Discover Bulgaria in Europe

Bulgaria with its capital Sofia is located in Europe (Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea). It covers some 110,911 square kilometres (slightly larger than Tennessee) with 7,262,000 citizens. Bulgarian and Turkish are the official languages used in Bulgaria. Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Serbia are bordering countries.

Bulgaria is a country in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea. The Bulgarian language is related to Serbian, Russian and other Eastern European languages, but contains many international words. Bulgarians use the Cyrillic alphabet which can make the task of getting around the country somewhat difficult if you aren't familiar with this alphabet as most signs are written in it. However, getting acquainted with the alphabet isn't very difficult and may save you a lot of trouble, especially as many common words are homophones of English or French words. Bulgaria is a member of the Schengen Agreement but has not yet fully implemented it. For EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.

Pictures from the Bulgarian capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Sofia is like. We have selected more pictures from Sofia on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate, hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Bulgaria Tourism

1 St. Sofia Str.
1000 Sofia

Phone: +359 2 987 9778
Phone: +359 2 989 6939

The landscape features mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast. The average density of population is about 65 per km². The climate in Bulgaria can be described as temperate with cold, damp winters, hot, dry summers. Potential threats by nature are earthquakes or landslides.

To reach someone in Bulgaria dial +359 prior to a number. There are 2,164,000 installed telephones. And there are 10,617,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".bg". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 230V - 50Hz.

Description of the flag of Bulgaria

Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the pan-Slavic white-blue-red colors were modified by substituting a green band (representing freedom) for the blue
note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed.

National administrative regions of Bulgaria

Historical background information

The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Demographic Information

Bulgaria has 174 citizens over the age of 100 years. Female citizens make up for 136 of this count (which is 78%). 337,664 kids are between the age of of 0-5 years (and make up for 5% of the total population). 9.4 babies are born per thousand citizens.

Bulgarian Age Distribution

Blue bars represent male citizens. Red bars represent female citizens. A pair or bars represents a single age group spanning five years each. Data has been released 2011.

Gender Distribution (Full Population)

Total share of male (blue) and female (red) citizens of the total population of Bulgaria

Growth of Population (per thousands)

Babies born per thousand citizens (blue) and deaths (red) over the past ten years.

Geography And Economy Facts

Geographic Fact Data
Summary Continent: Europe
Neighbours: Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Serbia
Capital: Sofia
Size 110,910 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 42,823 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Tennessee
Population 7,262,000

Economy Facts

Technology and Economy Data
Currency Name: Lev, Currency Code: BGN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .bg
Telephone Country Prefix +359
Mobile Phone Connections 10,617,000
Landline Phone Connections 2,164,000
Military Spendings 2.6% (of GDP, Gross Domestic Product)

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Type of Data Value World Rank
Area 110,879 (sq km) 105

People and Society

Type of Data Value World Rank
Population 6,981,642 101
Population growth rate -0.81 (%) 229
Birth rate 9.07 (births/1,000 population) 206
Death rate 14.31 (deaths/1,000 population) 8
Net migration rate -2.86 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 172
Maternal mortality rate 11.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 152
Infant mortality rate 15.60 (deaths/1,000 live births) 105
Life expectancy at birth 74.08 (years) 114
Total fertility rate 1.43 (children born/woman) 199
Health expenditures 6.90 (% of GDP) 84
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 118
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 3,800 122
HIV/AIDS - deaths 200 103
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 23.70 (%) 72
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 1.60 (%) 125
Education expenditures 4.60 (% of GDP) 92
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 26.6 (%) 34


Type of Data Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 105,500,000,000 72
GDP - real growth rate 0.80 (%) 165
GDP - per capita (PPP) 14,500 93
Labor force 2,451,000 113
Unemployment rate 9.90 (%) 108
Distribution of family income - Gini index 45 39
Investment (gross fixed) 20.40 (% of GDP) 91
Taxes and other revenues 33.7 (% of GDP) 72
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.40 (% of GDP) 70
Public debt 17.90 (% of GDP) 134
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.40 (%) 52
Central bank discount rate 0.22 (%) 142
Commercial bank prime lending rate 10.63 (%) 81
Stock of narrow money 13,910,000,000 70
Stock of broad money 37,680,000,000 73
Stock of domestic credit 37,110,000,000 68
Market value of publicly traded shares 7,276,000,000 76
Industrial production growth rate 5.90 (%) 52
Current account balance 542,800,000 44
Exports 27,670,000,000 68
Imports 30,320,000,000 65
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 17,930,000,000 60
Debt - external 50,540,000,000 61
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 52,290,000,000 54
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 1,893,000,000 71


Type of Data Value World Rank
Electricity - production 41,900,000,000 (kWh) 56
Electricity - consumption 28,100,000,000 (kWh) 65
Electricity - exports 12,000,000,000 (kWh) 16
Electricity - imports 1,166,000,000 (kWh) 60
Electricity - installed generating capacity 12000000 (kW) 51
Electricity - from fossil fuels 46.4 (% of total installed capacity) 163
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 20.3 (% of total installed capacity) 11
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 22.2 (% of total installed capacity) 85
Electricity - from other renewable sources 1.9 (% of total installed capacity) 59
Crude oil - production 1,000 (bbl/day) 96
Crude oil - imports 123,400 (bbl/day) 45
Crude oil - proved reserves 15000000 (bbl) 87
Refined petroleum products - production 120,000 (bbl/day) 69
Refined petroleum products - consumption 112,700 (bbl/day) 74
Refined petroleum products - exports 78,180 (bbl/day) 47
Refined petroleum products - imports 29,940 (bbl/day) 88
Natural gas - production 68,000 (cu m) 94
Natural gas - consumption 2,170,000,000 (cu m) 78
Natural gas - imports 2,480,000,000 (cu m) 47
Natural gas - proved reserves 5,663,000,000 (cu m) 88
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 42,170,000 (Mt) 66


Type of Data Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 2,356,000 54
Telephones - mobile cellular 10,475,000 73
Internet hosts 976,277 47
Internet users 3,395,000 63


Type of Data Value World Rank
Airports 202 28
Railways 4,152 (km) 40
Roadways 19,512 (km) 109
Waterways 470 (km) 84
Merchant marine 22 93


Type of Data Value World Rank
Military expenditures 2.60 (% of GDP) 49

Based on the content from The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by, CIA world facts book Edition 2010, 2013 and 2014, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases as well as other sources.