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Bulgaria Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

The climate in Bulgaria is continental, but changes to humid subtropical climate along the Black Sea Coast. The country’s mountain chains and large plains, along with cold air masses from the north and warm air masses from the Mediterranean, all have an impact on the climate in Bulgaria.

Sofia is the capital and the largest city in Bulgaria. Geographically it sits in western Bulgaria, between Vitosha Mountain and the Balkan Mountains range. Sofia has a humid continental climate with cold winter and hot summer. Sofia has an average precipitation of 581mm (22 inches) a year, with spring and summer being wetter than other seasons. See the weather in Sofia and the best time to go guide for more information.

Plovdiv is the second largest city and an ideal base for wine tourism in the Thracian Valley. It has four distinct seasons with temperatures vary wildly. Summer usually starts in May and ends in late September, with average highs reaching 31°C (88°F) in July and August, but it is also fairly common to see temperatures climbing to 40°C (104°F) and beyond. Winter is cold, with average lows dipping below the freezing point from December to February. The best time to visit Plovdiv is from April to July, then September to October.

Burgas and Varna on the Black Sea Coast have a humid subtropical climate and both places enjoy long, hot summer from May to October, with average highs reaching 28°C (82°F) in July and August. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, although November is usually the wettest month. Winter is milder than inland areas but can be cold too. January is the coldest month with an average low of -1°C (30°F).

Required clothing

Lightweights in the summer and heavyweights in winter. Waterproofs and extra layers are useful too.

Geography

Bulgaria is situated in Eastern Europe and bordered to the north by the River Danube and Romania, to the east by the Black Sea, to the south by Turkey and Greece and to the west by Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia. The Balkan Mountains cross the country reaching to the edge of the Black Sea and its golden beaches.

The land is heavily cultivated, covered with forests and crossed by rivers. Although Bulgaria lies in the very southeast corner of Europe, the climate is temperate – cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. The Black Sea resorts have some of the largest beaches in Europe and offer sunbathing from May until October, while in winter heavy falls of snow are virtually guaranteed in the mountain ski resorts.

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