Driving in Bulgaria is an experience you will not forget. Below is some advice and information that will help you, should you decide to take to the road in Bulgaria.
Cars may be reserved online or hired from the airports upon arrival as well as in the major cities. Average cost is between 180 and 300 Euros per week, including unlimited mileage, tax and insurance.
Road conditions for drivers in Bulgaria are very different from those in Western Europe. However, by comparison, the safety of public transport is relatively good. Road travel has been greatly modernized in anticipation of EU membership in 2007 and in line with development of the country’s infrastructure.
Roads are fair in the cities, but can be poor in rural areas. Beware of frequent rock and land slides in the mountains and livestock and animal drawn carts constantly present hazards on these roads.
There is always dangerous and heavy truck traffic along the two-lane routes from the Greek border at Kulata to Sofia and from the Turkish border at Kapitan Andreevo to Plovdiv. You should expect long delays at border crossings.
Speed limits are 50 Km/hr in the cities/towns, 90 Km/hr out of town and 120 Km/hr on the motorways. The same speed limits apply for motorcycles. Motorcyclists must drive with helmets and with lights on at all times.
To drive in Bulgaria you can use your national license, preferably accompanied by an international one. If you leave your passport with a hotel reception, you would be well advised to ask for a copy (or take the original) if you are renting a car.
At unregulated crossings, the driver on the right has the right-of-way, but this rule is frequently ignored.
Right turns on red lights are not permitted unless specifically authorized.
You are required to drive on the right and overtake on the left.
Drivers of late-model sedans (BMW, Mercedes, Audi) are known to speed and often drive dangerously.
If someone flashes their lights at you it means that they expect you to get out of the way and not that they are going to let you go first, like back home. It also is also used as the all-Bulgarian warning: “Police ahead”!
Finally, bear in mind that horse-drawn carts, motorcycles and scooters can sometimes be found on major roads and travel at night without lights. You will need to be very alert when driving at night.
In case of emergency, drivers should contact the police at telephone number 166 and/or the Roadside Assistance at telephone number 146. For an ambulance, please call 150.
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