At the Snomads HQ, we’ve been busy planning a great ski season in 2021/2022! There has been an improvement in anti-epidemic measurements as the number of vaccinated people continues to increase. Although the COVID situation can rapidly change at the local level, you can be confident that your bookings are risk-free. We’re prepared to offer full refunds if travelling to and from your country is made impossible. However, we’re expecting to have a relatively trouble-free season ahead of us.
In this article
- COVID situation in Bulgaria – is it safe?
- Entry requirements for Bulgaria during COVID
- Traveling from the United Kingdom to Bulgaria
- Snomads COVID Policy
- Where to find officially sourced information?
COVID situation in Bulgaria – is it safe?
No country is completely safe from COVID. However, Bulgaria has a relatively low number of cases. Currently, the number of cases is going down, following the third wave of infections. The wave peaked at around 5600 cases per day. Things are slowly becoming normalized. As of the 14th of November, the daily reported cases are 1600. There have been almost 3 million doses of vaccines administered. That amounts to a total of 22% of the population being vaccinated. However anti-epidemic measures are still taken very seriously. Masks are mandatory inside public buildings and transport. Schools have moved to online education and other work sectors are limited. An inspection by the RHI from Blagoevgrad, which was conducted on the 31st January 2021 at Ski Center Bansko, stated the successful implications of all anti-epidemic measures, people could peacefully enjoy winter sports and the nature of the Pirin Mountains.
COVID entry requirements for Bulgaria for travellers from the EU
There is a traffic light system in place for all EU countries to ease travel restrictions. Travelers who are allowed to enter Bulgaria must provide a valid certificate of vaccination (Green Pass) of recovery and a valid negative pre-departure molecular (PCR) test, performed within 72 hours before arrival. If you fail to prove that you have a Green Pass you will have to stay in quarantine for 10 days. Exceptions are allowed only for professional drivers, ship and aircraft crews, border workers, and those transiting through the country. Bulgarian citizens and foreigners with permanent residence, as well as members of their families who do not present a document will be quarantined for 10 days.
You may also need a negative PCR test for returning home. A fairly easy option is to get to the airport early have your test done at Sofia international where a 24-hour certified laboratory for PCR and antigen test for Covid-19 has been established at Terminal 2. The price when writing this article is 84 Bulgarian Leva for a rapid PCR and 45 Bulgarian Leva for a rapid antigen test.
Traveling from the United Kingdom to Bulgaria and back
UK nationals traveling from the UK are allowed to enter Bulgaria without restrictions or quarantine on providing a vaccination certificate (NHS App COVID Pass accepted). This must show an approved vaccine schedule has been completed at least 14 days before entry, AND a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before entry. Those unvaccinated will be required to complete a mandatory 10-day self-isolation. Unvaccinated Children aged 12 to 18 arriving from the UK must present a negative PCR test only on arrival to Bulgaria.
Before returning to England (Scotland, Wales, and NI have slightly different rules) you must book a COVID-19 test (Antigen Lateral Flow Test) to be taken by the end of day 2 on your return. A passenger locator form will also need completing in the 48 hours prior to your arrival. This form will require your COVID-19 test reference code.
Consider Covid Insurance
Apart from travel restrictions, there is a risk you may not be able to travel due to contracting Covid, or a member of your household falls ill. Which? has produced an in-depth guide for UK nationals to Covid insurance. It’s worth thinking about insurance and the cost which, for some categories, has increased in price for 2021/22. An issue compounded by, it seems, make sure you check the details on the new GHIC card scheme which replaces the EHIC model post-Brexit.
At the time of writing only Nationwide covers you if your destination restricts its borders before you travel for reasons relating to the pandemic — and you need to bank with them and buy an annual policy. For most travelers, this eventuality is uninsurable.
Snomads COVID Policy
The safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority so our chalets and vehicles will be subject to the local Covid-19 regulations of the destination country, which may differ from that of the UK. We understand that the current situation may be unsettling and we would like to reassure and remind you of the extra measures we’ve put in place to keep you and your money safe.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we want all guests to be able to book with confidence and have therefore introduced the simple policy below in addition to our usual terms and conditions, a copy of which will be provided upon request. The policy applies to all stays in Chalet Diana-Ross, Chalet Supreme, Chalet Prince, and Chalet Stardust only.
You will have the option to either defer your stay or request a full refund if:
- The UK FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) advise against all but essential travel to your chalet destination country;
- Authorities in the country of the chalet impose travel restrictions which affect the ability to reach the chalet or the borders are closed to UK arrivals;
- The UK Government impose travel restrictions which require you to quarantine in a hotel on your return;
- Authorities in the country of the chalet impose a period of quarantine on arrival and there isn’t the option to forgo this quarantine period by providing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or of being fully vaccinated.
You’ll be able to defer your stay if:
- After you’ve booked, the UK Government changes the rules for the destination you’re traveling to, meaning you’ll need to quarantine at home on your return to the UK.
- You’re unable to travel due to new testing or vaccination requirements or if you’ve been asked to self-isolate upon your return or if the area you live in goes into local lockdown when you’re due to travel and these requirements/restrictions were introduced after you booked.
Any other reasons will not be considered a valid reason and our standard cancellation terms will apply. These cancellation terms are valid up until the day before arrival.
Guests are strongly advised to check their insurance policies prior to booking.
Where to find officially sourced information?
Our team will make sure to keep you updated through our blog & social media channels for any new covid measures for Bansko and Bulgaria. For those who’d like to be more proactive, you can check the websites of the UK government, Reuters, the Bulgarian informational portal, and the European Information Portal.