If you already have a valid driver's license from your country, you can replace it with a Bulgarian driver's license or drive with your own. The rules vary depending on which country you are from. A driver’s license issued by an EU state is recognized throughout the Union.
This means that when you move to another EU country, you usually don’t have to change your driver’s license. You can drive in the new country with it if: it is valid; you have reached the age required to drive a vehicle of that category; it has not been taken away temporarily, is not restricted or revoked in the country of issue.
Categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, and DE are also recognized in other EU states.
When your driver’s license expires, you must renew it in your country of residence. The new driver's license may be different in validity and will be subject to the restrictions/conditions that apply in the new country.
10 years: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom
15 years: Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Poland, Slovakia
Each citizen may have only one EU driving license.
Citizens from outside the European Union may also change their driver’s license in the Republic of Bulgaria and obtain a Bulgarian license, and it is necessary to submit a certificate from the Regional Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education and Science for a completed degree of education, temporary or permanent residence permit in the Republic of Bulgaria, medical a certificate for the category in question as well as a declaration that they don’t have a license from another EU country.
Keep in mind that before your license is replaced, the competent authorities will contact the authorities in your previous country of residence to verify that it has not been restricted, suspended or permanently revoked.
The speed limit in the city is 50 km/h, on interurban roads - 90 km/h, and on motorways - 140 km/h. On some streets, you may see a limit of 30 km/h. This is usually around kindergartens and schools. Although you may notice in some places that it is not respected, stick to the rules. There are more and more locations with CCTV cameras and radars and even exceeding 10 km in urban areas will surprise you with a fine. Sometimes oncoming cars can blink in high beam. In such cases, slow down because this is a warning that there are a police patrol and a camera in front of you.
Drivers in Plovdiv and Bulgaria, in general, are not very disciplined. They often don't stop at a zebra-type pedestrian walkway, so if you're a pedestrian, cross carefully. They often don’t use their turn signals, so operate your vehicle cautiously and keep your distance. Especially for cars with different registrations, you can feel the intolerance of the road and don’t rely on drivers to make way for you, even if you have signaled according to the rules. Patiently wait and change formation in time. On the other hand, if you ask for directions, people will explain where you can go and will even recommend a less busy route. Most of the streets, especially in the city center, are unidirectional and narrow, and you should keep a close eye on the signs because sometimes there are tense situations with little room for maneuver.
It is allowed to turn to the right for a short stay with the emergency lights on and after the right turn signal is applied in places where this is not prohibited by a traffic sign. Avoid only areas around intersections and stops. We wrote about parking in detail in one of our previous articles, so keep an eye on the areas and don't always get misled by stopped cars.
The rule of the right-standing applies in smaller streets and unregulated intersections, but then we advise you to approach with caution and look carefully because sometimes there are slight accidents due to oversight or quarrels.
There are still no toll payment points when driving on highways and suburban roads, but you need a vignette. It is electronic and can be purchased both online and on-site at gas stations. Duration is daily, weekend (applies only to certain vehicle classes), weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual.
Only in the larger cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna, and others traffic jams occur during rush hours, and they are certainly not as busy as in major European cities. If possible, avoid traveling between 7-9 in the morning and 4:30-7 in the evening. On the highways, there may be a cluster of cars when there are long weekends, especially towards and outwards of the capital.
In conclusion, Plovdiv is a relatively quiet driving town. Drivers can seem nervous and impatient, but in any case, there isn’t this tension of the traffic where you are waiting for hours. Our advice is to approach the situation with care and calm and we wish you have a nice trip.