Medieval Latin, from Bulgari “Bulgarians,” perhaps literally “the men from the Bolg,” the River Volga, upon whose banks they lived until 6c. But the people’s name for themselves in Old Bulgarian was Blugarinu, according to OED, which suggests a different origin. In other sources [such as Room], the name is said to be ultimately from Turkic bulga “mixed,” in reference to the nature of this people of Turko-Finnish extraction but Slavic language. [online etymology dictionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Active Life – This is a group for all who don’t settle for routine life but always want to try something new, learn a new skill, see new places and people, and grow. We will do shared activities from real life – cooking, studying, travelling, etc. Feel free to share your interests and suggest to others things to do together. [meetup]

Coffee and Code Sofia – Informal weekly get-together. Drink coffee and work on projects, meet new people, discuss new tech trends… [meetup]

EPAM Tech Talks Sofia – EPAM are pleased to announce that starting in 2015, we will be holding a series of Meetups in Sofia! Our main focus is the beautiful and complex world of Java, especially Enterprise Java. But you can expect interesting presentations about . [meetup]

Outdoor Activities & Adventure Sofia – Hello! This group is for people who enjoy the great outdoors and the possibilities for casual activities and adventures! It’s about getting out and exploring new environments, travel, adventures, sport, outdoor fun, meeting new people and challenging yourself! [meetup]

Socializing in Sofia – This group is for people, who want to make new friends in Sofia. [meetup]

Sofia Bitcoin Blockchain Crypto Meetup – This group is for people who believe that bitcoin will rock the world and will be part of the next big revolution in the financial world and beyond. [meetup]

Sofia Gaming Meetup – This is a group for everyone that’s interested in computer and video gaming. If you are into competitive gaming, we would keep an eye on all the major eSports events along with other gamers. If you like Role Playing Games, we would talk about different types of builds and systems in the RPG games that we play. [meetup]

Surround yourself with ppl who are smarter than you in Varna – A meetup for smart, open minded people who like to meet other smart and open minded people with topics like self development, business development and whatever you think can contribute value to our group. Interested? Join us, this group is for everyone, no matter if you are student, entrepreneur or expat! [meetup]

Varna New In Town Meetup – This is a group for everyone who is new in Varna and want to socialize and find out about the city. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Sladur.com – Sladur.com is the best online dating site in Bulgaria by far. It is completely free to sign up, and it has pretty cool “hot or not” style pages in which you can vote whether you think someone is attractive or not (and let them know). [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Hiking Guide Bulgaria – We are a cooperative of local Bulgarian mountain guides who offer different activities in the mountains of Bulgaria – walking, trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking in Summer, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ski touring and off-piste skiing during Winter. [hiking guide bulgaria]

Trekking and Walking Holidays in Bulgaria – Trekking in Bulgaria has long been one of Europe’s best kept secrets. On our challenging “Summits and Ridges of the Rila and Pirin” you’ll ascend the two highest summits in the Balkans, Musala (2925m) and Vihren (2914m) and enjoy fine ridge walks too in the company of a professional English-speaking guide. [walks worldwide]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Asen’s Fortress – Near Asenovgrad is a charming fortress perched high on a hill side. Once home to the ruler of Bulgaria’s second Kingdom, the remains of the fortress are great to explore with old paintings inside. Climb to the highest point for fantastic photo opportunities of the surrounding area. [girl about the globe]

Food Tour in Sofia – I love my food so when I came across a FREE Sofia food tour (yes, I did say “free!”) I could not turn down the opportunity of experiencing my first ever food tour (not to mention a free lunch). The tour with Balkan Bites takes you to a selection of three different restaurants: Supa Star, Sun Moon and Lubimoto which are all family owned. [girl about the globe]

Lay on the beach at Sunny Beach – Sunny Beach isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to party, get a tan and meet others then it’s ideal. It’s not very authentic and is completely geared up for tourists but it’s a nice break from the culture and is fast becoming the Balkans version of the Costa del Sol. [girl about the globe]

Nessebar – It’s only a bus ride away from Sunny Beach but if you’re travelling from Burgas it’s even cheaper on the bus. This historic UNESCO town sits on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea and is the remains of an ancient city dating back more than 3,000 years ago. [girl about the globe]

Shop in Plovdiv – Plovdiv has amazing clothes shopping and although the clothes aren’t as cheap as you would think in comparison to the cost of living, they are very stylish. Even the lady in the tourist office was wearing hot pants! But if you don’t like shopping (or the travel budget doesn’t stretch) then you can just sip coffee in the main square and enjoy some people watching over a very cheap lunch. Plovdiv is the oldest living city in Europe and has to be on your itinerary if you visit the country. [girl about the globe]

Stone Mushrooms in Melnik – Bulgaria has many unique stone formations and none better than the stone mushrooms in Melnik. The town is a hidden gem and is the smallest town in Bulgaria. Melnik is known for its wine producing region and also for its unusual sand shapes. If you want to get off the beaten track then it’s a good place to come as not many tourists come here. [girl about the globe]

The Candlelight Bar – Now this bar is a bit tricky to find and is more like an old stable than a modern bar. It’s real name is ‘Hambara’ and what makes it different is that it is lit using only candles (hence the name) making it extremely cosy. You’ll probably want some company to come here though as it’s more of a romantic place than a bar to meet others. [girl about the globe]

The Church of St George – Hidden away in the capital lies a red-brick 4th century church slap bang in the midst of the Presidency courtyard. This church surrounded by modern buildings each side has the wow factor and can be seen on the Sofia walking tour if you want to see the rest of Sofia on foot. [girl about the globe]

The Seven Rila Lakes – Located in the Rila Mountains (again, hence the name), these seven glacial lakes with their own names including lower lake, fish lake, twin lake, and kidney lake (shaped like a kidney) are scattered at the foot of several peaks and are one of the biggest attractions in Bulgaria. They can be tricky to get to from the capital as you need to take a tram then two buses so it may be worth considering a tour for ease. [girl about the globe]

Wonderful Bridges – This natural phenomenon is in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains. I have no idea why they are called wonderful but the area has such a calming energy that I wanted to stay in this peaceful place for hours to the lack of delight from my tour guide! [girl about the globe]



1000 Bulgarian Folk Costumes in One Place, Razlog – When: 13 April – The Festival “1000 Bulgarian Folk Costumes in One Place” is about promoting the folk and cultural diversity of Bulgaria. 1000 traditional Bulgarian folk costumes are gathering together on April 13th to show that traditions in Bulgaria are alive. Traditionally a huge round dance is performed by all the participants in the festival which starts at 10:30 am in Razlog city center. [davids been here]

Cherry Festival in Kyustendil – When: 27 – 28 June 2015 – This June Kyustendil will host the Cherry Festival. This is related with Kyustendil’s reputation as the Fruit Garden of Bulgaria. For two consecutive days in June there will be a festival devoted to various sorts of cherries, which were produced in the region of Kyustendil. There will be rich artistic program with dances, rituals, songs which present the magic of the cherry and its influence on Bulgarian folklore. [davids been here]

Humour Carnival in Gabrovo – When: 16 May 2015 – The Humour Carnival in Gabrovo draws thousands of visitors every year from Bulgaria and abroad. The day is full with street festivities, funny rituals, giant sculptures, fancy-dressed parties and a lot of smiles. You can also take part of the street carnival if you wear a mask and follow the famed Gabrovo cat which leads the crowd. The theme of this year’s Carnival is “No Gabrovo citizen and no cat land on their backs”. This unique carnival ranks the town of Gabrovo among the rightful members of the Foundation of the European Carnival Cities. [davids been here]

Lazaruvane: St. Lazar’s Day in Etara, Gabrovo region – When: 4th April 2015 – Lazaruvane is an old Bulgarian custom, which is performed to welcome spring. It is celebrated on the day of St. Lazarus – the Saturday eight days before Easter. It is only performed by girls and it symbolize the growth of the girl. Once a girl has performed this ritual, it is considered that she’s ready for marriage. On the day of St. Lazarus a group of girls crosses the whole village and sings folklore songs while visiting all the houses in the village. [davids been here]

Nestinarstvo: fire-dancing ritual in Bulgari village – When: 3-4 June, 2015 – The ancient Bulgarian ritual Nestinarstvo is held to ensure the well-being and fertility of the village Bulgari in south-east Bulgaria. The ritual is famous with its unique barefoot dances on fire performed by nestinari who inherited the right to perform the fire-dance. The whole ritual lasts all day long on 3th of June and the festival culminates in a fire-dance in the evening as the highest form of veneration of the Saints. [davids been here]

Rose Festival in Kazanlak – When: 5 – 8 June 2015 – Bulgaria is also famous with its roses. This small country produces about 70% of the rose oil in the world. That’s why every year a special event is dedicated to the fragrance of the priceless Bulgarian rose. The Rose Festival is held in Kazanlak which is part of the Rose Valley in the country. The first week of June is filled with different attractions and events every day. There are also rose picking rituals in different villages, “Queen Rose” competition, a folklore festival, fireworks show and many more. [davids been here]

Rozhen National Folklore Festival – When: 17-19 July 2015 – The Rozhen National Folklore Festival is held every four years on the meadows of the Rozhen area in the Rhodope Mountains of southern Bulgaria. The Festival aims to popularize the Bulgarian folk dance and song art. The Fest lasts for two-three days and it will be opened with a performance of the distinctive orchestra called ‘Sto Kaba Gaydi’ (One Hundred Bagpipes). The event has become a nationwide singing competition festival for Bulgarian folk music so you will see a lot of folklore performances and traditional songs. [davids been here]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Coaches (Buses) – Everything that’s not covered by other means is covered by buses, plus some overlaps. Buses are often dirty and crowded but they are the only way to reach the airport (except taxis of course), many neighborhoods and most of the peripheral suburbs. [bulgaria travel hacker]

Metro/Subway – Metro trains are still clean and less crowded, except in the peak hours. Using the subway is the fastest way to get from point A to point B. The subway stations are clean, comfortable, and have free wi-fi hotspots. [bulgaria travel hacker]

Mini-buses (marshrutka) – Small seats, uncomfortable ride, higher price, risky driving – if you enjoy this, use marshrutka. Otherwise skip them. They are supposed to be suspended from the public transportation system soon anyway. [bulgaria travel hacker]

Trams – Trams cover mostly the central parts of the city and few of the neighborhoods. Many of the trams go to the main rail and bus station. Trams are relatively comfortable and fast, although subway remains better choice. [bulgaria travel hacker]

Trolleys – Yes, we have some of these strange things in Sofia. They cover some of the routes in the center. If you’ve never riden a trolley, have in mind you must either have a seat or clung to a handle as they tend to change speed sharply. [bulgaria travel hacker]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

C++ User Group Sofia – A group of professional and hobby C++ developers living and working in and around Sofia, Bulgaria, who meet monthly to discuss trends, techniques, and technology regarding the C++ language and industry. This group is as open as possible! Meet others C/C++ enthusiasts, learn something new, share your knowledge and experience. [meetup]

Docker Bulgaria – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker. Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. [meetup]

IoT-Sofia – Anyone interested in Internet of Things in the Sofia area. All people dealing with Arduinos, Raapberry Pis, wearable tech, home automation, smart energy and smart cities are welcome. We will talk tech, business, entrepreneurship and art. [meetup]

Lambda Dojo Sofia – The Lambda Dojo is a monthly meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, open to anybody with an interest in sharing and learning more about functional programming languages and techniques! [meetup]

Meteor Bulgaria – Meet other developers using Meteor. Share your knowledge, apps, and get feedback from others. Meteor is an open-source platform for building top-quality web apps in a fraction of the time, whether you’re an expert developer or just getting started. [meetup]

OpenStack Bulgaria – The Bulgarian OpenStack user group is a vibrant local community of developers, cloud computing professionals and enthusiasts eager to share their expertise and experience with open source software (OSS). [meetup]

Sofia Salesforce Developer Group – Sofia, beer, pizza and Salesforce! What else do you need 😉 [meetup]

Startup Grind Varna – Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome an amazing speaker who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do differently next time. [meetup]

Varna WordPress Meetup – We’re a group of local WordPress developers, designers, and publishers who get together to share our knowledge and experience, and to meet other WordPress users in the area. This WordPress Meetup is open to all who love WordPress — join us! [meetup]

WordPress Bulgaria – WordPress Bulgaria User Group – meeting all WordPress experts and users around, teaching new trendy concepts and sharing knowledge to fellow WordPress friends. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Culture, Social and Language Exchange in Sofia – Are you a foreigner interested in making Bulgarian friends and in knowing more about the country? Here you can meet interesting people from Bulgaria and other countries, and speak with them in their native languages. [meetup]

Internationals/English Speakers in Plovdiv – A Meetup group to bring together all international visitors, those living in Plovdiv and of course we especially welcome the wonderful local Plovdiv people. As an International Group English is our language for our meets. We organise one Meetup a month which is based at a bar and is an enjoyable and relaxed way to meet new people, socialise, network or just a good old excuse to get our for a drink. [meetup]

Plovdiv Spanish-English Meetup – This is a group for those who love Spanish, speak it fluently and want to practise it together with fun-loving, friendly people. It is also open for foreigners new in town or those Bulgarians who have lived many years abroad, returned back home but also feel as if they are new in town! [meetup]

Sofia Farsi Language Meetup – This group aims to bring together speakers of Farsi, and those wanting to learn, to create a dynamic and diverse group from across the Sofia city that meets at interesting and fun venues to immerse themselves in the language and Persian culture. [meetup]

Your Expat Community in Bulgaria – Zdravejte, and a warm welcome to our expat community in Bulgaria! Start your adventure here, using InterNations as your one-stop resource for moving abroad. Connect with a private network of experienced expats and gain an invaluable support system when making that big move to Bulgaria. You may want to ask other expats questions like, “what is the healthcare system like in Bulgaria?”, “where should I live in Burgas?” or “where are the best international schools in Sofia?”. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Bulgayria – bulgayria (gay.bg) is a web site about the news on gay/lesbian/homosexual/queer life in Bulgaria. The gay guide includes the list of gay bar, disco and cruising in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Rousse, Bourgas, map of Sofia (other maps will be added), listing of parties in Spartacus Disco. [bulgayria]

Bulgarian Gay Guide – Your travel guide to the sights and the night life in the Bulgaria as it relates to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. We hope that this travel guide will be a helpful resource on your visit. [bulgarian gay guide]



Places in Bulgaria

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