Skip navigation’s guide to driving in Bulgaria

Pamporovo ski resort, BulgariaFor sunshine, snow and spectacular views – head to the Balkans

Getting started

Often overlooked, this country in the Balkans in the south east of Europe has a lot to offer the keen tourist. Bordering five other countries (Romania to the north, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south) Bulgaria has the diverse delights of the Black Sea, the Alpine mountains and the Mediterranean. guides you through this country’s delights.

Hit the road

Of more than 60,000 miles of roads in Bulgaria, 92% are paved, but less than 0.5% is motorway. Bulgaria’s strong European connections and location means there are plenty of construction projects planned, but overall there’s not too much to worry about when hitting the road. If you fancy a longer trip, there’s no reason why you can’t take a caravan.

See’s Guide to Caravans and Trailers.

Star drive

Bulgaria’s star drive is the eight-mile long Shipka Pass. Once the scene of a series of battles between the Russians and the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s, the road – 13kms north of Shipka in the Balkan Mountains - connects the towns of Gabrovo and Kazanlak. A challenging route, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view over the valleys below.

Best of the rest

Bulgaria offers activities all year round for the adventurous tourist – it just depends whether you want sunshine and surf or fresh powder and snow. There are numerous beach resorts along the Black Sea, including the well-named Sunny Beach and Golden Sands. But if the cold weather suits you best, locations such as Borovetz and Pamporovo offer good quality snow and stunning views.

Laws of the land

  • The minimum age for drivers is 18
  • It’s best to carry an International Driving Permit with you at all times, even if you have a photocard licence
  • Dipped headlights are recommended all year round, but are required by law between November and March
  • Children under 12 aren’t allowed in the front seat

If you’re travelling with children, prepare for your trip with’s Guide to Child and Baby Car Seats.

Local knowledge

You’ll need a local road tax vignette to drive in Bulgaria, and don’t be surprised if you’re made to drive through a disinfectant wash as you enter the country. Have some change at the ready as you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

A full complement of safety gear is legally required: fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, warning triangle and reflective vest. The drink drive limit is a low 0.05%, so be careful the morning after.

For car insurance you’ll need at least third-party cover. Insurance Green Cards are accepted.

Bulgarian speed limits

Road type

Speed limit

Residential areas

50 kmh

Built-up areas

50 kmh

Outside built-up areas

90 kmh


130 kmh


Did you know?

You can only park on the left on one-way streets – otherwise you might end up with a fine.

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