The road to Greece is recommended primarily for those who travel to Thassos and Kavala (and resorts near Kavala). This route can also take you to Stavros and Asprovalta, as well as to Mount Athos (Jerisos, Nea Roda, Uranopolis).

Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Dimitrovgrad - Sofia - Kulata (Promahonas) - Serres - Kavala - Keramoti - Limenas

The shortest and cheapest route. Traveling through Bulgaria shortens the journey from Belgrade by 85km, and from Nis by 100km. For those traveling from the Negotin region, the journey to Greece will be shortened by an incredible 160km in one direction.

Unfinished sections have deterred many of our tourists from this route, now that most of the construction work has been completed, the road through Bulgaria to Thassos, all in all, remains the better option. In May 2023, the section between Kalotina and Dragoman (direction to Sofia) was opened. Also, the section between Blagoevgrad and Simitli has been put into operation (about 10 km) with 2 new tunnels that look truly phenomenal.
The section through the gorge, which is also the most challenging section to build the highway, is still not finished. This is the part from the village of Simitli to the village of Kresna, where they haven’t even started yet, as there is the valley of the Struma River around which there are high hills, and it is expected that this section will be completed in a few years.

Taking everything into account - shorter route, lower fuel consumption due to speed limits, cheaper tolls, lower accommodation prices if you decide to stay overnight in Bulgaria, no need for a green card… expect to have at least 20% lower costs by taking this route.

The highway is completed from Novi Sad or Belgrade to Dimitrovgrad.

The bypass around Sofia is also finished.

The highway is in excellent condition, although some sections were built more than ten years ago, the speed limit is 140 km/h, and at the entrance to tunnels, the speed limit is 80 km/h (be cautious - there are speed cameras waiting at the tunnel exits).

Buying a vignette for roads in Bulgaria is mandatory, there is video surveillance that enforces this obligation. You can buy an electronic vignette through (, install the mobile application, register, and pay electronically, choose the option for how many days suits you. You don’t have to stick the sticker on the windshield, the cameras read through the system whether you have paid, and it is enough to keep the email as confirmation.

About 30 kilometers from Sofia, there is a Shell gas station and a rest area for a short break.

When you reach the suburbs of Sofia, follow the sign “Kulata” which will appear at an intersection with traffic lights where you turn right (after the Metro and Jumbo store). Kulata is the border crossing with Greece.

From the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the border with Greece, you drive a total of 225km.

Rest areas on the way

On the part of the road through Bulgaria, there are several gas stations with rest areas. The fuel prices are similar to ours, but accommodation in the town of Sandanski is very cheap, so our suggestion is to overnight there on the way to Thassos. We recommend booking accommodation in Bansko in the evening, you can take a walk through the town, and in the morning, after breakfast, continue your journey refreshed. After a little over 20 km, you will find yourself at the common border crossing BG/GR. Here, there is no rush, Bulgarians, Romanians, Greeks, and other EU citizens take their time to present their travel documents, while our citizens, Ukrainians, Russians… stand in a separate line and wait for their passports to be scanned and stamped.

To Kavala and the entrance to the highway towards Xanthi (if you are going to Thassos), you have about 130 km on a tolerable road - sometimes worn out, no potholes, and sometimes quite good.

When you join the highway towards Xanthi near Kavala, you have just over 20 km on the highway, then turn towards Keramoti, and after about 20 km, you are at the ferry.

Therefore, my recommendation (which is also echoed by Mirko Alvirović, who has much more experience and knowledge) is to travel this route only during the day.
When returning near Kavala, turn towards Serres, where there are also signs for BG, or Bulgaria.

Tolls on the way to Greece through Bulgaria

If you are traveling through Bulgaria, the toll from Belgrade amounts to 1490 RSD, plus the cost of buying a vignette. Read more about tolls in our article HERE.

Fuel prices in Bulgaria are similar to prices in Serbia, with diesel being slightly cheaper, and gasoline and gas a bit more expensive, but all of it is significantly cheaper than in Greece (20-25% cheaper), so you will save the most if you fill up your tanks to the top when leaving Bulgaria. At all major gas stations in Bulgaria, you can pay with cards or, of course, in euros, although not all will convert 1.95 leva to 1€. Therefore, if you don’t have cards, it’s best to exchange the necessary amount of euros into levs at exchange offices at the border crossings.
Respect speed limits in populated areas as there is a lot of police, as well as unmarked speed bumps.

International driving permit is no longer required.

Accommodation on the way through Bulgaria

When returning from Thassos and if you are traveling through Bulgaria, we suggest you stay overnight in the town of Rila, which is located 273 km from Keramoti. If you start in the morning after breakfast from your accommodation in Thassos and board the ferry around noon, you will arrive in Rila between 4-5pm. From the main road, after Blagoevgrad, you turn towards Rila, which is about 10km from the intersection. There is a small town where road signs lead you to a very decent hotel Kentaur where you can stay for about 31€ in a double room, or 44€ in a quadruple room, including breakfast, and where you will be hosted by very kind hosts. The hotel is small, so accommodation should be reserved in advance, and if you want even cheaper accommodation, continue towards the Rila Monastery, which is a little over 20km away, and along the way, you will come across several small hotels where accommodation is even cheaper, although not as good as in Kentaur. Once you settle into the hotel, head towards the monastery, which is open to visitors until 7 pm (although the main gate is open even after that…). You can visit the monastery the next day as well, you have enough time because it will take you about 6 hours to travel to Belgrade afterwards, without much effort.
During your stay in this region, we recommend visiting the Monastery of Saint John of Rila, which is the most famous and largest monastery in Bulgaria and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can read a very detailed description of the road to Greece through Bulgaria here.
Check out our detailed articles in the Guide about traveling to Thassos through Bulgaria in the following texts:
By Car to Thassos through Bulgaria
Route through Bulgaria to Thassos
Traveling to Thassos and Kavala through Bansko and Drama
By Car to Thassos through Bulgaria - border crossings Novo Selo/Zlatarevo and Kulata/Promahonas
Accommodation on the Way to Greece through Bulgaria

For the largest selection of accommodation on Thassos, check HERE.

Find everything you need to know about Thassos in our Guide on the links below:
General information
Travelling to Thassos
Food and Drinks
What to See