Wandering Cheapo: Bulgarian Buses Rule the Road

Posted in: Bulgaria


Photo by ji the pee
Photo by ji the pee

One of our favorite ways to travel within Bulgaria is well, faster than trains—and best of all, cheap.

If you’re starting from Sofia’s Central Bus Station, check this handy Web site beforehand or, alternately, head straight to the information booth upon arrival. You’ll learn quickly which of the 40+ private companies serving Sofia sell tickets to your chosen destination. Outside of Sofia, look for the cashier windows and the handy schedule on the wall.

And it’s not just wandering Cheapos who jones for some Bulgarian bus action. Locals love and fully utilize the bus system too. That’s why you’ll easily find 17 buses each day making the two-hour journey between Bulgaria’s two biggest cities, Sofia and Plovdiv.

Tip: If you’re traveling alone and request it, you may even be allowed to sit in the roped-off seats behind the driver. These seats offer the best views, and they’re an especially fab vantage point for travels through the breathtaking Balkan Range at historic Shipka Pass in Central Bulgaria.

One last reason why we love Bulgarian buses: there’s no need to buy your tickets far in advance. 15 minutes before departure is ample time for you to get your ticket, stake out a window seat, and grab some coffee or pretzel sticks for the bus ride.

Sample one-way bus trips and fares:

Sofia—Plovdiv. 2 hours. BGN10 (€5).
Sofia—Veliko Tarnovo. 4 hours. BGN12 (€6).
Sofia—Varna. 8 hours. BGN21-BGN24 (€10-€12).

Wandering Cheapo Sunnia Ko is a wanderer at heart and primarily supports this habit as a teacher at Plovdiv University in Bulgaria. She is currently on a cross-Balkan trek from Plovdiv to Sibenik, Croatia, where she hopes to find the Adriatic as splendid and turquoise as she remembers it to be.

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