Bulgaria Travel Guide, Gap Year Volunteering and Tours
Bulgaria is a up and coming travel destination which has had massive foreign investment in recent years. The Black Sea Coast with spectacular white sandy beaches is one of the main attractions for tourists whilst there are lots of winter ski holidays available at competative prices.
Bulgaria Travel Ideas, Gap Year Programs & Experiences
Get inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking or take a gap year in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria Destination Guide
Get ideas, inspiration and advice for visiting Bulgaria.
- Capital: Sofia
- Population: 7,385,367 (July 2006 est.)
- Currency: Lev (BGN)
- Area: 110,910 sq km
- Interntional Dailing Code +359
Top Reasons to Visit Bulgaria
- Up and coming destination
- Less touristy than most other countries in Europe
- Spectacular nature
- Great value, being a tourist here is very cheap
How to Get to Bulgaria
If you live in Europe then Bulgaria is only a couple of hours flights away and lots of low cost airlines operate like EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air fly direct to Sofia for around £100 ($150). If you are arriving from North America or other global destinations you might need to catch a flight to Europe and then internal to Bulgaria.
Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a really underrated destination and is diverse in terms of things you can see and do. Here are some places you should add to your Bulgaria travel itinerary:
- The Mountains
- Black Sea Coast
- Veliko Tarnovo (the previous capital of Bulgaria)
- Local churches and monasterys
- Belogradchik Rocks
- You could visit the cave monastery
- If adventure is your thing go kayaking in the Kamchia forest park
- Small towns and villages like Koprivshtitsa, Kovachevitsa, Etar and Bozhentsi
View our Europe travel guide.
Walking and Trekking Tours in Bulgaria
There are some of the best areas in Europe to join a walking and trekking tour, most are based around the Rodopi Mountains which are a very underrated and undervisited destination. Local and international travel operators offer tours here and you can expect a huge mountain range with spectacular scenery. The hikes and treks here are amazing, there are well taken paths and also more remote areas to visit and on these trips you will get to experience cultural highlights and see rural life in Bulgaria with farmers and local guesthouses - the local hospitality will be one of the highlights. Be sure to climb Vitosha which offer stunning views over Sofia. For safety reasons it is better to join a tour than to try it independently and there are tours available in both summer and winter.
Volunteer in Bulgaria
There are lots of volunteering programs available to join including community, childcare and also consrvation projects available to join all year round. Large international charities and local NGO's have been working for decades to help people and improve infrastructure / living conditions. Some organisations provide assistance on the ground helping build new homes or make renovations to existing structures, a lot of family lives in poverty and do not have the financial means to help themselves.
You might not know but Bulgaria has a shockingly high rare of abandoned children and many end up living in state run institutions. There are orphanages located throughout the country, they often lack the funding and resources which is where international organisations help. You will probably be placed on a group program with other people from all over the world. There are lots of excursions and activities you can book once in country, you might want to go skiing or head to a beach depending on the season.
Location of Projects
Most projects can be joined in places like Bourgas, Kavarna, Varna, Sofia, and Plovdiv. There are more options if you are looking to volunteer in Europe, for example you could combine experiences and also apply to volunteer in Romania. This country is located to the North of Bulgaria and there are more placements here.
You might need to pay a joining fee or donation when applying with an organisation or local NGO this usually include pre-departure support and placements, airport transfers, in-country support, meals and accommodation. To get a paid volunteer job in Bulgaria you might need to take a TEFL course and teach English.
Shared accommodation with other participants is usually provided, you might be able to book something independently though. Don't worry Bulgaria might be a developing country but there are modern facilities here and you can find wifi is cafes and bars.
The average day can vary but usually you will work Monday - Friday around 5 hours per day with weekends off.
Local people speak Bulgarian, you might want to take a phrase book or learn some basic words. A lot of younger people speak English but not a lot of older people do which can make communication difficult.
Positions are open all year round so you can apply to join programs any time. On our website you can apply direct, options include short and long term projects, summer programs and you can ask for more information or register for next year.
- Generally ages 17+ can apply
- Must be able to obtain a tourist visa
- Need to be in good health
- No previous experience needed