Bulgaria, with its spectacular mountains, golden sandy beaches and bustling cities, has been attracting more and more vacation-seeking tourists in recent years. In fact, Bulgaria has changed tremendously with a construction boom, attracting numerous Western European investors with relatively cheap land prices and beautiful scenery. Families in particular like to go on all-inclusive holidays in Bulgaria, in holiday resorts that are relatively cheap and yet up-to-date. Bulgaria’s revitalized ski and summer resorts offer competitive accommodation and ski pass prices to other European destinations. The big cities of Bulgaria have shaken off their Eastern Bloc past and present themselves as dynamic and attractive with well-groomed boulevards, diverse shopping opportunities and lively nightlife. On the other hand, many small towns and villages preserve the typical Bulgarian way of life and hospitality and are proud of their traditional folklore. Bulgaria is a member of European Union defined by neovideogames.
Arriving by plane
Bulgaria Air (FB), Bulgaria’s national airline, flies non-stop to Sofia from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Direct flights to Sofia are also offered by the following airlines: – Lufthansa (LH) from Frankfurt/M. and Munich, Wizz Air (W6) from Frankfurt/M.; – Austrian Airlines (OS) from Vienna. Flights with stopovers from Zurich to Sofia are offered by Swiss (LX)/Lufthansa (LH) via Munich and by Swiss (LX)/Austrian Airlines (OS) via Vienna, among others. Wizz Air (W6) flies from Cologne/Bonn to Varna. Eurowings (EW) flies from Düsseldorf to Sofia.
Frankfurt – Sofia: 2 hours 15 minutes; Munich – Sofia: 1 hour 55 minutes; Vienna – Sofia: 1 hour 35 minutes; Zurich – Sofia: 2 hours 5 minutes
Arrival by car
Passengers traveling by car reach Bulgaria via Greece (Koulata, Novo Selo), Romania (Ruse, Kardom, Durankulak, Silistra), Turkey (Svilengrad, Kapitan Andrikeevo), Serbia (Kalotina, Zlatarevo, Vrashkachuka) and North Macedonia (Guyeschevo). Long-distance bus: Eurolines buses run from Germany and Austria to Bulgaria. Tolls: In Bulgaria, both motorways and country roads are subject to tolls. The e-vignettes are available from BGToll, A1 Bulgaria, self-service terminals at border crossings, shops, Road Administration Offices and petrol stations. Documents: The national driving license is sufficient for entering Bulgaria. However, it is recommended that you also carry your international driver’s license with you.
Arrival by train
There are no direct trains from Bulgaria to Western Europe, but there are scheduled connections from Sofia to places like Belgrade (Serbia), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Istanbul (Turkey) with dining cars on all routes. It is advisable to buy first class tickets. The Trans-Balkan connects Sofia with Thessaloniki and Bucharest. Russian Railways offers a regular connection from Moscow via Warsaw (Poland), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary) and Belgrade (Serbia) to Sofia. Other international trains operate on the routes Svilengrad – Athens, Plovdiv – Sofia – Belgrade and Sofia – Thessaloniki – Athens.
The Interrail One Country Pass and the Interrail Global Pass are valid in Bulgaria.
Arrival by ship
Bulgaria has a direct connection to Central and Western Europe via the Danube. Ruse is the largest port on the Danube. Danube border crossings to Romania are between Vidin and Calafat (ferry) and Ruse and Giurgiu (bridge). Bulgaria’s main international ports on the Black Sea are Varna and Burgas.
Navibulgar offers ferry services from Varna to Chornomorsk, Ukraine, Black Sea Ferry Services (PBM) from Burgas to Batumi (Georgia) and Novorossiysk (Russia).
Routes across the rivers
Phoenix Reisen and Royal Caribbean, among others, head for Bulgaria on their Danube cruises.
Note [*] From Varna Airport. [**] From Bourgas airport.
Traveling by plane
The national airline Bulgaria Air (FB) connects Sofia with the country’s major cities and seaside resorts. Wizz Air (W6) flies to Sofia, Burgas and Varna.
Traveling by car/bus
Bulgaria has a well-developed road network. Toll: Motorways and trunk roads are subject to tolls. There are 1-day, 7-day, 1- and 3-month and 1-year vignettes. The annual vignette is valid from January 1st of the year of issue to January 31st of the following year. The e-vignette is available from BGToll, A1 Bulgaria, self-service terminals in shops and Road Administration Offices, many petrol stations and border crossings. At gas stations you usually have to pay in cash in Lewa. Only larger chains accept credit cards. All types of fuel are available at gas stations in cities and along highways.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The roads are mostly in good condition. Country roads are lighted but occasionally have potholes, so night driving should be avoided.
International and national car rental companies are represented in major cities and holiday resorts.
Taxis are available in all cities, including for overland journeys. They are available at taxi ranks or in front of hotels and can be ordered by telephone. Government taxis are metered, private taxis are not. All taxis in the country are yellow. The day rate applies between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the night rate between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The bus network is well developed. Both larger and smaller cities can be reached by bus several times a day. Tickets are available at the counter in the bus station or directly on the bus. In the big cities, the bus terminals are usually located near the main train stations.
Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰. – It is compulsory for drivers to wear fluorescent warning vests when leaving their vehicle outside of built-up areas and staying on the road, eg in the event of a breakdown or an accident. – The international traffic signs apply. – While driving, telephoning is only permitted via a hands-free system. – Seatbelt obligation. – Driving with headlights on during the day is mandatory for all vehicles all year round. Speed limits: in built-up areas: 50 km/h, outside built-up areas: 90 km/h, on motorways: 130 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. ADAC partner club in Sofia: Union des Automobilistes Bulgares (UAB), tel. +359 (0)2 935 79 35.
The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate number is valid as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are recommended to take their international motor insurance card with them in order to be able to enjoy full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage applies. In addition, the international motor insurance card can make it easier to record accidents.
Note on travel by road
Fines are never to be paid directly to the controlling police officer. If you are asked to do so, you should write down the police officer’s identification number (on his uniform).
Traveling in the city
Sofia’s public transport network includes buses, trams, two metro lines and trolleybuses; Underground trains run daily between 5 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. Standard tariffs apply. Tickets must be purchased prior to departure. Buses and taxis are readily available in all major cities. There are also trolleybuses in Plovdiv and Varna.
Locally on the way by train
Rail traffic is operated by the Bulgarian state railway BDZ and the private Bulgarian-Romanian railway company Balgarska Schelesnopatna Kompania. Transport hub is Sofia. There are fast trains, express trains (reservation required) and regional trains. A night train connects Sofia and Varna. The Rhodope Railway, a narrow-gauge railway, travels through the scenic area between the Rhodope and Rila Mountains. It is generally advisable to book in advance and buy first class tickets if possible. More information from the Bulgarian Tourism Portal and the Bulgarian Railways Information Office, tel. +359 (2) 931 11 11.
The Interrail One Country Pass and the Interrail Global Pass are also valid in Bulgaria. The Balkan Flexi Pass is available for unlimited rail travel in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey for a choice of 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15 days.
Traveling by ship
The port of Nessebar is regularly approached by passenger ships. Two hydrofoils operate daily between Sozopol, Nesebar and Varna. Other smaller ports, especially marinas are located in Sveti Vlast and in Obzor.