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Republic of Bulgaria/Република България

Region: Southern Europe

Area: 110, 993 thous. sq. km

Capital: Sofia

Major cities:   Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse

Climate: temperate with cold winters and hot summers; the barrier effect of the Balkan Mountains has some influence on climate throughout the country – northern Bulgaria experiences lower temperatures and receives more rain than the southern lowlands

Language: Bulgarian

Religion: Orthodox Christians

Local time: GMT +02

Calling code: +359

Currency: Lev

Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club

Visa: visa-free stay for citizens of EU, the USA, Japan and Israel for a stay up to 90 days. For more details please visit

Transport: air transport, motor transport, railway transport, water transport

International airports (cities): Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna


Bulgaria has for several decades been renowned for not only long-reaching traditions of health-resort treatment and rehabilitation programmes at famous balneological resorts but also high level of medical service for overseas patients. The country has scores of private clinics with European standards employing doctors of international renown, who annually undergo practical training in Japan, the USA, and Europe.

Multi-field and specialised medical centres of Bulgaria are facilitated by cutting-edge equipment, and the prices for treatment remain quite affordable. Innovative equipment is widely used for visual diagnostics (CT, MRT, interventional roentgenology, mammography with stereotactic biopsy, osteodensitometry, and ultrasound visualisation).

High personnel qualification and absence of language barriers attracts more and more foreign patients to Bulgaria each year — both from the CIS countries and Europe. Many medical facilities have coordination centres which, along with controlling treatment process, organise rest and leisure time of their patients.

Many Bulgarian medical facilities cooperate with foreign colleagues and even have a shared electronic system with international medical centres for interactive information exchange and online consultations.

The following fields in Bulgarian medicine are among the most demanded by overseas patients: diagnostics, dentistry, oncology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and traumatology, gynaecology, cardiology, surgery, and neurosurgery. In addition, most medical procedures are excellently combined and complemented by recovery recreation at local resorts.

In Bulgaria there is a leading European centre of multiple sclerosis treatment, where annually thousands of most complicated surgeries are performed. All types of diagnostics and surgical interventions are conducted applying mini-invasive surgery. The period of rehabilitation and recovery lasts from 2 days to one week. An important achievement of Bulgarian professionals is diagnostics of hidden asymptomatic forms of atherosclerosis, which allows controlling the disease and preventing serious complications.

Cardiologic clinics perform a full spectre of cardio-vascular surgeries: valve prosthetics, valve preservation surgeries, reducing the volume of left ventricle to improve its function, and many other complicated surgeries.

Recommended time for treatment: March to June, September to November.

Bulgaria is one of the acclaimed European centres of balneology recreation and treatment. Over 500 thermal springs can be found on the country’s territory, and the citizens from the CIS countries, Western Europe and USA come to visit them each year. Most recovery, therapeutic and preventive establishments strive to provide the most in advanced world technologies in recovery, as well as folk methods and the best in internationally acclaimed specialists.

Excellent results of recovery and treatment are brought about by fresh mountain and sea air, unique natural factors, and first-class service. The most popular recovery resorts in Bulgaria – Hisarya, Sandanski, Velingrad, Devin, Bankya, and Kyustendil. There you will be offered recovery, treatment and rejuvenation sessions with the use of mineral water and healing muds from the bottom of local lagoons and bays. All this is possible at a substantial fraction of the cost in associated with personal involvement and caring approach.

Patients with diseases of the urinary system, digestive tract, with diabetes, podagra, obesity (hyperadiposis or adipomegaly) more often visit Hissar City, where the treatment course is based on the procedures with the use of waters from local mineral springs.

Any time of the year, you may come to the Sandanski resort. By its natural and climatic factors, it is most beneficial for patients suffering from bronchial asthma. Treatment and recovery programmes here are based on the cutting-edge physiotherapeutic technologies, along with traditional inhalations with mineral waters and healing herbal infusions.

Patients who have problems with musculoskeletal apparatus, hypertension and neuroses are recommended by physicians to visit Devin. Velingrad is the best spot to have a recovery period after a complicated surgery, to improve the immune system and to heal heavy traumas. Inflammatory processes and skin diseases are successfully treated in the town of Kyustendil, where waters from 40 thermal springs are used for water procedures and wrapping.

One of the most prestigious and expensive resorts in Bulgaria is considered to be Bankya. Wealthy patients from Western Europe and CIS countries come for recovery and treatment here. Main indications for staying are – cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and toxicosis. The essentials of treatment are drinking courses of mineral water, inhalations, water procedures, showers, kinesitherapy, massage, and special diets.

3*- from €50;

4*- from €75;

5*- from €110.


Most dishes of Bulgarian cuisine are not only very substantial and savoury but healthful as well. They are primarily cooked with an abundance of fresh vegetables, greens and herbs, over a grill or in clay pots. The most popular local dishes are prepared from wild game, poultry, meat, vegetables, and fish, often adding bryndza (sheep milk cheese).


Popara/Papara or Masonica (popular dish prepared from cut stale or fresh bread soaked in tea, milk or water, adding butter, olives, bryndza).

Bryndza Šop-style — bryndza stewed in a clay pot together with tomatoes and sweet pepper.

Meat dishes

‘Gyuvech srednegorski’ (pieces of veal and pork stewed in a clay pot with pepper, onions, tomatoes), ‘teleshko vreteno’ (veal roll), ‘musaka’ (meat mince stewed with aubergines or potatoes under an egg-milk sauce), ‘rodopsko cheverme’ (roasted lamb, prepared on a spit over an open fire), ‘kavurma po melnicharski’ (pieces of veal or pork stewed in a clay pot with onions), ‘sarmi’ (vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, mutton, or pork), ‘plakia’ (oven-baked meat with an abundance of onions), sausages (lukanka, sujuk, sushenitsa), ‘yahnia’ (thick meat and vegetable stew), ‘kebapche’ (pan-fried or oven-baked short meat sausages)

Vegetable dishes

Bread-crumbed pepper, pepper stuffed with vegetables and rice, ‘kjopoolu’ (aubergines stewed with garlic and nuts), ‘Šopska’ salad (prepared from tomatoes, cucumbers and bryndza), ‘bjurek’ pepper (sweet pepper stuffed with bryndza and oven-baked), shepherd’s salad (vegetable and ham salad), ‘chushki’ (sweet pepper of various kinds), juicy stewed vegetables


Bob ‘chorba’ (Lenten soup from white beans), spinach soup, ‘kurban’ (veal soup with vegetables), ‘tarator’ (resembles Russian okroshka; finely cut cucumbers, pounded nuts and garlic are mixed with sour milk), ‘shkembe chorba’ (hot soup with umbles)


‘Banitsa’ (bryndza pastry), pumpkin pie, ‘pogacha’ (round bread resembling Russian korovai), ‘tutmanik’ (puff/filo pastry with bryndza and meat)


Sour sheep milk, ‘katmi’ (pancakes with honey and nuts), ‘lukum’ (sweets made with starch, sugar, and water), ‘khalva’ (sweets made with nuts and seeds with sugar), ‘pakhlava’ (puff/filo pastry with nuts soaked with syrup), ‘garash’ (chocolate cake)


‘Mastika’ (strong anisette), rakia (fruit brandy), local red (Mavrud, Grymza, Melnik red) and white wines (Traminer, Muskat, Misket, Rose), ‘ayran’ (sour drink from youghurt and water), ‘Menta’ (mint liquor), ‘baza’ (vegetable kefir with the taste of sweet cucumbers)

Alexander Nevski Memorial Church in Sofia (built to commemorate 200,000 Bulgarian soldiers fighting for liberation from the Turks in the Russo-Turkish war; this crypt prides in its exhibition of beautiful icons and the choir), Rotunda of St George in Sofia (dates back to the fifth century and contains 14th-century frescoes), Rila Monastery 121km off Sophia (constructed in the 10th century the building is placed on pine forest mountain peaks hosting murals, woodcarvings, old weapons and coins).

Golden Sands (major seaside resort town on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast), the Pirin National Park (highlands with crystalline lakes and limestone rocks), the Thracian Kazanluk Tomb (UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site with perfectly preserved murals dating from the 4th century BC).

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