Bulgaria Travel Information
Bulgaria is usually a safe country to travel and
vacation in. Travelers should still be on their guard
and take precautions. The embassy recommends Norwegians
staying in Bulgaria to make use of the Foreign Travel
Bulgaria is usually a safe country to travel and
vacation in. Travelers should still be careful and take
reasonable precautions. The embassy recommends
Norwegians staying in Bulgaria to make use of the
Foreign Travel Registration.
Norway is represented at the Embassy in Bucharest,
Romania and at an Honorary Consulate General in Sofia
and Consulate in Varna. If an emergency passport is
needed when leaving Bulgaria, this will be issued in
Bucharest. Case processing time, etc., for obtaining
emergency passports at one of our consulates in Bulgaria
for return to Norway is estimated at approx. five to
seven working days.
- Countryaah: Sofia is the capital
of Bulgaria. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bucharest:
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Strada George Enescu 11, 6th floor
Sector 1 010301 Bucharest
Tel: +40 (0) 21 306 98 00
Fax: +40 (0) 21 306 98 90
E-mail: emb. [email protected]
Opening hours Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
and Friday, 1 p.m. 9am to 3.30pm. Outside the embassy's
travelers can contact the UD's 24-hour operating center
on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by
e-mail: [email protected]
Honorary Consulate General in Sofia:
Venceslava Petkova Yanchovska Ivanova (English)
26-30, Bacho Kiro Str.
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Tel: +359 2 4177077
E-mail: [email protected] The
consulate's opening hours are Monday-Friday from
Honorary Consulate in Varna:
32 Tsar Simeon I, 7th floor, 9000 Varna
Tel: + 359 52 63 07 96
Fax: + 359 52 600 259
E-mail: [email protected]
Office hours Monday to Friday: 10am. 10am to 12pm
The risk of terrorist incidents in Bulgaria is
considered low. The government supports the US-led
global war on terror and Bulgaria is - in principle - a
potential target for Islamist extremists. This was
emphasized in July 2012 when Israeli tourists were
attacked in the country's first, and so far only, case
of international terrorism. The country's Muslim
minority (ten percent of the population) is neither
politically nor religiously radicalized and will hardly
lend support to Islamist extremists.
For typical holiday destinations, it should be noted
that robberies, pickpockets and other petty crime may
occur. It is therefore recommended to leave passports
and other valuables in a hotel safe or in another safe
place. It is possible to bring a copy of the passport to
prove identity. If the passport is lost or stolen, you
should report it to the local police. Since the police
often do not speak English, you may want to bring a
local acquaintance. Experience shows that the police
workload and lack of language skills make the
notification process time-consuming.
Accident figures in traffic in Bulgaria are among the
highest in Europe. The reason for this is poor
infrastructure, old car parks and lack of respect for
traffic rules. It is therefore important that as a
motorist you exercise great care in traffic. If you are
stopped in traffic control by the traffic police
"Traffic Police" (妤抓找扶忘 扭抉抖我扯我攸), you should not give
out passports or other personal documents until the
police officers themselves have legitimized. Some police
officers may try to attract bribes, usually in the form
of questionable fines issued on the spot. If you are in
doubt about the validity of a fine, ask for a receipt,
or ask to resolve the matter at the nearest police
station. If it is necessary to stop the car, it is wise
to do this in a safe place, such as a gas station, a
roadside or in an urban area.
If you drive your own car to Bulgaria, you must be
able to show a valid driver's license, all registration
and ownership documents, as well as the car insurance
must be valid for Bulgaria (so-called "green card"). For
rented car, the original contract must be brought. There
is a mandatory special fee for the use of the motorways
known as "vignettes". This can be purchased at border
crossings and major gas stations and is paid in leva
(BGN). For private cars, this is ten BGN for one week
and 25 BGN for one month (2015). You can also see the
government information booklet about traveling in
Bulgaria. For more information on driving in Bulgaria
check NAF's pages on car travel or the European
Commission's traffic safety information portal.
Taxis are readily available and affordable to use
compared to Norwegian prices, but many vehicles may be
in poor condition and lack seat belts. When using a
taxi, make sure that the driver card and taxi meter are
clearly visible in the car. Prices may vary slightly
between the different taxi companies, and a price list
is usually pasted on the car window or inside the
dashboard. At Sofia Airport you can order reliable taxis
at OK Supertrans's front desk in the Arrivals Hall. The
quality of the train service is, by European standards,
generally very poor, with low standards and a lot of
delays. There have been several fires on Bulgarian
trains. If you are traveling by train, it is advisable
to check the possibility of reserving a sleeping
compartment and whether a bicycle can be taken on board.
This may vary between regions and you may have to pay
extra for this. Theft occurs,
Traveling by bus is relatively fast and comfortable
and bus departures between cities are relatively
frequent. Accidents can occur.
Protests due to socio-economic and political problems
can occur in cities across Bulgaria. These are usually
peaceful, but can attract extreme groups, so there is a
small risk of violence. Avoid all protests, stay
up-to-date on the news and follow the advice of local
Racially motivated harassment occurs, but is mainly
directed at the local Roma population and refugees.
Nevertheless, travelers belonging to a visible ethnic
and/or religious minority are advised to exercise
caution when traveling in the country. Homosexuality is
not illegal, but Bulgarians tend not to be very open
about it. The gay community generally keeps a low
It is important to be aware of the very liberal
attitude of the Bulgarian when it comes to the sale and
consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Wild dogs are common and can be dangerous. Avoid
getting too close to loose dogs, especially if they are
in a flock. Take any dog bites seriously and seek
immediate medical attention, as rabies and other animal
diseases are found in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is in an earthquake-prone area in the
Balkans, with an average of 52 earthquakes a year of
varying strength. The most vulnerable areas in Bulgaria
are the Sofia area, Shabla 每 Balchik (near Varna),
Tarnovo 每 Svishtov, Plovdiv 每 Chirpan, and the Kresnad
Valley. The last major earthquake hit the municipality
of Pernik outside the capital Sofia on May 22, 2012. The
earthquake had a strength of 5.6 on Richter's scale.
Only buildings were damaged in the quake.
Floods and landslides can occur in heavy rainfall or
snowmelt. The most vulnerable areas are the cities,
villages and tourist sites on the Black Sea coast
(especially in the northern areas), as well as a large
part of the inhabited areas along the Danube. During the
summer months there is a large fire hazard, but usually
in uninhabited areas. Heavy snowfall in the winter
months (November-April) can sometimes lead to power
outages and poor access.
You should always have valid travel insurance for the
duration of your stay.
The embassy recommends Norwegians staying in Bulgaria
to use the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel
Local emergency numbers:
- Common emergency number: 112 (can be used for
fire, police and ambulance and has English speaking
- Police: 166,
- Ambulance: 150,
- Fire Department: 160
In the event of a crisis or emergency, travelers are
encouraged to contact the embassy, see contact
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
When entering Bulgaria, the passport must be valid
for at least three months from the date of entry.
Norwegian citizens can travel visa-free to Bulgaria for
up to three months. It is the traveler's responsibility
to ensure that the travel documents are valid.
People who have dual citizenship (Norwegian and
Bulgarian) must enter Bulgaria on their Bulgarian
passport. When leaving the same passport must be used.
Please note that the Embassy cannot provide assistance
if you lose your Bulgarian passport during your stay.
Norwegian citizens do not need a visa when entering
Bulgaria. The freedom of visa is valid for three months
or 90 days (over a period of six months). After this
period, you must apply for a residence permit in
Holders of travel visas and foreigners passports,
which are issued to refugees and persons residing on
humanitarian grounds respectively, do not need a visa
for entry into Bulgaria.
Norwegian nationals who are holders of emergency
passports can travel freely in and out of the country by
the expiry date of the document, but we note that the
entry rules can be changed at short notice.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian
travelers should keep abreast of the development of the
coronavirus. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance
and instructions on how to deal with the situation. The
emergency phone in Bulgaria is 112.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against
travel that is not strictly necessary for all countries.
The Travel Council initially applied from March 14 to
April 14, but was extended until April 3. On the
coronavirus and travel website you will find answers to
current travel and coronavirus questions. The Institute
of Public Health has a theme page about the coronavirus.
There you will find information, news, messages and
daily and weekly reports on the coronavirus.
Relevant links with information from the Bulgarian
authorities on the situation: See the Ministry of Health
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further information
is available on WHO and ECDC 's websites.
The public health service in Bulgaria is poorer than
in Norway, but especially private hospitals can offer
most of the expertise and treatments. You should bring a
European health insurance card to Bulgaria, as the card
entitles you to treatment on the same terms as those
living in the country. In addition, it is strongly
recommended to take out private travel insurance. No
vaccinations are required when entering Bulgaria.
For official health professional travel advice, check
out the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's pages for
health professional guidance for Norwegians when
The facilities at most Bulgarian public hospitals are
simple and old-fashioned compared to Norwegian
conditions. The standard of health care is acceptable,
although special equipment and advanced treatment are
less available. Health professionals rarely speak
Private hospitals are generally well-equipped and
relatively affordable compared to similar clinics in
Norway. Note that private hospitals and clinics exist
only in major cities and tourist areas. No vaccinations
are required when entering Bulgaria.
You should bring a European health insurance card to
Bulgaria. If you bring the health insurance card and are
a member of the National Insurance Scheme, you are
entitled to health care benefits during a temporary stay
abroad (shorter than 12 months). The health insurance
card entitles you to treatment under the same conditions
as those living in the country in which you reside. See
here for additional information about your health rights
as a tourist in Bulgaria.
If you stay in Bulgaria for more than 12 months,
there are other rules that apply. Employed employees and
students who are members of the National Insurance
Scheme are entitled to extended benefits for health care
in Bulgaria. The extended benefit entitles the person to
full coverage of the costs of living and care in public
or private hospitals, the cost of ambulance and
the partial coverage of some other health services.
Different rules apply to tourists, pensioners, students
and posted workers staying within the EU/EEA area.
For example, the health insurance card does not cover
extra expenses for returning home if you fall ill or are
exposed to an accident outside the Nordic region. It is
therefore also recommended to take out a private travel
insurance, which can cover expenses related to injuries,
accidents, illness, home transport and death. If you are
affected by illness or accident during a temporary stay
abroad, you should contact your insurance company, any
tour operator and the embassy if you need practical
help. Here is supplementary information on what the
embassy can help you with.
Bulgaria is one hour ahead of Norway, and the area
code for calls from Norway is + 359. Broadband is well
developed, and wifi is available at newer hotels and
restaurants. Local currency is Bulgarian leva (BGN), two
leva equals one euro. Note that card use is not as
widespread; cash use is most common. Power voltage and
plugs are the same as in Norway.
Time difference in relation to Norway: + 1 hour.
National telephone prefix: + 359
Electrical voltage is 220-230 volts, frequency 50 Hz.
Electrical plugs are the same as in Norway.
The Bulgarian currency, lev (BGN), is not
convertible. The value is linked to the euro. The
estimated rainfall equals two leva one euro. Local
currency can be taken out with Norwegian bank cards in
banks and ATMs. Convertible currency can be purchased in
banks and currency exchange offices.
Credit and debit cards can be used in hotels and
restaurants, as well as in larger stores. The usual
cards such as Mastercard, Visa, Eurocard, and AmEx are
generally usable. Cash is used in taxis, in the market
and in local small shops.
Banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 1am to
3pm. 9am to 5pm. Stores are open until around 10pm.
20:00. Some shops are closed on Sunday.
Special national holiday days in Bulgaria are March 3
(National Day), May 6 (St. Georg's Day/Army Day), May 24
(Cultural Day), September 6 (Reunion Day) and September
22 (Independence Day). The Orthodox Easter is usually
not coincident with Norwegian Easter.
The largest nationwide GSM networks are Mtel, Telenor
It is possible to drink water straight from the tap,
but due to old pipe systems or taste of chlorine, both
Bulgarians and tourists often use to buy bottled spring
Bulgarian is a South Slavic language written with the
Cyrillic alphabet. Many signs are written only in
Bulgarian without English translation, which makes it
easy to know the alphabet if you are traveling around
the country on your own. Most Bulgarians living in the
larger cities or along the coast both understand and
speak some English. The English skills outside these
areas are somewhat less.
The Bulgarian word for "hello" is "zdravej", while
"have it" is pronounced "dovishjane". "Thank you" is
"blagodarja". In Bulgaria it is common to shake your
head when you say "yes" and nod when you say "no". This
can create confusion for Norwegians who are used to the
opposite. In other words, if the taxi driver shakes his
head when you ask for a ride, that means you can just
In the capital Sofia there is a well-developed
transport network. The subway covers large parts of the
city, and there are trams and buses. Taking a taxi is
relatively inexpensive in Bulgaria, so for tourists it
can be just as easy to take a taxi around the city. All
taxi drivers must have a valid driver's license and taxi
meter clearly visible in the car.
If you are satisfied with the service at a restaurant
or caf谷 visit in Bulgaria, you can give tips of around
ten percent. For taxi rides or other services it is
usual to round the amount up to the nearest leva.
In a work-related context, Bulgarians dress formally.
Men usually wear shirts and ties, while women often wear
suits or dresses to their knees.