Extremely varied: large plains and lowlands, low and high mountains, valleys and lovely gorges.
Temperate continental with clearly marked four seasons. A Mediterranean influence is felt in the country's southern regions. The average annual temperature is 10.5°C. The average January temperature is around O°C. Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C.
English, German, French and Russian is spoken in the country's resorts, hotels and restaurants.
Cyrillic. Signs along international motorways, in airports and resorts are also spelled in Roman letters.
86.6% of the population are Orthodox Christians, 13% are Muslims. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with democratic government.
January 1 - New Year
March 3 - Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman rule - the National Day
Easter - one week after the Catholic Easter
May 1 - Labour Day
May 6 - Bulgarian Army Day
May 24 - Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and the Slav Script
September 6 - Bulgaria's Unification
September 22 - Independance Day
December 25-26 - Christmas
Sofia (pop. 1,141,000)
Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Turnovo