Total area: 110,994 km² (42,823 sq. miles)
Population: 7,364,570 (2011 census)
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Greece and Turkey to the south, Romania to the north, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and the Black Sea to the east.
Bulgaria is a country comprising of idyllic mountains and wonderful landscapes, golden beaches and clear blue seas, picturesque natural scenery, and vivacious cities. Its becoming popular more and more every year, but still tourist development has not affected the sincere beauty of this country yet. Each year, hordes of vacation travelers arrange to reach Bulgaria’s attractive places (such as Rila monastery, Zhenski Pazar in Sofia, Trigrad George, Batchkovo Monastery, Belogradchik, Melnik wine cellars and Rose Valley) for some unforgettable moments.
Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast was known as the “Red Riviera”, though today the nickname has been astutely changed to the “Bulgarian Riviera”. The region is very popular for tourists during the summer season, where there are more than 240 hours of sunshine in May and September and more than 300 hours in July and August.
The coastline is split between northern and southern parts by the Balkan Mountains. The southern region is where you’ll find most of those elegant and pristine waters and sandy beaches; the northern coast is lined with picturesque rocky cliffs, some of which measure up to 70 metres in height.
The population of 7.36 million people is predominantly urban and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Given the territory it occupies, Bulgaria ranks as Europe's 14th-largest country. Bulgaria's location has defined it as a historical crossroad for various civilisations and as such it is the home of some of the world's most ancient cultural artifacts.
Bulgaria has a dynamic climate, which results from its being positioned at the meeting point of Mediterranean and continental air masses and the barrier effect of its mountains. Bulgaria enjoys a temperate climate with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters, often with heavy snow.
Southern Bulgaria and the Black Sea coast record the highest temperatures, with Sandanski often named the sunniest and hottest town in the country; Smolyan, the town with the highest altitude in the country, is one of the coolest, as you’d expect. The Danube plains, meanwhile, are subject to the extremes of central Europe.
The Capital Sofia’s climate is generally favourable, with average daytime highs of around 28°C (82.4°F) in July and August and 3°C (37.4°F) from December to February. Rainfall is highest in the mountains and rural life is often disrupted in winter by huge snowfalls.
Bulgaria has an industrialised market economy in the upper middle income range, where a large private sector accounts for more than 80 per cent of GDP. Most commercial and cultural activities are concentrated in its capital, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture, all relying on Bulgaria's very own natural resources.
Local iron, copper, coal and lead deposits are vital for the domestic manufacturing sector. Major industries include extraction of metals and minerals, production of chemicals, machinery and vehicle components,steel and petroleum refinement. The mining sector and its related industries employ a total of 120,000 people and generate about five per cent of the country's GDP. The country is Europe's fourth-largest gold producer and sixth-largest coal producer. Almost all top export items of Bulgaria are industrial commodities such as oil products ($2.24 billion), copper products ($1.59 billion), medicaments ($493 million) and military equipment ($358 million).
In the past decade and in stark contrast with the industrial sector, agriculture has significantly declined.
Following 2000, Bulgaria experienced an unseen rapid economic growth, even though national salaries remained one of the lowest within the EU with a net average monthly wage of 590 leva (302 euro) in 2011. Wages, however, account for only half of the total household income. The currency is the lev, which is pegged to the euro at a rate of 1.95583 levа for one euro.
In recent years Bulgaria has emerged as an attractive tourist destination with some of Europe's least expensive resorts and its last deserted beaches. LonelyPlanet has ranked Bulgaria among its top 10 travel destinations for 2011. More than 40% of its roughly 9 Million annual visitors were Greeks, Romanians and Germans. Main destinations visited by overseas tourists are annually the capital Sofia, the medieval capital Veliko Tarnovo, the coastal resorts of Golden Sands and Sunny Beach and winter resorts Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovet.
Bulgaria is not part of the eurozone and according to some economic analysts, the financial crisis has pushed the accession date beyond 2015.
Sources: Lonelyplanet, Wikipedia
Bulgaria is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Southeastern Europe. Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Bulgaria has been home to many civilizations - Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians, and Ottomans. Tourism, has been an important source of economic growth. In 2008 Bulgaria was visited by 8.9 million tourists, as outlined by the World Tourism Organization. Tourists from three countries mainly- Greece, Romania and Germany - account for 40% of total visitors. New types of tourism, including cultural, architectural and historic tours, eco-tourism, and adventure tours, are expanding the range of visitor experiences. The tourist industry, especially on the seaside, seems to continue to suffer from construction works, poor handling of visitors, poor advertisement and low bed occupancy. The most important acknowledgement by the local authorities is that these problem areas have been identified and are being tackled and improved upon.
Bulgaria is rich in historical artifacts, but museums to keep them are still up to be built (a central historical and art museum is now being developed in Sofia). Many of the existing museums and monasteries still need to be properly advertised and maintained, and some of the most interesting heritage sites may not be easily accessible, due to poor infrastructure. Still, some overseas visitors regard such "underdevelopment" as desirable - those who prefer to experience history first-hand rather than look at artefacts behind glass.
The nationalities of visitors to Bulgaria vary greatly, but the top 5 countries by number of arrivals providing tourists to Bulgaria in 2011 were:
1. Romania 1,499,415
2. Greece 1,120,640
3. Turkey 860,654
4. Germany 836,845
5. Russia 469,772
6. FyRoM 439,679
7. Serbia 365,644
8. UK 306,939
9. Poland 289,742
10. Ukraine 251,803
(2011Top Ten Overseas Tourist Markets of Bulgaria-Source: nsi.bg)
Sources: nsi.bg, Wikipedia, Lonelyplanet
Car Hire in Bulgaria with MisterHire.Com
During Spring time and partially into Summer (particularly April to mid-June) is an excellent time to visit Bulgaria. The weather is good, cultural venues and theatres are in full swing and low-season rates still generally apply. By mid-October, almost all Black Sea resorts have closed down. As the weather gets colder over the next two months, a gloom about the impending winter (December to March) seems to crawl to local and visitor minds alike. As soon as the first snows fall in around mid-December, Bulgarians start to perk up and flock to the ski resorts higher up the mountains and depending on Winter conditions, sometimes stay operating until mid-April. Apart from skiing in Winter, Bulgaria is also gaining momentum from rising overseas arrivals exclusively for year round bird watching activities.
From small convenient little runners to medium sized saloons and 4x4 Jeep rental options, we present many car hire deals to you at competitive all inclusive prices, whatever your destination, Bulgaria included. We supply hire cars in many Bulgarian locations where you may easily collect your rental car. Pick up points include Sofia city centre, Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna Airports, as well as other towns and cities centre deliveries. Whether you are traveling to Bulgaria for business or simply leisure, we trust we have the car rental options and prices you'll require for a carefree appointments and/or holidays. We do the hard work and constantly monitor and present to you the best inclusive car rental rates all over Bulgaria, so you don't have to. By comparing and presenting the best prices from all the main suppliers like Sixt, Europcar, Avis, Thrifty as well as other carefully selected associates with local knowledge and support, your only task is to plan your way ahead.
Our rates include insurance, collision damage and theft waiver, local taxes and unlimited mileage so there are no costly and hidden surprises when you have reached your pre-selected Bulgaria rental car pick up location. If you would require some optional extras for your trip such as baby seats and/or extra drivers, these options are easily found and neatly presented to you during our secure Online Booking Process.
Speed limits in Bulgaria
Generally speaking, speed limits in Bulgaria are:
• Towns and cities : 50 km/h (31 mph)
• Open Roads : 90 km/h (56 mph)
• Expressways & Motorways: 130 km/h (81 mph)