How Safe Is Bulgaria for Travel?

Bulgaria
Safety Index:
80

Bulgaria FlagBulgaria : Safety by City

Bulgaria is a country located in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea.

It shares borders with Romania to the north, Serbia to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, and Turkey to the southeast.

Even though it’s one of the most interesting destinations in Eastern Europe, it’s still not swamped with stampedes of tourists, which makes it even more appealing.

Bulgaria is one of the few exotic countries in Europe since it’s still unexplored, yet it boasts gorgeous beaches, antique churches, numerous opportunities for tourists that are fans of winter sports and great hiking alike, and larger cities that are open for everyone, yet not crawling with hordes of visitors.

And although it has not been commonly visited by Westerners in comparison to other European countries, or even other countries in this region, this is slowly beginning to change.

Warnings & Dangers in Bulgaria

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

Bulgaria is very safe, generally. Crime rates are low and the most common form of crime is car theft and break-ins. Areas to avoid are the red light district near Pliska Hotel and park areas near Lion's Bridge, or Lvov Most,

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Transportation is relatively safe and reliable in Bulgaria, but it is still somewhat known for reckless drivers and the driving is very hectic.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

There is some risk of encountering a pickpocket, especially in larger cities such as Sofia. Apply the basic laws of precaution to avoid such a situation, and follow your common sense.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Bulgaria has experienced some earthquakes, fortunately with mild consequences. In the mountainous regions, avalanches are possible.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Bulgaria is mostly safe when it comes to mugging and kidnapping, but it is recommended that you avoid poorly lit and deserted streets and dangerous areas known for street crime like the park areas near Lion's Bridge, or Lvov Most.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Bulgaria's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any tourist destination, there is risk of getting scammed. Check your change twice, negotiate everything in advance, never pay upfront, and be wary of people trying to distract your offering you unsolicited help with your luggage or anything else, as it might be a trick to steal from you. The most common scam is taxi drivers overcharging for rides.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Single women shouldn't have any problems, although special vigilance is advised around Sofia. Be extremely cautious around poorly lit or deserted streets and areas filled with clubs and bars as drunken people may cause havoc.

So... How Safe Is Bulgaria Really?

Bulgaria is generally a safe country to travel to, and its people, much like in other Balkan countries, are quite friendly even though Balkan people have a falsely bad reputation.

However, even though it is safe, and Bulgaria’s crime rates are not high, you should always use common sense when you are outside of the main tourist areas.

If in Sofia, try to avoid dark streets at night.

Always take care of your belongings and keep them close by your side or safely in your accommodation, and never leave them in a visible place of your car.

When it comes to organized crime, even though it is a serious issue throughout Bulgaria, it usually does not affect tourists.

Also, the presence of organized crime groups are in decline, and Bulgaria is either way much safer than most European countries in terms of violent crimes.

Pickpocketing and scams are common, especially in crowded places (such as bus and train stations, airports and areas near major tourist landmarks), so watch over your valuables, and if you find yourself surrounded by a loud group of people throwing tantrums and making scenes, you should immediately move away from them, as it may be a trick to divert your attention, while they pickpocket you.

However, the most serious problem that travelers can come across is car theft.

If you drive an expensive car, never leave it in unguarded parking lots or in secluded streets at night – your car in these locations is likely to attract criminals.

How Does Bulgaria Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Bulgaria80
Morocco54
Norway85
Romania80
Namibia71
Germany85
Chile79

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries do not need a visa for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you might have to acquire a visa. Make sure your passport is valid at least six months past your planned date of return. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The Bulgarian lev is the official currency in Bulgaria. It is still largely a cash economy, and due to the potential for fraud, it is advised to use credit cards sparingly and with caution - for example, in establishments such as large supermarket chains or reputable hotels.
  • Weather - Considering it's a relatively small country, Bulgaria has a variable and complex climate. Heavy snowfalls are common throughout the country from December to mid-March, and expected in the mountainous areas of Bulgaria. July is the hottest month in Bulgaria with an average temperature of about 23°C,
  • Airports - Sofia Airport is the busiest international airport of Bulgaria located 10 km from the centre of the capital city Sofia.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Bulgaria, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Bulgaria Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 2° C
Mar 6° C
Apr 11° C
May 15° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 21° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 6° C
Dec 1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
361116212528282317105
Low
°C
-5-30591214141061-3
High
°F
374352617077828273635041
Low
°F
232732414854575750433427

Where to Next?

4 Reviews on Bulgaria

  1. Worst place in europe

    The dirtiest people on earth, they scam you on everything, the maffia runs everything in tourist places, taxis kidnapp you, hotel workers steal, in the market they threathen you to buy things they claim you ”broke”. I was at sunny beach and it was the worst week of my life

    1. Y
      Yordan from Bulgaria says:

      @David: “In every herd there is a dirt”.
      It’s a pity you had your vacation ruined, but it’s also not fair and right to generalize the opinion for a hole country based only on a week spent in the drunkards’ paradise Sunny Beach!!! Maffia also runs the world, taxi drivers may charge you high everywhere in the world as well… Believe me, Bulgarians who want a vacation on the seaside do not go to Sunny Beach. And guess why, not because the hotel workers steal their belongings nor they have to pay for something that some else broke. They do not go there because of the scum coming from all over of Europe just to drink cheap (for their pocket) alcohol beyond unconsciousness in the noisy night clubs, and then do balconing on… the pavement.
      If you want to see what is Bulgaria like, go to other places like Veliko Tarnovo, Rodopa and Rila mountains, and many others where you will be surprised to meet people from western EU countries who decided to make it their home. Because of the nature, because of the people.

    2. Also avoid Sunny Beach

      Just like people go to Amsterdam to get a crack, people (younger tourists) from all around Europe (and Russia) go to Sunny Beach to get wasted. As previous reviewer said, it is not fair stamping the whole country “bad” just because you landed consciously in the worst place. It is like going to Las Vegas and complaining there are slot machines everywhere. Sunny Beach is for alcohol, drinking and vomiting – in that regards, if that is what you wish, is a wonderful place.

      As to the Bulgaria and safety, it is, indeed, relatively safe with pickpocketing and mugging being observed. Taxis, especially in Sofia, shall be carefully chosen around major transportation hubs (stations and airports) due to some lookalikes that charge way higher or go on longer routes to the destination.

      And, of course, do not expect “safety” on places where drunkards are gathering (some “clubs” and, of course, Sunny Beach).

    3. Sure thing!

      If you are British and you went to Sunny Beach, I can understand why you broke things in shops and taxis kidnap you…Brits who visit Sunny Beach are normally such scum, they turn delusional the moment they see real beer!

Rated 3.5 / 5 based on 4 user reviews.

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