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The Climate in Bulgaria

This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor at Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 05 January 2017. The law and practice in Bulgaria change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is an overview of the climate in Bulgaria - average temperature, rainfall, sunshine and season length. It also looks briefly at extreme weather in Bulgaria.

Introduction

Although Bulgaria is not a huge country (at 110,994 square km), it does straddle several climate zones. Click on the Köppen lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject map below to expand.

Bulgaria Koppen map

Temperatures depend on where you are - the southwest, by the Mediterranean sea, is mildly subtropical. The plains of the country are temperate. The mountainous regions are much colder (great for skiing).

We chose the most popular expat and tourist destinations to focus on below, but do check out weather averages for the particular city you're interested in. If you're having trouble finding that information online, email office@guides.global and I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Data for the 'average weather' charts below came from Holiday-Weather.com, Weather & Climate Information, and World Weather Online.

Extreme weather and natural disaster in Bulgaria

Flooding in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is prone to flooding. Recently, there were particularly damaging floods in 2005, with 20 people dead over three months and in 2015, when 12 people died in Varna and Dobrich after flash floods.

Bulgaria is restoring flood-plains to reduce risk of flooding from the Danube, as well as working together with Turkey to find risk-decreasing strategies.

Storms in Bulgaria

Storms are a risk to people and property in Bulgaria. Hailstorms with pieces of ice measuring up to 10cm across can cause huge damage in minutes. The storms can also contibute to flooding (see above).

Excitingly, in order to minimise crop damage, parts of the country are protected by hail suppression units, which fire rockets into the storms and decrease the size of hailstones.

Earthquakes in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has seen plenty of earthquake activity, and is likely to see more - scientists have identified seven seismic spots that have the potential to cause earthquakes of 6.5 or above on the Richter scale.

The last earthquake with more than a couple of fatalities was in 1977, when over 100 people died in Svishtov after several apartment blocks collapsed. In 1802, the Vrancea earthquake (epicentre in Romania) almost completely destroying the cities of Ruse, Varna and Vidin.

The Climate in Sofia

Sofia has distinct cold winters and warm-to-hot summers, with relatively short and volatile springs and autumns (although a Bulgarian autumn is quite dry and warm compared with a lot of Europe).

The city sees snowfall from November through to April, particularly in December and January (around 70cm per month).

Average minimum/maximum temperatures in Sofia (°C)

Average precipitation in Sofia (mm)

Average number of rainy days in Sofia

Average hours of sunshine per day in Sofia

The Climate in Bansko (mountains)

Most visitors to Bansko want to know about snow coverage. It's excellent - you can expect covered slopes from December to mid-April.

Those who want to stay in the city long-term will be relieved to know that spring and summer are warm and pleasant, though a rainy autumn arrives earlier than in lower parts of the country (you'll want to start wearing a warm jumper from around mid-September).

Average minimum/maximum temperatures in Bansko (°C)

Average precipitation in Bansko (mm)

Average number of rainy days in Bansko

Average hours of sunshine per day in Bansko

The Climate in Varna (Black Sea)

Varna is a warm city, positioned as it is by the Mediterranean sea, but it is a wet one - even the summer sees considerable rain volume.

The summer season is long - from May to October - and warm, which secures its popularity with holiday home owners. You will probably see snowfall in winter, but it is unlikely to settle for very long.

Average minimum/maximum temperatures in Varna (°C)

Average precipitation in Varna (mm)

Average number of rainy days in Varna

Average hours of sunshine per day in Varna

Average sea temperature in Varna (°C)

Source: SeaTemperature.org

Expats' Tips

Do you have any tips on dealing with the Bulgarian climate? Email office@guides.global.

Conclusion

Most people will be able to cope with Bulgarian weather. The winters are cold, but not extreme.

One thing to consider carefully is the flood risk of the city you choose to live or buy property in.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Bulgaria Country Guide
Important facts and figures about Bulgaria.
bulgaria country guide

You may also want to read:

 Description Link 
Bulgaria: Weather Overview
From the admirable Holiday-Weather.com
Bulgaria: Weather Overview

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Francine Carrel

5 January 2017


 

This guide was co-authored by John Howell (Email: John.Howell@Guides.Global or John@jhco.org. Web: www.jhco.org or www.Guides.Global)

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