On arrival by road into Bulgaria we bought a 'vignette' which basically covers you for using all roads. The cost varies depending on how long you will stay, but we bought a month pass for around €15 and It is mandatory to have this in Bulgaria unlike tolls in other countries. It scans you as you drive past the cameras, and there is no way to travel Bulgaria 'avoiding tolls' as there is in other countries. With that being said, once you have paid or the vignette you never have to worry about taking the wrong road and paying a hefty toll (like Greece for instance), and you can take advantage of the many great roads they have in Bulgaria.
Food- In Bulgaria, so far we have been shopping in Lidl and Kaufland (German supermarket with more variety and slightly higher prices) but bare in mind we have not been all over the country yet so, there may be many more local ones to try out. Lidl prices are slightly lower than Greece and other parts of Europe but you will obviously pay more for special things. Eating out in restaurants can be extremely cheap depending on the region, for instance we paid €14 for two main courses, 4 beers, garlic bread and a dessert in Saparava Banya and in Bankso the famous ski town, the menu prices were outrageous that we had a beer and left. We recommend checking the menu before going in, to get an idea. A local 500ml beer should be €1 or 2 Lev on average to give you an idea.
Diesel- On average Diesel costs around €1 per litre but can be a few cents more or less depending on where you are and how close the gas station is to the highway.
Thermal Baths and Hot Springs- We have come across many thermal baths and hot springs, some varying by price and some completely free. We began our trip in Rupite which was completely free and had a paying area for some extra facilities like showers, but only vost €1.50 for this. In Sapareva Banya, famous for its hot springs and geyser, the local hotels and thermal areas charged around €10-20 per person to use the facilities much like a waterpark, however we came across an old thermal bath house which was free, not sign posted at all and had a pipe with hot thermal water and cold water which could be mixed to have a great hot shower. These can most likely be found all over Bulgaria if you ask locals or keep an eye out.
The Scenery and Weather
With 300 days of sun every year, the Melnik wine region really surprised us with the weather and at first we just thought we were lucky. Upon arrival in Pirin and Rila, the weather was warm and sunny below the mountains of course but when we got higher and higher the snow became deeper, roads inaccessible and the temperatures dropped as expected, but for May this still surprised us- but apparently this is rare and has not happened for ten years. The lakes of Rila were absolutely beautiful even if they were still frozen, and the various rivers flowing through the gorges and cities were very calming and a great place to relax. As the summer gets closer we are preparing ourselves for 40+ degrees at the Black Sea, but for now our temperatures of 25+ are perfect.