering around. She hated the trash dumped carelessly on the streets. I loved the sense of unknown adventures ahead. Both of us loved the people around – some sad and debilitated – others hopeful and light.
Then came Skopje, Thessaloniki and
I found where I am coming from trough being not-there.
Back in Bulgaria – before I returned to my melancholic Praha – I went to Rila alone.
I won’t tell you what it is like in one of the last of the European fairy forests. It’s useless. You must be there with your own mind, senses, body and exhaustion form the hike. I had to know the difference between a state and a country to know the way life, and all its ‘mystical creatures’ resonate and how I can resonate with them.
Bulgaria is not a heaven nor hell.
Bulgaria just is.
Can we say the same about ourselves?
I read the entire comment. To receive personal stories like this, is exactly why I publish articles. Thanks.
Yes Prague people are a sour bunch. Glad I just wasted a few months living there. Czechia is a boring vanilla country without the beauty of places like Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Russia, Scandinavia.
In general if you want nice, genuinely friendly people avoid 95% of Europe and stick to Portugal, Southern Spain, Iceland, Ireland and Turkey. The other places are either too rude or and way too reserved and dour. The Czechs top the rudeness chart.
very sad to read about Bulgaria
my dream bulgaria trip but covid-19 this time i am decide with husband