4 Feb 2015

Bulgaria: A-Z Tips & Important Information

We at Balkan Holidays would like to wish you an enjoyable and memorable stay in the beautiful country of Bulgaria so we created this list especially for you to provide all the information you will need for a safe and pleasant holiday along with some interesting facts about your chosen destination.

 

ALPHABET

The Bulgarian alphabet was created by two brothers, Cyril and Methodious, and it is called Cyrillic, after one of them. Bulgaria is the only country in the world that has a national holiday celebrating their alphabet which is held on the 24th May each year.






BANKS
We recommend that you use First Investment Bank for all your banking needs. This is the safest place to exchange money at. A branch of First Investment Bank can be found next to the main Balkan Holidays Office in the centre of resort (next to Globus Hotel)

BATHROOMS
Bulgarian bathrooms tend to be rather basic compared to western standards. It is quiet common for showers not to have trays, but a hole in the bathroom floor. Most hand basins are lacking a plug as it considered unhygienic to wash in still water. Please request a foot towel or bath mat if one is not in already in place.

 




CHANGING MONEY    
                                                              
Do not change money on the street as this is illegal and there is a good chance you will be cheated. Money should only be changed at reception desks or banks in the resort. It is recommended that you check commission rates beforehand. Most places will not accept Sterling notes that are torn or written on. Scottish notes are generally not accepted.

CREDIT CARDS
Please do not rely on credit cards for local purchases. You can use your credit cards for drawing cash from the ATM.

CURRENCY
The monetary unit in Bulgaria is called a “lev” (Plural “leva”). The coins are called “stotinki”. One lev comprises of 100 stotinki. Banknote denominations include 1,2,5,10,20, 50 and 100 leva.

CHEMISTS
All major resort areas have a chemist in the central part of the town/resort. It is possible to buy most kinds of foreign medicine that you are used to, or sometimes you will be offered the local equivalent, whichever is usually cheaper.

CIGARETTES & SPIRITS
Bulgarian cigarettes and the large selection of local spirits are of excellent quality. Imported spirits are more expensive compared to the national ones. Cigarettes are generally cheaper in Bulgaria than in the UK.






EXCURSIONS
All excursions and activities can be purchases through the Balkan Holidays representative and their ground handler (Balkan Holidays Partners) who will confirm your purchase with the officially licensed local provider. Rogue traders are known to operate in the resort selling unofficial excursions and for your own peace of mind, we recommend that you only purchase your excursions which are officially licensed by the local authorities. 






FOOD
Part of the fun of being on holiday is trying local meals. Soon you will find that Bulgarians consider it unhealthy to eat food piping hot. Therefore, if you get served a meal that is not hot enough, the easiest thing to do is to ask your waiter to heat it up so that it is hot enough for your liking. Bulgarian cuisine is completely different to yours and it is definitely worth trying!






GOLDEN SANDS
Golden Sands is Bulgaria's largest seaside resort on the Northern coastline. It boasts an outstanding combination of a sunny beach and mountainous terrain. Being suitable for younger holidaymakers, the resort is situated only 20 minutes from the lively city of Varna.

GOOD BUYS
Pottery, Carved Wood, Crystal, CD's, Leathers, Suede, Embroideries, etc. 






KHAN'S TENT
The best cabaret show in the resort of Sunny Beach with live music, international dancers and acts enjoyed with a delicious four course meal. 






LINEN CHANGES
Usually in 2* and 3* hotels linen is changed on a weekly basis and towels every 3 days. In 4* and 5* hotels, sheets are changed twice a week and you receive fresh towels daily. Please check with the reception of your hotel for more details. 






MEDICAL ATTENTION
Medical services can be requested from the reception of your hotel 24 hours a day. Please note that medical services must be paid for, therefore, make sure you keep all receipts if you wish to raise a claim on your holiday insurance when you return home. If you have a major medical emergency, please contact your Representative immediately.

MOBILE TELEPHONES
It is extremely expensive to use your mobile phones to make calls to the UK. See "Phoning Home" further down for the cheaper options available.






NIGHT LIFE
There is a wide variety of traditional taverns, restaurants, bars and disco clubs. Some of them charge a small entrance fee






PASSPORT & FLIGHT TICKETS
Passports are kept at reception for 24 hours upon arrival for local registration purposes. You will not need your passports or flight tickets in resort so therefore we recommend that you keep them in the safety deposit boxes available at your hotel.

PHONING HOME
The international dialling code for the UK is 0044. You will then need to omit the first 0 of the UK area code you are dialling (e.g. 0161 444 6666 becomes 0044 161 444 6666). Internet Calling Kiosks are widely spread throughout the resort and are one of the least expensive ways to make a phone call. Calling from your hotel room or reception will cost significantly more.

POLICE STATION
The police station is situated on the main traffic road of the resort. In case of emergency, please contact the hotel reception and they in turn will telephone the police for you. Please ensure you notify your Balkan Holidays Representative as well.

POST OFFICE
Situated in the very centre of resort, you can choose to either post your letters and postcards from the post office or give them to your hotel reception to post for you






RESTAURANT OPENING TIMES
Please check the restaurant opening times with reception of your hotel as they do vary slightly. Normal opening times are usually 7:30 – 10:00am and 18:00 – 21:00pm. Any additional drinks or extras apart from your entitlement should be paid for at the end of each meal.






SAFETY DEPOSIT BOXES
Please DO NOT leave valuables in your room or carry them around the resort. Safety deposit boxes are available at reception at a small charge per day.

SECURITY
Please always remember to lock your door when you go out and make sure windows and balcony doors are securely shut. The management of the hotel will also not take responsibility for items not kept in the safety deposit boxes.

SOFIA
Sofia is the largest city in Bulgaria and has been the capital city since April 1879. Is it one of the most ancient European cities. Today there are many archaeological sights in Sofia that display the city's diverse history – the castle gates, towers of Serdica and public buildings and streets dating back thousands of years. Among the attractions of the city are the Rotunda of St. George, which is the city's oldest cultural monument. Other monuments to be found are the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, St. Petka Church and the Russian Church.

SUNNY BEACH
The biggest and most popular seaside resort in Bulgaria. One of the biggest attractions in coming to a beautiful resort such as Sunny Beach is bathing on the 8km long beach in the glorious summer sunshine! 






TAP WATER
Tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Nevertheless, if you prefer the taste of bottled mineral water, it is widely available at shops, bars and restaurants.

TAXIS
Taxis are available in resort. Your hotel can book one for you if required via reception. All the taxis should have an official meter installed but we recommend you agree the price before you get in the taxi and begin your journey.

TIPPING
Tipping is customary in Bulgaria. If you feel you have a received a good service then 10% of the bill is considered normal. For individual waiters, cleaners etc. tipping at the end of your stay is welcomed if you wish. In restaurants, please check the menu to see if a service charge is already included.

TOILET TAX
In Bulgaria many public toilets will charge you a small amount for using the facilities. If you travel further a field from the tourist resorts the facilities do become more basic and we advise you to keep some tissues with you at all times






YES & NO
Bulgarians nod and shake their heads the opposite way. Try not to get confused! 

Thank you for taking the time to read through our A-Z list and we hope you have found the information provided helpful and interesting. Have a wonderful holiday!

Balkan Holidays Team

www.balkanholidays.co.uk