The winter and early spring tradition of Kukeri in Bulgaria includes many noisy, furry monsters dancing and just being as loud as possible to chase the evil spirits away. Usually, every person dressed up as a Kuker has a wooden mask. If you have any kind of evil in your life that needs to be scared away, a Kuker mask is the perfect gift.
Duduk is a wooden flute traditionally used by shepherds in Bulgaria. A few people keep the tradition alive today and still make the musical instrument which you can find in musical shops or souvenir shops.
Bulgaria is among the leading rose oil producers in the world and its rose products are used in some of the finest French perfumes and cosmetics. You can buy virtually anything with extract from the local variety Rosa Damascena, from handmade soap to refreshing facial tonics and jam,
Martenitsa is the red-and-white thread that Bulgarians tie around each other’s wrists on March 1. Martenitsa is believed to keep you healthy and wealthy so bring at least one home.
If you visit a Bulgarian monastery, look around for the monks’ produce. The monks in many monasteries pick herbs, have cow herds or sheep flocks, or produce fruit jam or wine.
The traditional shirt worn by Bulgarians is usually white with specific patterns embroidered in bright colors on it. In the past, every shape meant something special for the owner of the shirt.
All right, maybe just one magnet! If you are not much into wearing traditional clothes but you like the bright colorful patterns of the shirts you could look for embroidered magnets.
Bulgarians drink a lot of herbal tea, especially in winter. You can get industrially produced tea in any supermarket but for a special touch go to a bio food shop and see what they have to offer. We recommend you to find mursalski chai tea famous for its overall positive effect on the human body. It can only be found in the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria.
Etar is an open air museum close to the town of Gabrovo that shows what life in Bulgarian villages used to be 150 years ago. Aside from the houses, you can watch some traditional crafts still being practised. You can take home a hand-made leather belt, old-style shoes, try food from the past or just quench your sweet tooth with a sugar rooster from the sweet shop.
The mountain town of Troyan and its neighboring village Oreshak are famous for the beauty of their pottery. It has its roots in the past but many young artists interpret the traditions of the pottery and create amazing shapes and shades from clay. As there’re many imitations, it’s best to travel to Troyan to get your piece.
Many older Bulgarian ladies are masters of weaving beautiful lace patterns. They often sell their lace tablecloths and clothes in the touristy areas for a reasonable price.
Sharena sol (literally mixed salt) is a mix of Bulgarian spices used in traditional cuisine. You can buy it in any supermarket but in the busy tourist spots they offer it in a small jar where all the spices, different in color, are arranged to form shapes and figures.