Public Transport in Bulgaria

If you want to get around Bulgaria using the public transport, this is not that difficult. Plus, public transport is quite cheap. Have in mind, however, these few tips when looking for public transportation:

  • The bus transport between cities is faster than the state railways (BDZ), but it’s a bit more expensive. It is mostly private transport companies, comfortable (air-condition in most, movies in some), reliable.
  • The bus transport between villages is done by both private shuttles and state buses. Opt for the private shuttle where possible – faster and newer, pricing is usually the same.
  • Bigger cities (Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, etc) have several bus stations. One is usually for inter-city buses. The others for local transport (in between villages in the area). So make sure to inquire which bus stop your bus will depart from.
  • The railways have delays now and then and might be pretty full, especially around public holidays and in the summer (trains to the seaside). In this case you may book a first-class ticket, not much more expensive, but at least will ensure a comfortable trip.
  • For night travel with the railways opt for a sleeping wagon, your travel will be way more comfortable. Sleeping wagons better be booked in advance, especially throughout the summer.
  • If you buy tickets online – it’s best that you also print them, not just have them on your phone, tablet, etc


Booking bus and railway tickets online:

http://stigni.bg – sell tickets of several bus companies

Etap Group

Union Ivkoni (online tickets with discount, but interface is in Bulgarian)

Railway company:

BDZ (www.bdz.bg). You can buy online tickets for the major train destinations here https://bdz.transportinfo.bg/en. For some destinations / trains it’s not possible to buy a ticket online.

 

Transport on the Black seaside

If you’ve headed to the Black seaside, you’d probably want to move around in between the resorts (check out also Ravadinovo castle near Sozopol). Do not take taxis – they overcharge quite a lot! Go to the bus station and you are bound to find many buses departing for your desired destination – mostly private bus companies. Cost is times less than a taxi.

If you are a party – you may as well rent a car to go around. In any resort there are for sure free parking places, if not in the resort center, then a bit outside of the resort center.

About transport using taxis

Taxis are of course not public transport but since often they are the most convenient transport, especially for transport in the cities, here are some tips:

  • Many taxis will overcharge, especially if they see you are a foreign tourist. If staying in a hotel, better ask the reception to call a trusted taxi company rather than catch a taxi on the street
  • Upon entering the taxi, monitor the bill. If you see it gets increased pretty fast – just get off at some point.
  • The taxi overcharge issue is particularly observed in the capital Sofia. For Sofia I would advise to just install the mobile app TaxiMe (Play store and App store) and call a taxi using it (you may enter a promo code GREETBG for 2 leva off your first bill). The rates are fair and everything is tracked via the mobile app. You can also pay via a credit / debit card. See also my article on how to avoid being overcharged for taxi at Sofia airport

10 thoughts on “Public Transport in Bulgaria”

  1. Tiha Juhasz says:

    Thank you for the information on your site. It really helps foreigners, because there is little available in English about Bulgaria.

    I have a question.
    I will do a kayak trip in Bulgaria from Tyulenovo to Burgas in early June. I would like to use public transport to get back from Burgas to Mangalia (Romania). Can you please recommend something how to do this trip? I use a folding kayak, so it will be a large backpack, which is accepted in busses and trains.
    Thank you.

    1. greetbulgaria says:

      Hi Tiha
      Great about your kayak trip! We also travel via foldable kayak (inflatable to be precise) and do enjoy kayak trips a lot.
      Now, to get back from Burgas to Mangalia easiest would be to:
      1. Take a bus from Burgas to Varna (go to Burgas bus station, there are many buses travelling to Varna, including small private buses called marshrutka, no need to reserve as there are many)
      2. Once in Varna bus station you can take a bus to Mangalia – the buses to Odessa usually pass through Mangalia. But check the time schedule in advance
      Check this bus company for example – http://albaserv.com/en/
      also these guys http://www.servistur-bg.com/

      If you have trouble contacting the companies in p. 2 – let me know and I’ll call them for you

      When do you plan to be in Burgas? Will be happy to meet if I’m around 🙂 Happy travels in Bulgaria!

      Greets
      Svetla

  2. Joanna says:

    Hi 🙂

    What is the best way to get from Sunny Beach to Sofia airport please as we are struggling to find options? (Preferably coach or public transport as taxis are expensive)

    Thanks a lot !

    1. greetbulgaria says:

      Hi Joanna
      of course – there is good public transport anywhere on the seaside, do not use taxis!
      From sunny beach bus station you can take a bus to Burgas. There are buses every 20 minutes, the cost is 6 BGN (3 EUR). The trip takes 40-50 minutes. Check this site for the timetable http://www.bgrazpisanie.com/en
      From Burgas bus station you can take a bus to Sofia. You can buy a ticket online here: http://www.etapgroup.com/?lang=_en, costs approx 15 euro, takes 6 hours
      Or, transfer to Burgas train station (it’s pretty close to the bus station) and take the train. Purchase tickets online here: https://bdztickets.com/en/
      In the summer the train to/from the seaside might get pretty full so make sure to book a seat or even a sleeping couch (if night train).
      Once in Sofia, you’ve got the metro departing right from the train station. It will take you to the airport (will need to change the line once, at Serdika station), but generally within 30 minutes you’ll be at the airport Terminal 2 (Ryanair + all non-low costs depart from here). If you need to go to terminal 1 (Wizzair + I think easyjet), take the free shuttle from Terminal 2.
      Enjoy your stay in Bulgaria – let me know if I can help further!

  3. Monika says:

    Hi,

    Does anyone know how to get from Burgas airport to Sunny beach?
    I have read that there is a public bus and a shuttle, besides taxi (which is too expensive).
    But where can I find more information about the public buses, are they reliable, timetables and where in Sunny Beach do they stop?

    All information is very welcome 🙂

    1. GreetBulgaria says:

      Hi Monica
      go to Burgas bus station, there are many public buses and private shuttles to Sunny beach, departing quite frequently in the summer, doubt you’d wait more than 20 minutes. The ticket price to Sunny beach is 5-6 leva.
      The shuttles and buses stop at Sunny beach bus station for sure, maybe on request they will stop where you like, just ask the driver.
      Here is the timetable of all buses – private and public from Burgas to Sunny beach http://burgasbus.info/burgasbus/?page_id=358
      The bus station is right next to the central railway station.
      Enjoy your stay!

      1. Monika says:

        Thanks a lot for information and for so quick reply! 🙂 All the best!

  4. Monica says:

    I would like to know how I can move from Varna airport to Albena using public transport. Thank you in advance. Regards.

    1. GreetBulgaria says:

      Hi Monica

      Use bus line 409 to get from Varna airport to Varna city center. You can buy a bus ticket on the bus, costs 3 lv.

      Then, from the city center there are buses going to Albena, the trip takes about 30 mins and costs about 4 lv. See this link below for a list of buses and departure (run Google translate as the english version does not seem very useful)
      http://stigni.bg/search.html?points%5B0%5D=18961&points%5B1%5D=18953&type=1&order=2

      Let me know if questions. Enjoy your stay in Albena – one of my favorite sea resorts in Bulgaria!

  5. Warez says:

    Thanks for the post!

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