Safety and Security
Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union has enhanced the overall security environment for tourists and business travelers; however, violence related to criminal groups sporadically occurs in public locations. Incidents include bombings and shootings, likely the result of turf wars between rival organized crime syndicates, which remain highly prevalent in Bulgaria’s largely cash economy. In 2010, a journalist who had published a book containing details on Bulgarian organized crime was assassinated in Sofia during daylight hours.
Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes in response to world or local events can sporadically occur. Traffic disruptions in Bulgaria, particularly in the central city, have occurred as a result of demonstrations. While these demonstrations are normally peaceful, confrontational demonstrations have occurred, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Nationwide demonstrations in October 2011 resulted in some violence and destruction of property. You are urged to avoid demonstration areas if possible, and to exercise caution if traveling within the vicinity of any demonstrations. You should monitor media coverage to stay abreast of local events and should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Bulgaria can be found on the Embassy Sofia website.