10 Coach & Train Tips for Travelling in Bulgaria
Travelling on public transport in Bulgaria can often be frustrating and chaotic, especially with a language barrier, but riding on coaches and trains can make for an enjoyable way to see the country. If you decide to take a journey then follow these travel tips to help you along your way.
- Despite long distance coaches being fitted with toilets, I’ve yet to see any actually in use so you would be wise to not drink too much before travelling. A bus travelling on a three hour journey will sometimes stop for ten minutes or so en route, but this doesn’t necessarily happen…you have been warned!
- If you’re not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, negotiating destinations and buying tickets could prove to be tricky. Write down all the destinations you plan to go to in both Cyrillic and Latin including the train or coach’s final destination to avoid any potential confusion.
- Many routes, particularly by slower trains, (putnicheski), may only run two or three times a day, even between some of the bigger cities. Plan ahead for any connections you may need and ensure you arrive early enough or you may have to wait until the following day for the next one!
- Coaches are most often quicker than the train, the latter tending to stop off at frequent villages and towns which does offer a more splendid scenic route you might not see from the window of a coach, just depends how long you’ve got in the country and how slow you want to travel.
- If travelling on a budget is a priority, then a train will work out as the cheapest option but not by a generous amount. However, the difference could probably buy you a cheap dinner and a beer in some places.
- When buying a bus ticket, you’ll be assigned a seat number which can often be found at the side of the seat and not always in an obvious place. If you choose to sit anywhere, you could be facing an irate Bulgarian who will win over the fight with you for the correct seat!
- In most major cities, there will usually be more than one bus station so make sure you know the one you’re arriving or departing from for planning the next part of your journey.
- You won’t find a buffet carriage on the trains so ensure you’re well stocked up on water and snacks if you’re heading on a long journey.
- If you’re travelling at busy times such as weekends or busy peak seasons, you can reserve a ticket for your train, or for the bus, buy your ticket a day or so in advance
- If you choose to sit in the back carriages of a train you might not get to see the name of the train station as it is generally only written above the station house which you won’t see quickly enough by the time the train pulls off.
Have anymore tips I’ve missed? Or any advice your can give to travelers? Feel free to post them below: