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Holidays in Bulgaria
Traditional beach resorts and glorious nature. With beach holidays for all tastes, watersports and some incredible scenery to explore (plus surprisingly good value for money), it's really no wonder that Turkey's northern neighbour has gained in popularity. Grown-up relaxation or family fun awaits with our wide selection of Bulgaria holidays
Spring and autumn mean fewer crowds and a still-comfortable climate of around 20°C.
If you’re going to the Black Sea resorts, Bourgas airport lies 35km south of Sunny Beach and 40km northwest of Duni. If you’re heading to Bansko, fly to Sofia, 120km north.
Book a Thomas Cook holiday to Bulgaria for summer fun on the Black Sea beaches, to winters on the ski slopes, and year-round traditional festivals.
With its miles of golden sands and variety of bars and hotels, Sunny Beach certainly lives up to its name; this huge resort has everything from waterparks for the kids, to all-night clubbing for party-loving adults – and a fabulous beach for soaking up the warm rays. From here, it’s easy to explore the rest of the Black Sea coast, including the peaceful resort of Duni, to the cultural cities of Burgas and Varna. Explore the landmark Alexander Nevsky Church in the capital city, Sofia. Winter sports fans should stay in Bansko for a world-class ski resort with a long history.
There are plenty of things to do in Bulgaria, from the sunny Black Sea coast, to ski and snowboard runs in its winter sports resorts. Enjoy family holidays at Sunny Beach and tranquil beaches at Duni’s secluded bays, not far from historic treasures at the seaside towns of Nessebar and Sozopol. Take a trip inland for traditional villages where time seems to stand still, to the remote monastery at Rila and Byzantine-era churches in its capital Sofia. In winter, enjoy whizzing down the ski slopes at quaint Bansko, or the southern-most ski resort, Pamporovo.
Bulgaria has some absolutely brilliant beaches with plenty of appeal for both families and adults travelling without children. The sand at lively Sunny Beach (the hub of holiday life here on the Black Sea coast) just seems to stretch on forever, and there's a delightful collection of beaches at classy Duni. Plenty of bars and restaurants and an array of watersports await, while visitors can discover the more traditional side of Bulgaria's coast in the picturesque seaside towns of Nessebar and Sozopol with their fascinating old architecture.
Rugged coastline aside, this is a country of inspiring natural scenery – forests, mountains, valleys and waterfalls abound, especially in Stranja National Park. Amongst the mountains are age-old villages, where life is slower, simpler and more peaceful. In Varna, the capital, sights are more cultural and include a beautiful cathedral. There's a quiet but strong culture in Bulgaria – local traditions are still observed in folk festivals all over the country, while authentic meals combine eastern European flavours with those of Turkey and Greece.
Bulgaria’s ski resorts mean that there’s plenty of year-round fun. In Bansko, experience top-class skiing and snowboarding with the charm of a traditional village. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site with quaint black-and-white houses and cobbled streets. At popular Borovets, Bulgaria’s first ski resort, you can enjoy the Pirin Mountains plus an easy trip to the famous Rila Monastery – it’s Bulgaria’s largest. Just 60 miles north of the Greek border, Pamporovo is Europe’s southern-most ski resort so you’re guaranteed around 250 sunny days a year.
Sun seekers: Enjoy a relaxing swim on Sunny Beach.
History lovers: Bask in the late afternoon sun as you stroll around the history-laden town Nessebar.
Skiers: Glide down the slopes in the ski resort of Bansko.
Language: The language spoken in Bulgaria is Bulgarian.
Currency: The currency used in Bulgaria is leva, but the Euro (€) is widely used.
Local time: Bulgaria is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: If you’re going to the Black Sea resorts, Bourgas airport lies 35km south of Sunny Beach and 40km northwest of Duni. If you’re heading to Bansko, fly to Sofia, 120km north.
Flight time from UK: 3-3.5 hours
Tourist Information: Further Bulgaria tourist information can be found at http://bulgariatravel.org
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bulgaria for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Bulgaria.
Temperature: Up to 28°C in July and August.
Best time to visit Bulgaria: Spring and autumn mean fewer crowds and a still-comfortable climate of around 20°C.
From warm, dry summers on the Black Sea coast, to snowy winters on the Pirin Mountain ski resorts, take your pick of your favourite climate in Bulgaria. At the resorts of Sunny Beach and Duni, enjoy a climate like the Mediterranean with up to 300 sun-filled days each year. Watch out for rain though, it can happen any month! For the other extreme, Bansko’s typical ski season is the longest in the country – from mid December to mid May.
By bus: There’s a great network of high-speed buses and coaches to help you get around Bulgaria between most towns and cities, privately run, on good highways.
By hire car: Renting a car means that you can really get off the beaten track and explore the country’s hidden-away villages – although bear in mind that most signs are in Cyrillic.
By train: Why not take a leisurely train journey? In addition to domestic journeys, there are also buses and trains over international borders, to Turkey, Greece and Romania.
By taxi: Within all towns and cities, taxis will take you around – make sure the meter is switched on, and try and get your destination written in Bulgarian script in case the driver can’t speak English.
Easter: During Orthodox Easter families head to local churches and play games with coloured eggs on Holy Saturday.
Varna: In Varna, it’s a packed programme throughout the summer with music, theatre and folklore in outdoor stages across the city.
Folklore festival: The ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, stages its annual Folklore Festival where acts gather from all over the world in the picturesque medieval city.
Bansko: The mountainous resort Bansko enjoys the International Jazz Festival for a week in August, where the quaint old town becomes a hub of world musicians.
Roses are red: Harvests are widely celebrated – enjoy one of the sweetest ones, June’s Rose Festival in Kazanlak.