Parking in Bulgaria, except in the bigger cities, unless stated otherwise, is free. It is also very intuitive for those used to driving in Europe. A sign “P” indicates parking places.
Parking on the streets in Sofia
Like in other big European cities, parking in Sofia may be challenging, especially during business days. The city of Sofia has been built to accommodate circa a million residents, and now more than 2 million live there, with more than half a million cars on the streets daily. Public parking spaces are not enough, and the Sofia municipality is trying to limit the number of cars in the city. Sofia has two short-term street paid-parking zones: Blue (the city center) and Green (around the city center). Parking in the two zones can be paid for via SMS. Unfortunately, only customers of Bulgarian mobile phone operators can pay for parking via SMS (yes, you will need a local SIM card for that). You can visit the Sofia Municipality’s Parking resource page and research how to pay for parking from a Bulgarian cell phone number. Parking can also be paid with parking coupons or via any of these user-friendly parking apps – SMS Parking app, Urbo app, or SofiaPlus app. Additionally, you can message the “Urban Mobility Center” chatbot in the Viber mobile application (https://chats.viber.com/cgm-bot).
If you are visiting for the first time, to guarantee a nice time in Sofia, we favor walking and using a taxi or public transport.
If you arrive by car in Sofia and your place of stay does not provide a parking option, we can complement the following paid parking spots in the city:
- around Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski (paid via apps, SMS, and parking coupons)
- on the main square close to the Bulgarian National Bank (paid via apps, SMS, and parking coupons)
- close to the National Palace of Culture (paid via credit card or cash)
- you can also park in the many malls in the city (paid via credit card or cash)
In addition to the parking spots above, we can recommend Park & Ride (park and take the metro) parking options for the city of Sofia:
- Park & Ride Tsarigradsko Shose
- Park & Ride James Bouchard
More detailed information on Park & Ride (prices, payment methods, lost parking tickets, etc.) can be obtained from the Sofia Urban Mobility Centre’s website.
Parking in the big cities
Parking in big cities (Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, V. Turnovo, Pleven, etc.) is also zoned, and similar parking rules as in Sofia may apply. We recommend you ask for parking instructions or, better – a parking spot provided directly by your place of stay.
Parking in resorts
Parking in ski and summer resorts can also be zoned, and similar parking rules as in the cities may apply. We recommend you ask for parking instructions or, better – a parking spot provided directly by your place of stay. Most of the resorts provide large public parking spaces as well.