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Bulgarians are gifted artisans. Low prices only add to the temptation, so make sure you arrive with plenty of space in your suitcase. Crafts worth buying include the uniquely painted earthenware table- and cookware; wooden carvings; spices (chubritsa in particular); rakia (the grape- or plum-based brandy, enjoyed as an aperitif with salad); red wine (even when it's dirt cheap it's good, but if you're after something special look out for anything produced by Damianitza, particularly Red Ark and No Man's Land); carpets; and embroidered clothing and tablecloths (the traditional red tablecloths you find in almost every restaurant are as cheerful as gingham). Icons are sold on every street corner and in churches, but most are prints pasted on to timber blocks. For a beautifully painted icon you're best off purchasing direct from a master, like the two working out of Etura. Clothing produced locally is very cheap but looks it; better bargains are imported from Turkey. Shops tend to close on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays. Most important (again!), bear in mind that outside of Sofia, shops usually don't accept credit cards. Of those that do, MasterCard and Visa are more widely accepted. A useful website if you're looking for something specific is www.need.bg/en, a comprehensive Bulgarian business catalog.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.