Know Your Rights – Legal Guidance for Travellers Visiting Sofia

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a city full of contrasts and surprises, A historical centre intertwined with a dynamic art scene allowing cultural aficionados to explore freely, similar to a treasure trove of archaeological riches like the old Serdica complex.

Nature lovers, on the other hand, won’t be disappointed, either, as they may escape to Vitosha Mountain to indulge in outdoor activities such as skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, in addition to admiring the scenery.

Among your numerous travel arrangements and preparations, it’s vital to understand your rights and obligations towards the local law authorities, to ensure a seamless journey.

visiting Sofia

 General Considerations

Before visiting a new country for the very first time, there is a short list of necessary things to know, to ensure you will not face minor inconveniences and disruptions with every-day operations. First of all, Bulgaria’s official currency is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN). ATM’s are widely spread around the city, and credit cards are accepted in most places, while on the other hand, you can always follow the traditional way of money exchange.

For your entry to the country to be guaranteed, your passport should be valid for a period of at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Regarding visa-requirements, there do not seem to be any, as long as you come from an EU-member country.

If you plan a road trip across the country, don’t forget to obtain your International Driving Permit.

Respectful Behaviour

Each country has a different set of local laws and customs, which, when followed, are key to a harmonious and enjoyable visit, and a great reciprocation for the country’s and citizens’ hospitable and welcoming approach.

As it’s clear, the official language is Bulgarian, though English is commonly spoken in Sofia, so you won’t face difficulty communicating. Being familiar with some basic Bulgarian phrases or using translation apps, would be highly appreciated.

Keeping in mind that Sofia has a bold religious identity, covering your shoulders and knees when visiting sites such as churches and monasteries, is obligatory.

A very common practise that showcases gratitude and satisfaction with services, is tipping. Check the bill to spot a “service charge”, and if there’s not any, leave a tip of around 10% to 15% of the total bill

Also, try to avoid excessive displays of affection in rural areas.

Avoid getting in trouble

Precaution is the most fundamental step for ensuring safety, but when it fails to succeed, instant communication with a law firm in Sofia can be lifesaving.

Alcohol can be purchased in any supermarket, liquor store, or bar, by people over 18 years old. Public drinking is allowed too, as long as you remain disciplined, and, most importantly, do not drive in any case, as the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers, is simply zero.  As a smoker, you should politely obey the designated smoking areas.

Extra attention must be paid to drug transport and usage, as the possession of even small quantities of illegal drugs can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. For medications, we suggest carrying a copy of your prescription.

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