Country profile

About Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a country at a crossroads – both in terms of its physical position and its social and economic development. Geographically, Bulgaria lies across the main routes from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, bordering Turkey and Greece to the south, Romania to the North, Serbia and Macedonia to the West and the Black Sea to the East, with Russia and the former Russian republics beyond. This strategically important position has left this beautiful country with a rich history and heritage, including fascinating Roman and Greek ruins. Bulgaria has the most ancient monuments and historical sites of any country outside Italy and Greece.

A former Soviet Bloc nation, the Bulgaria of today still struggles with the ghosts of its communist past, although it is a European Member State, it has not advanced as much as some of its neighbours, although there have been many improvements since the austere years. In some ways these benefit the healthcare tourist as many doctors and dentists have set up in private practice to avoid low-paid state jobs, creating a strong and highly competitive private healthcare market.

Tourism is an important industry in Bulgaria, with stylish ski resorts in the Balkan Mountains, such as Pamprorovo and Chepelare, to the north, and miles of stunning Black Sea coastal resorts, with friendly names like Golden Sands and Sunny Beach, along the east coast, all developed to meet the high standards of European tourists. Prices are generally low, so your money will go just that bit further in Bulgaria.

Like many countries in the region, Bulgaria remains largely unspoiled, with a sparsely populated interior where the way of life hasn’t changed much for centuries. The vast forests and spectacular mountain ranges to be found here offer a wealth of outdoor activities including a choice of well marked and maintained tracks for hiking and horse-riding, especially in the Rila and Pirin mountain regions. And while the roads and public transport system may present something of a challenge to travellers used to a more modern infrastructure, the effort is well worth it once you reach your destination.

By contrast, Bulgaria’s cosmopolitan cities offer a much more modern take on life, with the capital Sofia leading the way with a typically European mix of street trams, cafes and cultural attractions. If you are coming here for orthopaedic surgery, cosmetic dentistry or for private work by a cosmetic dentist you will probably want to be within fairly easy reach of Sofia or one of the other larger cities but escaping into the countryside when you recover is always an option.

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Quick facts

Population: 7.3 Million
Currency: Lev
Capital: Sofia
Languages: Bulgarian
Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox (75%), Sunni Muslim (10%)