Guide to Driving In Bulgaria - Drive Safe in Bulgaria

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Bulgaria and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.

URBAN SPEED LIMIT

50 kph

urban
More info  

RURAL SPEED LIMIT

90 kph

rural
More info  

motorway speed limit

140 kph

speed limit
More info  

Drink Drive Limit

 50mg

drink and drive limit
More info  
urban
You drive in Bulgaria on the Right side  
urban
The currency in Bulgaria is BGN
urban
To rent a car is  21 years and to drive is 18 years of age
urban
Current fuel price in Bulgaria 1.13 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in Bulgaria

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Bulgaria?

Driving in Bulgaria
Pocket guide to driving in Bulgaria
Profile:
Bulgaria
Sofia
BGN
Driving in Bulgaria
SPEED: (kph)
50
90
140
Speed limit in Bulgaria
Holiday:
Rush hour in Bulgaria
Cameras:
YES
YES
Speed cameras in Bulgaria
FUEL:
0.99
1.07
EUR/Litre
Fuel prices in Bulgaria
DRIVE:
RIGHT
Drive RIGHT in Bulgaria
MIN AGE:
18
21
Min driving age in Bulgaria
DRINK:
50mg
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in Bulgaria
EMERGENCY:
112
Emergency phone number in Bulgaria
DOCUMENT:
Driving documents in Bulgaria
PHONES:
Yes
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in Bulgaria
SEATBELTS:
Yes
Yes
Seat belt in Bulgaria
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 driving standards and etiquette may not be what you are used to.

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 goods 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.

Bulgaria-Winter

The police in Bulgaria generally do not bother tourists, 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 criminals 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, whilst it is consdiered not uncommon for locals, it is very unwise to suggest doing so as could lead to severe punishment beyond the initial offence.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 112

Police Fire: 112

Police Ambulance: 112

Notes:

Fuel Prices in Bulgaria by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

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.

Bulgaria parking

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. 

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 112

Police Fire: 112

Police Ambulance: 112

Do not move your car unless it is in a dangerous position, and wait for the police to arrive. In case of emergency, Bulgaria has adopte the EU standard, call 112.

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.

What to do in an emergency

In case of emergency, drivers can contact the emergency services on the EU standard 112 and request the required emergency service.

The Embassy of the United States of America in Bulgaria is at 16, Kozyak Street, Sofia 1408, 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/

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

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

Bulgaria Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in Bulgaria by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Jun, 2019 1.14 1.13
May, 2019 1.14 1.12
Apr, 2019 1.13 1.08
Mar, 2019 1.12 1.03
Feb, 2019 1.08 0.99
Jan, 2019 1.07 0.99

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Bulgaria and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Rhinocarhire.com Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Visitor Comments

  • 03/31/2019

    Rob LEE

    I will soon be visiting Bulgaria for two weeks and wish to hire a car. Question: Can I use my full UK driving licence or do I need an international driving licence? Question: Is there an upper age limit on hiring a car? My age is 77.

    Hi,
     
    Your UK licence fine and your age will be accepted by some agents. When do a quote you need to enter your age and it will then display the cars and prices that are available to you.


     
  • 11/02/2018

    Frank Peter

    Is it possible to exchange South Korean driving license to Bulgarian license? If it is YES, what are the requirements? Thanks
  • 11/02/2018

    Bochko

    Everyone in the car should wear seatbelts (changed since 2014 I think). If not, ticket for the driver (25-50EUR), ticket for each passenger without seatbelt (25-50EUR). Explained as "If someone has not put the seatbelt on, the driver should not start moving the car at all. If someone removes the seatbelt during travels, the driver should stop at the first place and wait for the passenger to put it back on or leave the car”. Speed limit on highways raised to 140km/h. (first raised to 130, a year later to 140). Emergency phones are removed(166, 160 and 150 - socialist style system).Instead the EU standard 112 phone is used (for all cases). Speed cameras do not have a warning sign any more(e.g. there is a camera in the bushes or a patrol car hiding - now this is legal) since mid 2017. – You should drive with DRL or if your car does not have DRL - you should turn on your headlights. 50-250 EUR ticket if you don`t. Do not use your horn between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 (up to 09:00 during public holidays) is completely wrong. Since 1960s horn use in Bulgaria is forbidden, except it is being used in attempt(s) to prevent an accident. It may be used at all times if it fits this description. Just keep in mind that when someone cuts you off, using your horn may lead to an aggressive reaction. Police is testing you both for drugs and alcohol. D
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