Cruising in Bulgaria


The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908.

Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into the EU. The country joined NATO in 2004.

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Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 43 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 110,910 sq km
Land: 110,550 sq km
Water: 360 sq km


354 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers


Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
Highest point: Musala 2,925 m


Bulgaria, a former communist country striving to enter the European Union, has experienced macroeconomic stability and strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996 led to the fall of the then socialist government. As a result, the government became committed to economic reform and responsible fiscal planning. Minerals, including coal, copper, and zinc, play an important role in industry.

In 1997, macroeconomic stability was reinforced by the imposition of a fixed exchange rate of the lev against the German D-mark and the negotiation of an IMF standby agreement. Low inflation and steady progress on structural reforms improved the business environment; Bulgaria has averaged 4% growth since 2000 and has begun to attract significant amounts of foreign direct investment. Corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain the largest challenges for Bulgaria.


Airports: 213 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 128
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 85
Heliports: 1 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 2,425 km; oil 339 km; refined products 156 km (2004)
Railways: total: 4,294 km
Roadways: total: 102,016 km


470 km (2006)

Merchant marine

Total: 73 ships (1000 GRT or over) 862,164 GRT/1,276,562 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 40, cargo 15, chemical tanker 4, container 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 4
Foreign-owned: 1 (Germany 1)
Registered in other countries: 40 (Cambodia 1, Comoros 1, Malta 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 16, Slovakia 7, unknown 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Burgas, Varna

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Albania - Algeria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Egypt - France - Georgia - Gibraltar - Greece - Israel - Italy - Lebanon - Libya - Malta - Monaco - Morocco - Romania - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - Syria - Tunisia - Turkey - Ukraine

Further Reading

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