Bulgaria is in southeast Europe, where the climate is transitional between that of the Mediterranean and that of the plains of southern Russia.
To the east, it has a coastline on the Black Sea, on the north the River Danube forms the boundary with Romania, and on the southeast it is bordered by Turkey. The western borders with Serbia and Macedonia, and the southern border with Greece pass through mountainous country rising to 1,800-2,900 m/6,000-9,500 ft.
The largest areas of lowland are along the coast and in the valley of the River Maritsa in the centre of the country. Here the summers are warm and occasionally rather hot, while winters are fairly cold (see the tables for Varna and Plovdiv. Rainfall is moderate and well distributed throughout the year with a slight summer maximum.
On the coast (Varna) the winters are slightly warmer, but even here spells of bitterly cold weather can occur when winds blow from the northeast carrying cold air from Russia. During such cold spells the Danube and other rivers may freeze over. Hot spells in summer are associated with winds from both the northeast and the southeast.
During settled spells of weather in summer, conditions on the Black Sea coast may resemble those around the Mediterranean, and this area has developed some summer tourist resorts. Such fine, hot spells, however, may be interrupted by thunderstorms with hail and heavy rain. The total number of wet days is not large throughout the whole country but snow is frequent in winter and even occasionally in spring.
In the higher parts of the country (see the table for Sofia) winters are colder and the summers pleasant and fresh. Snow may lie until June on the highest mountains. There are opportunities for winter sports in the mountains.
Although the climate is generally temperate and pleasant, its variability throughout the year means that it may at times be uncomfortably cold in winter and rather warm and sultry in summer. Spring can be a very changeable season with rapid alternations between warm and cold days. Daily hours of sunshine range from about two in January to as much as ten in midsummer.
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