Country Information

Location: Eastern Europe
Capital: Sofia
Population: 7.128 Millions
Currency: Bulgarian Lev BGN
Language: Bulgarian
Main Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox

Hello: Zdraveĭte
Thank you: Blagodarya ti

Dates in the country

Start of September 2017


Bulgaria has a temperate-continental climate with moderate features which is characteristic of Central Europe, with hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons. Abundant snowfalls may occur throughout the country from December to mid-March, especially if you are in the mountainous areas of Bulgaria.ria.

Public Holidays

  • 01-Jan Sun New Year’s Day
  • 02-Jan Mon New Year Holiday
  • 03-Mar Fri Liberation Day
  • 14-Apr Fri Orthodox Good Friday
  • 15-Apr Sat Orthodox Easter Saturday
  • 16-Apr Sun Orthodox Easter Sunday
  • 17-Apr Mon Orthodox Easter Monday
  • 01-May Mon Labour Day
  • 06-May Sat Saint George’s Day / Army Day
  • 08-May Mon Saint George’s Day Holiday
  • 24-May Wed Culture and Literacy Day
  • 06-Sep Wed Unification Day
  • 22-Sep Fri Independence Day
  • 01-Nov Wed Day of the Bulgarian Enlighteners *
  • 24-Dec Sun Christmas Eve
  • 25-Dec Mon Christmas Day
  • 26-Dec Tue 2nd Day of Christmas
  • 27-Dec Wed Christmas Holiday


  • Australian and New Zealand passport holders planning a visit to any of the 28 Member States of the EU do not require a visa if their stay is no longer than 90 days in a six month period within the EU.
  • UK part of EU


Vaccines advised:

  • Tetanus
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Malaria: No

Rules of the Road

The Bulgarian road system is developed, but some roads are in a bad condition. In winter, driving may be dangerous since roads become icy and potholes proliferate.

At times, driving in Bulgaria is dangerous. Aggressive manner of driving and lack of a safe infrastructure lead to road traffic accidents.

  • The legal age for driving in Bulgaria is 18.
  • The speed limits are 50 km/h (31 mph) in towns, 90 km/h (56 mph) in countryside and 130 km/h (81 mph) on highways.
  • Using of seat belts is obligatory for all passengers excepting pregnant women.
  • Children under 12 years old must be in a child car seat in the front seats. Children under 3 years of age may not be transported not fitted with child restraints.
  • Driving under alcohol influence is illegal. The allowed content of alcohol in blood is 0.05 %.
  • Road signs correspond to international standards. The main routes are signposted in Cyrillic and Latin letters.
  • Drivers must not turn right on red.
  • When a driver drives on the right side, he must put stickers on his headlights, so his lights don’t blind motorists the other way.
  • Drivers must pay a motorway tax for using motorways and express roads. A vehicle sticker must be prominently displayed in cars. Stickers can be bought at petrol stations, border points or post offices. Duration of sticker is one year, one day or ten days. If a driver has not a sticker he will be fined. Drivers might also have to pay motorway tolls depending on where you drive in Bulgaria.
  • In any vehicle must always be present: first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, and reflective jacket.
  • While driving, drivers can use a mobile phone only with a “hands-free” system.
  • It is illegal to carry any radar detector in a car. If a driver has a GPS navigation system which shows where fixed speed cameras are set, he must turn off this function.
  • If a driver is caught in perpetration of any driving offence, he will be fined on the spot.
  • If a driver drives in mountain areas, he should watch the falling rocks and landslides.
  • If somebody flashes their headlights to you, it means they expect you to get out from their way or they warn you of the police are ahead.
  • According to the latest new rules it is prohibited to wear dark sunglasses, shoes with high heels, flip flops, and to eat and smoke. However, if it is enforced we will see in the future.
  • During the winter months (from November, 1 to March, 1) drivers must hold their headlights on all the time. It is obligatory to have winter tires.
  • If a foreigner would like to rent a car in Bulgaria, he must have his National driving permit, International driving license, motor insurance certificate, and V5 registration document or hire car document. Foreign drivers can drive in Bulgaria with their International driver licenses for up to one year; after that term they must obtain Bulgarian driver licenses.

Places to Visit

  • Belogradchik – Belogradchik Fortress is a manmade construction set against a stunning outcrop of rocks. The combination is so unique and picturesque, that it seems to have been lifted straight out of a Disney fairytale. What’s even more unique than the fortress is the surrounding countryside. The Belogradchik Rocks, named in 2009 as Bulgaria’s candidate to be selected as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, are a stunning arrangement of strange-shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock formations.
  • Veliko Tarnovo – This was the historic capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire between the 12th and 14th centuries, Veliko Tarnovo is located in central Bulgaria and is a popular tourist attraction. The reconstructed Tsarevets fortress bears no resemblance to the medieval palaces of the Bulgarian tsars who ruled from the hilltop until their defeat by the Ottomans in 1393. Still, one senses Bulgaria’s former greatness when walking through the gates of this picturesque stronghold.
  • Melnik – Melnik is known for two reasons. It is the smallest city in Bulgaria and it is home to some of the best wineries in the country. It will take you minutes to walk up the town’s one main street, but you’ll sit for hours at a local tavern, your head spinning under the intoxicating spell of the rich red wines. If you manage to get up from your seat, the nearby pyramidal Melnik Rocks and the Rozhen Monastery are worth a visit.


A detailed route showing where we went overlanding and exploring. We jotted down the routes we travelled on a physical map which travelled with us from Australia to the UK, then transferred this to a digital form using Google Maps (KML and GeoRSS Layers)

These are exact appropriations, maps differ between brands and converting from paper to digital may lose some details in translation. This should still show in great detail our route.