What travel insurance do I need when visiting Bulgaria ?
How to prepare for your trip to Bulgaria ?
Bulgaria may not be one of Europe’s most famous travel destinations, but it is a hidden gem, with beautiful beaches, ski resorts, and the architectural wonders of the capital, Sofia. During your trip, AXA is here to help you by providing comprehensive travel insurance, plenty of advice on important information, like visa requirements, as well as the weather, safety, and Bulgaria’s must-see attractions.
The first thing you need to know is that although Bulgaria is a member of the European Union and is in the process of joining the Schengen Area of European countries, and as such implements part of the Schengen acquis (rules and regulations), it is not yet a member. This means that Bulgaria cannot currently issue Schengen Visas. However, Bulgaria does implement a visa-free regime for Schengen Visa holders, allowing you to travel to the country and remain there for up to 90 days in each six-month period without applying for a short-term Bulgarian visa.
As a result, those wishing to travel around Europe and visit Bulgaria may be best off applying for a visa from one of the Schengen Area countries you wish to travel to, and then use this for your visit to Bulgaria. Those who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area, such as the U.K., will not need to apply for a visa to enter Bulgaria. If you only wish to travel to Bulgaria, you will require a national Bulgarian visa.
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What travel insurance do I need when visiting Bulgaria?
If you are applying for a Schengen Visa, then as a minimum compulsory requirement you need insurance that covers you for medical expenses up to €30,000. Bulgarian authorities also impose the same insurance requirements on travelers wishing to enter the country.
Although AXA’s Low Cost Schengen insurance meets this requirement, it only covers you in Schengen Area countries, which does not yet include Bulgaria. However, AXA Europe Travel and AXA Multi Trip insurance covers all European Union member states - including Bulgaria - and provides you with additional coverage of medical costs up to €100,000, help recovering lost vital items, and other assistance. All our products come with a free, easily available online certificate and assistance 24 hours, 7 days a week .
Advice on health, vaccinations, and Covid-19
Some vaccines are recommended if traveling to Bulgaria. The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Bulgaria: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis, and tetanus.
Information on Covid-19
Bulgaria has had one of the slower rates of vaccination within the EU and strict restrictions are still in force as of summer 2021. To enter the country you will need either a vaccination certificate or to comply with testing and/or quarantine measures. Another option is to present a document showing a positive result from a PCR or rapid antigen test for people who have recovered from Covid-19, dated at least 15, but no more than 180 days before arrival. In addition to the above, U.K. nationals, permanent or long-term residents in Bulgaria, and family members of Bulgarian nationals can instead submit a negative PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before entry into Bulgaria or a rapid antigen test taken up to 48 hours before entry. Alternatively, Bulgarian citizens, foreign nationals with valid residence permits, and immediate family members can opt for a quarantine of 10 days on arrival in lieu of these documents.
You should check to see if these rules have been updated before you book your trip, and before traveling.
Will I be covered on my insurance for Covid-19 related issues?
We will cover your medical costs related to coronavirus provided you haven't traveled against the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), your government or the Bulgarian government, or the medical advice of your doctor.
AXA Schengen Travel Insurance policies cover medical costs related to Covid-19 within the limits, conditions, and exclusions defined in each insurance policy. Our policies will cover your medical costs if you are the victim of an accident or fall ill, including suffering from Covid-19 and related illnesses.
The certificates of insurance provided on our website include the statement: "Medical expenses related to Covid-19 are covered within the limits, conditions, and exclusions defined in the insurance policy.
How to get to Bulgaria
By plane: The main international airport in Bulgaria is Sofia, and it is served by carriers from across Europe, Turkey, and Israel. If you are traveling from further afield you may need to change flights. The other two main airports in Bulgaria are Varna and Burgas.
By car: Transport in Bulgaria is dominated by roads, so if you want to see all of the country’s sights then it may be best to rent a car. Be warned, however, as once you leave the main roads, many are of poor quality.
By train: Sofia, Plovdiv, and Gorna Oryahovitsa are the main hubs of the domestic rail system as well as international rail connections. However, the Bulgarian rail network has only recently undergone modernization work such as the installation of high-speed rail lines, so it is most reliable on major routes. You can reach Bulgaria by train from most major European cities.
By bus: Given Bulgaria’s reliance on road transport, buses are frequently used for long-distance travel, with coaches departing from Sofia from the Central, West, and South bus stations, while international routes are served by the Serdika Station. International destinations include Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Bucharest, Skopje, and Belgrade.
Bulgaria is a rich and varied nation with attractions for every type of traveler - you can spend a city break in Sofia, and enjoy its amazing architecture and relaxed nightlife, ski in the Borovets and Bansko resorts, or while away your time on the stunning beaches of the Burgas and Varna provinces. Also worth a visit are the Roman ruins in Plovdiv, the stunning Stone City of Perperikon, or the country’s many monasteries. Bulgaria enjoys a varied climate - with cold winters but warm summers - especially in its southern regions bordering the Black Sea.
The Bulgarian capital is Sofia, where most countries will have their embassy. Check to see where the embassy of your home nation is before leaving in case you need to visit in an emergency. The official language is Bulgarian. The currency is the Bulgarian Lev. Cars drive on the right.
Related pages on other non-Schengen countries
- What travel insurance do I need for visiting Romania ?
- What travel insurance do I need for visiting Cyprus ?
- What travel insurance do I need for visiting Croatia ?
- What travel insurance do I need for visiting Ireland ?
Frequently asked questions about travel insurance to Bulgaria
Will my travel insurance cover the loss of items ?
Our Europe Travel and Multi Trip plans do cover you for the loss of essential items and obtaining necessary documents lost or stolen during a trip.
Will my travel insurance fees be refunded if my visa is refused ?
Yes. If your visa is refused AXA will refund your insurance fees in most cases but you will need to provide documentation stating why your application was refused.
Are my children covered by AXA’s travel insurance ?
Yes. AXA’s insurance provides coverage for your family on your trip - providing you with peace of mind throughout your stay.