Tips for Visitors
Bulgarians shake their heads from left to right to mean ‘yes’ and ‘nod’ to mean no. Well, sometimes. Locals in the cities and holiday resorts often do it our way, so unfortunately you haven’t a clue whether they mean ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These days it's generally the older generation that continues this tradition, which dates back to the time of the Ottomans.
Dislike cigarette smoke? You could find this a problem in some restaurants and bars. There's no getting away from it - Bulgarians like their ciggies. The law says that restaurants, bars and cafes must provide non -smoking areas and they do, but in practice, this often means a few tables surrounded by tables for smokers.
Good buys are linen, crafts, rose oil perfume, wine and plum brandy.
If like me, you love yogurt, Bulgaria's is said to be one of the best in the world. It has a unique taste because the bacteria used to make it, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, is only found naturally in Bulgarian air.
Talking of food, Bulgarian bakeries sell a fabulous range of pastries and breads and which cost next to nothing.
Some beaches get very busy with tourists, such as Sunny Beach, famous, or rather infamous, for drinking and partying!
When to visit? As is the case in many countries, June to September is the peak summer season in Bulgaria. This is when airfares and accommodation are most expensive.. Winter is an ideal time for budget travel and destinations are less-crowded then too. If you like skiing then it's a fabulous and much cheaper alternative to France and Switzerland's expensive ski resorts.
More on affordable, fun, friendly Bulgaria here and here too
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. Website gillypickup.co.uk