Last updated: October 16, 2018
Zero. Zilch. Nada. That’s how much I knew about Bulgaria, a small Slavic country perched at the edge of southeastern Europe. I knew nothing about its inhabitants. And — most importantly — I knew nothing about the women.
Bulgarians must be some of the most mysterious of all the Europeans because in all of my travels I’ve never met a single Bulgarian. But Maverick, you point out, Bulgarians aren’t very rich to travel like Americans or other Western Europeans. Fair enough. But I don’t even know any famous Bulgarians, whether in sports, academia, or anything else.
The only contact I’ve ever had with a Bulgarian was when I had a Bulgarian acquaintance back in San Francisco. He looked like a regular Slav (maybe a bit darker) and wouldn’t be out of place in a place like Ukraine, Belarus or Russia. As for Bulgarian women, I’ve never met one in my entire life, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
My first impressions of Bulgaria was that it’s a very poor country. In fact, having seen most of Europe, I would say Bulgaria is undoubtedly one of the poorest countries on the continent. (After checking the data, I realized that Bulgaria is actually #10 on the list).
I’m a big city guy, and Sofia—the capital—was the first European capital that I wanted to leave as soon as I arrived.
Plovdiv, the second biggest city, is more pleasant, but outside the historical old town, the city is no better than Sofia.
During the reign of Soviet Union, Bulgaria was widely considered the 16th republic of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had 15th republics, but because it had very strong ties to Bulgaria, the country was considered an unofficial part of the Soviet Union.
Rumor has it that the Soviet Union took a lot of wealth in the form of natural resources and agriculture from Bulgaria, but may have provided some infrastructure back in return. The jury is still out who benefited whom.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria became a democratic nation and held free elections.
In 2007, Bulgaria, along with Romania, joined the European Union.
Although Bulgaria is part of the EU, it’s not part of the Schengen Zone, the passport-free zone that’s composed of most of the EU countries (and even some non-EU members like Norway and Switzerland).
Bulgaria’s official language is Bulgarian, a South Slavic language that’s very similar to other Slavic languages.
It’s written in Cyrillic script just like most of the Slavic languages with the exception of Croatian.
As a native Russian speaker, I could read Bulgarian and even pick up some of the words and expressions. I assume that, as with the case of Serbian, it will take around 2-4 months to become conversational in Bulgarian if you already speak another Slavic language.
Since Bulgaria is in EU, English is spoken by the younger generation (30 and under)—especially if they lived or studied abroad. (From what I gathered, many younger Bulgarians studied and lived in countries like Germany and Denmark.)
Forget using English if you want to reach an older audience (45 and plus). In that case, Russian may come more in handy.
The first thing that you notice about Bulgarian women is the amazingly dark, jet-black hair (the girl below is very typical Bulgarian). In fact, I don’t remember the last time I was in a country where most women had such dark, richly black hair.
In Spain and Italy, most women have the predictable combo of olive skin and either dark brown or black hair, a combination which I love; in Bulgaria, many women were light skinned but with jet black hair, a strange combination pointing to a mixing of genes.
Most Bulgarian women are what I call “truly Eastern European.” This doesn’t specifically refer to their origins, but more to their mentality (you can be Eastern European but behave and think in a more Western way.)
For instance, regardless where they’re actually going, they always dress like they’re going to a funeral: black leather boots, black leather jackets, black shirts, and skirts. There’re no hipsters with bright clothing and large framed glasses, although that’ll probably change in the next few years as Western advertising becomes more prevalent.
This is similar to how women (and men) dress in neighboring Romania, Ukraine and Russia. Dressing like an Eastern European means, for the most part, also having an Eastern European mentality, which in turn means that the women are extra feminine and the men are, well, very manly. No feminism and metro-sexuality here.
On paper, Bulgarians are Slavs just like most of Eastern Europeans (Serbians, Ukrainians, Russians, Polish). However, I’d never guess that if I saw a random Bulgarian girl walking on the streets of New York. My first guess would easily be Greek, with a bit of Turkish thrown in. In other words, more Balkan than purely Slavic.
What kind of guys do they like?
I spent enough time in Bulgaria to understand that Bulgarian women love their fellow Balkan men. Of course, they love other Bulgarian men. But, if you’re a dark and handsome guy from the Balkans—whether it’s Serbia, Romania, Montenegro—you should be well received.
The other thing I noticed that is that some Bulgarian girls like Russian guys. When I approached women (more on that below), I told them I was a Russian guy from Moscow. Many Bulgarian women showed interest right away probably because I was from a big and famous city, and that may have meant I also had some money on me.
As soon as I mentioned I was from Russia, women began showing their interest and asking me questions.
Of course, that wasn’t with every single girl I approached, but it happened enough times that it sure piqued my curiosity and maybe think there was something more to it.
I also think that Bulgarian women—just like other Balkan people—prefer Southern Europeans such as Spaniards and Italians. When I was in Barcelona, I met a good share of Bulgarians who made the city home and had Spanish boyfriends.
General observations about the women
Most women have serious boyfriends
If you see a confident, well-dressed woman, chances are she has a (serious) boyfriend. On my second day, I met a very cute girl on the Sofia metro. Everything was going great until she told me that she’s on her way home to her boyfriend. Another girl I met in a coffee shop told me she moved to Sofia (from a smaller city) to be with her boyfriend.
While this is very typical in Eastern Europe, it’s greatly amplified in the Balkans. This is something I can mitigate in Ukraine and Russia, but I would need more time on the ground to learn the optimal game for Bulgarian women. The flip side is that fewer quality girls are always single and ready to mingle.
Being Western isn’t a novelty
Telling girls that I was an American from New York would elicit a lukewarm response. It was almost like I was from some generic city that everyone had already “been to” thanks to the numerous movies and TV shows allowing anyone to live there vicariously. Perhaps being an American is becoming more and more generic than a novelty. I experimented by telling them I was a Russian guy from Moscow and received slightly more interesting reactions.
Of course, this would vary depending on the kind of girls you’re dealing with. The “Eastern European” type I mentioned above would gravitate to “alpha” Eastern Europeans (e.g., a Russian guy from Moscow); whereas a hipsterish girl might dig American/Western guys more.
Hit or miss knowledge of English
For a poor, Southern European country, Bulgarians speak surprisingly good English. Most women I talked to were able to understand me and reply with no problems — until you meet one who doesn’t. One interesting fact is that most girls are also studying or already speak Spanish. During one date with a very cute girl, we were literally speaking 3 languages: English (mostly), Spanish (here and there), and Bulgarian/Russian mixture (when she didn’t know a word in either of the previous languages).
Lack of eye contact
Like in most of Eastern Europe, smiling and eye contact directed at strangers is generally a sign of weakness. I look Southern European for the most part, and, as a result, received almost no eye contact in Bulgaria. Most Bulgarians easily thought I was Bulgarian or even Greek, so relying on eye contact is a poor indicator of interest. I would assume being a 6’4” Norwegian Viking with spiky blonde hair would buy you more attention, but still, it wouldn’t be something I would rely on. If you’re southern European looking like me, you’ll have to work to get noticed.
Traditional dating culture
Nothing surprising here: Balkans is one of the most conservative regions in Europe when it comes to dating and courtship. I estimate you’d need solid three days of dates (or more) before getting her to come back home with you. Don’t expect to fly in on EasyJet from London for a weekend and bang women left and right. I would aim for at least a solid two weeks, but, as usual, the more the better. Pipeling beforehand might help, but I don’t do that so I wouldn’t know.
Meeting women during the day
When I was in Sofia, I spent a good share of my time approaching women on the streets. I won’t try to sugarcoat anything, but it was tough. The biggest problem was that the women just weren’t used to being approached.
Maybe it was because I was ugly or didn’t speak English, but they simply kept going instead of stopping and answering my question.
Some women did stop, but nothing came out of it.
I had much better luck in situations where the women weren’t in a rush anywhere, like bookstores, cafes, stores, and malls. As you would expect, these women were generally much more receptive to my approaches.
Of course, being a Balkan country with its relatively conservative women, I knew that I couldn’t simply fly in, approach a couple of women and instantly create a harem and enjoy life.
That’s certainly not the case.
Nevertheless, I still recommend approaching during the day because you’re able to meet women who otherwise wouldn’t be approached (I don’t believe Bulgarian guys are keen on approaching women). You can grab her contact information and try to build something later on.
Where to meet women during the day
Although I approached everywhere and anywhere, the best luck I had was actually in the Sofia malls. It seemed that Bulgarians love their malls, so the women were naturally much more relaxed there than in pretty much any other setting.
I don’t particularly recommend approaching out in the open since that resulted in some bewildering expressions, but if that’s what you like, then I won’t hold you back.
Do what you’re most comfortable in.
Meeting women at night
Bulgarians love their nightlife and there’s never any shortage of it in Sofia. Sofia has it all: American-style bars, expat bars, local bars, live music, jazz venues, and regular nightclubs.
Bulgarians love going out and love drinking. Just like in the rest of Balkans, the alcohol is strong and the guys can be aggressive.
I remember one night I was in a club in Bulgaria. I had been there for about 30 mins when I spotted a cute woman alone at the bar. I approached and started talking to her.
Not even ten minutes had passed when I was suddenly surrounded by two guys dancing next to us. They were trying to chat up the girl and block me at the same time.
While I knew what was going on, I was a bit lost and confused because nothing like this happened before. I don’t remember the last time I was so aggressively blocked in Europe or even Latin America.
The Balkans are different. In fact, I remember a time when the same thing happened when I was in Bucharest$.
That’s one thing you must watch out for.
Other than that, the nightlife is great and you can easily meet the woman of your dreams if you pick the right venue. Just stay away from drunk and rowdy Bulgarian guys.
Meeting women online
While I didn’t spend too much online, I assume that, just like anywhere else, Tinder is a solid option. There also might be local sites where you can meet Bulgarian women.
Where to stay in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is not a big country, so there aren’t a whole range of cities to pick from.
The first city you should visit is Sofia, the capital. Sofia isn’t the prettiest city nor is it a particularly pleasant city to be in. In many ways, Sofia reminds of a 2nd or 3rd tier city in Russia or Ukraine. It’s nowhere near the level of sophistication or grandeur of Kiev or Moscow. It’s also nowhere near the prettiness of Baltic capitals such as Riga or Vilnius.
Nevertheless, Sofia is the very best that Bulgaria has to offer, so you have to visit it and see it for yourself.
Plovdiv was another city I visited. I spent about a week there, just hanging out, getting some work done, and approaching women. It’s cheaper and slower than Sofia, and maybe even a bit friendlier.
Still, this being Bulgaria it’s not a city that I can see myself living in.
The third and final city where I spent a lot of time in was Burgas on the Black Sea coast. Burgas is a small city with a nice beach, but it’s nowhere near the grandeur of $Odessa, Ukraine’s main beach destination.
After about a month of living there, I was pretty done and finished and was ready to move on.
Where you stay will really depend on whether you’re a big city guy, a small city guy or prefer somewhere along the beach. The right approach is to visit all three cities and decide for yourself.
When to visit
Like the rest of Europe, Bulgaria has very hot summers and cold winters. Unlike Ukraine or Russia, Bulgaria is more south so it enjoys much longer summers and relatively mild winters (there’s still plenty of snow).
I had the fortune of experiencing Bulgaria in both winter (Sofia) and summer (Burgas).
During the winter, I experienced heavy snow with the temperatures hovering around -5 – -10 C degrees. During the summer, it was around 30 C, so I spent many days inside air-conditioned malls.
One of the benefits of visiting in winter is that there are much fewer tourists, especially by the coast. But I still don’t know if it’s the right trade-off with the freezing temperatures.
Come to think of it, the summer wasn’t bad at all.
I don’t usually write this, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with Bulgarian cuisine. Maybe I went to all the wrong restaurants, but my only recollection about Bulgarian food was really bitter cheese, lots of fried food and that’s about it.
As an Eastern European guy, I know that Bulgarian cuisine is great, it’s just I didn’t really experience that.
Maybe on my next trip, I will do my research as to where to go in order to have the very best culinary experience in that country.
Bulgaria was only my second exposure to the Balkans (Serbia was the first). I definitely need more time on the ground to learn more about this interesting region and its beautiful women. That should all change this summer when I return there for a longer and more deeper exploration.
PS: To meet amazing Bulgarian Women, click here.
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