Driving in Varna

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Varna.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Varna, like many parts of Bulgaria, can be a bit challenging for newcomers. The driving culture is different from many Western countries. Drivers can be aggressive and the traffic rules are not always strictly followed. It’s important to be alert and cautious at all times.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Most roads in Varna are in good condition, but smaller streets can be narrow and bumpy. A compact car is often a good choice as it’s easier to navigate through tight spaces and park. However, if you plan to explore the countryside, an SUV might be a better option.

3. Parking in Varna

Finding a parking spot in Varna can be difficult, especially in the city center and during peak hours. Some areas have paid parking zones, which are relatively affordable. It’s advisable to use a parking app to find available spots and pay for parking.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Bulgaria with an international driving permit (IDP) along with their valid national driving license. This is valid for up to one year. After that, you will need to obtain a Bulgarian driving license.

5. Obtaining a Bulgarian Driving License

To get a Bulgarian driving license, you need to pass a driving test in Bulgarian. You also need to have a residence permit. It’s advisable to take a few driving lessons to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and conditions. You can find driving schools that offer lessons in English.

6. Road Conditions

While main roads in Varna are generally in good condition, be prepared for occasional potholes. Also, road signage may not be as clear or as frequent as you might be used to, so a reliable GPS is recommended.

7. Be Aware of Pedestrians

Pedestrians in Varna often cross roads anywhere, not just at designated crossings. Always be alert for pedestrians, especially in crowded areas.

8. Watch Out for Other Drivers

Not all drivers in Varna strictly follow traffic rules. Be prepared for sudden lane changes, speeding, and other unpredictable behaviors. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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