Public Toilets in Bulgaria
Warning: UGLY stuff ahead. We'll talk about Bulgarian water closets. Water? Sometimes.
Jokes aside, going to the toilet here can often turn into adventure. First you need to find one which is not always easy. Then you need to use it. And this is often harder. The below tips will hopefully help having less shitty experience here.
Our shopping malls aren't impressive but there is still a good reason to visit them. In most malls there are free toilets usually with western quality, and most important, clean. Malls are your best bet when available and especially if you don't want to spend money on cafe just because you need a restroom.
The malls are not that many however and are mostly available in the largest cities like Sofia. So what to do if you can't find a mall?
The Public Toilets
The typical public toilet in Bulgaria has several specific characteristics:
- It's nearly non-existent. Even in Sofia there are just a few.
- If it exists you'll probably find it easy. It stinks.
- It costs few coins, usually €0.25. Once you enter you'll wonder why do you have to pay for such crap.
- It's usually a Turkish / squat toilet.
- If water is available at all, it's only cold water. Even if it's below zero outside.
- If soap is available it's often just a hard piece of dirty thing that they call soap.
- If you are lucky, the staff may give you a napkin to dry your hands after washing. Dryer is rarely available and there is no guarantee it will work.
- Do not expect to communicate with the staff in English. They often can't talk even proper Bulgarian.
- After you have visited such toilet you'll avoid public toilets at any cost.
The chemical toilets that started to appear recently are slightly better and cleaner. Don't hold your breath, you never know if yours will be clean.
Toilets on Airports, and Train/Bus Stations
These public toilets are usually in better condition. The toilets on the Sofia Airport Terminal 2 are decent. The ones in Terminal 1 (the low cost terminal) are dirtier but still acceptable.
If you arrive at the Central Rail Station you may want to visit the toilet on the Central Bus Station (100 m away) which is much better. There is also decent toilet in front of the rail station near the shops across the street. The rail station toilet is acceptable but not too good.
Train and bus stations in small towns can surprise you with all kind of toilets. The most common between all of them is that they stink. For example here in Svoge you can find one of the most stinking toilets in the world. Welcome.
When in a small town it's much better to visit the WC in a restaurant or cafe.
Toilets in Restaurants and Bars
As a general rule you should prefer these restrooms to the public ones. In most cases they are cleaner and better. Except sometimes. Although every place that offer drinks and food should logically have a toilet, this is not always the case. If you don't see tables inside the place (i.e. they are only outside) you can be almost sure there is no toilet. If you are not sure feel free to ask.
Toilets in bars and restaurants are free for customers. If you are not a customer you can ask to use the toilet and they'll probably let you. Unless you are on a very tight budget it's preferred to have at least a drink inside and use the WC then.
The quality and cleanness of the toilets vary a lot. A nicer place is expected to have nicer WC but this is not always the case. You can often by surprised by a shiny bar or sweetshop with a stinking paper-less, water-less, semi-functioning WC. You never know.
Pee on the Street?
In some countries in the world it's acceptable to pee on the streets. Here it's not, so don't do it. Regardless of the pathetic quality of many of our toilets, you should find one and use it when in need.
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