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Getting Around in Bulgaria
 
 
 

By Air

The national airline, Bulgaria Air (www.air.bg), and the national airline Hemus Air (www.hemusair.bg) operate domestic services connecting Sofia with the coast and main towns. The journeys from Sofia to Bourgas and Varna can be made in about one hour. Air travel is comparatively cheap, and is only slightly more expensive than rail travel.

By River

Regular boat and hydrofoil services along the Bulgarian bank of the Danube link many centres, including Vidin, Lom, Kozloduj, Orjahovo, Nikopol, Svishtov, Tutrakan and Silistra.

By Rail

There are over 4200km (2625 miles) of railways in the country. Bulgarian State Railways connects Sofia with main towns. Reservations are essential and first-class travel is advised. For details, contact the State Railway Office (www.bdz.bg)

Travelling by train is inexpensive, but slower than travelling by bus, and you should mostly use it when trying to reach a city along the two major train routes (Sofia-Varna and Sofia-Bourgas; you can travel both routes overnight). Travelling by train is not recommended as the trains are invariably in poor condition and are rarely maintained.

By Road

There are over 13,000km (8000 miles) of roads linking the major centers; their quality is variable and some main roads have major potholes, plus driving standards are generally poor. Traffic drives on the right. International road signs are used, although roadworks are often not signposted. Night driving can be dangerous owing to poor lighting. Tolls are charged on motorways and main roads out of town, they are charged at EUR 5 for a 1 week vignette and EUR 12 for 1 month. Vignettes can be purchased at ports, border points, Post Offices and DZI bank offices. Additionally, if the vehicle is stolen in Bulgaria, import duty and related taxes must be paid: insurance may be taken to cover this. Speed limits are strictly adhered to: 50kph (30mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (55mph) outside built-up areas and 120kph (75mph) on motorways. In addition, the driver may be banned from driving in Bulgaria for up to three years. The nationwide alcohol limit is 0.05 per cent; on-the-spot fines of between Lv50-150 are imposed for offences. Spare parts are easily available and 24-hour road assistance is available (tel: (2) 980-3308). There are large numerous petrol stations. It should also be observed that car-theft is on the increase in Bulgaria, and all cars should ideally be fitted with alarms and other visible security measures. Car-jacking is also becoming more frequent, usually occurring at night, and with some criminals even impersonating traffic policeman in the process. It is best to drive in daylight.

Bus

There is a good network of buses that are cheap and convenient but with erratic schedule. Travelling from Sofia to major cities in Bulgaria by bus is good value. A one way ticket to the Black Sea from Sofia is around EUR 12-15. Several companies operate regular routes serviced by new and modern buses.

There are other bus stations in Sofia and also some private buses depart from their own personal station, but for travellers just looking to get out of town with the least amount of confusion – using the New Central Bus Station may be easiest. Buses and Minibuses go from Varna and Bourgas along the coastline, passing or going to all Bulgarian Black Sea tourist resorts.


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