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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.


Domestic trains in Bulgaria

Expresen Vlak

  • ​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).


Barz Vlak

  • 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. 


Popular connections

The following routes using trains in Bulgaria don't require reservations:


Travel time

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.


Read more about train seat reservations.


Get you Pass for Bulgaria

Bulgaria Pass


Use your whole vacation to discover Bulgaria by rail.


Standard prices from $ 53

Global Pass


Be free to visit Bulgaria and up to 32 other Eurail countries.

Standard prices from $ 191


Tips and tricks for Bulgaria

Quick facts

  • Capital: Sofia (local spelling: Sofiya, written as София)

  • Population: 7.3 million

  • Language: Bulgarian

  • Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN)

  • Dialing code: +359

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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