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Bulgaria By Train

Bulgaria offers over 4000 km of rail track. The main rail hub is in the capital city Sofia, which has connections to Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. Experience diverse scenic views onboard Bulgaria's trains. Bulgaria has an interesting historical and cultural heritage and attractive landscapes. Be sure to visit 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.

bulgaria

Domestic trains in Bulgaria

Expresen Vlak

  • ​Faster trains
  • Sofia to Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas and Ruse
  • Reservations are required (approximately €0.25, or BGN 0.50 in local currency)

Barz Vlak

  • Local 'rapid' trains.

  • No reservation needed.

Patnicheski

  • Slower local trains.

  • No reservation needed.

Rhodope scenic railway

  • Septemvri – Dobrinishte
  • Narrow gauge trains

 

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. 

International trains in Bulgaria

At this moment, the only international daytime connections run to and from Romania. Connections to Serbia and Greece are currently suspended because of construction works and operational issues.

  • Sofia – Ruse – Bucharest
    • Runs from Sofia only from June 21st till October 9th
    • Between October and June, this train only runs from Ruse to Bucharest
    • Reservations are mandatory
  • Varna – Ruse – Bucharest
    • Runs from Varna only from June 21st till October 9th
    • Between October and June, this train only runs from Ruse to Bucharest
    • Reservations are mandatory
  • (Istanbul -) Dimitrovgrad – Veliko Tarnovo – Ruse – Bucharest 
    • Runs from Istanbul only June 21st till October 9th 
    • Between October and June, this train only runs from Ruse to Bucharest 
    • Reservations are mandatory
  • Vidin – Craiova
    • Local train, no reservation needed

Domestic night trains in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a number of domestic night trains, all running from Sofia to the East. Especially the trains towards the Black Sea coastal cities Varna and Burgas are popular during summer.

  • Sofia – Plovdiv – Varna
    • Seats and sleepers
  • Sofia – Pleven – Varna
    • Seats and sleepers
  • Sofia – Karlovo – Varna
    • Seats and sleepers
  • Sofia – Plovdiv – Burgas
    • Seats and sleepers
  • Sofia – Karlovo – Burgas
    • Seats and sleepers
  • Sofia – Pleven – Ruse – Silistra
    • Seats and couchettes

 

International night trains in Bulgaria

Currently, the only international night train running in Bulgaria connects Sofia and Plovdiv to Istanbul in Turkey. Make sure to reserve some days in advance, especially in summer. This train can only be booked at the train stations.

  • Sofia – Plovdiv – Istanbul Halkali
    • Runs all year round
    • Comfortable modern Turkish couchette and sleeping cars
    • Reservations are mandatory
  • Bucharest – Ruse – Veliko Tarnovo – Dimitrovgrad – Istanbul Halkali 
    • Runs from Varna only June 21st till October 9th 
    • Comfortable modern Turkish couchette and sleeping cars 
    • Reservations are mandatory

 

Popular connections

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

 

Route

Travel time

Sofia to Varna 7h 30m
Sofia to Burgas 5h 30m
Sofia to Plovdiv 2h 30m
Sofia to Vidin 5h
Sofia to Ruse 6h 5m
Plovdiv to Burgas 3h 50m

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) 10h 50m Required
Ruse to Bucharest (Romania) Intercity (INT 460) 2h 50m Required
Vidin to Craiova (Romania) Regional 3h 50m No
Sofia to Istanbul (Turkey)* International (INT) 13h Optional


*The train from Sofia to Istanbul ends at Istanbul Halkali station, from here you can take a metro/Marmaray train to the city centre and under the Bosphorus to the Asian side. Make sure to have Turkish Lira notes beforehand, as most metro-ticket machines do not take bank cards.

 

Reservations

Not possible through Eurail reservation self-service system

 

Locally at the train station in Bulgaria

 

How can I make reservations for trains in Bulgaria?

  • Local ticket desks at train stations
  • At Rila travel agencies, which you can find at train stations across Bulgaria.
  • Check locations on the BDZ website.
  • A reservation is called "zapazeno myasto" in Bulgarian.

 

Get you Pass for Bulgaria

Bulgaria Pass

 

Use your whole vacation to discover Bulgaria by rail.

 

Standard prices from $ 59

Global Pass

 

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


Standard prices from $ 211

 

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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