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Headed to Eastern Europe and wondering what to wear in Bulgaria? We’ve got packing tips and advice for this fascinating European country!
What to Wear in Bulgaria
Written by: Lola Méndez
The beautiful Balkan country of Bulgaria is an under-the-radar travel destination that’s not to be missed. From the ultra-hip capital city of Sofia; to the oldest continuously inhabited society in Europe, Plovdiv; to the beautiful southern wine country in Melnik; and the color-blocked Rila monastery, there’s much to be explored!
We’ve got tips on what to wear in Bulgaria, including clothing, shoes, and other essential must-haves to pack for your vacation.
Here are few more guides to help you when packing for Europe:
- The Ultimate Packing Guide for Europe
- Backpacking Packing List for Europe
- How to Choose the Best Shoes for Europe
- Best Suitcases for Traveling Europe
Bulgaria Clothing Style
Bulgarian cities are modern and hip with all the chain retailers you’d find in western Europe and America. Young women are incredibly stylish and pay attention to the details of their outfit and often coordinate down to their shoe color and handbag. When deciding what to wear in Bulgaria, you’ll want to pack chic clothes to fit in and feel confident as you explore Bulgaria.
We have lots of helpful tips to avoid looking like a backpacker in Europe – find out what they are!
Bulgaria has four distinct seasons. In the spring, temperatures are usually 59-77°F / 15-25°C, in the summer up to 95°F / 35°C, in the autumn 59-77°F / 10-25°C, and winter 5-23°F / -5 to -15°C.
It’s a small enough country that the weather doesn’t vary much between regions, usually no more than a few degrees. During the summer, expect warmer temperatures along the coast of the Black Sea and in the winter expect cooler temperatures in the mountains. This can make it easier for you to choose what to wear in Bulgaria.
Read this useful guide to packing for different climates!
What to Wear in Bulgaria When Touring Sofia
Sofia has recently been gaining notoriety as one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities, and it’s a fashionable one, too. The ultra hip capital of Bulgaria is a hub for creative millennials and travelers alike.
Sofia is the second oldest capital city in Europe, so between checking out innovative vegan cafes, local designer shops, and enjoying the city’s many parks, you may find yourself in front of historic monuments, Roman-era buildings, and other archaeological sites.
Read these packing lists on Travel Fashion Girl to find out what locals are wearing at your destination!
To learn more about Sofia’s history, I recommend joining one of the daily free walking tours. (Don’t forget to tip your guide!)
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you’ll either need to focus on looking stylish through your outerwear and cold weather accessories in the winter, or boldly mix and match lightweight pieces in the summer.
A beautiful floral romper paired with chunky heeled sandals and a light duster coat is ideal for a spring day exploring Sofia. Leggings, a cream fisherman knit sweater, flannel scarf, and riding boots create a timeless look for a fall day exploring the city.
Wondering about the latest European fashion? Check out this must-have clothing for Europe!
Opt for a crossbody bag that’s large enough to fit all your essentials but small enough to be comfortable carrying around all day. Locals don’t tend to get too dressed up for nightlife here; they’re way too cool for that. You’ll fit right in wearing your day outfit to dinner and bar hopping at night.
If you’re going on a food tour, wear loose drawstring pants and a flowy top or a maxi dress – trust me, you won’t regret having the extra room for all the delicious Bulgarian delicacies you’ll get to try!
Check out our top picks for maxi dresses for travel!
What to Wear in Bulgaria When Visiting Plovdiv
From Sofia, you can reach Plovdiv for a day trip by taking the train, bus, or a taxi. The historic center of Plovdiv is relatively small so you can see it in a day, especially if you do a walking tour.
Wondering what to wear in Bulgaria when touring Plovdiv? Comfort is key as you’ll be commuting for a few hours and then on your feet strolling around the city for the entire afternoon.
In the spring, opt for an A-line denim skirt with a tucked-in patterned blouse and comfortable ballet flats. For summer, pack a sundress with a fun motif like lemons, butterflies, or leaves and pair it with a bright pair of sandals and sunglasses.
For fall, your favorite striped tee and jeans are a classic look. If you’re visiting towards winter, make sure to bring a flannel lined parka with faux fur.
Here’s how to stay warm in cold weather without the bulk!
Just make sure you’ve packed durable water boots, a heavy winter coat to stay warm, and a sturdy umbrella to battle the snow.
Find out what TFG’s readers chose as the best womens waterproof leather boots!
What to Wear in Bulgaria When Visiting Rila Monastery
It’s possible to do a day trip to Rila from Sofia, but the best option is to rent a car and visit the Rila Monastery for the afternoon, spend the night in Melnik, and visit the vineyards the following day.
Rila Monastery is one of the most important religious sites in Bulgaria so it’s important to dress modestly. Please be respectful and cover your shoulders and knees.
If you’re visiting in the summer and wonder what to wear in Bulgaria, bring a light scarf to wrap around your shoulders and over your favorite maxi dress. For spring, fall, and winter, the cooler weather means you’re likely already a bit more covered up.
You can blend into the scenery by wearing your favorite red, black, and white items, especially stripes! Or stand out by wearing bold colors and patterns that contrast from the architectural design elements. I opted, as usual, for all black.
If you’re making a day trip out of the visit, you may want to wear hiking shoes, leggings, and a tee, as Rila is the highest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula. There are many beautiful trails in the area. You can even go chase some waterfalls!
Find out how to choose the best hiking shoes for women!
What to Wear in Bulgaria When Visiting the Melnik Vineyards
The last stop – and my personal favorite on my Bulgarian adventure – was the Melnik wine country. This southernmost point of Bulgaria offers sweeping views of endless vineyards and even a glimpse of Greece in the distance!
If you’re visiting in the summer, wear a floral maxi dress, a big floppy sun hat, and ballet flats as you frolic in the vineyards and taste incredible wines.
Check out how to wear a floral print dress and our top picks!
Pack leather pants with your favorite turtleneck and booties for fall. Although the grapes won’t be in season, you can still stroll the vineyards or even ride a bike between each winery.
Here’s a collection of the best ankle boots for fall travels!
To further prepare for your trip and choose what to wear in Bulgaria, read my story on the 10 things I never knew about Bulgaria on my travel journal, Miss Filatelista.
What are your tips on what to wear in Bulgaria? Share your tips in the comments below!
For more packing tips, please visit these Europe Packing Lists:
- What to Wear in Romania
- What to Wear in Belgrade
- What to Wear in Istanbul
- What to Pack for the Western Balkan Peninsula
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring
- Lonely Planet Bulgaria (Country Guide)
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
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Author Bio: Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she adds to her collection of passport stamps. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 46 countries. Passionate about sustainable travel, she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.