1. Packing luggage for your Bulgarian child

On your first trip to Bulgaria you will meet the child and will spend 5 business days with him/her in order to getting used with each other a little bit. It is good to bring with you the following items:

  • camera - to make picture and movies of the child
  • photo album with pictures of you, your home, etc. which to leave to the child
  • toy as a present - an interactive toy is a better choice than a soft toy; you may bring a fun toy that sings or flashes on kid’s pushing a button, a puzzle which you could arrange together, a ball to play with, etc.
  • some candy or chocolate -better buy these in Bulgaria.

On your second trip to Bulgaria you take your child from the institution and you have several days to spend together in Bulgaria before all papers  -adoption ruling, new birth certificate and child’s passport -get ready. For this trip you need to bring:

  • camera -to make picture and movies of your first days with the child
  • toy as a present
  • alcohol-based hand gel
  • antibacterial hand wipes -very useful!
  • underwear,pyjamas, clothes, shoes for the child -please, check the proper sizes with the personnel at the orphanage

Packing luggage for you


Pack your luggage in the usual way for a week travel. If you have forgotten anything, you will easily find almost everything in Bulgaria.

Better not forget a step-down voltage converter and a plug adapter for charging video cameras, laptops, mobile phones, etc. -Bulgaria uses 220-240 voltage (compared to 110 in the USA and Canada) and Bulgarian sockets are type C Europlug or type E or F Schuko – look at the picture.

2. Accommodation

When the time comes, ANIDO team will offer you decent hotels for your stay in Bulgaria (in Sofia and in the country) and will make the reservations for you.

3. Drinking water

Tap water throughout Bulgaria is potable but if you favour bottled mineral water, half alitrecosts around 30 euro cents.

4. Eating out

Foreigners usually like Bulgarian cooking as the cuisine is quite diverse.

A must try are some typical local dishes like shopska salad -goes well with rakia (type of grape or plum brandy), homemade yoghurt, tarator (a cold sort of soup of yoghurt with cucumbers, garlic and walnuts) or snejanka (the same but with strained yoghurt), Smilyan beans, chushka byurek (fried pepper stuffed with white cheese), mish-mash (fried peppers, white cheese, eggs & tomatoes), kyopolu (smashed vegetables mixture) and meshana skara (mixed barbeque for meat fans). Bulgaria is also a place where you can enjoy a variety of delicious salads in quite big portions. Typical for the Bulgarian cuisine is the use of herbs like cumin, savory, spearmint, red and black pepper, parsley and fennel.

European cuisine is quite common in the country, especially Italian food. You can also find good Turkish, Greek or Chinese restaurants.

Fish is getting more and more popular in the country due to the fresh imports through Thessaloniki.

If you are used to McDonald’s or KFC food, these places are available in Bulgarian cities.

Tipping of 10% is customary in restaurants. If you are not happy with the food or the service, do not leave a tip.

ANIDO will be glad to recommend you some good restaurants in Sofia. While staying at the countryside, ask the staff at the reception desk of your hotel about good places to eat out.

5. Payments in Bulgaria

Payments in Bulgaria are in local currency and usually in cash. You can exchange your money in a bank but also at a money exchange office where margins are usually lower. You can also draw money from an ATM (cash machine) but make sure to cover the keyboard when entering your PIN. Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels and restaurants as well as large shops. Bulgarian lev is pegged to euro at an exchange rate EUR 1 = BGN 1.95583.

6. Language skills in Bulgaria

Foreign languages are taught since kindergarten and the language education continues until university graduation. Having in mind that English is most popular in Bulgaria, you can easily start a conversation in that language with an average Bulgarian. German, Spanish, French and  Italian are not so common, and if you try to speak Russian, you will be understood but will most probably be answered in Bulgarian.

7. GSM connection

You can use your mobile phone everywhere in Bulgaria. High quality GSM coverage and service is provided on almost 100% of the Bulgarian territory by Globul, Mtel and Vivacom operators; UMTS network is also developed. Roaming agreements exist with most of the international mobile phone operators.

8. Internet connection

Most major hotels in Bulgaria offer internet connection and some have Wi-Fi access. GPRS connection is provided by Mtel, Vivacom and Globul. Wi-Fi is also available in some parks. You can also get advantage of internet cafés and the network of internet clubs.

9. Health concerns and immunizations

Please, take with you any medications that you administer on a daily basis. If you have forgotten any of these, you will be able to buy it from a local drugstore. If it is not offered over the counter in Bulgaria, ANIDO will help you visit a doctor in order to get the necessary prescription.

While staying in Bulgaria, if you or the child you are adopting gets ill, ANIDO will help you to be seen by a doctor and receive the proper treatment.

There are no compulsory immunizations for foreigners coming to Bulgaria.

If you would like to get recent health news about Bulgaria, you may check but if you have any serious doubts if it is the right time for you to travel to Bulgaria, e.g. based on news about flu outbreak, please discuss it with your ANIDO contact as bad news are sometimes exaggerated.

10. Safety in Bulgaria

Bulgariais a rather safe place. However, in big market-places and in public transportation pickpockets may operate, so be sure to secure your valuables. Wearing expensive clothes andjewelleryis not recommended.

11. Taxis in Bulgaria

Taxis in Bulgaria are relatively cheap. Usual fares in Sofia are around BGN 0.60 per km during the day and BGN 0.70 during the night. In some locations like Varna fares go more than twice as high. You can check the fares on the list attached on the taxi’s front window. Pay your bill according to the fare shown on the taximeter. Luggage is never additionally charged. Tips are welcome although not obligatory.

You may take a taxi from taxi stands which are widely available at bus stops or stop a taxi on the street by waving a hand. You may also ask the staff at the reception desk of your hotel to call a taxi for you.

12. Cultural differences

Bulgarians are usually friendly to foreigners, so in general you will feel welcome in the country.

Bulgarians are open, talkative and easily make friends. They have good sense of humour and most Europeans as well as Americans can understand a Bulgarian joke with no difficulty. Bulgarian men like to chat about football, politics and women, and women -about children, cooking, shopping, beauty treatments and men.

What is completely different is the Cyrillic alphabet which has many letters similar to Latin alphabet, but sounding differently. Below is some guideline table in case you are curious to read Bulgarian. It might be useful as important signs are not always available in English.

Bulgarian alphabet

You will be surprised how many words English and Bulgarian have in common, such as:

mum -мама (mama)
brother -брат (brat)
sister -сестра (sestra)
cream -крем (krem)
film -филм (film)
product -продукт (product)
computer -компютър (kompyutar)
team -тим (tim)
company -компания (kompaniya)
business -бизнес (biznes)

Looking someone in the eyes while talking to him/her is polite and appreciated, and is a must when you say “cheers” before drinking.

Staring at people’s faces at public places is considered as bad manners and is not encouraged.

When participating in a conversation with Bulgarians, don’t get confused by their nodding as it is on the contrary to the West European “yes” and “no” signs. A typical Bulgarian will shake a head “yes” and will nod a head “no”, although it will be a slightly different nod in bottom to top direction. At the same time many young Bulgarians that have studied abroad or have had contacts with foreigners will use their heads just your way :)

Intercountry Adoption Council sessions

This section contains information on the referrals (proposals) made by the IAC. This is the body within the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, which makes the referrals.

Exceptional professionals - A. M. and K. B, Barcelona, Spain

When we arrived in Bulgaria in 2004 in order to adopt our little girl, this was a totally unknown country for us with its language and customs.

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