Bulgaria By Train
When you travel by rail in Bulgaria, you’ll likely find more than you ever expected. Bulgaria has an interesting historical and cultural heritage and attractive landscapes. Be sure to visit the capital Sofia, nestled in the foothills of two mountains, and filled with exciting sights and sounds. Your Eurail Bulgaria Pass is your ticket to a true rail adventure.
Train types in Bulgaria
The train network in Bulgaria is operated by the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ). You can look up train times on the Eurail train timetable or on the BDZ website.
- Route map
- Domestic trains
Domestic trains in Bulgaria
Faster trains (routes: Sofia to Plovdiv, Sofia to Varna, Sofia to Burgas).
Reservations are required (approximately $0.25, or BGN 0.50 in local currency).
Local 'rapid' trains.
No reservation needed.
Slower local trains.
No reservation needed.
You can bring your bike on the train in Bulgaria. The fee is 2 BGN (Bulgarian lev, approximately €1) and you can pay this at the ticket desk.
- Domestic routes
- International routes
The following routes using trains in Bulgaria don't require reservations:
|Plovdiv to Burgas||5 hours|
|Sofia to Burgas||8 hours|
|Sofia to Plovdiv||3.5 hours|
|Sofia to Varna||7.5 hours|
Sofia has direct international train connections to several countries. Reservations are recommended.
|Route||Which train?||Travel time||Reservations|
|Sofia to Bucharest (Romania)||International (INT 460)||11.5 hours||Required|
|Sofia to Budapest (Hungary)||Intercity (INT 490, NT 340, FT 340)||20 hours||Required|
|Sofia to Thessaloniki (Greece)||Regional (RE 361)||7 hours||Required|
|Sofia to Istanbul (Turkey)*||International (INT)||13 hours||Optional|
*The train from Sofia to Istanbul ends at Istanbul Halkali station for an undefined period of time. This is a suburban station about 15 kilometers west of the city's central station.
The majority of trains within Bulgaria do not require advance seat reservations.
An exception are the Express (Ekspresen) trains. They run mainly on the routes Sofia - Plovdiv, Sofia - Varna and Sofia - Burgas. Reservation is inexpensive, around $ 0,25. You may have to pay additional commission though.
Reservations can be made at the Rila travel agencies, which you can find for example at Sofia train station. Good to know: a reservation is called 'zapazeno myasto' in Bulgarian.
Get you Pass for Bulgaria
Use your whole vacation to discover Bulgaria by rail.
Standard prices from $ 53
Be free to visit Bulgaria and up to 32 other Eurail countries.
Standard prices from $ 191
Tips and tricks for Bulgaria
Airport - station link
From Sofia airport there are buses (lines 84 and 284) to the main railway station. Eurail passes are not valid on the bus.
Eurail aid office in Bulgaria
For questions about Eurail, visit the international ticket office at Sofia railway station. See the page Eurail aid offices for more aid offices in Europe.
Spelling of cities in Bulgaria
On Bulgarian train timetables and at train stations in Bulgaria, you'll usually find the local spelling of Bulgarian cities and stations.
Here is the local spelling of some popular Bulgarian cities:
Sofiya = Sofia
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