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Sofia church

Bulgaria Road Trip

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

Expect on your Bulgaria Road Trip Itinerary

Beach Beach
Historical sites Historical sites
Landscape Landscape
Comfort Comfort
Road conditions Road conditions
Security Security
Urban life Urban life
Culture Culture
ACTIVATE MAP Stages10 km1,470 h/stage2.5

Best months to drive Bulgaria Road Trip

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

Road Trip Costs

How much does it cost to go on a 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 270EUR drive & more 163EUR sleep & more 396EUR eat & more 432EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 991EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 1,261EUR
Standard
Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 450EUR drive & more 225EUR sleep & more 858EUR eat & more 576EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,659EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,109EUR
Premium
High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 1,260EUR drive & more 275EUR sleep & more 1,188EUR eat & more 864EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 2,327EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,587EUR
Camper
On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self-catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 2,700EUR drive & more 325EUR sleep & more 330EUR eat & more 432EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,087EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,787EUR
Car rental Book hotel Flights

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!

number of days 12 number of days
route length 1,470 km route length
budget low budget
good for family good for
traffic direction on the right traffic direction
accident level 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.

START Sofia

Distance 1,470 km Driving time 25.1 h Pace: modest Airports SOF
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Your journey starts at the Sofia Airport. It is precisely the place where you can collect your rental vehicle.

1 Sofia - Rila Monastery - Bansko

Distance 212 km Driving time 3.5 h Pace: fast View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road sections of steep road stretches of winding road UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options attractive landscape
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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.

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 155 km Driving time 3.3 h Pace: modest View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road sections of steep road stretches of winding road interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 200 km Driving time 3.7 h Pace: modest View map Itinerary
dining venues UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 185 km Driving time 2.5 h Pace: fast View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 38 km Driving time 1.2 h Pace: slow View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 101 km Driving time 1.8 h Pace: modest View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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 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 194 km Driving time 2.6 h Pace: fast View map Itinerary
dining venues accommodation options interesting  historic site attractive landscape
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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.

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 107 km Driving time 1.6 h Pace: fast View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 153 km Driving time 3.0 h Pace: modest View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road interesting  historic site accommodation options
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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.

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 124 km Driving time 2.0 h Pace: fast View map Itinerary
dining venues accommodation options UNESCO World Heritage Site interesting  historic site
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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.

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

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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.

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 50km/h, which is the maximum allowed speed inside the cities. 90km/h is the maximum permissible speed in non-build-up areas. Driving faster than the maximum speed of 140km/h. 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 1,470km across Bulgaria can cost around 163 EUR. Economy accommodation options will cost more or less 396 EUR. You should also take into consideration the fact that you will spend roughly 432 EUR for food and restaurants in this option. Travellers will have to pay approximately 270 EUR 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 991 EUR to about 1,261 EUR.
When it comes to the standard offer, you have to spend the maximum of 163 EUR 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 858 EUR. The standard option in terms of food and restaurants can cost up to approximately 576 EUR. Travellers who want to cover the tour in a standard rental car can expect a cost of roughly 450 EUR. Summing up the standard offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total more or less 2,109 EUR for holidaymakers who would like to try vehicle rental and 1,659 EUR 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 3,587 EUR for holidayers who are considering car hire and 1,659 EUR 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 1,260 EUR. If you are interested in the highest standard of the adventure, you should expect the average cost of approximately 275 EUR when it comes to fuel. Holidaymakers who opt for top services in all aspects of their trip should expect to pay around 864 EUR for food and restaurants and more or less 1,188 EUR 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 2,700 EUR. If you are wondering about the money that has to be spent on gasoline during the whole trip, it will amount to about 325 EUR. Drivers who choose camper hire should expect to pay about 330 EUR for accommodation and more or less 432 EUR 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 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.

Facts for safer driving in Bulgaria

drink drive limit drink drive limit 0.5
max speed urban max speed urban 50 km/h
max speed rural max speed rural 90 km/h
max speed highway max speed highway 140 km/h
headlights at daytime headlights at daytime on
fire extinguisher fire extinguisher yes
tolls tolls yes
seat belts seat belts yes

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