Driving in Bulgaria is on the right with overtaking on the left. You may not turn right on a red light.
In Bulgaria signs are shown in Latin with the Cyrillic alphabet so it is good to have an understanding of the language.
There are various dangers to watch out for when driving in Bulgaria. The roads are generally in poor condition, and lanes often do not have markings. You are advised to drive defensively as locals may be reckless, travelling at fast speeds and switching lanes without indicating.
Particularly bad is the cross border road between the capital Sofia and Greece. Expect long delays. Ongoing road works make drivers even more impatient. There are also a number of heavy vehicles to watch out for.
Driving in the countryside is beautiful but the roads are unpredictable. There can be potholes in certain areas and there is a risk of landslides. Watch out for animals in the road, especially when the harvest is taking place.
Parts of Bulgaria can experience severe winter weather conditions so ask our rental staff about fitting winter tyres and snow chains to your vehicle.
Avoid driving at night time if possible as some drivers may not have lights that work properly.
The police in Bulgaria generally do not bother foreigners, but there have been some reports of fines for imagined offences. Do not pull over for anyone unless they have a white patrol car with POLICE marked across it in blue letters. There have been reports of robbers pretending to be law officers. It is not a legal requirement to pull over if you are in doubt as to the authenticity police. Do not try to bribe police officers.
Also avoid road rage at all costs, especially with drivers of expensive cars, as you do not know who you are dealing with.
Bulgaria has a relatively high level of road accidents so you should be prepared. Do not move your car unless it is in a dangerous position, and wait for the police to arrive. In case of emergency, drivers can contact the police on 166 or roadside assistance at 146. If you need an ambulance call 150.
In the meantime swap insurance information and addresses with the other driver. If you have a camera take pictures of the accident for police and insurance purposes. You should give a copy of the police report to your insurance company.
The driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts in the front seats. Children under the age of 12 must not sit in the front seat.
Motorways have a blue background with white writing. The main motorways go between Chirpan - Dimitrovgrad and Sofia - Plovdiv and have up to three lanes.
1.04 Euros for unleaded, 1.12 for super unleaded, and 1 Euro per litre for diesel. It is advisable to use fuel from one of the global brands for quality purposes. Petrol stations can be few and far between in the countryside.
The drinking limit is virtually zero tolerance and you could be fined for having a blood alcohol limit of as little as 0.05%. You should avoid drinking and driving at all costs as the penalties are very steep and can involve a long prison sentence. Otherwise there are on the spot fines for drink-driving.
You should have a copy of your passport, domestic license and international driving permit. You must have proof of insurance. Police in Bulgaria can find you are not having the correct documents.
You can use your domestic license but to be on the safe side you should also have an international driving permit.
Hello - Здравей/ zdravej
Goodbye - Довиждане/ doviʒdane
Please - Моля / molja
Thank you - Благодаря/ blagodarja
Excuse me - Извинете/ izvinete
Yes / No - Да / Не / da / ne
I don’t understand - Не разбирам / ne razbiram
I don’t know - Не знам / ne znam
Do you speak English - Говорите ли английски / govorite li anglijski
There are a number of toll roads in Bulgaria and they provide a better driving experience with smooth and safe roads. Have some Leva handy.
50 kilometres per hour in built up areas.
90 kilometres per hour on open roads.
120 kilometres per hour on highways.
Police in Bulgaria can give you an on the spot fine for exceeding the speed limit.
The conversion from kilometres to miles per hour is one kilometre = 0.62 miles per hour. Therefore the speed in built up areas is 31 miles per hour.
To drive in Bulgaria you should be 18 though most rental companies require you to be over 21 with a minimum of one year of driving experience.
In case of emergency, drivers can contact the police on 166 or Roadside Assistance at 146. If you need an ambulance call 150.
The Embassy of the United States of America in Bulgaria is at 16, Kozyak Street, Sofia 1407, and can be contacted on + 359 2 937 5100. Their website is http://bulgaria.usembassy.gov
The Embassy of the United Kingdom in Bulgaria is at 9 Moskovska Street
Sofia 1000, and can be contacted on + 359 2 933 9222. Their website is http://ukinbulgaria.fco.gov.uk/en/
There are many options for parking in Bulgaria and they should all be explored if you want to leave your car in a safe place. The best bet is to stay in a hotel and make use of their guarded parking. Even if you stay at a bed and breakfast then they may have a parking spot available so you should ask the owners about this.
Although it might be okay to park your car anywhere in the countryside, you should stick to parking lots or parking spaces on main streets in the city for safety. Parking is quite cheap costing 2 Leva an hour up to 6 Leva a day. Long-term parking spaces can be rented for around 60 Leva a month.
Although you may see locals parking wherever they want, should follow the parking regulations. The Sofia City Council will clamp and tow your vehicle away if it is parked illegally. If they do so you can retrieve the car from the parking lot behind the National Palace of Culture.