There are two main ways to come in Bulgaria : by plane or by road. You don’t like flying or driving and you want to try another way to come ? You can also come by bus or train. Let us tell you more about each of them.
Travelling to Bulgaria by plane
Flying is definitely the easiest way to travel to Bulgaria, not very expensive and faster. Bulgaria is served by all major airlines – Bulgaria Air, Air France, Austrian, British Airways, Lufthansa, CSA, Alitalia, etc., with several flights per day mainly towards Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.
From outside Europe, it depends of the country you come from. There are direct daily flights from most European capitals and major European airports, as well as several destinations in the Middle East. There are no direct flights from North America and most of Asia. In Bulgaria, there are 5 main airports : Sofia – Plovdiv – Varna – Burgas and Rousse. The biggest one is Sofia International Airport (Terminal 1 & 2).
We will talk to you only about the most interesting airlines according to prices and flights duration (direct flight with non-stop service to and from Sofia). About prices, keep in mind that peak periods include Christmas to early January and the summer months.
From Europe :
From Europe, there are several airlines which have a non-stop service to Sofia from major cities : Bulgaria Air, Air France, Lufthansa, Austrian, CSA, Alitalia, British Airways, Swiss Air Serbia, KLM, Turkish Airlines, LOT, Air Berlin etc.
Bulgaria Air is the Bulgarian national airlines. It connects most European countries to Bulgaria (Sofia International airport, Terminal 2). The round trip (with return) costs around 150 and 600€ according to the season. We suggest you to buy your tickets in advance in order to get the best prices. All flights include a snack, a hand baggage (1 piece – up to 10kg with dimension : 55x40x23cm max) and a checked baggage (1 piece – up to 23kg) and others options permitted at a charge of 50€ (change of date, etc.). Click there for book a flight. From the Sofi Airport Terminal 2, it is easy to reach the centre by taxi or by subway directly from the terminal.
There are also low-cost airlines – Wizzair, Ryanair, and Easyjet – which reach Sofia and other Bulgarian cities (mainly Plovidv and Varna). These three other airlines connect the same cities and other smaller cities from which « normal » airlines do not operate flights. The round trip costs between 30 and 200€ according to the season. Generally speaking, July, August, and December are the most expensive months (200€). You can find flights to come to Bulgaria from September to June for only 30€.
From France, you can take a low cost ticket with Wizzair from Paris-Beauvais airport (87km from Paris) and Mulhouse for example. There are three direct flights per week, and it lasts 2h50. For people who live in the north of France (Lille, Douai, Lens, Valenciennes, etc.), it could be more interesting to book a flight on Wizzair from Brussels-Charleroi airport rather than from Paris-Beauvais airport. From Rhône-Alpes, instead of flying from Lyon with Air France, Alitalia, or Lufthansa for example, with a connection point in their hub, it might be better to fly from Geneva airport with Wizzair. There are three flights per week (not everyday) but it is closer and the prices can be very attractive. For parking in Bruxelles-Charleroi airport, I have a good address, safe and cheap. I used to book this place when I travelled a lot between Lille and Sofia. For example, 8 parking days = 48 euros >> click here.
Most flights to Varna Airport on the Black Sea will stop in Sofia except during the summer season when it is possible to find charter flights or season flights. You can check the same companies to find a flight. Starting October 2017, Ryanair will offer direct flights from Charleroi to Varna (nonstop to Sofia).
From Russia :
Bulgaria Air connects Moscow to Sofia Airport (with direct flights) and to Varna Airport with 1 hour stop in Sofia Airport. From St. Petersbourg, Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia, Austrian, Aeroflot and Lot Polish Airlines are the main airlines to go to Bulgaria, only with stop.
From United States :
The flights are not direct (yet!). From New York City, Bulgaria Air, Air France KLM, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin and Aeroflot are the airlines going to Bulgaria (Sofia). From others cities in USA, United, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Alitalia and Austrian are the main airlines to go to Bulgaria.
From Canada :
From Montreal, Québec, or Vancouver, Air Canada and Lufthansa are the best airlines to go to Bulgaria (1/2 stops).
From Australia :
From Melbourne or Sydney, KLM, Lufthansa and Jet are the airlines going to Bulgaria (1/2 stops).
Travel to Bulgaria by car
Sure, the journey by car will be longer than by plane (just 30 hours… from France for example) but it is still better than not coming to Bulgaria at all ! We did a journey by car 2 years ago, during the summer. Although it was very long, I discovered many beautiful places on the road and crossed lots of different interesting countries other than France (Germany, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia).
According to where you are leaving from, it can be very expensive (ex : from Paris to Sofia, highway >> 2270km + gasoline/diesel = 500€). It can be a very interesting trip if you have the time to spend 2 days on the road and the motivation. It is also important to have a comfortable car with A/C (especially during the summer when you have to wait long hours in the line at the borders).
To organise your trip by car, check out www.viamichelin.fr
Warning : To use the Austrian, Slovenian and Hungarian highways, you must purchase a sticker to stick on the windshield of your car. You can buy it at the border or at a gas station.
Travel to Bulgaria by Bus/Train
By bus, the price of a round-trip from a European country is around 150-200€ with Eurolines bus company. There are two departures per week.
From France (Paris), it’s on Monday and Friday, at 8:00 am and you arrive one day after at 9:00 pm (Bulgarian local time – +1h). So, it’s an estimated 37-hour trip. The bus passes through Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Serbia. It’s approximately the same way by car. Some departures from the province : Reims, Metz and Strasbourg.
By train, you can find trains to Sofia from some European capitals (check this link in french to travel from Paris to Sofia). From France, it’s an estimated 35 hours trip. It’s not a direct way, and you have to change twice at Frankfurt and Vienna. In Bulgaria, you can continue to use the train during your trip with the SNCF company and its 2 interrail pass : One Country Pass or Global Pass. To organise your way by train, check out www.voyages-sncf.com.