Bulgaria has changed swiftly since casting off the yoke off communism, though in the villages you can still find folk who ride the donkey to work, eat home grown potatoes and make their own cheese. The difference now is that they wash it all down in front of a satellite TV. Urban Bulgaria, especially Sofia, is much changed.
Bulgaria has a temperate climate, with cold damp winters and hot dry summers. Spring (particularly April to mid-June) is an excellent time to visit. The days are getting longer, the weather is good, the theatres and other cultural venues are in full swing and locals are not yet jaded by waves of summertime visitors.
Summer (mid-June to early September) is ideal for hiking and festivals, but is the peak season for travellers from elsewhere in Europe. Temperatures can be very high during this period, the beaches on the Black Sea coast can get insanely crowded, and accommodation and camping grounds in coastal resorts tend to fill up.
September is perhaps one of the best months to see Bulgaria. The autumn trees are glorious, fruit and vegetables are plentiful, the tourist hordes have returned home, and you can still swim and sunbathe at the Black Sea. The ski season begins in mid-December and can last until April.