Short guide to Sofia Public Transport

Metro is covering a big part of the city
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If you think that traveling in Sofia is easy, then you are probably wrong. The main problem with Sofia public transport is that there is a limited info in English despite the many tourists coming here recently. As a traveler going to another country I used to pick an info brochure from the Airport and this way all my problems with public transport during staying are solved. But in Bulgaria, even in the capital, you won’t receive any brochure of the transport net neither you will see a map in English at the Airport. The options are to ask people at the airport or to research for info in advance. So if you are searching for tips and suggestions how to travel easily in Sofia, then you are at the right place.

At a glance..

Sofia’s public transport is covering almost all routes that you may need and is fairly reliable, except the cold winter weather and some rainy days in autumn. Of course, the metro is the fastest and regular transport but if you wish to experience Sofia like a local you may try the trams and trolleys too. The cost of one-way journey is 1.60 for all type of transport inside the city.

Getting to the city center from Airport / Bus station

The line that will take you from and to the Airport is bus line 84. There is another option – to catch the metro from Terminal 2 – both of them are going to the city center.
The best way to get to the center from the bus station (or railway station) is to take the bus line 213 or bus line 214.

Working hours of Sofia public transport

Most of the buses and trams are working from 5 till 23 pm and normally you should wait no more than 10 minutes for each bus in the center area. The metro has the same schedule. There is also a night bus every 40 minutes, covering prevailing part of the city, which have different stops and the ticket cost is 2 levs. Here you can check the information about the schedule and bus stops of the Sofia public transport.

Where to buy a bus ticket?

There are many ticket’s offices close to the bus and trams stops. Arriving at the Airport you will probably won’t see such but there is an option to buy the ticket from the driver of the bus. The cost for one traveling (never the mind distance) is 1.60 lv (0.80 euro). After obtaining your ticket you should validate it with one of perforators which are located in every bus. Once perforated it can’t be used for another traveling – each vehicle’s perforator leave a unique pattern of holes through your ticket. Be careful and don’t miss this step, as usually there are many controllers close to the traveling spots which are “hunting” for violations and it may cost you a 20 euro fine.

Some of the vehicles are equipped with ticket-selling machines, that print the tickets when you insert coins. You don’t need to perforate it as they have date and time valid period and also can’t be reused.

Metro tickets

Metro tickets are issued in each metro station and they are valid 30 min after release. You can buy them from a ticket-selling machine or from the desk in as well – the price for one way traveling is again 1.60lv.

Daily cards and passes

If you are planning to spend more time in Sofia the daily cards or collection of 10 tickets for city buses is a good cost-effective option.

One day pass

The cost of the daily card is 4 lv (2 euro) and it allows you to use all kind of city transport during the day, including metro. It can be bought from all offices that are selling tickets, except the metro station’s desks (strange but fact).

Collection of 10 tickets

These kind of tickets are only for bus, trams, and trolleys. Actually, you can buy the same “cut” for the metro, but you can’t use it for the bus. So you should choose whether you are going to use metro or bus. The price for this is 12 lv for 10 tickets for the bus and 14 lv for the metro.
There is something specific with the bus tickets here – all of them are numbered from one to 10 and each is valid only for 1 person and only when you keep the number 10 – explained easily if a controller comes to the bus and asks you for your ticket, you should show him the perforated ticket and the ticket number 10..

3 Day electronic card

This kind of card may be used for all kind of city transport, including metro. The price is 12 lv and again it can be issued from all offices which are selling bus tickets (sorry the metro one’s wouldn’t work).

Maps and sites for better orientation in Sofia city jungle

It’s a shame but until recently there weren’t any transport map of Sofia transport, so if you have used to take a transport map from the Airport and hope to take one from Sofia’s I will disappoint you and tell you that you won’t be able. Below is the link to a map that been invented from a voluntary and I really hope that a paper version will be spread around important spots soon.

Another option to check which bus you need to go somewhere is to use this map

Not sure how the English version is working, but if you click the place arrow is pointing you will see all bus stops (blue spots) and pointing some particular the number of bus which are going to this stop.

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