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Sofia church
Sofia church
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Grand Bulgaria Road Trip

Sofia - Bansko - Plovdiv - Stara Zagora - Burgas - Nessebar - Varna - Ruse - Veliko Tarnovo - Karnare

Expect on your Grand Bulgaria Road Trip Itinerary

Beach
Historical sites
Landscape
Comfort
Road conditions
Security
Urban life
Culture
Tap to move
  • Motorhome Site
  • Hotels
  • Beach
  • Culture
  • Historical sites
  • Landscape
  • Camping
  • Restaurants
10 Stages 913 mi 2.3 h/stage

Best months to drive Grand Bulgaria Road Trip in Bulgaria

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII

Grand Bulgaria Road Trip Itinerary

Bulgaria Grand Tour will take you on an unforgettable trip around the most exciting highlights of the country. Scenic mountain peaks, golden beaches, and cities full of art and entertainment places are the quintessence of Bulgaria, which can be easily explored during a road trip encompassing both the southern and northern gems. Buckle up to drive along a variety of surfaces and immerse yourself in the Bulgarian road experience!

12 number of days
913 mi route length
low budget
family good for
on the right traffic direction
fair accident level

The tour runs from the Sofia Airport south to such places as Bansko, Plovdid, and Kazanlak. Later, you will explore the beautiful Bulgarian coastline with its multiple resorts offering top-notch infrastructure and entertainment venues only to finish off with the exploration of the country`s northern and central recesses. Bulgaria Grand Tour ends where it started, at the Sofia Airport from where you can take public transport to reach the capital and continue your Bulgarian adventure.

Country Road Country Road
Rila Monastery Rila Monastery

  Sofia
Distance: 913 mi, Driving time: 25.1 h, Pace: modest
Airports: SOF

Your journey starts at the Sofia Airport. It is precisely the place where you can collect your rental vehicle.

Sofia Sofia

1 Sofia - Rila Monastery - Bansko
Distance: 132 mi, Driving time: 3.5 h, Pace: fast
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options attractive landscape dining venues scenic road sections of steep road stretches of winding road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

The trip starts at the Sofia Airport where those tourists who opt for car rental option can collect their vehicles. The Sofia Airport offers a wide variety of car hire companies that will provide you with a vehicle adjusted to your most demanding needs. From the airport, you travel to Rila Monastery, the largest and most popular Eastern Orthodox monastery in this region of Europe. The monastery is also part of the Rila Monastery Nature Park characterised by beautiful green plains.

Bansko - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Bansko - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Bansko - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wallpaperflare Bansko - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wallpaperflare

After a longer stopover in the Rila Monastery Nature Park, the road signs will show you that you are around 90 km away from the final destination of this stage, namely Bansko. Along the way, you pass such places as Blagoevrad and Boboshevo. Through your car window, you will have an opportunity to admire the beautiful mountainous regions of Bulgaria.

2 Bansko - Plovdiv
Distance: 97 mi, Driving time: 3.3 h, Pace: modest
dining venues scenic road sections of steep road stretches of winding road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Located in South-Western Bulgaria, Bansko is considered one of the best ski resorts in the country. In the winter season, you will find here plenty of snowy peaks which create a background for this lively resort. Great infrastructure and top-notch cuisine are not the only things to admire about his place. Remember to visit Sveta Troitsa Church, House Museum of Nikola Vaptsarov, Bansko Permanent Icon Exhibition, and Velyan House.

Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikipedia Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikipedia
Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Plovdiv - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

After a break in Bansko, you head for the finishing line of this lap located at a distance of 167 km away. Plovdiv is the second largest city in the country with plenty to offer for a variety of tourists. Its landmarks come from different eras and periods. While in Plovdiv, be sure to visit such places as the Virgin Mary Protestant Church, the Old Town, the Plovdiv Regional Historical Museum, and the Roman Forum.

3 Plovdiv - Kazanlak - Stara Zagora
Distance: 124 mi, Driving time: 3.7 h, Pace: modest
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options dining venues trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Take a longer break in Plovdiv. If you want to try some of the best delicacies from the region, there are numerous restaurants located in the area of Old Town. After a dinner break, buckle up for more Bulgarian adventures in Kazanlak, the second stopover of this stage. In order to reach it, you travel for around 1.5 hours. You can also take a longer break at the Central Balkan National Park offering a variety of natural gems and interesting landscapes.

Stara Zagora - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr Stara Zagora - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr
Stara Zagora - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Stara Zagora - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

Kazalak is located against the backdrop of a beautiful mountain range. Therefore, while driving into the city, you will have an opportunity to admire a changing topography through your car window. Kazanlak ranks among 15 most industrialised cities in Bulgaria. Its industry is based on products containing rose oil so there is an option for some holiday souvenirs. From Kazanlak, you head towards the last city of this stage, Stara Zagora.

4 Stara Zagora - Sliven - Burgas
Distance: 115 mi, Driving time: 2.5 h, Pace: fast
accommodation options dining venues scenic road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Stara Zagora is the fifth largest city of Bulgaria. It will welcome all motorists with great road state and plenty of dining venues to choose from. What is more, it is worth visiting the Roman Forum , a proof of the city`s ancient roots. In order to reach the second destination of this stage, Sliven, you travel for about 70 km. Along the way, you will have an opportunity to admire beautiful rural areas and forests.

Burgas - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Burgas - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

Sliven is located in the near vicinity of a national park which adds to the idyllic ambiance of this settlement. It is mostly connected with Haiduts who participated in battles with the Ottoman Turks that took place throughout the 19th century. The city offers a number of interesting landmarks that can be visited before heading for the last destination of this stage, Burgas.

5 Burgas - Nessebar
Distance: 24 mi, Driving time: 1.2 h, Pace: slow
accommodation options dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Burgas is a very car-friendly city. What is more, the settlement is characterised by a great variety of excellent highlights that will cater to the needs of the most demanding tourists. Maritime Park, Natural History Museum, Poda Conservation Centre, and St Anastasia Island are only a few of the numerous attractions that await you after you drive into Burgas.

Nessebar - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr Nessebar - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Flickr

After a short break in Burgas, you head for the most exciting destination of this stage, namely Nesebar, one of the most scenic seaside resorts dating back to the ancient times. The Pearl of the Black Sea, as Nesebar is called, is full of interesting sacred places, fancy restaurants, and vineyards where you can try out regional wine. Its rich history and stunning architecture will enchant even the most demanding globetrotters.

6 Nessebar - Varna
Distance: 63 mi, Driving time: 1.8 h, Pace: modest
interesting  historic site accommodation options dining venues scenic road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

From Nesebar, your road adventure continues to Varna, the third largest city in Bulgaria. Varna is also a seaside resort. While travelling to this beautiful destination, you pass through multiple settlements, such as Obzor or Bliznaci. Along the way, you will be driving parallel to the coast and have an opportunity to awe at the sandy coves of Bulgaria that will charm you with unique beauty and atmosphere.

Varna - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikipedia Varna - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikipedia

Varna is all about Bulgarian culture and history. There are plenty of landmarks that are worth the attention of the visiting motorists. The city has its roots in Antiquity with the remnants of ancient Roman Odessos and Roman Thermae. You can also consider visiting such places as the Memorial of the Battle of Varna and the Museum of Varna History. It is also a great place for the lovers of sunbathing and long strolls along the beach.

7 Varna - Razgrad - Ruse
Distance: 121 mi, Driving time: 2.6 h, Pace: fast
accommodation options interesting  historic site attractive landscape dining venues trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

After a stopover in Varna, you will head for Razgrad, located further inland. The topography behind your car window will be changing, golden beaches and sandy coves will give way to forests and rural areas that are characteristic of this part of Bulgaria. Reaching Razgrad will take you around 1 h 20 min., simply follow A2 road.

Ruse - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Ruse - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons
Ruse - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Ruse - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

In Razgrad, it is worth visiting such places as the Ruins of Abrittus, Razgrad Clock Tower, and Ahmet Bey Mosque. You can also consider having a dinner at one of the local restaurants which will provide you with an excellent overview of the local cuisine. After a hearty meal, you can jump back in your vehicle and hit the road to reach Russe, located at a distance of 60 km away.

8 Ruse - Veliko Tarnovo
Distance: 67 mi, Driving time: 1.6 h, Pace: fast
interesting  historic site accommodation options dining venues scenic road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Russe enjoys an idyllic location on the right bank of the stunning Danube. If you can spare a moment, it is also worth taking a ride along the river banks to soak up the tranquil atmosphere of this place. While in Russe, you should not miss such exceptional places as the Ruse Courthouse, the Monument of Freedom, Kunt Kapu, and Basarbovo Monastery.

Veliko Tarnovo - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Veliko Tarnovo - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

From Ruse, head towards Veliko Tarnovo. This lap of the road trip will take you around 108 km. Drive south through such settlements as Ivanovo, Borovo, and Kutsina. While driving through Ivanovo, it is worth considering a short stay at the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo which is a complex of monolithic structures that will be a great jewel for the lovers of history and anthropology.

9 Veliko Tarnovo - Troyan - Karnare
Distance: 95 mi, Driving time: 3.0 h, Pace: modest
interesting  historic site accommodation options dining venues scenic road trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

Veliko Tarnovo can boast a beautiful and unique backdrop of mountains. It is often referred to as the City of the Tsars and enjoys a picturesque location on the Yantra River. Among the top tourist attractions in Veliko Tarnovo, one can enumerate the Palaces of the Bulgarian Emperors, the Patriarchal Cathedral, and the Old Town. The nearby peaks also offer a beautiful view on the city.

Karnare - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons Karnare - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - Wikimedia Commons

After a short break in Veliko Tarnovo, you will have 152 km to cover during this lap of the road trip. Your next destination will be Trojan, a town referring with its name to the Roman Emperor Trajan. This inconspicuous settlement offers a great insight into the period of Antiquity. It is also a great starting point for a few road trips to such national reserves as Kozia Stena, Severen Jenderm, or Steneto.

10 Karnare - Zlatitsa - Sofia
Distance: 77 mi, Driving time: 2.0 h, Pace: fast
UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options dining venues trip plan ↓ See stage route on map

The penultimate stage of Bulgaria Road Trip takes you across 133 km from Karnare to the Sofia Airport, where those who have opted for the car rental option can leave their cars. Karnare is a small Bulgarian village which will captivate you with small-town architecture and idyllic atmosphere. It will be a perfect place to start another small adventure around the nearby Central Balkan National Park that is rife with natural pearls.

Sofia - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org Sofia - Bulgaria - Europe - Road Trip - commons.wikimedia.org

From Karnare, you will have around 45 km to cover to reach Zlatitsa. It can be found between Sredna Gora and Stara Planina at a level of 680 metres above the sea. The main highway from Sofia to Burgas, passes through its centre so it is a perfect starting point for the last destination of this stage, namely the Sofia Airport. Before leaving Zlatitsa, be sure to visit one of the local restaurants on the town centre!

  Sofia
Airports: SOF

After leaving your car at the airport, you do not have to necessarily finish your Bulgarian adventure. In order to get to the capital, you can use Sofia Metro Line 1 that connects the Sofia Airport with the city centre. The trip will take you no more than 20 minutes. The metro station can be found in the eastern section of Terminal 2. Hop in the public transport and start your adventure around Sofia!

Sofia, even though it is the country`s capital, is often overlooked by travellers who focus more on the seaside towns and ski resorts in the mountainous regions. It is not a typical metropolis, yet it is full of Ottoman mosques, beautiful churches, lively restaurants, and fancy places to visit. There is plenty of Roman remnants scattered around the outskirts of the capital, which will intrigue even the most experienced travellers, whereas the fanciest galleries, museums, and restaurants can be found in the very centre of Sofia.

Grand Bulgaria Road Trip Summary

Surely, our road trip idea has become a perfect inspiration for your future travels.
Our tour can be used as a foundation that can be recreated in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with interesting tourist attractions.
If car travel is a means of travel that you prefer, there are a number of important traffic regulations to follow and a bunch of elements to keep in mind to make your trip safe. The following road rules will surely become useful for all holidaymakers considering car rental or camper rental in Bulgaria.
There are a number of road regulations to be followed while travelling around Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, if you are planning to drive, try to stay away from alcohol at all costs. Holidaymakers should remember that the amount of alcohol you can consume is low and is only 0.5‰. In order to avoid a speeding fine, it is best to never exceed 31mph, which is the maximum allowed speed inside the cities. 56mph is the maximum permissible speed in non-build-up areas. Driving faster than the maximum speed of 87mph. We recommend driving with your headlights on at daytime and equipping your car with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit to ensure proper safety.
You’re probably wondering about the costs of the whole trip. Depending on the needs of the holidayers, the cost may vary. Let’s have a look at the budget options.
The cost of gasoline for the cheapest offer to cover the planned 913mi across Bulgaria can cost around 111 GBP. Economy accommodation options will cost more or less 307 GBP. You should also take into consideration the fact that you will spend roughly 307 GBP for food and restaurants in this option. Travellers will have to pay approximately 154 GBP if they opt for the budget hire car option as well. Thus, going for vehicle rental will increase the expenses of the road trip from roughly 726 GBP to about 879 GBP.
When it comes to the standard offer, you have to spend the maximum of 111 GBP to cover the planned stages of the road trip. If you are into standard accommodation options, you should remember that the expenses can amount up to more or less 666 GBP. The standard option in terms of food and restaurants can cost up to approximately 410 GBP. Travellers who want to cover the tour in a standard rental car can expect a cost of roughly 256 GBP. Summing up the standard offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total more or less 1,486 GBP for holidaymakers who would like to try vehicle rental and 1,229 GBP for those who are not interested in renting.
The highest level of comfort of the premium option will come up to the expectations of the most demanding tourists. When it comes to this offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total more or less 2,442 GBP for holidayers who are considering car hire and 1,229 GBP for those who do not want to rent. Travellers who would like to cover the itinerary in a premium rental car can expect a cost of roughly 717 GBP. If you are interested in the highest standard of the adventure, you should expect the average cost of approximately 188 GBP when it comes to fuel. Holidaymakers who opt for top services in all aspects of their trip should expect to pay around 615 GBP for food and restaurants and more or less 922 GBP for overnight stays.
Our itinerary will also be excellent for all camper enthusiasts, as it can be easily adjusted to their expectations. When it comes to this travel means, the expenses may amount to approximately 1,537 GBP. If you are wondering about the money that has to be spent on gasoline during the whole trip, it will amount to about 222 GBP. Drivers who choose camper hire should expect to pay about 256 GBP for accommodation and more or less 307 GBP for expenses connected with food.
The Road Trip Costs section shows all the mentioned details in a straightforward manner.
The best travel opportunity when exploring the part of Bulgaria showed in our road trip idea is between April and October. If you like Grand Bulgaria Road Trip, you should definitely check out other interesting road adventures that are available on our website. The great variety of ideas will definitely meet the expectations of the most demanding tourists.
  • Road Trip Costs
  • How much does it cost to go on a Grand Bulgaria Road Trip in Bulgaria?
  • Economy
    Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 154 GBP
    • drive & more 111 GBP
    • sleep & more 307 GBP
    • eat & more 307 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 726 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 879 GBP
  • Standard
    Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 256 GBP
    • drive & more 154 GBP
    • sleep & more 666 GBP
    • eat & more 410 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,229 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 1,486 GBP
  • Premium
    High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 717 GBP
    • drive & more 188 GBP
    • sleep & more 922 GBP
    • eat & more 615 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,725 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,442 GBP
  • Camper
    On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self cooking. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
    • rent & more 1,537 GBP
    • drive & more 222 GBP
    • sleep & more 256 GBP
    • eat & more 307 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) 785 GBP
    • Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,322 GBP

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Facts for safer driving in Bulgaria

drink drive limit
0.5
max speed urban
31 mph
max speed rural
56 mph
max speed highway
87 mph
headlights at daytime
on
fire extinguisher
yes
tolls
yes
seat belts
yes