Weather

When to travel to Bulgaria: weather and seasons

The climate in Bulgaria is a case of Mediterranean-meets-Eastern-Europe. Considering its small area, the country has unusually variable and complex climatic conditions which vary according to altitude.

Marked by four distinct seasons, the climate in northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while the climate in southern Bulgaria is milder – intermediate continental tending to Mediteranean. You’ll need medium weight clothing for most of the year; warmer outdoor clothing is necessary in winter.

Unless you visit for skiing, summer is the most comfortable time in Bulgaria, with low humidity and temperatures averaging 24°C (75°F); winter temperatures average around 0°C (32°F).

Bulgaria sees 2,000 to 2,400 hours of sunlight per year, with its climate exceptionally favourable for growing vines, fruits and vegetables, and the oil yielding Attar rose for which the country has been renowned in Europe for centuries.

However, summer can be hot and sweltering in Northern Bulgaria, especially along the Danube River. In mid-summer, the coast enjoys prodigious sunshine with daytime high air temperatures averaging 28°C/83°F and water temps ranging around 23-25°C/73-77°F. Along the Black Sea, the average January temperature ranges between -1° and 6°C and the July temperature ranges between 19°C and 30°C. In summer Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria is often the hottest place in both Bulgaria and Europe.

In the capital, Sofia, daytime high temperatures average 82°F/28°C in July-August; 37°F/3°C in January, and reflect the ameliorating effects of nearby mountains.

Autumns are mild and pleasant in most places, but winters are colder in Northern Bulgaria and much milder in the Southern part of the country. This is because the climate in Southern Bulgaria is determined by the air-currents from the Mediterranean. Bulgarian winters are your typical European affair, little sunshine and days averaging between -4°C and 6°C (25-42°F).

Average precipitation in Bulgaria is about 630 millimetres per year. The barrier effect of the Balkan Mountains is felt throughout the country: on the average, northern Bulgaria is about one degree cooler and receives about 192 more millimetres of rain than southern Bulgaria.

Fahrenheit and centigrade, inches and millimetres, average values.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Aver.
Average High
(deg F)
58.1 60.1 63.7 66.4 71.1 76.6 81.3 82.2 79.5 72.3 64.0 58.6 69.5
Average Low
(deg F)
46.8 48.2 49.8 52.0 55.4 60.1 63.3 63.9 62.6 58.3 52.2 48.0 55.0
 
Average Monthly Precipitation (Inches) 4.3 4.4 2.7 2.5 1.5 0.8 0.2 0.2 1.0 3.1 4.5 4.3 2.5
 
Average High
(deg C)
14.5 15.6 17.6 19.1 21.7 24.8 27.4 27.9 26.4 22.4 17.8 14.8 20.83
Average Low
(deg C)
8.2 9.0 9.9 11.1 13.0 15.6 17.4 17.7 17.0 14.6 11.2 8.9 12.80
 
Average Monthly Precipitation (mm) 110.0 111.0 69.0 64.0 39.0 21.0 5.0 6.0 26.0 80.0 114.0 108.0 62.75
 
Average Relative Humidity (%) 80.0 78.0 71.0 69.0 66.0 66.0 63.0 61.0 67.0 72.0 77.0 79.0 70.75