FOLLOW US

Getting Around Bulgaria

Air

Bulgaria Air (www.air.bg) operates some domestic services, connecting Sofia with the Black Sea coast. The journeys from Sofia to Bourgas and Varna take one hour. Air travel is only slightly more expensive than first-class rail travel.

Road

Tolls are charged on motorways and main roads out of town. Car-theft and car-jacking are both on the increase in Bulgaria.

Side of the road

Right

Road Quality

Road quality is variable and driving standards are generally poor. Night driving can be dangerous owing to poor lighting.

Car Hire

Available through hotel reception desks and at Sofia Airport, and online in advance. Most of the major international car hire agencies are represented here.

Taxi

Available in all towns and also for intercity journeys. Vehicles are usually in good condition. All vehicles are metered, unless they are privately owned. Some drivers may try to drive without putting on the meter; ensure this is done before you leave. Look at the chart on the outside of the vehicle to see what the starting price is and to check the meter is not rigged. A small tip is appreciated.

Regulations

You can buy vignettes at ports, border points, post offices and DZI bank offices.

Speed limits are 120-140kph (75-87mph) on motorways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas.

Breakdown services

SBA (tel: 146).

Documentation

All driving licences from EU countries are valid for Bulgaria. If travelling from outside the EU, an International Driving Permit is recommended. A Green Card is useful, but not compulsory for EU travellers.

Urban travel

Bus, tramway and trolleybus services operate in Sofia, along with a small metro system. You can buy tickets from kiosks at major bus stops and newsagents; you must validate these upon boarding.

Buses and taxis operate in all the main towns. There are also trolleybuses in Plovdiv and Varna. Outside Sofia, bus tickets are purchased on board from the conductor.

Rail

The Bulgarian State Railway, Balgarski Darzhavni Zheleznitsi (tel: +359 2 932 4190; www.bdz.bg), connects Sofia with main towns. Reservations are essential during peak seasons and first-class travel is advised. A first-class sleeper is a wonderful way to travel long distances, especially at night.

Water

Private boats and yachts ply the Black Sea coast and the Danube.

Related Articles

City Highlight: Sofia

A city as beautiful as its name, Sofia boasts onion-domed churches and Soviet-era monuments interspaced with manicured gardens and wide cobblestone avenues plied by rattling trolley buses.