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Renting a Car in Bulgaria

DRIVING IN BULGARIA

Renting a car in Bulgaria is easy. Most big car rental chains are presented in the country, and some local ones provide competitive pricing and sometimes better flexibility and quality. We recommend you check all the options and then decide on choosing a rent-a-car service in Bulgaria.

Start Planning For Renting a Car in Bulgaria

Let’s start planning your car rental in Bulgaria by answering the following essential questions!

  • Do I need a car in the city, or to explore the country?
  • Electric or petrol/diesel car rental in Bulgaria?
  • Do I need insurance, and what kind of insurance is optimal?
  • What documents do I need to rent and drive a car in Bulgaria?
  • Do I need to purchase the GPS option for the rent-a-car?
  • How much in advance should I book a rental car?
  • What rent-a-car services are recommended in Bulgaria?
  • Are there any hidden charges I should be aware of when booking a car in Bulgari

Do I need a car in the city, or to explore the country?

Exploring the cities does not require a car at all. In all the bigger cities, you will explore mostly the central parts, and it is much easier to take a walk. You will see more and learn more about the city by walking. In Sofia and Plovdiv, shared mobility services allow you to find and use a car with your mobile phone without visiting an office or a specific location to pick it up, such as SPARK. You need to register first, and it may take a day or two, so if you are to use the service – plan to for it in advance. We can recommend shared mobility services if you want to see more of the city and visit close to the city places. And it is fun to drive an electric car, after all!

Regarding the size of the car, it will be your choice entirely, depending on the seats you need and the luggage you carry around. No need to rent a 4×4 car or an SUV if you don’t specifically plan to drive in the high mountains or on slippery roads in the winter or if you like it. We recommend choosing a mid-size car to explore the country. A hatchback or kombi is most convenient.

Electric or petrol/diesel car rental in Bulgaria?

To explore the country we recommend you opt-in for a petrol or diesel engine car as it provides a more extended range and flexibility. Bulgaria has more than 3000 petrol stations and less than 600 e-charging stations.

We recommend using an electric car in and around the cities. Again, depending on your needs and driving style, you can choose from car-sharing services and classic rent-a-car services.

Do I need insurance, and what kind of insurance is optimal?

hen I visit a country from abroad, I always purchase additional insurance. Because driving and parking in the city can cause scratches on the car, it happens rarely, but still, for a hassle-free vacation experience, it is recommended – go for it! I always purchase the highest level of insurance when the incremental cost is not very high. Before purchasing this extra insurance, you may need to check if your credit card offers it already and in what conditions. Some companies may offer additional personal or health accident insurance. This may be too much, as you usually will already have these insurances from your country’s health insurance provider and your credit card.

What documents do I need to rent and drive a car in Bulgaria?

To rent a car in Bulgaria, you must have a passport and driver’s license of international standard. If you are under 21 years old and have less than three years of driving experience, you may need to pay some extra charge.

To drive a rental car in Bulgaria, you will need the following:

  • your driver’s license (EU origin) or International Driver’s Permit/License/IDL (US)
  • passport (if you are a Non-EU citizen), ID (if you are an EU citizen)
  • car document; this may include two parts, one of the copies you should always carry with you and not leave in the car
  • car insurance
  • paperwork from the rental agency that you receive with the car
  • your rent-a-car will already have an e-vignette activated, which will allow you to drive on all roads in the country; ask for confirmation if you feel an e-vignette is not included

Driving Briefs & Reviews

Do I need to purchase the GPS option for the rent-a-car?

No need to purchase GPS to navigate around Bulgaria. Publicly available services from Google and other map services will provide you with enough detail to find anything you need. You will need a connected mobile device to the internet. If you don’t plan to bring one, then the GPS option when renting a car is for you.

How much in advance should I book a rental car?

Renting a car during high seasons will require some planning in advance. If you are planning to rent from big cities and airports, the high seasons are Chrismas – New Year and July-August during the summer holidays. Ski resorts’ high season is January and February, and summer resorts’ high season is July and August.

In most cases, booking a car 1-2 months earlier provides you with the advantage enough to benefit from having more choices of vehicles and getting more competitive car hire rates. Do your research. Google the services first.

What rent-a-car services are recommended in Bulgaria?

The choice between in-city car share and classic rent-a-car service will depend on your plans. There are a few car rental options if you need a car to explore the country. If you want to go with a service you know, then the usual rental providers, such as Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty, etc., are there for you. More local car hire services can provide competitive quality and pricing, including the Top Rent-a-car, AutoJet Rent-a-car, etc. You can search in Localrent, or DoscoverCars, for instance. If you are more into saving mood, still another option is to check the available car-sharings through Carsharing.

Are there any hidden charges I should be aware of?

Generally speaking – no. We never encountered hidden charges while renting a car in Bulgaria from more prominent local companies and international car hire companies. As a general rule, be prepared to review more carefully the extra insurance provided for the car and the extra personal insurance. You may already have them through your credit card and/or your health insurance company. Make sure you don’t pay for the same service twice.

Road Trips

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Visiting from North America, the Netherlands, or Switzerland?

Driving in Bulgaria has specifics, and we took a customized approach to explain them depending on the country of origin, with a sense of humor, and to make your driving experience worry-free.

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