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
Eurail pass validity
A Eurail pass valid in Bulgaria can be used on all trains of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ).
There are three types of trains in Bulgaria, of which the Expresse (ekspresen) trains are the fastest and most comfortable. The main train station is Tsentralna Gara in Sofia. The metro connects Sofia's train station with the airport and the city center.
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.
Bulgaria various connections with other European countries:
- Sofia – Bucharest - 1 day train and 1 night train
- The Black Sea Train circulates during certain periods of the year from Moscow and Minsk to Varna and vice versa.
- The Bucharest / Istanbul Express - circulating on the route Bucharest / Stara Zagora / Istanbul.
- The Nusic night train from Sofia to Belgrade
- The Bosphor Express from Sofia to Istanbul*
* The Bosphor Express ends at Istanbul Halkali station for an undefined period of time. This is a suburban station about 25 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.
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
More about Bulgaria
Capital: Sofia (local spelling: Sofiya, written as София)
Population: 7.3 million
Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
Dialing code: +359
Rail Pass options for Bulgaria
Use your whole vacation to discover Bulgaria by rail.
Standard prices from € 51
Be free to visit Bulgaria and up to 32 other Eurail countries.
Standard prices from € 185
Go the last mile
Found yourself at the end of the line, but not at your destination? When public transportation ends, it's time to take matters into your own hands: rent a car for the last miles!
Eurailers get up to a 15% discount on all Avis retail prices.
You can find more information in the Terms & Conditions.
Places to visit in Bulgaria
Ancient ruins with a story
Settled several thousand years ago, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, Plovdiv, is rife with ancient ruins and remnants of Roman roads. Especially in old town (Staria Grad), which is a goldmine of artifacts. Don’t miss the Ethnographical Museum, which charts the town’s history, and the ruins of the Roman Theatre of Ancient Philippopolis (Plovdiv’s previous name). Plovdiv’s hilly terrain and colorful architecture is endlessly charming.
The coastal city of Varna and the surrounding areas are rich in history, and also have fantastic beachside resorts. It’s a best-of-both-worlds situation, as the amazing Roman Thermae are the largest ruins in all of Bulgaria, and the Varna Summer Festival includes all of the fun that the Black Sea beachfront has to offer. Don’t miss the Archeological Museum in Varna – some say it’s one of the best in the whole country.
Sofia's streets of gold
Situated at the base of the picturesque Mount Vitosha, the capital city of Sofia is one of the oldest in Europe and the largest in Bulgaria. Your Eurail Bulgaria Pass is the key to uncovering its quaint boutiques, gold-colored streets and dynamic culture. The National Historical Museum will tell you all you need to know about Bulgaria’s past. One of the largest museums in the Balkans offers 650,000 exhibits.
The cliffside fortress town
Located in central Bulgaria in an unspoiled countryside, the picturesque town of Veliko Tarnovo features ancient buildings hovering at the edge of a rocky cliff, overlooking the Yantra River. The stunning Tsarevets Fortress dates back to the 5th century, and you shouldn’t miss the sound and light show at sundown. But most of the art and architecture in town has its own story to tell, and it’s a story worth hearing.