How to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Bulgaria

How to celebrate New Years Eve in Bulgaria
How to celebrate New Year's Eve in Bulgaria | © Stephanie McCabe / Unsplash
Maria Angelova

Being easily accessible by plane from most European countries, Bulgaria’s city of Sofia has turned into a popular New Year’s Eve celebration destination for many foreigners in recent years. Known for its affordable prices and parties, the capital, along with many other cities in Bulgaria, can be a breath of fresh air for those searching for a new place to welcome the upcoming year. Here’s everything you should know before heading to Bulgaria for the New Year.

How to prepare for New Year’s Eve

The end of December is usually cold (often freezing cold) in Bulgaria, so pack a warm coat and boots. If you want to spend the evening at a club or restaurant, you should make a reservation way ahead of time, sometimes a month or more. The same goes for booking a hotel or an Airbnb, especially in big cities like Sofia or Plovdiv. Restaurants and clubs usually have a set menu (or several from which you can choose), as well as entertainment for guests like live music, comedy shows, or DJs included in the fixed price. Always ask what is not included, since alcohol is often not part of the fixed price and can make a big difference in the bill.

In most big cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas), free open-air celebrations are held on the main squares. These are organized by the local municipalities and usually involve Bulgarian music stars and folk orchestras that will introduce you to the local culture. In spite of the cold, hundreds of Bulgarians choose to welcome the New Year in these city squares and the atmosphere is light and joyous.

When the speech of the President starts on TV, Bulgarians prepare the champagne

Shortly before midnight, the Bulgarian National Television broadcasts the speech of the President. For people celebrating at home and outdoors, this is a sign to get ready to pop the champagne and get ready for the strikes of the clock. Right after midnight, everyone listens to the national anthem of Bulgaria and then dances Dunavsko horo – a traditional folk dance performed to the music of composer Diko Iliev. You can prepare by learning the steps of the dance, although no one will mind if you join the row of dancing people and learn the steps on the spot.

Opening hours around New Year’s Eve

Big supermarkets and most shops remain open until quite late on December 31 (the day is an official working day), so you can buy food and drinks even at the last minute. At the squares, where open-air celebrations are held, there are always food and alcohol stands. January 1 is an official holiday, which means very few shops and supermarkets are open, so it is a good idea to stock up on supplies the previous day. Some cafes and restaurants may open at noon or in the late afternoon, but you should ask in advance to be sure.

Fireworks

Things to be careful about

There is a major New Year’s Eve Bulgarian activity that is hard to explain until you see it. Piratki are small-scale fireworks that look like cigarettes, and although they only make a loud noise when they explode, they can still tear your finger off or deafen you if they explode close to you. Piratki are literally thrown everywhere from balconies and passers-by and become more prevalent with every hour leading up to midnight. In spite of the great number of accidents with piratki every year and their ban in some cities, they are still a major problem. Take caution when walking the streets before midnight.

The other things you should consider are more obvious: keep an eye out for excessively drunk people, and bring layers of warm clothes if you plan to celebrate in the open air.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article