Basic Driving Rules
Driving in Bulgaria
Drivers of motor vehicles use the right side of the road in the direction of the traffic, unless otherwise is indicated by a road sign or a traffic light.
The minimum driving age is 18 year`s old. For Rent-a-car services the requirement of the driving age is at least 19 year`s old /the age could vary by the car category/ as you must have obtained your driving license at least 1 year prior.
Road speed limits
The Road Speed limits are defined as follows:
- Residential areas – 20 km/h
- Populated areas – 50 km/h
- Outside villages areas – 90 km/h
- Speed roads – 90 km/h
- Freeways – 140 km/h
- Valid driving license and control certificate attached thereto
- Motor vehicle registration certificate and where applicable – documents on the trailer towed by it
- Compulsory motor vehicle liability insurance and where applicable – documents on the trailer towed by it
- Document reflecting the date of the next periodic review of the roadworthiness test, certifying that the motor vehicle and the trailer towed by it are allowed to travel on the open public roads
Persons holding a driving license issued by a Member State of the European Union or by another State Party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or by the Swiss Confederation may drive motor vehicles on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria subject to the minimum age requirements of the relevant category.
Driving in the city
Trams, regardless of their location and travel direction always take precedence. Drivers are obligated always to pass through the pedestrian on the walkways. It is not legal to make right turn at a red light.
Entering a roundabout the travel direction is opposite to the clockwise. Motor vehicles already in roundabout take precedence over those who enter it. There are exceptions to this road rule but they are indicated by a road sign.
The passage and parking of motor vehicles in parks, gardens and playgrounds in the populated areas outside the designated lots is prohibited.
When on the road is a built-up road surface, constructed for the movement of trams, the movement of motor vehicles on it is prohibited.
Electronic vignette and toll taxes
In order to travel on the roads between the cities of Bulgaria, the motor vehicles must have a valid electronic vignette. During inspection of the road control Authorities the owners or users of motor vehicles are not obliged to present a document, certifying the purchased vignette. Electronic vignettes could be purchased as follows:
- From the Internet at bgtoll.bg
- Via a mobile app
- Via self-serving terminals at the shopping centers
- From gas stations, post offices, border checkpoints
- Traffic police – 112
- National Toll Administration – 0700 10 876
- Fire Department – 112
- Emergency Medical Service – 112
- Travel assistance/ Emergency roadside service – 146
Be careful when you park your motor vehicle – not only you could be taking a fine, but your vehicle could be repatriated or clamped, which would cost you stress and money. Before you park your vehicle on the side of a street, check for parking signs, which will inform you about the parking regulations. The restricted parking zones are colored in Blue or Green and you are usually required to pay parking fee and to show the receipt. There are also paid parking lots where you could leave your vehicle for a fee/hour. In residential areas, parking is permitted only at designated areas.
Seatbelts are required for all passengers, even for the passengers on the backseat of the vehicle. Pregnant women and persons whose physical condition does not allow may not use a seatbelt. Children aged 12 and below are not allowed at the front seat of the vehicle and also there must be used appropriate child seats.
The driver of the motor vehicle is forbidden to use a mobile phone, except through a Bluetooth device allowing him to use a phone without his hands.
Drinking and Driving
Driving with a concentration of alcohol exceeding 0,5 ppm and/or after the use of drugs or their analogues is prohibited in Bulgaria. The law is very strict in that matter, as the traffic police does routine pulled over checks and if you get caught drunk or drugged you will lose your driving license, get a huge fine and even get jail time.
You should always check the emergency equipment of your vehicle as there are some mandatory items according to the law: first aid kid, fire extinguisher, red warning triangle, spare tire with rim, screw screamer and wrench, reflective green or orange vest.
Winter tires are mandatory for the period from 15th of November to 1st of March. Winter tires are considered those with designations M+S (Mud and Snow), M.S, M&S, M-S or together with M+S and 923PMSF (a snowflake framed by three mountain peaks).
Headlights and DRL
Headlights for low beam or Daylight running lights (DRL) should be always on when you are driving even during daytime throughout the entire year.