Country: Bulgaria, seated on the Balkan Peninsula along the Black Sea, is officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria and is home to mountains, beaches, churches, monasteries, iconic artworks, and ancient ruins. Located in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria borders Greece and Turkey to its south, Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, and the Black Sea to its east.
The country’s capital is Sophia and its official language is Bulgarian. With just more than 7 million people, Bulgaria is the 14th largest nation in Europe.
To access emergency services: Dial 112
Currency: Lev (BGN)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Bulgaria, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a Bulgarian hospital: In Bulgaria, the doctors are highly trained and most government hospitals (in major cities) and clinics (in smaller towns and villages) maintain a reasonable standard of care, though not as high as private clinics. Generally government clinics are not equipped to United States standards.
Doctors at the government hospitals and clinics are well-trained, though equipment may not be state-of-the-art quality. The doctors in these hospitals typically speak English, German, or both. In private clinics, care is more expensive, equipment is often of a higher standard, and doctors and staff are usually fluent in English and German.
Hospitals, doctors, and clinics will expect immediate payment in cash for provided services, but some facilities in major cities and towns may accept major credit cards.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Bulgaria: To read about specific facilities which are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Bulgaria - specific helpful health resources:
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers: http://www.iamat.org/country_profile.cfm?id=207#profile_immunization
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or the WHO for up-to-date travel notices