Has anyone been to Bulgaria?

Old Oct 24th, 2001, 05:48 AM
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Has anyone been to Bulgaria?

Any comments on traveling in Bulgaria?
Old Oct 24th, 2001, 06:07 AM
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None whatsoever.
Old Oct 24th, 2001, 06:15 AM
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I was in Bulgaria about 14 years ago when it was under Soviet control. I went to the capital and it was very dirty, the food was terrible.
I spoke to a recent immigrant from Bulgaria who told me that all of this has changed. Sofia is full of nice restaurants, cafes, and is very beautiful and clean now (according to her).
Old Oct 24th, 2001, 12:41 PM
Ben Haines
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I've been perhaps ten times, before and after 1990. The grea cities are indeed clean and attractive. For me the best is Plovdiv, city of Philip of Macedon, with three Roman theatres, a mosque, and beautiful houses of the Bulgarian Renaissance scattered over the hill.

The wines are good (I drink their reds here in London) and the food in the best restaurants and pubs (everything is chap) is excellent, especially Bulgarian lamb.

Busses are ordinary, but first class train by day, and second class sleepers by night, are cheap and good, though not modern nor elegant. Taxis are cheap: a guide book will tell youy which lines don't cheat you.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines
Old Mar 26th, 2002, 02:35 PM
Geir Jøsendal
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I've been to Bulgaria app. a dozen times during the past four years. The whole atmosphere is a bit "retro", but changes are happing at a fast pace, and I recommend going there before it becomes just another internationalized place. Food and drink is cheap and good, and in the bigger cities, you will find good live music at many night-spots.

An irritating phenomenon is the odd practise in hotels of charging foreigners two or three times the price offered to locals. Staying, drinking and dining in the big hotels in the cities is horrendously expensive, and with some labour, but with some effort, you can find better deals with smaller hotels. In Sofia, I recommend the Rotasar, a 6-8 minute taxi drive away from downtown.

There are two sorts of taxi drivers: The absolutely honest and dead cheap ones, and the totally corrupt ones who will do their utmost to rip you off. If you find an English speaking one in the first category, you may be well advised to hire him for the whole day at a fixed price.

If you have more particular questions, I'd be happy to answer them if my court schedule and travel intiniary allows me. Do go there - it is a different, and hence worthwhile experience!
Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 09:27 AM
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I know its been a few years since anyone wrote on this thread but - Ben Haines : Are you out there still? I am planning to go to Sofia next week to meet up with a friend who is there for a meeting. I need a moderatley priced hotel that is safe ( I will be staying there alone) and some ideas of what to do while she is in her meetings. Thanks!

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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:28 PM
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Message: I know its been a few years since anyone wrote on this thread but - Ben Haines : Are you out there still? I am planning to go to Sofia next week to meet up with a friend who is there for a meeting. I need a moderately priced hotel that is safe ( I will be staying there alone) and some ideas of what to do while she is in her meetings. Thanks!

Isn t it good how threads stay around so long. I must admit I have not been for about four years, or more. Last time I stayed I was in the Hotel Maya, Trapezittsa 4, phone 89 46 11, a small family hotel in a big block opposite the Central Department Store, called TsUM. In 1999 it cost 20 US dollars for a single room and 30 dollars for a double, in either case with the bathroom down the corridor. The room was clean, with TV and fridge, and the location was central, with, for example, direct trams from the station and to the main concert hall in the NDK Palace of Culture, a monument of socialist bad taste (but the music is good).

You can find more in an annotated hotel list at http://www.sofiaecho.com/hotels.php/. A correspondence on the Lonely Planet forum in 2004 gave these, but they may be too simple, too noisy, or otherwise unsuitable.

Hotel Iskar near Sofia station at 11b, Iskar str. Single 25 US dollars, double 32 US dollars, in June 2003: [email protected] and
http://www.hotelbg.com/en/hotphp/otg...0e7754d9c5b72/. Phone: 02/ 986 67 50 Fax: 02/ 980 43 45 E-mail:

Hostel Mostel 20 minutes walk from the station at 2, Denkoglu street, Sofia 1000. Tram: 6, 9, or 12 for 3 stops from the station. Double 15 euros per person: dorm bed 10 euros. Reviews at http://www.bugeurope.com/reviews/Bulgaria/Sofia/. tel: (0889) 22 32 96 website: www.hostelmostel.com email: [email protected]

Neither is anything like as central as the Hotel Maya.

As I said, I prefer Plovdiv, but I have the Lonely Planet guide book to Eastern Europe, 1999, and I agree with them in suggesting you go to the National Archaeological Museum to see the hoards of pre-Roman gold, to the National Art Gallery, to the mosque and the tiny fourth century church behind the Sheraton Hotel. If the central baths are open again after major repair they are fun: huge, ornate, steamy, and cheap. I am afraid I forget the ethnographical museum, and do not much go for nineteenth century Orthodox churches (which are good in Sofia).

Bulgarian food is good, especially any of their styles of lamb (with their red wine). The guide book lists a restaurant I remember after four years, the Bai Gencho, national in style, at Knyaz Dondukov 15, 15 minutes walk east of the hotel, and on a tram route. I think you can look up restaurants at http://www.sofiaecho.com/restaurants.php/ and that the site carries reviews.

As you gather, I went to good concerts of classical music. They also present folk dance and violin music in taverns, but I think their jazz is poor. When they show foreign films they subtitle them: I have been to a couple of good French films, even in Communist days. I think nightlife is reported at http://www.sofiacityguide.com/index.php/, and more generally events are listed at http://www.sofiaecho.com/expat.php and
http://www.standartnews.com/english/, then Arts. As I recall, I found out what was on in all fields by buying a daily paper in Bulgarian each day and asking hotel staff in the Maya or the Sheraton to translate for me. In 1999 my guide book says that a good office with helpful staff was the National Information and Advertising centre, at Sveta Sofia 1: don t think I knew it was there. In 1999 it was 100 yards south of the hotel. The Sheraton Echo is useful, but very incomplete: thr Sheraton hotel sells it.

My rather old notes, about 1997 to 99, list these web sites. Please do tell me if I should delete some: that will help me advise future enquirers.
Search engine, with pages on travel, hotels: http://www.search.bg/
Cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Melnik, Sandanski, and Varna, hotels, resorts, monasteries, museums:
Links: http://www.travel-library.com/europe/bulgaria/
Links for culture and arts, tourism and travel: http://www.dirbg.com/
For cultural background people, history, cities & villages, food, nightlife, etc., plus useful tips
Orientaton: http://bg.orientation.com/en/home.html
Visit to Bulgaria: http://get.info.bg/visit/Dir.asp?d=0
Useful tips: http://www.sofiaecho.com/tips.php
Lonely Planet have a site for travellers reports of what they found. It is erratic, and mostly not about Sofia, but good: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/letters/eur/bul_pc.htm

Please write again to tell me what web sites to delete, and to ask whatever else you choose. Congratulations on widening the scope of this forum by attending to Bulgaria, not often discussed here.

[email protected]
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Never been but looked at it. I met a woman the other night who travels all the time and she said Sofia was one of her favorite places in the Europe.
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Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:09 AM
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