Highways in Bulgaria / Vignettes, tolls and expressways

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The motorways in Bulgaria are to be over 1,200 kilometers long. A large part of the expressways of this network is already operational. However, some highways in Bulgaria are still at least under construction. Ultimately, they are to make us pass through this country quickly and comfortably.
Currently, there is a simple network of highways that connects the western territories of Bulgaria with the eastern. These are mainly expressways departing from the capital in Sofia. This way, you can quite easily reach the Black Sea coast. It is also worth adding here that the condition of highways in Bulgaria is satisfactory and does not differ in any way from other European routes. For which, unfortunately, you have to pay, because all drivers have the appropriate vignettes.

Vignettes in Bulgaria

We will start with the topic that probably interests all drivers the most. In Bulgaria, the use of highways is paid, and the entire system is based on vignettes. This country, like other countries moving with the times, opted for electronic forms. So, for some time now, there is no need to stick vignettes on the windshield of our vehicle.
By the way, do you need a passport or ID card for Bulgaria?

Highways in Bulgaria / Tolls, expressways and vignettes
Highways in Bulgaria / Tolls, expressways and vignettes

Types of vignettes in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, vignettes are distinguished according to the type and size of the vehicle. Interestingly, motorcyclists in this country can ride the highways completely free of charge. Other vehicles must purchase the appropriate vignette.
They have been divided into three groups and so we have:

  • K1 – a category that includes vehicles with more than two axles, as well as construction cars, cranes and road trains
  • K2 – applies mainly to vehicles transporting passengers (over eight people) and two-axle vehicles, i.e. usually trucks and lorries
  • K3 – in turn, is a category that applies to passenger cars with no more than eight seats

As for the K3 categories, you can choose from vignettes valid for a certain length of time, which can be purchased at:

  • one year, valid for the next 365 days
  • a quarter, valid for exactly three months
  • month, valid for the entire month
  • one week, valid for the next seven days
  • weekend, valid for two days

Where can I buy a vignette in Bulgaria?

Vignettes in Bulgaria are only available in electronic form. 2019 was the last transitional date when they could still be purchased as traditional windshield stickers. Currently, only e-form is valid. For this reason, the easiest way to buy vignettes in Bulgaria is online. Usually by websites offering e-vignettes, such as, for example here or here.
In addition, in Bulgaria, vignettes can also be purchased from self-service vending machines, which are located at gas stations or near border crossings. If we do not buy them before entering this country, it will have to be regulated as soon as possible to avoid fines. The lack of a vignette will result in a fine of 300 leva.

Vignette prices in Bulgaria

The vignette prices in Bulgaria are not excessive. Similar to all other costs you have to pay for a tourist stay in this country. In addition, they do not change drastically over the years. It is also worth noting that the display of vignette prices in Bulgaria has finally been replaced from euro to the leva applicable in this country.
And so the costs of purchasing vignettes are as follows:

  • an annual vignette costs LE 97
  • a quarterly vignette costs Lev 54
  • monthly vignette costs 30 levs
  • a weekly vignette costs 15 levs
  • the weekend one costs only 10 levs

See also what are the current prices in Bulgaria.

Highways in Bulgaria / Highways and vignettes
Highways in Bulgaria / Highways and vignettes

Other tolls in Bulgaria

The mere purchase of vignettes in Bulgaria may not be enough to move around this country. You also need to be prepared for additional expenses, because drivers will also be charged at border crossings with Romania. This applies to both the ferry crossing the Danube River and the crossing of bridges connecting the two countries.
The cost of crossing the New Europe Bridge (connecting Calafat with Vidin):

  • cars over eight passengers have to pay 23 levs
  • cars up to eight passengers with the driver have to pay 12 levs

The cost of crossing the Friendship Bridge (connecting Giurgiu and Ruse):

  • cars over eight passengers have to pay 23 levs
  • cars up to eight passengers with the driver have to pay 4 levs

The cost of a ferry crossing the Danube, at the height of Oriachovo – Beket:

  • the motorcycle will pay 4 levs
  • a passenger car will pay 33 levs
  • a passenger car with a trailer will pay 39 levs
  • plus you have to pay 2 levs for each passenger

Highways in Bulgaria

The highways in Bulgaria currently form a network with a length of less than 800 kilometers. So far, this is enough to drive from the capital in Sofia to the Black Sea. However, the Bulgarian government plans to build another 700 kilometers of expressways that will make it even easier to travel around the country.
There are eight highways in Bulgaria. Four of them are fully completed: Trakija (360 km), Marica (117 km), Ljulin (19 km), and the northern tangent (16.5 km). The longest of them is to be the A2 motorway, which is to lead from the capital to Varna (433 km).
The Bulgarian government has announced that completing it is a top priority.

Highways in Bulgaria / Source: Wikipedia
Highways in Bulgaria / Source: Wikipedia

When it comes to marking highways in Bulgaria, they have the symbol of a capital A and the appropriate number. And so the following express routes can be distinguished:

  • A1 called “Trakija”, it runs from the Serbian border to Burgas
  • A2 called “Hemus”, which is to run from Sofia to Varna
  • A3 called “Struma”, which is to connect Pernik with the Greek border
  • A4, called “Marcia”, leads from Privomaja to the Turkish border
  • A5 called “Czerno more”, which is to lead from Varna to Burgas
  • A6 called “Ljulin” runs from the Bulgarian capital to Pernik
  • A7 called “Kalotina”, which is to connect Sofia with the Serbian border
  • the last motorway is the planned route from Veliko Tarnovo to the Romanian border
Vignettes in Bulgaria / Price, where to buy, how and where to stick?
Vignettes in Bulgaria / Price, where to buy, how and where to stick?

What else is worth knowing when traveling on roads and highways in Bulgaria?

To travel by car on roads and highways in Bulgaria, we need a valid driving license and a valid ID card, which is either an ID card or passport, as well as a registration certificate (with a current technical inspection) and liability insurance. If we travel with a borrowed car, we must have a special permit from its owner.
Of course, it must be translated into one of the foreign languages: Bulgarian, French, English or German.
See also Phrasebook and basic Bulgarian phrases.
The Green Card is not obligatory in Bulgaria, but it is worth considering because of possible compensation in the event of an accident in this country. Similarly to accident insurance (accident insurance) and an additional health policy. The more so because the EHIC is valid in Bulgarian health centers that have signed such agreements. On the other hand, the largest number of private health services on the coast is not covered by the card.
As for the mandatory equipment for each car, you should have with you when traveling in Bulgaria:

  • first aid kit
  • a fire extinguisher
  • warning triangle
  • reflective vests

However, the issue of speed limits in this country is as follows (for passenger cars with a total weight of up to 3.5 tons):

  • in built-up areas, we drive up to 50 km / h
  • outside the built-up area, we can drive up to 80 km / h
  • in turn, on highways we can speed up to 100 km / h

In Bulgaria, seat belts must of course be fastened at all times, which applies to all road users. On the other hand, the dipped beam must be on all the time from November 1 to March 1. The driver is not allowed to talk on the mobile phone while driving, unless using a hands-free kit. It is also worth knowing that you must have a license for CB radio in this country!
The legal limit of alcohol in blood in Bulgaria is 0.5 per mille. When it comes to transporting children, they must travel in special, certified child seats up to the age of three. However, if a child is not more than 1.50 meters or over 36 kilograms in weight, it must also be transported on special seats adapted to their height.
See also attractions in Sofia.

Important phone numbers in Bulgaria

  • 112 international emergency number
  • 146 road assistance
  • 150 ambulance services
  • 160 fire brigades
  • 166 police
  • +359 70010876 National Toll Administration helpline in case of vignette issues

Map of highways in Bulgaria

On the map below you will find all expressways and highways in Bulgaria:

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