Despite being within a relative stone’s throw of Russia and Ukraine, Bulgaria is a surprisingly warm country, especially near the Black Sea coast - which enjoys huge popularity with foreign tourists. Although the weather alone is reason enough to visit, Bulgaria has plenty to offer by way of unique cultural delights.
Along the banks of the Danube, you could go fishing or on a boat ride, while Sofia, the capital, is one of Europe’s oldest cities. On the Black Sea coast, the cities of Varna and Burgas are great for anyone who loves a trip to the beach. Bulgarian cuisine is delightful too, fusing styles from neighbouring countries like Greece, Ukraine and Turkey to create truly unique dishes.
What are the roads like in Bulgaria?
Many roads in the country are in poor condition, particularly away from the more sparsely-populated areas. A lot of roads in Bulgaria don’t have clearly-defined lanes, although the highways between the major cities are pretty well-kept. Potholes, cracks and bumps are sadly commonplace on rural roads.
What are Bulgarian drivers like?
Drivers in Bulgaria are known for being a little on the aggressive side. However, they’re not helped by the poor state of large parts of the road network. The best thing to do is drive on motorways whenever you can, as this will help you to avoid the worst of drivers’ wrath.
What are the best times to drive?
Sofia and Plovdiv can sometimes be traffic blackspots during rush hour, so ensure that during daylight hours, you avoid getting in your car between 7-9am and 4.30-6.30pm. Weekends are a little different, although Saturdays tend to be far busier. There are a few national holidays where traffic is pretty heavy especially the day before; so check your calendar.
What are the driving laws?
A valid UK driving licence and paperwork, a GB sticker if your car doesn’t have a Euro-plate, a motor insurance certificate, car hire paperwork, headlamp converters, a fire extinguisher, first aid kit warning triangle and road tax sticker are all essential. Seatbelts must be worn at all times and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat.
Most road signs in Bulgaria are written in Cyrillic, so it might be useful to learn a few basic words in case.
You can’t use your horn between 10pm-6am or 12pm-4pm.
In Bulgaria, you might have to pay motorway tolls.
While in mountainous areas, be wary of falling rocks and landslides.