Bulgarian Rose Water and Oil are two of the most popular souvenirs to bring back home. There are a lot more of course! Local souvenirs include wood carving, hand-woven rugs, pottery, rose-oil cosmetics and creams, as well as silver jewellery.
Embroidered textiles like tablecloths and mantle pieces are a great way to remember your trip to Bulgaria when you are back home. Finely painted religious iconography is also quite popular in Bulgaria. You can purchase genuinely authentic hand-painted and masterful local icon paintings made by most experienced local artisans. Check for them in shops of museum displays. There are many souvenir-stands outside touristy attractions also.
Tradition in Bulgaria
Tradition means relationship and continuity between different generations, rather than learning from particular books, and it is handed over, from one person to another through imitation. Adults try to keep several of these traditions by passing them on to young people, most of whom join in with a great deal of enthusiasm.
The pedestrian Vitosha Boulevard is one of the shopping streets in Sofia where you can find a plethora of gifts and souvenirs, occupying the one-kilometre-long sidewalks of its pedestrian stretch. The Vitosha Boulevard counts a total of 30 open air-cafes and restaurants so a shopping day-outing in Sofia can be pleasantly stimulating.
Dedicated Arts & Crafts Market
Inside the former Royal Palace in Sofia, by the Ethnographic Museum, you’ll find the Centre of Folk Arts and Crafts at the St. Sofia Church. A shop with a wide selection of local textiles, ceramics, lace and jewellery, paintings and carvings as well as folk music CDs. Here you will find higher quality souvenirs –albeit often at a higher price.
Women’s Market –Zhenski Pazar
Bulgarian Rose Karlovo brand is the most popular cosmetic factory in the country with excellent quality products. A visit here will pay off your trip to Bulgaria. The store is in Bul. Tsar Osvoboditel 12, opposite the Crystal Park.
Bulgarian Rose Oil
A bottle of Bulgarian rose oil makes an excellent souvenir, and it is easy to carry home. It can be used as a face cleanser or used as a whiff of perfume. The fragrance lasts longer than most other scents in a blend and goes a long way. If you like its aroma, you can add it to other cosmetic products. Just for the record, did you know that it takes approximately 3.500 kg of rose petals to produce 1 kg of rose oil?
Bulgarian Rose Water
Much cheaper than rose oil is the rose water which smells nice too. Cooks use it as a fragrance in cooking or flavouring food, but it is also useful for skin care. Rose water has an antibacterial effect used as a toner and a face cleanser. If mixed with almond flour it forms a unique facial scrub, and indeed makes an excellent gift too.
Locals exchange these in March to celebrate the beginning of spring. You will come across several in parks hanging on branches of trees. If you decide to buy ‘martenitsa’ for friends, you can tell them that with it they can make a wish, which is said to come true.
Personally, I never leave Sofia without carrying a couple of jars of this sauce back home. Lutenitsa is a traditional Bulgarian treat, a type of chutney, made with roasted red chilly peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and eggplant. I had it as a homemade gift from a local friend once and instantly fell in love with it. I love spicy sauces and use it a lot in my kitchen. You can find it also in a sweeter version made of sweet red peppers.
More Tips on the Bulgaria Travel Guide