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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia Bulgaria
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia Bulgaria
Port Burgas
Port Burgas
Rila Mountain Lake
Rila Mountain Lake

About Bulgaria (BG)


If there could be an undiscovered travel destination in Europe, the front-runner would be the country of Bulgaria (BG), situated on western edge of the Black Sea, and bordered by Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey. Home to pristine sandy beaches, generous mountain ranges, and modern cities amidst ancient historical ruins, many of the key merchant routes from Asia to Europe ran through Bulgaria, but its bounty of natural attractions has generally been overlooked by modern Western tourism. Although the country is slowly gaining traction with international travelers, Bulgaria remains one of the best-kept secrets in Europe.

  Getting around

Getting around Bulgaria is far more efficient for visitors who rent a car. Unfortunately, it’s probably best if you’ve got a few years of driving under your belt. While major attractions and destinations are well connected by roadways, a number of issues persist in making it somewhat of a navigational challenge. Road conditions are wildly variable, some traffic signs are Cyrillic only — or not present at all — and local drivers aren’t known for hospitality. Your car must be equipped with a vignette, which is necessary for all roads, not just the tollways. Minor traffic accidents are common, so there’s a better than average chance that your cheap car rental has already sustained some superficial damage. With the exception of new highways, potholes are the rule, not the exception. Thus, careful drivers tend to stay well below the posted limits. You’ll get where you’re going — it will just take a lot longer than expected.

  Choosing your car

Cheap car rentals in Bulgaria can be reserved with are Budget, Sixt, Europcar, Hertz Enterprise, and Thrifty. Choose from minicars, compact hatchbacks, economy, standard, and intermediate sedans, premium and luxury 4-door cars, estate wagons, SUVs, and 7-12 seater minivans.

  Tips and advice

1

Bulgaria is considered very safe for travelers, but don’t get sucked in by the sleepy atmosphere and let your guard down. Never leave personal objects in your car hire, especially in the capital of Sofia, where you should always park in covered lots.

2

In the past, Bulgaria had a problem with robbers posing as fake police officers and stopping vehicles in rural areas. All police cars are clearly marked “POLICE” and fleets generally consist of one make and model car, i.e white Opel sedans.

3

If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you must report the incident to the police immediately; otherwise, your car hire insurance policy may not be honored.

4

Bulgaria’s two major cities, Sophia and Varna located on opposite sides on the country, and linked by A2. While there are other routes across the country, A2 is by far the safest option. Note that the dangers mostly lie in poor road conditions and driving through varied elevations.

5

Driving into one of the bordering countries is generally not an issue, but be advised that travel into Kosovo is restricted and not recommended.

6

If traveling to Romania, be aware that some crossings are ferry boat only, and your car hire may not be eligible to board ferries. Check with your provider before heading out of the country.

Urban Speed Limit

THE URBAN SPEED LIMIT IS

50 kph  | 31.1 mph
Rural Speed Limit

THE RURAL SPEED LIMIT IS

90 kph  | 55.9 mph
Motorway Speed Limit

THE MOTORWAY SPEED LIMIT IS

140 kph  | 87 mph
Fuel Price

THE FUEL PRICE IS

SEE PRICES
Currency

THE CURRENCY IS

BCN
Road Driving

THE ROAD DRIVING SIDE IS THE

Right
Driving Age

THE MINIMUM DRIVING AGE IS

18 years of age
21 years of age to RENT
Emergency Services

EMERGENCY SERVICE NUMBERS

112
Documentation requirements

DOCUMENT

License
IDP
Passport
Insurance
Registration

Bulgaria Driving Ideas Guide


Bulgaria is a large country with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, numerous rivers such as the Danube, and a mountainous interior.

As a traditional trade route, Bulgaria is a cultural melting pot with a rich heritage.  Village tourism is successfully being developed, inviting you to experience the lifestyles and culture, and taste the traditional cuisine.

Being one of the Balkans' larger countries, Bulgaria makes an excellent place for road tripping. It is a strikingly beautiful country and is best discovered by road, guaranteeing a unique experience while exploring.

Discover Sofia to Plovdiv via Pazardzhik

At the foot of Vitosha Mountain is the capital, Sofia, dating back to the 5th century BCE. Sofia’s many valuable monuments, such as the remnants of The Eastern Gate dating from the 2nd-4th centuries CE, are testimony to its storied past.  As a traditional trading hub, Sofia remains a shopper’s delight.

Once past the city traffic, roads everywhere in the country are more or less open. The drive from Sofia to Plovdiv takes about 3 hours, but to visit some of Bulgaria’s loveliest woodland stretches, veer south from the A1 motorway at Pazardzhik. Follow the road passing historical Batak, and continue deeper into the Rhodope Mountains. The forested road from Batak leads to Devin, a small town famous for its mineral water and therapeutic hot springs. Here you can relax, enjoy a therapeutic massage or two and hike on blissfully empty woodland paths.

From Devin continue past Smolyan, a town with exciting caving opportunities, and the laid-back ski resort of Chepelare. From there you will reach Asenovgrad, noted for its wineries, before arriving in Plovdiv.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, takes special pride in its Old Town. Along winding stone streets, the Old Town retains a bohemian air with numerous museums and galleries and has many ancient remains. The nightlife is fuelled by an irrepressible student population.

‘Smell the Roses’ on the road from Plovdiv to Veliko Tarnovo

From Plovdiv, take the E85 back road north to Kazanlak, an eccentric, agricultural destination. Kazanlak, and its surrounding plain, is the centre of a major industry in rose oil extract. A good time to visit is the first week of June each year, when the annual rose festival takes place.

Continue north, across the Valley of Roses, to the base of the Stara Planina (Balkan) Mountain and cross the 1,300km high Shipka Pass. Stop at the lookout point on top of the pass for an amazing view to share.

Over the pass lies another famous historic settlement and the medieval seat of Bulgarian power — Veliko Tarnovo, city of the tsars. Tarnovo is one of Bulgaria’s most visited destinations, with classic architecture, churches and castles. Also a student city, Tarnovo has excellent inexpensive restaurants and lively bars.

Drive Varna to Burgas via ancient Nessebar

Varna, often referred to as the Summer Capital, is a major tourist destination. Just outside the city is the rock-built Aladzha Monastery, the Catacombs caves, remains of a basilica and an ancient fortress.

Driving the 115km south along the coast, you will pass ancient Nessebar dating back more than 3200 years ago. The town is situated on a small peninsula, steeped in history, with charming old cobbled streets and plenty of amazing shops, restaurants and bars.  Sunny Beach is a seaside resort nearby and great for a quick swim before moving on.

Last stop is delightful Burgas.  The town is host to one of the biggest musical festivals in Bulgaria — Spirit of Burgas, which takes place in August.  The unique combination of beautiful nature, urban amenities, many cultural places and big resorts, makes this drive worth your while.

Bulgaria has a lot to offer and we believe you should spend time doing more, without spending more.  To find the best deals and widest choices for rental cars and accommodation in Bulgaria you need not look any further than Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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