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Why rent a car in Sofia?
Sofia is a great place for renting a car. Having your own wheels will not only let you to explore this sprawling city, but also to travel to its nearby nature areas, as well as prolong your travels by visiting Bulgaria's beaches and mountains.
Top ways to enter Sofia
- Sofia Airport: Large, modern, and expanding, Sofia Airport provides flights to and from most European countries, as well as destinations in other nearby parts of the world.
- Burgas Airport: Located on the Black Sea and especially busy during the summer months, Burgas Airport is just a few hours drive away from Sofia.
- Varna Airport: Another beach destination, Varna and its well-connected airport is also just a relatively short drive east of Sofia.
- By rail: If you're arriving in Sofia by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at Sofia Railway Station.
Useful city facts
- Sofia is located at the foothills of Vitosha mountain massif. Its peak reaches nearly 3000 meters (9842 ft) above sea level.
- Sofia has a humid continental climate. The average temperature in January is -0.6 °C (31 °F), although colder temperatures are not uncommon and the city sees snow almost every year. Summers, on the other hand, are warm and can even be scorching hot during July and August.
Top destinations and activities
- Sofia Central Mineral Baths. First built during the Ottoman days, rebuilt numerous times, and in active use until as recently as 1980s, this beautiful complex of mineral baths and saunas is a unique landmark of Sofia.
- National Museum of History. This museum lets you experience Bulgaria's long and varied history, from its recent 20th Century past to ancient history when the land was settled by such different peoples as Thracians, Celts, Hellenes, and Romans.
- St. Aleksander Nevski Cathedral. The largest Christian Orthodox church in Southeast Europe and one of the most prominent ones in the world, this cathedral is a place where you can appreciate beautiful architecture and learn more about Bulgaria's leading religious denomination.
Traffic and parking tips
- Sofia experiences high traffic congestion. As a visitor, it’s a good idea to plan your travel around the city outside the main rush hours in the morning and in the evening.
- Outside main population areas and nature areas of national importance the road signs are often only written in Cyrillic. If you cannot read this alphabet, it’s a good idea to get a dictionary, perhaps in mobile format, to be able to read them.
- Speed cameras are in use.
- Drivers are only allowed to use mobile phones with a hands-free system.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for both experienced and novice drivers. Exceeding the limit can lead to large fines. Driving with blood alcohol content of over 1.2% will lead to imprisonment.
- The emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
For many motorways in Bulgaria you need to obtain a stamp or a highway vignette. The price of the stamp depends on the category (1 day, weekend, weekly, monthly, etc.) and on the type of car. You can purchase stamps online as well as in public selling points. Find out more on the official Bulgarian toll road website.
You also have to pay a fee for crossing certain bridges and for taking your car on a ferry to cross certain bodies of water. Find out more about the crossing points and the fees on the official European toll road website.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Vitosha. Sofia is located at the foothills of the Vitosha mountain massif. Its peak reaches nearly 3000 meters (9842 ft), providing magnificent views of the city below. The mountain is part of a wider nature park that offers great hiking trails, and, if you're visiting in winter, you can also go skiing and snowboarding.
- Rila Monastery. Just 90 minutes drive from Sofia, Rila Monastery is one of the most important religious centers of Bulgaria, and, indeed, the region. The nature areas around the monastery are also very much worth exploring.
- Plovdiv. Bulgaria's second, Plovdiv is also considered by many to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. Full of history and atmosphere, it offers everything from ruins of Roman buildings to regional museums and great cuisine.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car types in Bulgarie are standard, economy, and compact. The most popular rental car is the VW Polo, although travelers also love the Renault Clio and the Ford Fiesta.
- Black Sea Coast. Perhaps Bulgaria's number one attraction, its Black Sea Coast is famous for resort towns like Burgas, Varna, and Sunny Beach. Visiting them is definitely recommended, but having your own ride will also let you find more private beaches up and down the coast.
- Romania. Bulgaria's northern neighbor has plenty to offer to any traveler, from its eclectic capital Bucharest and cozy medieval cities like Brasov and Sibiu to majestic Carpathian mountains. Note that you'll have to cross a national border, so do get in touch with your rental car provider in advance to make sure they permit it.
- Northern Greece. Bordering Bulgaria, this region of Greece is famous for historic landmarks, wild nature areas, and the beautiful city of Thessaloniki. Note that you'll have to cross a national border, so do get in touch with your rental car provider in advance to make sure they permit it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
These are some of the things you can do to get a good rental car deal in Sofia:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Sofia is the cheapest in December when renting a car is about 47% cheaper than the yearly average and about 64% cheaper than renting a car in August.
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Sofia?
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