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BulgariaBulgaria

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is located in southeastern Europe and has a population of 7.3 million people. One of the newest members of the European Union, Bulgaria is bordered to the north by the River Danube and Romania, to the east by the Black Sea, to the south by Turkey and Greece and to the west by Serbia and Macedonia. Bulgaria is a contrast of traditional old-world timber-framed villages and quickly blossoming cities. They have a growing flow of tourists visiting the beaches of the Black Sea and skiing in the Balkans mountain range. The Medical Tourism industry in Bulgaria is ever increasing with a 20% increase in 2004, and a continuing rise since then. The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian and the Cyrillic alphabet is also used - Bulgaria is the only EU nation to use it. English, German, French and Russian are spoken in major tourist resorts and hotels.

Medical tourism

Bulgaria is a popular destination for medical tourists seeking Cosmetic and Dental procedures. There are also a number of providers specialising in Cardiology, Eye, Orthopedic and Neurology. They are also popular for non-surgical offerings such as their Slimming Centres and Mineral Water Treatments. See the box to the right to view a full list of available treatment areas.

Best time to travel

Bulgaria's weather is temperate with warm summers and cold, snowing winters. Spring (particularly April through to mid-June) is an excellent time to visit as the weather is fine, although there is often frequent rain, and the costs may still be lower from the low peak season. Summer (mid-June through to early September) is the peak tourist time for travellers to the Black Sea coast, but this has generally slowed down by mid-September. By mid-October most Black Sea resorts have closed for the impeding winter when the crowds then move on to the ski resorts.

Money and costs

The Bulgarian currency is the lev/leva- often abbreviated to lv (BGN, symbol лв) and while prices have risen since joining the EU, compared to many Western European countries it is still considered a very affordable destination. Major purchases can often be made in Euro. Find up-to-date exchange rates and conversion through a currency conversion tool. For a comfortable mid-range vacation, travellers should allow around 80lv per day. However, Sofia will be more expensive than other areas of Bulgaria.

Visas

Visas are not required by travellers from the USA, UK, Europe, Canada or Australia and most other countries, for stays of up to 90 days. Visitors wishing to extend their visit to Bulgaria beyond this 90-day limit have to apply for a residence permit.

Getting there

The main international airport in Bulgaria is Sofia airport, though some airlines also fly to/from Varna and, in summer, to Burgas. There are direct flights from numeorus European and UK cities with a quick and easy commute for residents of these countries. Travellers from further away, such as the USA, Canada and Australia will have to change flights at one of the more central Euorpean hubs before heading to Bulgaria. There are a number of airlines to choose from such as Bulgarian Air, Turkish Air, EasyJet, Bristish Airways and Air France. A number of cut-price carriers also operate throughout Europe that might be worth a look.

Dialling codes

To call Bulgaria, the country dialling code is +359.

Useful links

Find more in-depth information on Bulgaria at:

Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com/​bulgaria

Bulgaria Tourism - www.bulgariatravel.org

Bulgaria Embassy in the USA - www.webhousing.biz/​~bulgaria

Bulgaria Embassy in the UK - www.bulgarianembassy-london.org

NHS health information on Bulgaria - www.nhs.uk/​NHSEngland/​healthcarebulgaria/​Pages/​healthcarebulgaria.aspx

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Page last updated: Friday, 2nd September 2011