Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

More and more people are visiting Bulgaria every year and there's little wonder why. This under-the-radar gem in the Balkans boasts an intoxicating mix of nature and history that'll grip you from the get-go. If you're thinking of planning a trip to Bulgaria, here are 5 things you should know before you go.

1. It is a non-Schengen countryClickstay Bulgaria infographic

While Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, it is not yet part of the EU's Schengen Area that allows free movement between countries. In some cases, an exclusive Bulgarian Visa may be required, so make sure you do your research ahead of time.

2. Get your money's worth 

Euros won't get you very far in Bulgaria as the national currency is in fact, the Bulgarian Lev. It is also worth noting that the currency symbol is "лв". If you're not familiar with the notes themselves, then you needn't worry too much, as many Bulgarian restaurants and bars list conversion rates in pounds and euros.  

3. You may need a Bulgarian crash course... 

Unsurprisingly, the native language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian. Heavily Slavic in dialect, it isn't the easiest of languages to pick up during a week-long jaunt. Whilst the more tourist-heavy spots tend to boast a good grasp of English, this is far from guaranteed. Our Bulgaria infographic will equip you with the most basic phrases - master them, and remember that nodding means no, and you'll already be one step ahead.

4. Soviet influences still remain today

Architecture across Bulgaria is very much remnant of the country's years under Soviet rule. Nowhere is this clearer than in the nation's capital of Sofia where monolithic and Communist-era buildings continue to dominate the cityscape.

5. Get around by car where possible

The Seven Rila Lakes, Bulgaria

Bulgaria boasts some beautiful boltholes, but many are so off the beaten track that they remain almost impossible to reach on foot. Save your legs the trouble and hire a car to explore the nation's most jaw-dropping landscapes. You'd be a fool to miss the soul-stirring Seven Rila Lakes, Rila Mountains or the Raysko Praskalo waterfall to name but a few beauties... 

If perchance, you don't have a visit in the pipeline - you can change that by booking one of our Bulgarian holiday rentals.