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Car Rental in Bulgaria

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Renting a Car in Bulgaria

When traveling to Bulgaria, renting a car can be a convenient and efficient way to explore this beautiful country. However, before you hit the road, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements.

Understanding Local Driving Laws

In Bulgaria, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road. The speed limits are 50 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h outside of urban areas, and 140 km/h on highways. It’s also mandatory to wear seatbelts and carry a reflective jacket, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher in your car.

Requirements for Renting a Car

To rent a car in Bulgaria, you must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver’s license for at least one year. If you’re under 25, you may be subject to a young driver surcharge. Additionally, most car rental companies require a credit card for the security deposit.

Choosing the Right Car Rental Company

There are numerous car rental companies in Bulgaria, so it’s important to choose one that meets your needs. Look for a reputable company with a wide selection of vehicles, transparent pricing, and good customer service. It’s also advisable to read reviews from previous customers to gauge the company’s reliability.

Exploring Bulgaria by Car

Once you’ve rented a car and familiarized yourself with the local driving laws, you’re ready to explore Bulgaria’s diverse landscapes, historic cities, and charming villages. Whether you’re visiting the Black Sea coast, the picturesque Rila Monastery, or the vibrant city of Sofia, having a car gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace.

By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, choosing the right car rental company, and respecting the rules of the road, renting a car in Bulgaria can enhance your travel experience and allow you to discover the country’s hidden gems.

Rental Requirements

Age Limits

The minimum age for renting a car in Bulgaria is typically 21 years old, although some rental companies may require drivers to be at least 25 years old. As for the maximum age, it is usually around 70 years old, but this can vary depending on the rental company.

Driving License Requirements

To rent a car in Bulgaria, drivers must have a valid driver’s license from their home country. Some rental companies may also require an International Driving Permit (IDP) if the driver’s license is not in English. Additionally, drivers are usually required to have held their license for at least one year.


When renting a car in Bulgaria, renters are typically required to present their passport, a valid credit card in their name for the security deposit, and their driver’s license or IDP. Some rental companies may also ask for additional documentation, so it’s best to check with the specific company beforehand.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Bulgaria, it’s important to understand the different insurance options available to ensure a safe and stress-free driving experience.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically included in car rentals in Bulgaria consists of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection. CDW covers damage to the rental vehicle in the event of a collision, while Theft Protection provides coverage in case the car is stolen.

Additional Insurance

In addition to the basic insurance, renters have the option to purchase additional coverage such as Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI). PAI provides medical coverage for the driver and passengers in the event of an accident, while SLI offers protection against third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage.

Insurance Tips

For travelers renting a car in Bulgaria, it’s recommended to check existing travel insurance policies to see if they already provide coverage for rental vehicles. This can help avoid paying for duplicate coverage and save money on insurance costs. Additionally, it’s important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage offered by the car rental company to fully understand the extent of the protection provided.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Bulgaria

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: In Bulgaria, driving is on the right side of the road.
Speed Limits: The speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h, on rural roads it’s 90 km/h, and on highways it’s 140 km/h.
Other Useful Info: Be aware of traffic signs and signals, and always carry your driver’s license and vehicle registration documents.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking is only allowed on the left, and it’s prohibited in pedestrian crossings and intersections.
Lane Discipline: Keep right except to overtake on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Be cautious while overtaking and always use your indicators.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: It’s mandatory for all passengers to wear seat belts, and children under 12 must sit in the back seat.
Child Safety: Children under 3 must use a child seat, and children between 3 and 12 must use a booster seat.
Other Useful Info: Ensure that child seats meet safety standards and are properly installed.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving.
Other Useful Info: Use a hands-free device if you need to make a call while driving.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Penalties for DUI/DWI are severe.
Zero Tolerance Policies: There are stricter rules for commercial drivers, with a lower blood alcohol limit of 0.00%.
Other Useful Info: Designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: Bulgaria has a few toll roads, and payment is typically made at toll stations.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges in Bulgaria.
Other Useful Info: Carry cash for toll payments as some toll stations may not accept cards.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common in Bulgaria. Vehicles already in the roundabout have the right of way.
Intersection Rules: Vehicles approaching from the right have the right of way unless otherwise indicated.
Other Useful Info: Be vigilant at intersections, and always use your indicators to signal your intentions.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be used at all times, even during the day.
Windshield Wiper Rule: There is no specific requirement to turn on headlights when using wipers.
Other Useful Info: Keep your headlights and wipers in good working condition.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: When you hear sirens or see flashing lights, pull over to the side of the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Other Useful Info: Be aware of emergency vehicle signals and give them plenty of space to maneuver.

Driving Tips for Bulgaria

Road Conditions

In Bulgaria, road conditions can vary widely. While major highways are generally well-maintained, some rural roads may be in poor condition, especially in mountainous areas. It’s important to drive cautiously and be aware of potential potholes and uneven surfaces.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Driving in urban areas in Bulgaria can be quite congested, with heavy traffic and narrow streets. In rural areas, roads may be less crowded but could also be narrower and winding. It’s important to adapt your driving style to the specific conditions you encounter.

Navigational Tips

If you’re renting a car in Bulgaria, using a GPS navigation system can be incredibly helpful, especially if you plan to explore more remote areas. However, it’s also a good idea to have a physical map as a backup, as GPS signals can be unreliable in some regions.

Other Useful Tips

– Keep an eye out for livestock on rural roads, especially in mountainous areas.
– Be aware of local driving laws and regulations, such as speed limits and right-of-way rules.
– Consider renting a car with good ground clearance if you plan to explore off the beaten path.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

When renting a car in Bulgaria, it’s important to be prepared for any roadside emergencies that may arise during your trip. Here are some important procedures and contact information to keep in mind.

Breakdown Procedures

In the event of a breakdown, the first step is to safely pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If it’s safe to do so, place a warning triangle behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Contact the rental company immediately to inform them of the situation and follow their instructions for further assistance.

Emergency Services

In case of a medical emergency or accident, dial 112 for the local emergency services. This number will connect you to the police, ambulance, and fire department. It’s important to stay calm and provide as much information as possible about your location and the nature of the emergency.

For roadside assistance, contact the rental company’s 24/7 support line for immediate help. They will be able to dispatch a tow truck or provide other necessary assistance to get you back on the road safely.

Rental Company Policies

Most rental companies in Bulgaria offer 24/7 roadside assistance as part of their service. This may include towing services, replacement vehicles, or on-the-spot repairs. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of your rental company before embarking on your trip.

By being aware of the breakdown procedures, emergency contact numbers, and rental company policies, you can have peace of mind while driving in Bulgaria and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Safe travels!

Where can you Rent a Car in Bulgaria?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.