Where is Bulgaria? And Why You Should Visit

Being a Bulgarian who travels abroad can be quite an experience, especially when it comes to explaining where you come from. Usually, you can hear something like: “Oh, Bulgaria. This is in Africa, right?”, “Are you sure you are not Russian? You look like one!”, “The Balkans? And you speak English?”, but most of all – “Bulgaria? Where is that?”. So, we decided to write about it and explain where exactly Bulgaria is, what kind of people live here and to share some of our culture and national pride.

Map of Bulgaria

So, let’s start with the basics – where exactly is Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is a small Eastern European country, located on the Balkan peninsula. Its territory is 110 993,6 km2 and the population, according to the 2017 data, is around 7 million people. Not too big, right? And we are getting less and less, every year. On one hand, the population is aging, like in most European countries, on the other, lots of people leave Bulgaria in a search for better opportunities and a higher standard of life. Even though the country is a member of the EU since 2006, and NATO since 2004, the development of the Western ideas and way of living is still quite slow.

Bulgaria is situated in the heart of the Balkans and has for neighbors – Romania to the North, Serbia, and Macedonia to the West, Greece, and Turkey to the South and the Black Sea to the East. This geostrategic place has given and still gives the country a lot of opportunities, but also provokes a lot of political interests and conflicts. Even though in the past there has been a lot of conflicts in the region, nowadays Bulgaria and the neighboring countries are in good political and trade relationships. Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece are part of the EU and form its South-Eastern border. There are two bridges above the Danube river between Bulgaria and Romania - one in the town of Ruse and one in Vidin. The second one was built in order to improve the trade relations between the two countries. There is a free passage agreement with Serbia, so people with Bulgarian IDs can cross the border without a visa, or even a passport. The tourism between the countries is well developed and the region is adopting the idea of unity and international relations.

The Bulgarian flag contains three horizontal lines - one white, one green and one red. They symbolize the piece, the nature and the history of the country. The national gerb contains three golden lions which also symbolize the courage and bravery of the Bulgarian people.

 Bulgarian girl, Nina Dobrev

How do Bulgarians look like?

This is a hard question. With such a long history and different tribes and nations coming and going from our territory - Bulgarian people are quite diverse as a phenotype, which makes them quite beautiful and interesting people – both men and women. Their looks differ from a quite pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes, to darker skin, dark brown eyes, and black-brown hair. But if we have to give one dominant look for a Bulgarian, it will probably be - medium height, with a strong body, well-developed muscles, slender figure, light skin, dark hair and light to dark brown eyes. And of course, there is a saying that Bulgarian women are the most beautiful in the world, but you can take this as a way for the Bulgarian man to express their pride of our country.

Talking about sayings and believes, the Bulgarian character is quite strong. Balkan people are usually more emotional and loud than the average European. You can even say they are slightly aggressive, love to argue, to discuss every topic and to give an opinion. If you have to choose only one word to describe a Bulgarian – stubborn is what comes to mind. People here don’t like changes and adopt every improvement slowly and carefully. Of course, in the modern world this would be quite hard, but still, a lot of Bulgarians manage to do it. Nevertheless, Bulgarian people are interesting, colorful, welcoming and if you ask for it, there will always be someone to help you. You can have a great adventure trying to fit in and talk to them, but what stories you can hear. Of course – don’t believe everything you hear, after all – one of Bulgaria’s favorite characters is the greatest liar in history.

Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria

Nature and tourism

After explaining where Bulgaria is, now is the time to tell why you should come to visit. Meeting the people won’t be a good experience at first, but after a while, you will get used to their behavior and at some point, you will even start to like them. But nature and history? Well, this is something that is worth it.

Even if you have just a few days – you can see quite enough to make you want to come back. Let’s start with the capital – Sofia. We have written numerous articles about what you can see and visit there, so now we will just summarize some important things. Sofia has been a settlement long before the Bulgarians. The Thracians first discovered the mineral waters and settled in the area. In the modern world, Sofia is a big, well-developed city with everything you will expect – museums, parks, architecture, nightlife, and tourism. You won’t be disappointed to spend a day or two to explore it.

Outside the big cities, there is a whole different world – the Bulgarian nature. Bulgaria is a wonderful combination of mountains, sea, and a nice four-seasoned climate. The high mountains like Rila and Pirin can offer the hiking lovers unforgettable experience, in the Rodopha mountain you can explore hidden secrets, ancient history, and amazing cuisine, and let’s not forget - the sea coast where you can enjoy the water, the sun, and the nightlife. Caves, places for climbing, lakes, beautiful small villages – you name it, we have it!

 Asenov Fortress, Bulgaria

We will tell you more about the history and the politics of Bulgaria in another article, so you won’t get bored or jealous of how amazing and interesting Bulgaria really is.

So, next time, when you meet someone, and they tell you they are from Bulgaria, you can say: “Oh, Bulgaria, I have read about it – it is a beautiful small country, with stubborn people and centuries of history. Tell me more about it!” And you can be sure, they will.

Bilyana Ninova

Bilyana Ninova is a Marketing specialist, content creator and hobby photographer.

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