Bulgaria travel advice

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Bulgaria - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Bulgaria

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Safety and security


Petty crime

  • Pay particular attention at train and bus stations, tourist sites and crowded areas
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash


Some tourists have been victims of overcharging in bars and clubs. Discussions about overcharging may lead to threats of violence by security guards, who may force you to pay.

  • Be particularly vigilant at tourist resorts along the Black Sea, where this practice is most common

Vehicle theft

Vehicle thefts and break-ins occur frequently.

  • Park in a guarded location whenever possible
  • Store your valuables safely out of sight

Always be suspicious if someone offers to help you with a flat tire. These individuals may have punctured the tire themselves. They may seize the opportunity to steal your purse or other valuable objects while you’re distracted.

Organized crime

Organized criminal groups are active in casinos and nightclubs. Violent crime may occur, and includes bombings and shootouts between rival gangs.


Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. ATMs fitted with fraudulent card readers are common, particularly in Sofia, Burgas and Varna. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.


There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. There is a potential for other violent incidents.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations aren’t completely free of risk.

In response to terrorist attacks in other European cities, Bulgarian authorities have strengthened their security measures in all cities, particularly where large crowds gather.


Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country. Driving conditions may be hazardous due to aggressive drivers, excessive speeds, poor lighting and a lack of traffic signs and lane markings. Potholes and wandering animals are common on rural roads.

  • Avoid confronting aggressive drivers, as they may be armed
  • Avoid driving after dark outside of major cities
  • Be especially cautious when driving during winter, as roads may not be plowed or salted


Be cautious when crossing streets. Drivers don’t always give pedestrians the right of way.


Police occasionally solicit bribes. They may delay you if you refuse to pay the bribe, but you’re unlikely to experience additional problems beyond inconvenience.

Public transportation


  • Use only licensed taxis with meters
  • Verify the tariffs on the taxi’s window before entering, as taxi drivers sometime overcharge
  • At Sofia Airport, visit the taxi booth in the arrivals terminal to obtain a fair rate

Rail services

Rail services are generally poor. It’s preferable to travel via inter-city buses.

Public transportation systems

Most cities and larger towns have public transportation systems. Inter-city buses are frequent, comfortable and relatively fast. Regular bus service exists between most of Bulgaria’s major cities and towns.

Disruptions and delays to public transportation services, including at ferry ports, railway stations and border crossings, may occur.  

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Stray dogs

Beware of stray dogs, especially those travelling in packs. They can be dangerous and could expose you to disease if they bite you.

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Bulgarian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Schengen area

Bulgaria entered the Schengen area on March 31, 2024. Air and maritime border controls are no longer in effect. Land border controls will remain in effect until further notice.


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave Bulgaria.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Health Insurance

You must present proof of medical insurance (minimum €30,000 coverage) that’s valid in the European Union (EU) and covers the costs of emergency medical care and evacuation.


Tourist visa: not required for stays of fewer than 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays of fewer than 90 days in any 180-day period
Student visa: not required for stays of fewer than 90 days in any 180-day period

You must obtain a visa before travelling if you plan to stay in Bulgaria for more than 90 days. Bulgaria doesn’t grant extensions once you’re in the country, except in cases of emergency or marriage to a Bulgarian citizen.

Schengen area

Bulgaria is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.

If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.

Useful links

Other entry requirements

Upon entry, you may have to show proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay, as well as documents verifying your return or onward travel plans.

Children and travel

Bulgarian authorities may consider a child born to a Bulgarian parent to be a Bulgarian citizen, even if the child was born in Canada and has a Canadian passport.

Accordingly, children under 18 may only leave Bulgaria when accompanied by both parents or with the consent of both parents. The absentee parent(s) must provide a statement of parental consent to travel, notarized by Bulgarian authorities. You or your child must present this consent form to the authorities upon exiting Bulgaria.

Furthermore, if you’re a single parent or the parent of a child travelling alone, you should contact the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Canada before travelling, to ensure that your child meets current entry and exit requirements. These may change without notice.

Useful links

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.


  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.


Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a risk in some areas of this destination. It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or occasionally when unpasteurized milk products are consumed.

Travellers to areas where TBE is found may be at higher risk  during April to November, and the risk is highest for people who hike or camp in forested areas.

Protect yourself from tick bites. The vaccine is not available in Canada. It may be available in the destination you are travelling to.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.


In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.


 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin.  In some cases, it can be fatal.  It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick.  Risk is generally low for most travellers.  Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock.  There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is inadequate. Private hospitals and clinics located in cities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural facilities. Cash payment is required at time of service.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Transfer to a Canadian prison

Canada and Bulgaria are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Bulgaria to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Bulgaria authorities.

This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.


  • Always carry photo identification, such as a passport
  • Keep a photocopy in a safe location in case of loss or seizure.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Bulgaria.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Bulgaria, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Bulgaria.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Bulgaria, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Bulgarian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Bulgaria to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links


Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Face covering

It’s illegal to wear clothing or masks that partially or completely cover the face in public places. Failure to comply can result in arrest and heavy fines.


It’s illegal to photograph military installations.


Drinking and driving

Penalties for drinking and driving are severe.

The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. If a police officer suspects you of drinking and driving, they could confiscate your driver’s licence on the spot and detain you. If you’re convicted, you can expect heavy fines and a possible jail sentence.

Driver’s licence

You can drive with a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 90 days after your arrival. You must carry an international driving permit for longer stays.

More about the International Driving Permit

Driving laws in Bulgaria

  • You must possess a vignette or highway permit to travel on Bulgarian roads. You can purchase this electronic vignette at ports, border points, post offices and large gas stations
  • Always drive with your headlights on
  • Winter tires are mandatory during winter months
  • All vehicle occupants must wear a seatbelt
  • Children under 10 may ride in the front passenger seat if they’re secured in a child car seat and the airbag has been disabled
  • It’s illegal to use a cellular telephone while driving, unless the phone includes a hands-free device
  • You must carry a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and warning triangle in your car, as well as a reflective vest. You must always wear this vest when leaving a vehicle that is stranded or involved in an accident
  • Carry all related documents, such as ownership, registration and proof of Bulgarian car insurance, in your vehicle

Follow speed limits on all roads. Police conduct frequent checks and may collect fines on the spot. Depending on the offence, they may also confiscate your driver’s licence at the scene. 

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Although the laws of Bulgaria don’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality isn’t socially tolerated.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics


The currency in Bulgaria is the lev (BGN).

Bulgaria’s economy is primarily cash-based. Most businesses also accept euros and major credit cards. ATMs are widely available. The United Bulgarian Bank in Sofia can process international money transfers.

If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:

  • banknotes and coins
  • bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
  • bonds, shares
  • gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
  • gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
  • any other convertible asset

This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.

EU cash controls - European Commission

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Natural disasters and climate


Bulgaria is located in an active seismic zone.


Bulgaria is prone to flooding after heavy rains. Flooding is often localized, but widespread flooding has occurred in the past. Consult Bulgaria’s National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology for information and flooding alerts.


In winter, there’s a risk of avalanches in mountainous regions. This risk increases when temperatures rise rapidly after a particularly harsh winter. Extreme weather can also cause landslides.


In the summer and early fall, there’s a risk of wildfires.

National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology - Bulgaria

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

For emergency assistance, dial 112.

Consular assistance

Sofia - Honorary consul of Canada
Street Address7 Pozitano Street, Block #3, 1st Floor, Office #4, 1000 Sofia, BulgariaTelephone359-2-969-9710Fax359-2-981-6081Emailsofia@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-BulgariaFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria, and MoldovaTwitterCanada in RomaniaOther social mediaEmbassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria & Moldova
Bucharest - Embassy of Canada
Street Address1-3 Tuberozelor Street, 011411 Bucharest, Sector 1, RomaniaTelephone(4) 021-307-5000Fax(4) 021-307-5010Emailbucstconsular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-RomaniaFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria, and MoldovaTwitterCanada in RomaniaOther social mediaEmbassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria & Moldova
Consular district

Bulgaria, Moldova

Appointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Romania in Bucharest and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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