Bulgaria occupies a strategic, and a unique geographic location in Europe. This unique location has made Bulgaria a melting point for various cultures and civilization throughout its history. Bulgaria is also home to some of the earliest cultural artifacts, and metal works in the world. Added to amazing natural features, and welcoming people, Bulgaria is definitely an ideal place to visit for any tourists. For a country with improving road infrastructure, travelling around the country by car has never been easier. It will interest you to know that the county has made it very easy for foreign drivers to drive around the country through use of specially marked number plates that are issued to novice drivers for easy identification by the police, and local drivers.
Driving is on the right hand side, and overtaking on the left, as when driving in USA. The legal driving age is 18 years. Many rental companies only hire to drivers who are at least twenty three years with at least one year driving experience. Although, the road infrastructure is being improved in most parts of the country, certain sections are still in poor condition, and caution should be observed to prevent accidents. Also, it helps if you are learn on defensive driving as some local drivers might not be in there best of behavior.
Driving in the countryside is enjoyable, and it has little traffic, but you should be wary of potholes in certain section, and farm animals which stray to the road. If you are not comfortable driving during winter, then avoid heading there during the winter months as certain parts of the country experience severe winter. If you must, make sure that your vehicle is well fitted with winter tyres or snow chains.
If possible, drive during the day as you are likely to run into a vehicle(s) with poorly working lights. Don’t pull over for any vehicle as cases of robbers impersonating the police have been reported before. Official police vehicles are white in color, and marked in blue letters. Ladies should not drive with high heels.
During winter months i.e. from November to March, you should only drive with your headlamps on.
Bulgaria has one of the highest levels of road accidents in Europe, and thus you should be prepared for any eventualities at all times. If you are involved in an accident, don’t move your car unless it is in a position that is likely to cause harm to other road users. Also, inform the police immediately. As you wait for the police to arrive, swap insurance documents with the other driver, and take photos if you have a camera.
Contact the police using the number: 166, if you need medical assistance, call: 150.
All passengers might wear a safety belt at all times. Children less than 12 years should not seat at the front. Children less than five years should have specially designed seats.
The Bulgarian motorway sign follows the international system with the only exception being that they are marked in the Cyrillic alphabet. Interpreting the road signage should not pose a major challenge for experienced drivers.
Bulgaria has nearly a zero tolerance of blood alcohol limit. The legal limit is less than 0.05%. To be safe on the road, avoid drink-driving not just to avoid paying hefty fines or jail terms, but also to prevent unnecessary accidents.
Although, the police rarely stop foreign visitors, they occasionally do so. They will most likely ask for the following: international drivers Licence, vehicle lease agreement, passport, and insurance documents. If you don’t have the following documents, you can be fined, or your journey stopped.
Fuel is relatively cheaper in Bulgaria retailing at €1.04 unleaded and €1.12 unleaded. To get the best petrol, it is advisable to only fuel your car at internationally renowned brands.
The improving road network has led to the introduction of toll roads. Toll roads are well maintained, and generally safer compared to other roads.
Speed limits across Bulgaria vary as follows: Built-up areas: 50km/hr., open roads: 90km/hr., and highways: 120km/hr.
Parking outside Sofia, the capital city is not difficult as many options are available. If you are not sure where to park, leave your vehicle in your hotel. Outside big cities, parking is quite cheap ranging from two to six leva per hour. Long term parking deals are also available in designated parking places. Parks that are illegally parked are towed.
Bulgaria is my favourite country in Europe, it has it all!
A must-drive experience!!!