Driving Safely in Bulgaria: Tips for Travelers

Our travel safety expert shares his tips for safe driving on Bulgaria's roads.

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Evening over Sofia city Photo © iStock/ADonsky

Bulgarian drivers are quite aggressive, which can make driving intimidating. The cars are as unsafe as the drivers, often old and lacking in maintenance.

Poor Roads in Bulgaria

Infrastructure is poor, and roads throughout the country are largely unfinished; you could run into loose gravel and potholes on major roadways, and hitting either of these at full speed can be disastrous.

Traffic signs and lane markings are scarce and make it very difficult to anticipate dangers.

Animals and livestock roam the roads in remote areas, and driving in winter and at night is very risky and should be avoided.

Car Crime in Bulgaria

Carjacking is possible, and you might encounter fake police officers along the Black Sea coast, or near Dupnitsa and Kyustendil on the roadway to Greece and Macedonia.

Avoid your itch to flip off, yell at, or otherwise confront aggressive or angry drivers. People like guns in Bulgaria, and aren't afraid to use them. Road rage incidents sometimes end very unhappily.

You will come under more scrutiny as a foreign driver, so be extra careful with traffic rules and regulations and do not drive or park anywhere you should not.

If you want to avoid getting pulled over by a "real" cop, follow the speed limit and make sure you have the right paperwork - a license, registration and Bulgarian car insurance.

It's also a good idea to obtain an International Driver's Permit before you leave as it is a requirement in Bulgaria.

Every driver must possess a highway permit, called a "vignette" obtainable at post offices, ports, border points, gas stations and DZI bank offices.

Bulgarian drivers aren't too keen on pedestrians, so be extra, extra careful crossing the street no matter where you are in the country.

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