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Shopaholics Paradise

Shopaholics cannot afford to miss a trip to Bulgaria! Shopping here is not only inexpensive, but also full of bargains not obtainable in other countries. Bulgaria’s retail structure is changing at a growing pace as each city builds at least one shopping mall to encourage more international chains to set up business here. Clothing, footwear, chocolate, food, alcohol and jewellery are all extremely inexpensive here, whilst some electrical goods cost the same or slightly less than they do in other European countries. Genuine luxury goods cost the same as back home and in some cases are more expensive.

 

Authentic Bulgarian Items

If you are looking for something to remind you of your stay in Bulgaria, then there are some quality item, for which the country is famous for. Bulgarian wine and Rakia make excellent alcoholic gifts, but ensure you buy from a liquor store that can advise you on the quality of each bottle. If you are just looking to stock up on cheap plonk to take home then the local supermarket will oblige. Another worthwhile purchase is Bulgarian Rose Oil products like hand and body lotions, soaps and indeed the oil itself. Bulgaria supplies most of the world’s leading perfume manufacturers with its famous rose oil and these products are not available outside of the country. If you like to buy toiletries then Bulgaria’s own Lavender products are also worth checking out. Keen cooks should invest in some of the country’s national spice called Chubritsa. It can be sprinkled onto a wide variety of dishes from mashed potatoes to cheese on toast and it’s surprising the number of foreigners who buy it every year whilst on vacation. The spice can be purchased in ornate jars from the resorts or in bags from the local supermarket. Bulgarian honey, often sold by old ladies at the side of the road is also worth buying and comes in a variety of flavours including pine honey. Crafts-wise, if your baggage allowance is large enough take home one of the handmade Bulgarian rugs. They come in a range of vibrant colours and are extremely reasonably priced considering the work that goes into making them. The Rhodope Mountains have their own brand of rug, which can be hung on the wall or used as a blanket. They are made from sheep’s wool and come n a range of natural colours.

Electrical Goods

Technomarket and Technopolis are the leading electrical goods stores in Bulgaria; their outlets can be found in out of town sites or in shopping malls. In terms of service, products and price there is very little to distinguish between them, however they do have regular promotions offering some good discounts. If you buy goods over 800 lv. and will not be paying in cash you will need to provide photo identification and do not intend to pay in cash, then you need to support the authenticity of your credit card with some form of photo ID like a passport.

Food Stores

More and more food chains are entering the Bulgarian market with conglomerates like Kaufland, Metro, Lidl and Billa dominating the scene. Bulgaria’s own national chain Piccadilly offers a pleasant environment and an excellent range of products but its prices are more on a par with the UK’s Waitrose. The French hypermarket store, Carrefour is currently expanding its chain into Bulgaria and will be the first food retailer here to offer a wide selection of clothing, footwear and home products. Carrefour is set to compete with Metro a French based cash and carry business, which attracts those who run their own business but does not really provide a pleasant shopping environment.

Designer Fakes

Every town, city and resort sells illegal copies of all major brand names from Louis Vuitton and Rolex to Dolce and Gabbanna. Very little seems to be done in the way of stopping counterfeit goods from flooding the market and most people’s attitude is whilst they are so readily available why not buy, buy, buy! Pirate DVD’s and CD’s are sold from stalls on street corners or from stands in the resorts. They cost around 8 to 10 lv. each although most traders offer a discount for bulk purchases. The trader will also play the disc for you before you buy and in instances where you get it back to your property and it doesn’t work, they will be happy to exchange it. Don’t bother asking store holders if their products are genuine or kidding yourself into believing that just because they contain original tags they are, in Bulgaria all designer items are fake unless they are purchased from a registered store dedicated to the brand. If you are looking for genuine items expect to pay the same prices as back home and check on the internet for a list of registered suppliers.

Coffee Boutiques

Bulgarians are slowly being educated into the art of coffee drinking with the introduction of international Coffee chains like Starbucks, Costa and Coffee Republic. These boutiques offer a range of coffees but their prices are in line with those in the West; a large latté can cost around 4 lv, compared to a Bulgarian cup of strong coffee, which sells at around 1 lv in a local cafe. The service in the international coffee boutiques far outstrips that of the local “caf”, with front of house personnel being well versed in foreign languages and having received good in-house training.