Car Rental in Sofia
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Sofia?
Sofia is a great place to explore. Home to a fascinating religious and political history, it has a unique atmosphere and no shortage of notable landmarks. The city is also a short ride away from a number of Bulgaria’s most interesting destinations, such as the Vitosha mountain, and can serve as a base for exploring the northwestern part of the country.
One-Way Car Rentals in Sofia
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Sofia and drop off in another city include:
- From Sofia to Burgas - 747 offers from $12.90 per day
- From Sofia to Varna - 386 offers from $14.46 per day
- From Sofia to Bucharest - 15 offers from $35.37 per day
- From Sofia to Belgrade - 70 offers from $38.87 per day
- From Sofia to Skopje - 15 offers from $35.37 per day
Top ways to enter Sofia
- Sofia Airport: The busiest in the country, Sofia Airport handled 6.9 million travelers in 2018. The airport is a large hub for the national carrier Bulgaria Air and is also popular with low-cost airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air, and easyJet. Located 13 km (8.1 mi) east of the city center, the airport can be reached in about 15 minutes.
- Plovdiv Airport: A tiny international airport serving Bulgaria’s second city, Plovdiv-Krumovo offers year-round flights to and from London, as well as seasonal connections with Tel Aviv and Moscow. Located 167 km (104 mi) southeast of the capital, the airport can be reached in about two hours.
- Burgas Airport: Serving the city of the same name on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, Burgas Airport handled 3.2 million travelers in 2018. The airport is especially active during the summer months when it has flights by more than 30 different airlines. Located 390 km (242 mi) from Sofia, Burgas Airport takes about four hours to reach by car.
- Varna Airport: Also located on the Black Sea coast, Varna Airport has flights by around 20 airlines. In addition to many seasonal flights, there are year-round connections to Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia, and many other European countries. Located 430 km (267 mi) east of Sofia, the airport can be reached in five hours.
- Istanbul Airport: Opened in October 2018, Istanbul Airport is expected to serve over 50 million travelers in its first full year of operation. The main hub of Turkish Airlines and offering flights by tens of other airlines, the airport provides connections with destinations in all the inhabited continents of the planet. Located 540 km (335 mi) southeast of Sofia, Istanbul Airport can be reached in 5 hours and 40 minutes. You’ll have to cross an international border, so ask your rental provider in advance if they permit it (if not, you can go by public transportation and pick up a rental car after arriving in Sofia). Also, make sure you don’t need a visa to enter either Bulgaria or Turkey (each country has its own visa policy).
- By rail: If you're arriving in Sofia by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at the Sofia Central Railway Station.
Sofia is located at the foothills of Vitosha mountain massif. Its peak reaches nearly 3000 meters (9842 ft) above sea level.
Sofia has a humid continental climate. The average temperature in January is -0.6 °C (31 °F), although colder temperatures are not uncommon and the city sees snow almost every year. Summers, on the other hand, are warm and can even be scorching hot during July and August.
Some local specalties include:
- Banitsa - Bulgarians' favorite breakfast. A traditional flaky pastry filled with eggs, cheese, and butter. It goes well with Airyan (a salty yogurt drink) or Boza (a fermented wheat beverage
- Meshana Skara - Bulgarian BBQ, including kufte (meatballs with onion), kebapche (long meatballs with spices), and various meat stakes.
- Tarator - cold soup made of yogurt, cucumbers, dill, garlic, and walnuts.
- Shopska Salata - salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion, olives, and white cheese.
- Shkembe Chorba - tripe soup heavily spiced with garlic, red paprika and milk.
- Moussaka - a potato-based dish with minced meat with a yogurt-egg-based layer on the top.
Top destinations and activities
- Sofia Central Mineral Baths. First built during the Ottoman days, rebuilt numerous times, and in active use until as recently as 1980s, this beautiful complex of mineral baths and saunas is a unique landmark of Sofia.
- National Museum of History. This museum lets you experience Bulgaria's long and varied history, from its recent 20th Century past to ancient history when the land was settled by such different peoples as Thracians, Celts, Hellenes, and Romans.
- St. Aleksander Nevski Cathedral. The largest Christian Orthodox church in Southeast Europe and one of the most prominent ones in the world, this cathedral is a place where you can appreciate beautiful architecture and learn more about Bulgaria's leading religious denomination.
- The Ethnographic Museum. Also dedicated to Bulgarian history, but more focused on the aspects of everyday life, this is another interesting museum in Sofia. Run by the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies, it features Bulgarian national costumes, objects relating to traditional occupations, and exhibitions on the traditional beliefs and culture of Bulgarians. The museum is located in the building of the former Royal Palace.
- Boyana Church. Much smaller and older than the previously mentioned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Boyana Church dates back to the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is best known for its various frescoes, many of which are as old as the church itself. Nowadays, there is also a small museum explaining the history behind the church. Located near the southern border of the city, Boyana Church can be reached by car in about 25 minutes if coming from the center of Sofia.
Traffic and parking
- Sofia experiences high traffic congestion. As a visitor, it’s a good idea to plan your travel around the city outside the main rush hours in the morning and in the evening.
- Outside main population areas and nature areas of national importance the road signs are often only written in Cyrillic. If you cannot read this alphabet, it’s a good idea to get a dictionary, perhaps in mobile format, to be able to read them. Here you can find the most popular traffic signs translated.
- Speed cameras are in use.
- Drivers are only allowed to use mobile phones with a hands-free system.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for both experienced and novice drivers. Exceeding the limit can lead to large fines. Driving with blood alcohol content of over 1.2% will lead to imprisonment.
- The emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
- There are two parking zones in Sofia. The city center is a Blue zone, while everything around it is a green zone. You can pay for parking there via SMS to number 1302 (for the Blue Zone) and 1303 (for the green zone). Find more in fo about parking in sofia here.
For many motorways in Bulgaria you need to obtain a stamp or a highway vignette. The price of the stamp depends on the category (1 day, weekend, weekly, monthly, etc.) and on the type of car. You can purchase stamps online as well as in public selling points. Find out more on the official Bulgarian toll road website.
You also have to pay a fee for crossing certain bridges and for taking your car on a ferry to cross certain bodies of water. Find out more about the crossing points and the fees on the official European toll road website.
Ideas for day trips
- Vitosha. Sofia is located at the foothills of the Vitosha mountain massif. Its peak reaches nearly 3000 meters (9842 ft), providing magnificent views of the city below. The mountain is part of a wider nature park that offers great hiking trails, and, if you're visiting in winter, you can also go skiing and snowboarding.
- Rila Monastery. Just 90 minutes drive from Sofia, Rila Monastery is one of the most important religious centers of Bulgaria, and, indeed, the region. The nature areas around the monastery are also very much worth exploring.
- Plovdiv. Bulgaria's second, Plovdiv is also considered by many to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. Full of history and atmosphere, it offers everything from ruins of Roman buildings to regional museums and great cuisine.
- Central Balkan National Park. Located near the geographical center of the country, this national park is primarily known for its mountainous landscape and is the location of Botev Peak which is, at 2,376 m (7,795 feet), the highest point of the Balkan mountains. The park is also home to thick woodlands inhabited by a variety of fauna and generally feels like one of the wildest places in the country. The drive from the capital takes about an hour and 45 minutes.
- The Seven Rila Lakes. Located in Rila National Park, the Seven Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes that offer some of the most stunning views on the continent.
- The Belogradchik Fortress. An ancient Roman stronghold surrounded by picturesque rock formations that served as natural protection.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car types in Bulgarie are standard, economy, and compact. The most popular rental car is the VW Polo, although travelers also love the Renault Clio and the Ford Fiesta.
- Black Sea Coast. Perhaps Bulgaria's number one attraction, its Black Sea Coast is famous for resort towns like Burgas, Varna, and Sunny Beach. Visiting them is definitely recommended, but having your own ride will also let you find more private beaches up and down the coast.
- Romania. From its eclectic capital, Bucharest, to the mountains of Transylvania and cozy medieval cities like Brasov and Sibiu, Bulgaria’s northern neighbor is one of the up-and-coming destinations of Europe. The Danube, which forms a natural border between the two countries, is only about a three-hour drive from Sofia. Not every car rental supplier permits crossing the national border, so you should ask in advance. Also, despite being members of the European Union, neither country is a part of the Schengen Area and you may need a separate visa to enter them.
- Northern Greece. Located to the south, Greece is another fascinating neighbor of Romania. The northern part of this fascinating country includes destinations like the city of Thessaloniki (less than a four-hour drive from Sofia), Olympos National Park, and the Chalkidiki peninsula. As with Romania, ask your rental car supplier in advance if they permit you to travel to the neighboring country.
- Turkey. Bulgarians' favorite destination, Turkey, is a land of delicious and inexpensive food, beautiful nature, and historical cities. Istanbul is just 250km from the Bulgarian border, and if you want to continue your adventure, you can continue to the center of the country and discover magical Cappadocia and its hot-air balloons.
Car Rental Prices in Sofia
- Station wagons - from $10 per day
- Large cars - from $13 per day
- Medium cars - from $11 per day
- Vans - from $21 per day
- Premium cars - from $58 per day
- Small cars - from $8 per day
- SUVs - from $13 per day
These are some of the things you can do to get a good rental car deal in Sofia:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Sofia is the cheapest in December when renting a car is about 47% cheaper than the yearly average and about 64% cheaper than renting a car in August.
Top 20 Cities near Sofia
39.1 km / 24.3 miles away
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90.0 km / 55.9 miles away
94.3 km / 58.6 miles away
Bansko Car Rentals from $56.16 per day95.6 km / 59.4 miles away
126.1 km / 78.4 miles away
126.4 km / 78.5 miles away
Plovdiv Car Rentals from $14.51 per day137.6 km / 85.5 miles away
163.2 km / 101.4 miles away
Stara Zagora Car Rentals from $77.77 per day184.6 km / 114.7 miles away
237.9 km / 147.8 miles away
Ruse Car Rentals from $83.17 per day242.7 km / 150.8 miles away
269.8 km / 167.6 miles away
293.5 km / 182.4 miles away
Burgas Car Rentals from $10.03 per day336.4 km / 209.0 miles away
Nessebar Car Rentals from $32.46 per day353.8 km / 219.8 miles away
Varna Car Rentals from $8.42 per day364.4 km / 226.4 miles away
Obzor Car Rentals from $26.90 per day365.4 km / 227.0 miles away
Tsarevo Car Rentals from $57.29 per day369.0 km / 229.3 miles away
Golden Sands Car Rentals from $15.96 per day382.5 km / 237.7 miles away
Top 6 Locations near Sofia
Sofia Airport Car Rentals from $8.42 per day
6.9 km / 4.3 miles away
Downtown Car Rentals from $8.42 per day7.3 km / 4.5 miles away
Plovdiv Airport Car Rentals from $15.96 per day137.6 km / 85.5 miles away
Burgas Airport Car Rentals from $10.03 per day336.4 km / 209.0 miles away
Varna Airport Car Rentals from $8.42 per day364.4 km / 226.4 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Sofia?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Sofia?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Sofia?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||5|
|Popular suppliers||Top Rent A Car, CarRent, Low Cost Cars, Fly Rent A Car, GreenMotion|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, SUVs, Vans|
|Lowest price||$8 per day|
|Cheapest supplier||Yes Rent A Car|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Top Rent A Car||Citroen C3||5||1||Small cars|
|Top Rent A Car||Hyundai i20||5||1||Small cars|
|Fly Rent A Car||Volkswagen Polo||5||2||Small cars|
|Low Cost Cars||Dacia Sandero||5||1||Small cars|
|Fly Rent A Car||Volkswagen Golf||5||3||Medium cars|
|Low Cost Cars||Renault Clio Grandtour||5||2||Station wagons|
|Autounion||Volkswagen Up||5||2||Small cars|
|Top Rent A Car||Opel Mokka||5||2||SUVs|
|Top Rent A Car||Ford Custom Tourneo||5||2||Vans|
|GreenMotion||Citroen C3||4||2||Small cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
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