How to break into Bulgaria in 2020, or Traveling from Kharkov to Bulgaria by car

12 august 2020 Travel time: with 18 July 2020 on 03 august 2020
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In this crazy 2020, we planned one thing, but it turned out nothing. . . We refused to book because the borders were closed and Ukrainians were not accepted abroad. Finally, I decided to just go to Odessa and see what we did not have time in 2016, and also see what the resorts of Gribovka, Sergeevka, Zatoka are like. They booked accommodation, I took a vacation and scheduled a departure for July 18... On July 16, my husband calls me and says that Bulgaria has opened the borders for Ukrainians, free entry and exit, no coronavirus test and observation is needed. Wow! How can you miss such a chance, considering that we have not been to Bulgaria and considered it in our plans for the summer!

The departure was scheduled for 07/18/2020 at 8.00 am. Wake up, coffee, wake up the children.

We don’t say anything to anyone and just go to Odessa (we still need a stop there, because the distance Kharkiv-Odessa is 11 hours on Google), intending to stay in Odessa for 2 days and continue our journey further. The girl with whom the accommodation was booked calls us all day every 2 hours, asking where we are and how much we still have to go, which is very annoying. We drove along the highway through Nikolaev, intending to see Krivoy Rog and Nikolaev along the way. At the beginning of Krivoy Rog, we made a halt in nature, in Nikolaev we drove to the embankment, looked at the Southern Bug, the children ran under the street fountains, refreshed themselves (the heat was about 30). That is, we drove for our own pleasure, looking at the sights along the way. I don’t understand why, when you book accommodation abroad, no one asks you anything, just money-key exchange, and in our country people ask a lot of questions (who, where, where and why? ), rush you, behave intrusively , call or write to viber all day. . .

In general, around 20.00 we got to our destination. The section of the track after Krivoy Rog in front of Nikolaev is generally potholes without asphalt, I had to go around the fields! As we correctly read on the Internet, in front of the "Nikolaev Region" billboard, you need to turn left and drive along the dirt road along the "road" of 2-3 kilometers. It's better than this way. We've got the right shock absorber.


In Odessa, we told the hostess that we would stay with her for 2 days instead of 10. I thought we could come to an agreement, maybe pay a little more. But I heard such cries on the phone from this "kind and kind" girl! She said that she does not allow us to move in in this case, and the deposit that we transferred to her card, she will not return! In general, we are in a strange city, the night is on the nose, everyone is tired, we need to feed the children... I don’t hold a grudge... I just wish this girl to also be with the children at 20.00 in the evening in a strange city, 700 km from home, homeless!

We still have phone numbers of people who rent housing in Odessa. The third uncle turned out to have some kind of free apartment, I was not even interested in photos, as long as there was some kind of roof with a kitchen. The apartment turned out to be on Deribasovskaya. This was her only advantage. I didn't know apartments like this could be rented out! In general, there were 2 rooms, a lot of sleeping places, the son could sleep separately (and he sleeps wide))), but the kitchen!! ! There were so many cockroaches that for 2 days we had lights on around the clock, at night too. The next morning, I woke up first, but I couldn’t take a shower: in the bathroom, the cockroach-grandfather lay on his back 3 times more than typical individuals, and twitched his paws...

If you close your eyes and don't notice it, it's fun to leave the house and immediately get into the movement: music, cafes, illuminations. Near the store Tavria-V, the prices are more expensive than in Kharkov, but acceptable.

In the morning, we planned to go to the beach, and we also needed to get insurance and a Green Card for the car, because. We didn't get to do it at home. We didn’t really know if we needed to take insurance with coronavirus coverage, but just in case, we did. Online. But there was a problem with the Green Card: you can only order it online, but you really need to pick it up. It took quite a long time to resolve this issue. Due to the coronavirus circumstances, our trip to Bulgaria was spontaneous, we were not prepared for it, many issues had to be resolved along the way, wasting time... But we did not hang our noses. We turned to our good friend in Kharkov, who has been insuring our cars for many years, and although it was Sunday, she went to the office and made a Green Card for us, sending it to the mailbox. My husband did not want to print it, but I insisted on it and (thank the Internet! ) We printed out all insurances in photo services. And not in vain! A green card was required at all checkpoints, and at one they didn’t even want to pass because the Green Card is not an original with a wet seal. But no one asked us for travel insurance.

After sorting out our questions, we finally headed to the beach. It was decided to go to the Gold Coast - one of the best beaches in Odessa, we have never been there. People on the beach - there is nowhere for an apple to fall!

The younger one ran to swim, but immediately returned, saying that there were a lot of algae, he would not be able to swim. Indeed, although towards evening the algae receded and the sea cleared up, but the water was cold, for walruses))), and looked like a swamp from algae. Then came the confidence in my desire to go further, to Bulgaria. Before that, I always doubted whether I did the right thing, torturing children, refused a luxury apartment. . .

We spent the evening on Primorsky Boulevard and the Potemkin Stairs, admiring the sea.


We got up the next morning at 6.00. We traditionally drink coffee, wake up the children and drive into the unknown. . . We are heading for the Giurgiulesti-Reni checkpoint. Chernomorsk, Zatoka, Tatarbunary, Izmail fly past the window. It rains at times. It took us 6 hours to get to the checkpoint. We were approaching, there were not many cars, we waited 15 minutes, they called us. It turns out that first everyone’s temperature is taken, then questionnaires are distributed in which you need to indicate your full name, where you are coming from, through which checkpoint, where, etc. , and also indicate your temperature. My daughter had 37.5, the border guard took her out of the car into the shade, told her to stand in the shade. After 5 min. measured, it turned out 36... Miracle! We are all so freaked out! But now the problem turned out to be with the Green Card, they didn’t let us through because it was not the original. The husband showed it in electronic form, asked to check it against the database, but the border guard did not really want to do this. Then he still missed it. We are in Moldova. I don’t know if I need to buy a vignette to travel 1 km across Moldova, but we did. The cost is 200 UAH translated into our money.

Next checkpoint, Moldova-Romania. Romania should skip if we are traveling by transit. Missed or not? "Where are you going? " - To Bulgaria. “I don’t know this, Bulgaria doesn’t accept it. ” We show information in the phone. Here a big bus pulls up, and in order not to mess with us, the border guard lets us through. We run to the gas station in the rain, buy a Romanian vignette (UAH 100 for 7 days) and ice cream for children, and drive slowly through the Romanian cities of Galati, Braila, further through the fields, a bridge near Fetesti across the Danube, towards Constanta, we need the Kardam checkpoint near Negru Water. The cost of gasoline is up to 2.50 lei (at the rate of about 16.25 hryvnia). At 19.30 we are in place, near the checkpoint. I’m already looking for accommodation in Dobrich for the night, and at the checkpoint they tell us: this border is closed, we won’t let you in, the green corridor is only in Giorgio Rusa, go there! Kapets! Why is there no information about this anywhere?

Looking at night, tired (we left at 6 am), and we can only dream of rest! You need to return to Fetesti through Constanta and go to Bucharest, where it is not far to Reni. They said it would take 4 hours. But our internet is gone. The husband replenished the package to provide roaming, but the money was eaten, and no Internet was provided! To drive through the whole of Romania without a navigator! . . In short, there is nothing to do, we turn around and drive on Giorgio-Ruse. We persuade ourselves and the children that the car is our home, here you can eat and sleep, we drive along the signs on the highway. The road is good, the highway, but there are few gas stations. We got to Bucharest normally, about 4 hours, but we missed the exit on Ruse - we didn’t go to the track, but to some minor chenukhs. At about 0.30 my husband began to slur his tongue, and he said that he could not go any more, he had to change, he needed to switch off for 30 minutes. And although my condition was the same, there was nothing to do. I gathered all my will and all myself into a fist, and drove slowly (it’s better to drive slowly than to stand at all).

It's nothing but pitch darkness, 1 o'clock in the morning, nothing that the road is a serpentine along the mouth of the river, nothing that I have Ukrainian driving license, not international driving license, everyone is sleeping. I drove along this serpentine for 2 hours, I thought time had stopped. Finally, there is a bridge ahead (6 lev or 100 UAH, paid by card, no need to bother with exchanging money), which is a border and a checkpoint. What is waiting for us here? Will they tell you to go back? But we don’t have the strength to worry anymore... When the Bulgarian put stamps in our passports (what a pleasant sound), we realized that everything was in order. My husband asked where to go next and what to pass, we were told that we didn’t need to go anywhere else. Happy holidays!


The town of Rousse starts right away. It's pretty big. There are many accommodations for one night, but everyone is already sleeping. 2.30 am. All you need is a hotel. Found one, call - closed. We call on the phone - they don’t hear us, they sleep. I had to find something else. Hotel Jeweler Family. We immediately call the phone, after 2 minutes a sleepy boy runs out. We ask for a room for 4 people - and yes, it is free! We don’t have a lion, but there is an equivalent in euros on the price list, we immediately pay and run to the room. It is so cute, spacious, all white, with 2 balconies, with a comfortable bed! We are very glad that everything worked out for us, let's get lost.

Traditional shopping trip in the morning. Lidl is right around the corner. It is very interesting to walk around and stare at the new streets, houses, funny signs (written in Russian letters). For example, sweet bell pepper - how beautiful in our opinion, they have ingots. Popcorn - caramelized farts, corn - queen. In general, everything is clear and it is very pleasant and fun.

Before 12 we need to clear the room and we should have a quick bite to eat. For 1 euro, the guy made us coffee and 2 teas, which was very nice. Today we need to get to Nessebar, it's a 3-4 hour journey. Stopped a little more. The novigator took a detour through Varna, the Varna-Nessebar road is serpentine, although the mountains are low. On the way out of Reni, we bought a Bulgarian vignette at a gas station. It is electronic and does not need to be glued to the windshield. Its cost is 500 UAH. for 30 days. The cost of gas is 0.85 lev per liter (the rate is 1:16, it turns out 13 hryvnia per liter in terms of hryvnia).


We arrived in Nessebar around 16.30. We did not have housing, there were screenshots on the phone of apartments that we liked, and we went to these addresses. We did not really like the first housing, although the price was pleasant (too many closely spaced houses, crowded people are big). Let's go to the second address, and - beauty! Closed guarded territory, a garden with a flower garden, silence, no city fuss...

The guard refused to let us in, said that everyone comes with a realtor, but we laughed, they say, we are from Ukraine, where can I get a realtor here? Then he called the manager. A young pretty girl came out and began to think about how to accommodate us, because all the rooms are booked, and the last one is today (by the way, there were no Ukrainians at all then, we broke through first, and cars with Ukrainian numbers even more so). But there are a lot of unopened rooms after the winter, and it takes a long time to clean them up. Then we decided that we would live in a vacant apartment for 4 days, and then we would move to a permanent one. The apartment has 2 rooms, 2 double beds and a fold-out leather sofa, a fully equipped modern built-in kitchen with everything you need for cooking. There was even a highchair for feeding, a potty. . . A large loggia with a dryer, a glass table, chairs. . . It was very pleasant to have breakfast and dinner there (we had a snack on the beach for lunch).

We moved our things to the apartments and rushed to the beach. How much joy and delight it was to dive into the blue, sparkling in the sun, such a clear sea! We splashed so happily and desperately that people on the beach looked at us and smiled)).

It turned out that we settled in a very convenient place - to the Rich beach (a small cozy beach near a pine forest, always without waves) - 5 minutes on foot. . .

. . . to the South beach (beach with the Blue Flag, water as clear as a tear) - 10 minutes.

We bought groceries at Lidl and Janet stores. There is a currency exchange in the Old City and Janet. Moreover, there is only one Lidl in Nessebar, and there are several Janet markets. Janet has seafood (mussels, octopuses, langoustines, squids, fish), cheeses and cottage cheese, meat products by weight, as well as all cosmetic products made from roses. All this is not available in Lidl, although Lidl is slightly cheaper. Meat, of course, is more expensive than in Ukraine. But when we counted the cost of eggs for our money, we decided not to eat them yet - 40-45 UAH!

Bulgaria has very tasty ice cream, no matter where you buy it: either by weight in the Old Town, or in a supermarket. Ice cream on a stick is a thick layer of real chocolate, and inside is no less delicious substance with cream.

The sausage is also very tasty - it is natural, consists of beef, pork and a little lard.

In the first days we explored Old Nessebar. Near it, right in front of the bridge on the right, there is paid parking (2 leva per hour), as well as before reaching the center - parking on the left. There are also parking lots in the peninsula itself. Also, the entire Old Town around the perimeter is entwined with continuous cafes, with and without sea views. The Bulgarians know Russian and called us "Hello, good evening". ))

Then we decided to visit neighboring Sozopol and the castle "In Love with the Wind". It's such a beauty! We seemed to be in a medieval fairy tale! This castle was recently built for the filming of the fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". The architecture of the castle is in a light Gothic style, part of it is entwined with ivy. Around the castle, everything is in flowers, exotic plants, marble figurines and fountains. A little further from the castle there is a pond and a pheasanarium. The courtyard near the castle is complemented by the figures of iron monster knights in considerable numbers. In the passage from the yard to the pond is a collection of ancient trophies (chain mail, helmets, iron gloves) that you can touch and even try on. The entrance price is not cheap, especially if you have to pay for four, but our hostess advised us to bargain, and we broke through for 20 euros from all. I would advise leaving his visit to last, as the castle made such a strong impression on us that then the Palace of Queen Mary in Balchik seemed boring to us, although it is also interesting in its own way and there is something to see.

After the castle, we went to Sozopol to walk around the Old Town. There were a lot of people and cars (maybe it was a day off, I don't remember). The only parking lot near the Old City no longer accommodated those who wanted to, and my husband dropped me off with my daughter for a walk, and he went with his son to look for another parking lot. But they never found her, and just sat on the seashore, while my daughter and I took a walk. In the Old Town of Sozopol, however, there are fewer people than in Nessebar, the streets are a little wider, but in general they are very similar. We took pictures of houses, ancient ruins and found very appetizing slices of pizza for forever hungry children for 2.50 leva (in Nessebar only 3 leva) and went home.

We went to Balchik a couple of days later, when a cloudy day was planned according to the Google forecast (in fact, it was a heavy downpour). The road turned out to be longer than we expected. the section Sunny Beach-Varna is a serpentine, and you won’t go fast there. We passed many resorts: St. Constantine and Helena, Golden Sands, but we did not have time to go there. Balchik is a very pretty town. The palace of the Romanian Queen Maria is located right on the seashore, and if I went there again, I would choose a sunny day to swim in those lovely calm bays, they beckoned us)). But clouds hung in the sky, it thundered, and only the husband and son managed to swim. the son left the Palace earlier, preferring the sea. The water here turned out to be cooler than in Nessebar. Apparently, due to the fact that this is the northern part of the coast, and Nessebar is the southern one.

Near the Palace there is a large area - a beautiful rose garden, two very beautiful waterfalls, an interesting botanical garden with various types of cacti and palm trees. The palace itself is small and really looks more like a country cottage, as I read in the reviews about it.

On the way back, I really wanted to walk around the famous Varna, along its central beautiful streets, we needed to exchange money, buy something for the children to eat. But my plans were not destined to come true this time. Since we went to Bulgaria spontaneously, we were not prepared for information, and simply did not find these central pedestrian streets. We just walked around the Seaside Park, wet after the rain, and drank coffee there. We were looking for the center of Varna on the novator, but everything was not right. It began to get dark, and it took us 1.5 hours to get back along the serpentine. I had to leave without comprehending Varna, without finding its “heart”.

One day we went to the beach of the famous Sunny Beach resort. It was decently windy there, decent waves, it was cool under the beach umbrella, and I didn’t feel like swimming at all. We sat, sprinkled with sand, and the children asked to go to our Rich beach, where there is always a calm gentle sea in the bay, and there is no wind with sand. And we left, although the view of the Balkan Mountains and the Old Town is very beautiful. In the evening, we also came for a walk to Sunny Beach, there is an amusement park, a lot of people, coffee machines (it was very funny to see the inscription “coffee with sour cream”), in general, a party place. But we weren’t drawn to Sunny Beach anymore, and we thought that people don’t see much when they fly by plane on tour packages to Sunny Beach and spend their entire vacation here.

We also rode along the coast under the Balkan Mountains, stopped in Sveti Vlas, where we booked apartments in the spring (we had to cancel due to quarantine). The Garden of Eden complex impressed us with its beauty, neatness, variety of flowers and pools. I don’t know what kind of sea is here, but the territory of the complex is charming!

Since it was tiring for the children to go on excursions and they really wanted to swim, and the rest time was coming to an end, we no longer went anywhere, but simply relaxed, swimming during the day and walking around the Old Nessebar peninsula in the evening, bypassing it completely from all sides .

It was decided on the way back, on the road to Ruse, to go through the city of Veliko Tarnovo, the first capital of the ancient Bulgarian state, where the famous Tsarevets fortress is located... So we planned all the time, until it was time to go... I thought, why should I a fortress, if I never saw Varna. . . In addition, nearby, on the way to Ruse, there is a Bulgarian stonehenge - Stone Forest, which arose thousands of years ago, and no one knows the nature of these stones (and some of them are up to 7 meters high) . These giant stones were driven to a depth of more than 100 meters. And I asked my husband to go this way, through Varna.


We divided the return trip into 3 days (it could have been 4 or 5 under favorable circumstances, there was a lot to see).

First day - to the border with Romania (border town of Ruse, Bulgaria), because you can't stop in Romania because of the coronavirus, you can only transit.

The second day - through the whole of Romania, passing the Ukrainian border, overnight in Chernivtsi. If we were not quarantined, we wanted to stay in Chernivtsi for 2 nights and quietly see the famous Chernivtsi University - Ukrainian Hogwarts and the Khotyn Fortress, about which my youngest wrote an essay on history.

Third day - Chernivtsi-Kharkov (Google showed 14 hours of driving, and, given the quality of the road, it could be divided into 2 days: Chernivtsi-Kyiv, Kyiv-Kharkov).

Having bought Bulgarian perfumes, detics, shampoos, soaps, etc. from roses, we moved back. The mood was not very good, because I did not want to leave... And here again Varna (hollow 2), and again we cannot find the pedestrian street of Prince Boris. Found in 1.5 hours! We walked along it at a gallop (a long road and the Stone Forest are ahead). Beautiful, of course, wonderful, I really liked walking there, in Varna.

The stone forest is very close, 15 km. Only you were in a hot stuffy city - 15 minutes and you are in silence in nature. There is such a caring man at the box office, he called the children and told us basic information about this interesting place. The stone forest is 850 meters long and there is a strong energy circle of stones at the end. If you walk in a circle and make a wish, then it will come true (half come true)). And also in hot weather, the sand is not hot there... The nature of the appearance of these stones is still unknown.

At 19.00 we were in Ruse. A nice 2-room apartment was waiting for us. Of course, we'll go straight to Lidl for ice cream and provisions for the next day.

In the morning we left not too early (we also need to get enough sleep) and decided to go not along the Bucharest ring road, but straight through the city. It is very large and beautiful, unlike Galas and Braila. By the way, the Romanian villages are very beautiful and rich: in all the yards there are not houses, but villas with columns, many flowers... They set the course for the Parliament, and here it is - a huge building, the first largest in Europe, the second - in the world. Very beautiful, monumental building.

There is a large public parking opposite, and of course we parked and ran to take pictures near it. Nearby are also the Romanian Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Police and the Department of Statistics. However, there is a lot of time, and we still have to leave huge Bucharest through continuous traffic jams. We drink coffee at gas stations and drive 100 km/h through all the villages and cities.

At 20.30 we are at the Ukrainian border. The queue moves very slowly. Finally, it comes to us. The border guard in an affectionate voice asks to install the Diy at Home program and to arrive home and quarantine within 48 hours - Bulgaria with 250 sick people has become a red zone, and Ukraine with 1000 sick people is now a green zone! Children do not need to install the program and do not need to take a test for coronavirus (a relief! ). It's getting dark. We rush to Chernivtsi. The aunt, from whom the apartment was booked, turns on the heat - she constantly calls, asks where we are, why we are not in the access zone (we did not have the Internet in Romania, we bought a card in Bulgaria). We say we will soon. But, again, this Ukrainian importunity (( .

On the way we stopped at Selpo to feed the hungry youth. We are at the apartment around 23.00. We fall down from fatigue, and then a lot of questions from the hostess: why, where, where, when, etc. Suspecting us of something, the hostess takes a photo of my passport, takes a deposit for the keys... To be honest, we were afraid to tell her that we were coming from Bulgaria, what if she would refuse us housing because of the coronavirus? Therefore, she had suspicions when we, with a black tan, said that we were going from Kharkov to Bulgaria... ))

But in spite of everything, we really liked the apartment (there was no other cockroach like in Odessa anywhere else). It is spacious, bright, with panoramic windows in the hall, with a balcony in the kitchen. But we cannot linger in Chernivtsi, and we decided to come here some other time. But I still want to see the Khotyn fortress! We left at 10.30. . .

Khotin amazed us with the beauty of its location! On the one hand - the Dniester, on the other - ravines, valleys! And the fortress itself is powerful, huge! A chic monument to Peter Sahaidachny meets at the entrance. There are solar-powered USB benches near the fortress, as well as modern interactive information stands that children really enjoyed reading and looking at. In separate rooms there are collections of coins, trophies, arrowheads, ancient weapons. . .

In general, we started towards the house at 14.00! I had to drive all the rest of the day and all night. The children miss the dog a lot and reject my offers to spend the night in Kyiv or Zhytomyr. We thought we would arrive at about 3.00 in the morning, but after Poltava the road was repaired and the road was blocked, the navigator sent us on a detour - a delay of another 2 hours. I just don’t know and I’m surprised how my husband managed to drive all the way, but when I entered Kharkiv, I felt that I was passing out, and I immediately had a dream (I hadn’t slept for 24 hours). I shake it off, but it goes on like this about 20 times until we ARRIVE. )

P. S. Regarding the coronavirus in Bulgaria: during the rest, none of us even sneezed or took a single pill. True, I was careful not to take children to the water park...


To travel from Ukraine to Bulgaria by car in 2020, you need:

1. Have a biometric passport.

2. Travel insurance with coronavirus coverage.

3. Green card for a car.

4. The vehicle is equipped with 2 emergency stop signs, a fire extinguisher, reflective vests.

5. Be sure to take masks (required at gas stations and supermarkets).

6. Green corridor only through the Giorgio Ruse checkpoint.

7. When entering Bulgaria, a PCR test for coronavirus and self-isolation are not needed. But when returning from Bulgaria, a 14-day quarantine (if Bulgaria does not become a "green" zone again).

Translated automatically from Russian. View original
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